DÜRRI EFENDI (Dorrī Afandī), AḤMAD (b. Van, date unknown, d. Istanbul, 1135/1722), Ottoman poet, civil servant, and diplomat who served as ambassador to Tehran and wrote Sefārat-nāma, the first Turkish account of Safavid Persia. Nothing is known of his early life and education; he made his career in Istanbul, rising through the bureaucratic ranks.
The Ottoman empire had lost western territories as a result of its defeat by Austria and Venice and the treaty of Passarowitz (20 Šaʿbān 1130/21 July 1718). The government hoped to compensate itself by acquiring territories from Persia, which was weak and torn by internal conflict. Dürri Efendi’s official mission was to help smooth the path for Persian merchants crossing Ottoman territory to Austria, but his real task was to assess the situation. According to his Sefarāt-nāma, he left Baghdad and crossed the border near Kermānšāh on 1 Moḥarram 1133/2 November 1720, passing through Kermānšāh, Darjazīn, Hamadān, and Qazvīn to Tehran, where he delivered letters to Shah Solṭān-Ḥosayn, who was in residence there (1105-35/1694-1722), and the vizier. He was accompanied on his return (18 Safar 1134/5 December 1721) by the Persian ambassador Mortażāqolī Khan, who carried letters to their Ottoman counterparts. Some time later the Ottomans declared war on Persia, most of which was by then under Afghan control.
Dürri Efendi was known for his virtuosity in casting chronograms and composed a majmūʿa, the manuscript of which is kept in the Süleimaniye library (Esat Efendi, no. 3409). His fame is based mainly on his Sefarāt-nāma, however. Aside from valuable information on Persia, it is also useful for the study of “embassy literature.” It was first published in lithograph (Relation de Dourry Effendy, ambassadeur de la Porte Ottomane . . ., Paris, 1820; repr. in Rāšed tarīḵī III, Istanbul, 1153/1740, pp. 93-100; 2nd ed., V, Istanbul, 1282/1865, pp. 372-98; a Persian translation of this edition has not survived). It was translated into French by Louis Langlès (Relation de Dourry Efendi . . ., Paris, 1810) and into Latin by Father Tadeusz Krusiński (Prodomus ad Tragicam Bertentis Belli Persici Historiam seu Legationis . . .); an abridged version of the latter was translated into Turkish by Ibrahim Müteferrika (Tārīḵ-e sayyāḥ, Istanbul, 1277/1860-61), which was in turn translated into Persian by ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Donbolī (Baṣīrat-nāma, Tehran, 1369 Š./1991). The most recent Persian translation is by Moḥammad-Amīn Rīyāḥī (in Sefarāt-nāmahā-ye Īrān. Gozarešhā-ye mosafarat wa maʾmūrīyat-e safīrān-e ʿoṯmānī dar Īrān (Tehran, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 49-98).
M. Aktepe, “Dürri Ahmet Efendi’nin Īran sefâreti,” Belgelerle Türk Tarihi Dergisi 1, 1985, pp. 56-61.
F. Babinger, Die Geschichtsschreiber der Osmanen und ihre Werke, Leiden, 1927; tr. C. Üçok as Osmanlı tarih yazarları ve eserleri, Ankara, 1982, pp. 354-55.
Ḥayāt (Istanbul) I/38, 1926, pp. 14-15; I/69, 1926, pp. 323-24.
Šayḵī Meḥmed (Moḥammad) Afandī, Waqāyeʿ al-fożalāʾ, ed. A. Özcan, Istanbul, 1989, pp. 737-39.
F. R. Onat, Osmanlı sefirleri ve sefaretnameleri, Ankara, 1968, p. 59-61.
Qāżīasker Sālim Efendi, Tāḏkera, Istanbul, 1311/1893-94, pp. 239-44.
Meḥmet (Moḥammad) Süreyya, Sejell-e ʿoṯmānī II, Istanbul, (1891?); repr. Westmead, Hants., U.K., 1971, pp. 337-38.
B. M. Tahir, Osmanlı müellifleri III, Istanbul, 1924, p. 8.
A. Talay, Bizim eller Van, Istanbul, 1988, p. 82.
Originally Published: December 15, 1996
Last Updated: December 2, 2011
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Vol. VII, Fasc. 6, p. 598