The word goes back to the Semitic root trgm , which already appears in Akkadian (as targumannu ) and in Aramaic (as targemana ). All of these words mean translator , the Hebrew Targum means translation . As early as the 6th century BC, a special professional group was established in Egypt , which consisted in particular of Greeks living in the country who had to take care of Greek travelers in the country.
During the Middle Ages, these interpreters mainly looked after Christian pilgrims . These brought the word to Europe, where it appears in Middle English (as dragman ), in Old French (as drugeman ), in Middle Latin (as dragumannus ) and in Middle Greek (as dragoumanos ).
In 15th century French travelogues he appears as a “truceman”, in German as a “trutzelmann” or “drugman”. Towards the end of the 15th century he took over the care and accommodation of all Christian "tourists" in Egypt from his residence in Cairo .
In the 16th century the term was extended to the entire Ottoman Empire . Furthermore, it was mainly Greeks who took over this work and interpreted between the European languages on the one hand and the Arabic, Turkish and Persian languages on the other.
After the diplomatic recognition of the Ottoman Empire, they ceded the diplomatic and consular work they had previously done to the ambassadors residing in Istanbul and the consuls residing in Alexandria and Cairo .
- Frank Castiglione: "Levantine" Dragomans in Nineteenth Century Istanbul: The Pisanis, the British, and Issues of Subjecthood. In: Osmanlı Araştırmaları - The Journal of Ottoman Studies , Volume 44 (2014), pp. 169–195 ( online ).
- Istanbul et les langues orientales , édité par Frédéric Hitzel, Editions l'Harmattan, 1997. ISBN 2-7384-5335-X
- Marie de Testa & Antoine Gautier: Drogmans et diplomates européens auprès de la Porte ottomane , éditions ISIS, Istanbul 2003. ISBN 975-428-258-7
- Ella-Natalie Rothman: Between Venice and Istanbul: Trans-imperial subjects and cultural mediation in the early modern Mediterranean , Diss., University of Michigan, 2006 (v. A. Pp. 210–275, recruitment, training, employment in Venetian services)