ALBUM AMICORUM of Salomon SCHWEIGGER VON SULZ (1551-1622). Manuscript on paper, South Germany, Constantinople, Egypt and the Holy Land, 1576-1608, written mostly in German, Latin, or Greek, and some in Turkish, Arabic, Armenian, Aramaic and Georgian and other languages, with depictions of arms on 91 pages, nine other miniatures (including a portrait of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Metrophanes III of Constantinople), four engravings (including portraits of the owner, of Joachim von Sintzendorff and of Melchior Lorichs), interleaved with numerous examples of Turkish marbled and ornamented paper, altogether 185 leaves, 200 x 143mm, contemporary green morocco binding. Provenance: shelfmark (Ms.733) of Rudolf Ritter von Gutmann; shelfmark (Ser.nov. 2973) of Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
THE ALBUM OF A PIONEERING ORIENTALIST
A valuable source for the history of the relationship between the Lutheran establishment in Austria and Germany and the Eastern Church in the late 16th Century.
The album contains entries collected from 12 October 1576 to June 1608, most of them dated during the four years (1577-1581) of Schweigger's appointment as chaplain to Freiherr Joachim von Sintzendorff, the ambassador of the Emperor Rudolf II to Sultan Murad III in Constantinople, and his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Many of the pages are annotated in Latin by Schweigger.
The contributors include aristocratic Protestant Austrians and Germans or fellow-churchmen whom Schweigger encountered in Constantinople and the Levant, and representatives of the Greek Orthodox Church and of the other divisions of the Eastern Church. Most of the entries are scriptural quotations or express religious sentiments.
Schweigger, who had studied theology at Tubingen, went to Constantinople at a time when the leaders of the Lutheran establishment in Wurttemberg were in dialogue with the Eastern Church, with a view to reconciling their doctrinal differences. Sintzendorff's predecessor, the Lutheran David Ungnad, and his scholarly chaplain, Stephen Gerlach, energetically supported them, but the correspondence with Wurttemberg was eventually terminated by the Patriarch Jeremias II shortly after his return to office in September 1580. Schweigger himself later accused the Orthodox Church of ignorance and idolatry while admitting that the Patriarch had entertained him most hospitably and fed him on caviar (Stephen Runciman. The Great Church in Captivity, 1965, pages 254-257).
Schweigger's contacts with the Eastern Church were impressive. Among the entries in the album are inscriptions signed by the Patriarchs Metrophanes III (1565-1572 and 1579-1580) and Jeremias II (1572-1579 and 1580-1595), Michael, Patriarch of Antioch and the Armenian Patriarch, as well as numerous officials of the Patriarchate in Constantinople including the Proto-Notary Theodosios Zygomalas (to whom he had been introduced by Gerlach), and the Secretary of the Great Church, Georgius of Aetholia, the Grand Logothete, the Procurator, Argyros, and others, as well as Greeks in the service of the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch, some dating their entries at Damascus and Tripoli. Other signatories include his companions on the pilgrimage in 1581 (Freiherr Bernhard von Heberstein and his former preceptor, Wolfgang von Pachelbel, and Adam von Schlieben), and pilgrims of different nationalities in Egypt and Syria, among them 'Rene Marec de Monbarot ghantilhom[m]e de bretaigne' and 'Louis de Montaignes gentillomo francesso' at Tripoli, several monks at Mount Sinai and Jerusalem, and acquaintances made in Crete and Padua on his homeward journey. A number of entries welcome him on his arrival in Germany in November 1581, including Melchior Jager, the Chief Secretary of Wurttemberg (where Schweigger soon received an appointment).
The album is the source of many of the references in Schweigger's published account of his travels, Ein Newe Reyssbeschreibung auss Teutschland nach Constantinopel und Jerusalem (Nuremberg, 1608). Reprinted eight times during the seventeenth-century, it contains the first serious treatment of the Ottoman state in German.
Schweigger's interest in different scripts was shared with his mentor at Tubingen, the philhellene and great Protestant divine Martin Crusius, and he collected entries in Armenian, Aramaic, Coptic, Ethiopic, Turkish, the script of the Georgian Orthodox Church ('L[ette]ra Iberorum sive Georgianorum'), Arabic, and Chaldean (examples of the two last translated in Italian and endorsed by the interpreter, 'Io Anna de Jerusalem torcimano p[e]r franchi scrisse li supra scritti versi', f.151r). They are all published in facsimile in the Newe Reyssbeschreibung together with a number of entries in Greek, taken, he writes, from the originals in his Stammbuch, and with several of the epigrams in German. Schweigger's engraved portrait is the frontispiece.
This manuscript has a particularly rich collection of Turkish decorated papers (known as ebru). These were largely unknown in Europe until they began to be imported in the 16th Century and were especially favoured for inclusion in the Alba Amicorum that it had become fashionable for students and travellers to compile. They were an expensive enhancement to a volume and usually only a few leaves were included. It is probable that rather than imported leaves Schweigger bought his in Constantinople where there was a street that specialised in their sale. The papers are of two general types: either those where the untreated paper had been dipped in several colours to produce marbling, or the highly attractive pages with a ghostly floral or ornamental design that had been applied with the use of thin leather cut-outs. Part of the reason for their high cost was that after manufacture the leaves were treated with a solution of animal and vegetable binders to stabilise and seal the paper, which was then left to mature for some years.
Salomon Schweigger. Ein Newe Reyssbeschreibung auss Teutschland nach Constantinopel und Jerusalem (Nuremberg, 1608). Facsimile edition edited by Rudolf Neck (Vienna, 1964).
Stephen Runciman. The Great Church in Captivity (1965)
S. Faroqhi. The Ottoman Empire and the world around it (2004)