The Long Road: An Analysis of the 1557 Book of Mirrors by Seydi Ali Reis

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Weiss, Julian N.
Ottoman history; Seydi Ali Reis; historic journey; historical journey; mapping; Indian-Ottoman relations; Ottoman navy; History; Islamic World and Near East History
paper description
In 1552, Piri Reis was relieved from the Admiralty of the Ottoman Imperial Navy. Seydi Ali Reis was appointed to replace him and his assignment was to return fifteen galleys from Basra to Egypt. This should have been a relatively short journey. Seydi failed miserably, however. He lost most of the ships in battle with the Portuguese and bad weather, which he documents in his travelogue The Mirror of Countries. With nowhere left to turn, he sold the remaining ships in Surat on the west coast of India. To make matters worse, he took the long road home to Istanbul: a circuitous route which stretched his journey for two years. This path went as far north as Samarqand in modern Uzbekistan. The question which arises is why did Seydi take so long to return home?