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Il dipinto della battaglia di Cialdiran in Sicilia


Abstract


A large painting of the Chaldiran’s battle (1514) is exhibited in a historical palace of noble families in Sicily. Beneath the war scene a long inscription describes the battle between Sultan Selīm I and Shāh Esmā‘īl I, as well as the position and number of the Ottoman forces. The inscription is in the Italian language and seems to be written by an observer. The number of the different Ottoman troops is very detailed but it is not found nor mentioned in the historical sources of that epoch.

The scene seems realistic and true to the reality represented.

This painting is indeed a rarity and possibly unique in Europe. It may well be the only evidence regarding this historical event, so important to the Ottoman, Persian and Kurdish history.

The painting beats no date nor author’s signature. It probably originated towards the end of the 16th or the first half of the 17th century. The painter was probably from middle Europe, possibly around Germany.

Why is this painting in Palazzo Mirto? The archives of the noble families (Spucches, Filangeri, Lanza) do not contain any reference of this painting.

All explanations are valid: the painting being commissioned a century after the battle from a member of the family based on a draft of an ancestor who was present in Chaldiran, or the painting having been acquired in the following centuries.

The most important questions are: who could possibly have some interest in exalting the Sultan of Costantinople in Palermo, and for what reasons?


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13135/1825-263X/906

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ISSN: 1825-263X

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