Student Research on Ottoman Manuscript Published

A St. Lawrence University student's research on the topic of whether a 15th century governor of a Greek island under Ottoman rule was a loyalist or patriot was recently published in a refereed academic journal.

Hunter Koski ’14 researched a historical manuscript written sometime shortly after the Turkish Ottomans had conquered Constantinople and much of the former Byzantine empire. Hunter’s paper, titled “Assessing the Historian Michael Kritovoulus as a Historical Figure Through Analysis of Michael Kritovoulus’ ‘History of Mehmed the Conqueror,’” was featured in the most recent edition of the International Journal of Arts & Sciences.

Hunter, a history major and government minor from Sarasota, Fla., states his position in the research article that Kritovoulus was actually a Byzantine patriot and sympathizer rather than an Ottoman loyalist, a position that contradicts some earlier historians views of the historical manuscript discovered in the late 19th century.

“It is mistaken to consider Kritovoulus as a pro-Ottoman ideologue, as some historians have claimed, in that all of his initiatives that could be considered loyal to the Ottomans were a result of his Byzantine compatriotism,” Hunter writes. “It is excessively critical to critique Kritovoulus’ person for his pro-Ottoman tone because of the regional circumstance; the Ottomans having dominated the Byzantines and conquered every territory that was ethnically Greek at the time.”

Through an analysis of the manuscript as well as an analysis of other historical interpretations of the manuscript, Hunter was able to write a paper that strongly supported his position that Kritovoulus was a Byzantine patriot who mourned the conquering of Constantanople. However, because of Kritovoulus' position as a designate under Ottoman rule, historians have misinterpreted the original manuscript and often labeled Kritovoulus as an Ottoman loyalist instead.

Hunter's began working on the research in 2012 as a St. Lawrence University fellow working under the supervision of Assistant Professor of History Howard Eissenstat.

The International Journal of Arts and Sciences is published by University Publications.