NEẒĀMI QUNAVI

NEẒĀMI QUNAVI (Neẓāmi of Konya), also known as Neẓāmi Qaramāni (d. 1469-73?), poet in Persian, Arabic, and Turkish. We have very little information on his life. He was born in the time of the Qaramanid dynasty, probably between 1435 and 1440, the son of Mollā Wali-al-Din, a well-known preacher and master of a religious order in Konya. After his basic schooling, his father sent him to Persia to further his education. There, he improved his Persian as well as his knowledge of poetry and literature. After completing his studies, he returned to Konya. Soon after, the Ottoman Sultan Meḥmet [Moḥammad] II (r. 1451-81) conquered the Qaramanid domain and put an end to the dynasty (1468-74). During this time of political instability, Neẓāmi made the acquaintance of Maḥmud Pasha (d. 1474), the poet and grand vizier of Sultan Meḥmet II. Maḥmud Pasha praised Neẓāmi's skill as a poet to Sultan Meḥmet II, and the sultan, who himself had a strong interest in poetry and literature, invited him to his capital, Istanbul. Neẓāmi left for the capital, but died on the way, though he was still young. Neither the exact date of his death nor his burial site is known. According to a common rumor reported by ʿĀšeq Čelebi, his death was caused by a curse placed on him by a shaikh whose son had been satirized by Neẓāmi (Gibb, II, p. 372).

The only work of Neẓāmi's that has survived to the present day is his divān of poetry. This has been published in a variorum edition by Halûk İpekten, who also gives a critical presentation of six manuscripts (Süleymaniye Library, Hacı Mahmud Efendi, nos. 3298 and 3579; Millet Library, Ali Emirî, Manzum Eserler, no. 451; Âtıf Efendi Library, no. 2054; İstanbul Üniversitesi Library, no. TY 9854; Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi Library, Hazine, no. 924). Another old manuscript of Neẓāmi's divān is held at Dār al-kotob in Cairo (no. 186 m., fols. 1-50, date 933/1526-27; see. Ṭerāzi, I, p. 191; Monzawi, III, p. 2577).

Neẓāmi was well versed in both Persian and Arabic besides Turkish, which was his native language, and wrote poetry in all three. His divān contains sixteen azals and a good number of quatrains (robāʿi) in Persian, some couplets in Arabic, as well as his Turkish poems (İpekten, pp. 259-75). Neẓāmi has been described as a mediocre poet of Turkish (İpekten, p. 69), although his ḡazals are greatly appreciated and widely read. He has been praised by the authors of biographical dictionaries (taḏkera), among whom Laṭifi considered his ḡazals “superior not only to those of any of his predecessors, but to the works of his famous contemporary Ahmed Pasha” (apud Gibb, II, p. 371). Neẓāmi's profound understanding of Persian literature is shown by the fact that almost all the historical and legendary aspects of his own work come from Persian sources, and his verses reflect the strong influence of the Persian poet Hafez.

Bibliography:

Primary Sources.

ʿĀšeq Čelebi, Mašāʿer al-šoʿarāʾ, facs. ed. G. M. Meredith-Owens as Meşâirü'ş-şuʿarâ or Tezkere of ʿĀşıq Çelebi, GMS, N.S. 24, London, 1971, fol. 136.

Moṣṭafā b. Jār-Allāh Bayāni, Taḏkerat al-šoʿarāʾ, ed. İbrahim Kutluk, Ankara, 1997, pp. 295-96.

Halûk İpekten, Karamanlı Nizâmî: Hayatı, edebî kişiliği ve divanı, Ankara, 1974.

ʿAbd-al-Laṭif Čelebi Laṭifi, Taḏkerat al-šoʿarāʾ, ed. Mustafa İsen as Laṭifi tezkiresi, Ankara, 1990, pp. 361-63.

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(Osman G. Özgüdenlı)

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