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Azerbaijan Receives Ancient Manuscripts From Vatican

The Vatican LibraryThe Vatican Library
The Vatican Library
The Vatican Library
BAKU -- The Azerbaijani government has received copies of 60 rare medieval manuscripts from the Vatican's secret archives, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Farid Alakbarli, a department head at Baku's Institute of Manuscripts, told RFE/RL today that the documents -- discovered by Azerbaijani scholars two months ago -- include works by scientists and poets such as Nizami, Fuzuli, Nasimi, Maragayi, and Nasraddin Tusi.

He said the Vatican scanned the manuscripts and put them on CDs for Azerbaijani officials. Those written in Arabic and Persian will be transliterated into the Latin script, he added.

Alakbarli said the original manuscripts are kept in the Vatican Archive's Iranian and Turkish depositories, as there is no specific depository for Azerbaijan.

He told RFE/RL on July 9 that the manuscripts will enable historians to study Azerbaijan's history and culture more deeply.

The manuscripts include a volume of stories in Turkish dating from the 15th century.

Alakbarli said "the book contains folklore and resembles the 11th-12th century 'Book of Dede Korkut' (Kitabi Dede Qorqud)," and added that the precious documents include a separate manuscript of the "Book of Dede Korkut" -- the famous epic stories of the beliefs of the Oghuz Turks.

The manuscripts from the Vatican library also contain written correspondence between Vatican popes and the rulers of territories that today are part of Azerbaijan.

"The documents include some political information that was previously unknown," Alakbarli said. "The study of these documents may augment our knowledge of the history of Azerbaijan."

Alakbarli said that during the Middle Ages, the popes acquired an interest in non-Christian authors as they tried to proselytize. That interest led to the acquisition of the books from and about the Muslim East.

Read more in Azeri here
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Comment Sorting
by: John Harduny from: Reston, VA, USA
July 12, 2011 21:01
Nizami, Fuzuli, Nasimi and Nasraddin Tusi have absolutely nothing to do with Azerbaijan, Azerbaijanis or the ancestors of people who decided to call themselves "Azerbaijanis" since the 1920s. There was no country called "Azerbaijan" before the establishment of the self-declared "Azerbaijani Republic" in 1918 too. Nizami is half-Persian, half-Kurd who wrote his works in Persian. Fizuli was born in Kerbela, Iraq, and was a Turkoman. Tusi was born in Khorasan, Iran - also hundreds of miles from both modern Azerbaijan and real (southern) Azerbaijan of Iran. They never called themselves "Azerbaijani" in any way, there are no links whatsoever between modern Azerbaijanis and these individuals. This bizarre action is yet another manifestation of the Azerbaijani hyper-nationalism - an idiotic phenomenon aimed at stealing other peoples' culture and manufacture historical continuity from scratch.
In Response

by: Will Hawes from: UN
July 13, 2011 09:47
John, how do you explain the fact that over 90% of Azeris belong to the same genetic haplogroup as Iranians?

In other words, Iranian’s and Azeris (as well as Armenians) are the same ethnic group. If you really think Azeri people are from a different place and not indigenous to the area, how do you explain the fact that they have DNA indigenous to the area? You can’t because your assertion is 100% false!

More Armenian propaganda? Very likely!

Instead of posting BS propaganda online, why don’t you go sort your economy out, one of the worst in the world, along with the ever shrinking Armenian population?
In Response

by: Hamik C Gregory from: Reno, NV USA
July 13, 2011 12:02
The story above has nothing to do with the Armenians. Quit contrary to Ottoman Turks in modern day Turkey, Azeris are Shia Moslems and have a Zoroastrian heritage which concretely tells us they have an Iranian ancestry. Centuries ago, because of massive Turkic tribal movement, the Persians who were living in Azerbaijan adopted Turkish to cope with their Turkish neighbors and overlords. They are not associated with the Turkic tribes who came out of Siberian forests and settle in Central Asia. Heritage wise, they are not related to Ottoman Turks occupying modern Turkey.
Azeris have aligned themselves with Turkey and call them selves genuine Turks because they are afraid along the way the Iranians will abrogate the unjust Golestan treaty (1813), which was imposed on them by the former Imperial Russia, and claim Azeri territory as one of their own.
Coveting rich Azeri oil wells in Baku, along the way, they might do that!
In Response

by: Elvin from: Dallas,Texas
July 25, 2011 18:10
My grandmother's father talked persian, wrote persian, the same with my grnadfathers from both sides. I do not know persian.So what? Am I dropped from the moon to my family? They talk about transliteration. Does this give you any idea? It mean they change the alphabet from Persian to Latin to understand. 100 years later, we will need to transliterate the Cyrillic writing which are also in Azeri . .

by: Peter from: Armenia
July 13, 2011 14:34
By that mentality it is also fair to say that modern Hayastan has nothing to do with Armenia. Not the same name! Pick an identity and stick to it. This must threaten the Armenian identity, because now even the Vatican shows proof of the ancient Azerbaijan civilization. Thats why Armos are crying now.

by: John Harduny from: Reston, VA, USA
July 13, 2011 15:38
Nizami, Fuzuli, Nasimi and Nasraddin Tusi have nothing to do with modern Azerbaijanis. Whether Azerbaijanis could have been an Iranian people, or have Persian genes, or they are nomads from Siberian tundra, or aliens from Mars are speculations and speculations only. This is totally unrelated to the essence of this matter. Whether Armenia or Azerbaijan is the world's worst or best economy is also unrelated to Nizami, Fuzuli, Nasimi and Nasraddin Tusi.

by: Pogo from: UK
July 13, 2011 15:43
What is it with you Americans?! This is the ONLY story I have ever read in RFE about Azerbaijan that does not acuse them of something or unfairly try to look for bad things and ignore the good things! And then along comes the first comment and spoils it all ! Maybe you should apply for a job at RFE!
In Response

by: David Edick Jr from: Rancho San Diego, CA
July 15, 2011 21:01
Pogo - I do not have an answer for you regards "what is wrong" with us Americans. Things are a mess here. That is for sure. I thought it was a pleasant, interesting, even unique article unburdened by political posturing. Mr Harduny's responses are bizarre. Other than 'yesterday' is not 'today', I do not see his point.