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Prof. Robert Mantran

Nationality: French

A Memoriam from 1999 on Robert Mantran Mavi Boncuk | On 24 September 1999, Ottoman studies lost one of its most respected and productive figures, as Robert Mantran, aged eighty-two, passed away in Aix-en-Provence, France. Robert Mantran was born on 19 December 1918, in Paris. His studies at the Sorbonne and at the École des Langues Orientales put him in contact with prominent scholars such as Jean Denis and Nikita Elisséeff. He then took classes at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (today's EHESS) from Jean Sauvaget. The war brought a significant break in his life as he joined the French army in 1939, and the Resistance after the defeat of 1940. In August 1944, Robert Mantran was among the Resistants participating in the liberation of Paris. He then left for Damascus where, together with Nikita Eliséeff, he conducted epigraphic research under the supervision of Jean Sauvaget. After a brief stay in Beirut, he moved on to Istanbul, where he became a pensionnaire of the French Archeological Institute, and taught from 1947 to 1952 at the Galatasaray high school. His long stay in Istanbul was an occasion for intensive research in the libraries and archives of the city, in view of the preparation of a history of Istanbul in the seventeenth century. He was recruited by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in 1952, and in 1955 was invited to Tunis in order to work on the publication of an inventory of local collections of Ottoman documents. After some years of teaching at the University of Tunis, Robert Mantran returned to France in 1961 and set up the framework of a center for Arab, Ottoman, and Turkish studies at the University of Aix-en-Provence. He obtained his PhD (doctorat d'état) in 1963. Under his energetic leadership and thanks to his friendship with historians such as Fernand Braudel, Georges Duby, and Ömer Lûtfi Barkan, Aix-en-Provence soon developed into one of the major intellectual centers of research and scholarship on the Mediterranean, Arab, Ottoman, and Turkish worlds. He also was a founding or active member of a number of research centers and scientific journals (Centre de Recherches sur l'Afrique Méditerranéenne, Institut d'Études Méditerranéennes, Institut de Recherches et d'Études sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman, Revue de l'Occident Musulman et de la Méditerranée, Revue du Monde Musulman et de la Méditerranée, and so forth). A visiting professor at the University of Mexico and UCLA, Robert Mantran became professor emeritus following his retirement in 1985. In 1990 he was elected member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres. His major publications include: Règlements fiscaux ottomans (1951, in collaboration with J. Sauvaget), Histoire de la Turquie (1952), Turquie (1955), Trésors de la Turquie (1959, in collaboration with M. de Saint-Pierre), Inventaire des documents d'archives turcs du Dar el-Bey (1961), Istanbul dans la seconde moitié du XVIIe siècle (1962), La vie quotidienne à Constantinople au temps de Soliman le Magnifique (1965, 1990), Les régimes politiques des pays arabes, (1968, in collaboration with Maurice Flory), L'Eurasie, XIe-XIIIe siècles (1982, in collaboration with G. Duby), L'expansion musulmane (VIIe-IXe siècles) (1986), Histoire de l'Empire ottoman (1989), Les grandes dates de l'islam (1990), and Histoire d'Istanbul (1996). As a former student of Robert Mantran, I wish to express my deepest gratitude to this great man, whose knowledge and erudition, combined with an extraordinary modesty and kindness I will always remember with the greatest emotion and respect.* Edhem Eldem Bogaziçi University