Johannes Heinrich Mordtmann

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Johannes Heinrich Mordtmann (born September 11, 1852 in Pera , today a district of Istanbul , Ottoman Empire , † July 3, 1932 in Berlin ) was a German orientalist and diplomat .


Mordtmann was born as the son of the then consul of the Hanseatic cities at the Hohe Pforte Andreas David Mordtmann in Pera, which was mainly inhabited by foreigners. In the years from 1861 to 1871 he attended the scholars' school of the Johanneum in Hamburg and then went to study European classical music at the University of Bonn , where he gradually turned to oriental studies. In Leipzig he attended lectures in Arabic with Heinrich Leberecht Fleischer . In Berlin he received his doctorate with the epigraphic work Marmora Ancyrana at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin, today's Humboldt-Universität .

In the following years he worked in various functions in the service of the Foreign Office in the Ottoman Empire as dragoman , consul and consul general in the cities known today as Thessaloniki , Izmir and Istanbul. In addition, he dealt with inscriptions, first with Himjar and later with Greek and Byzantine. From 1910 on it was mainly Turkish topics that he also dealt with in lectures at the University of Istanbul . From 1872 he was a full member of the Greek Philological Society in Constantinople .

During the First World War , Consul General Mordtmann drew the attention of the German Reich to the genocide of the Armenians in 1915 , after the Ottoman Interior Minister Talât Pascha had expressly confirmed that the actions carried out at that time were aimed at the annihilation of the Armenian people . After the occupation of Constantinople by the Entente powers , he left his hometown and went to Central Europe.

Mordtmann first lived in Switzerland in Schaffhausen and then went to Innsbruck , where he taught temporarily. In 1920 he came to the University of Berlin via Würzburg , where he read on Islamic monuments at the Oriental Seminar. Using inscriptions brought by Carl August Rathjens and Hermann von Wissmann , he concentrated on research on ancient South Arabia , for which he also published two basic volumes.

Due to his familiarity with the Ottoman Empire, he was able to take a competent position on questions of history, literature, language and the present. This specialist knowledge makes him one of the founders of Ottoman studies , today's Turkic studies . His important library was acquired by the Hamburg State and University Library .


  • 1883: with DH Müller: Sabaean monuments .
  • 1884: Greek inscriptions from the Hauran , as digitized version 2011, see DDB.
  • 1893: Himjar inscriptions and antiquities in the royal museums in Berlin .
    • 1932: New edition with Eugen Wednesday : Himjar inscriptions in the state museums in Berlin . Hinrichs, Leipzig.
  • 1897: Contributions to the Minaean epigraphy , with 22 facsimiles printed in the text. Felber. Weimar.
  • 1899: Palmyrenisches in: Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft , Peiser, Berlin
  • 1912: The surrender of Constantinople in 1453 in: Byzantinische Zeitschrift Nr. 21, pages 129 to 214.
  • 1913: Dewshirma in: The Encyclopedia of Islam (EI1), 5 volumes, Leyden, Volume 1, pages 592-593.
  • 1914: Turkish fiefdom letter from 1682 . Brockhaus, Leipzig. In: Journal of the German Oriental Society, Volume 68.
  • 1918: On the surrender of Buda in 1526 . Announcements from the Hungarian Scientific Institute in Constantinople.
  • 1922: Two Ottoman passport letters from the 16th century in: Mitteilungen zur Ottoman Geschichte I, pages 177 to 202.
  • 1925: Foreword by Mordtmann: Suheil and Nevbehar: Romantic poem by Mesûd bin Ahmed (8th century) , based on the only surviving manuscript in the Prussian State Library. Volume 1. of the series of sources of Islamic literature. Orient bookstore H. Lafaire, Hanover.
  • 1929: Sunni-Shiite polemics in the 17th century in: Communications of the Seminar for Oriental Languages , 2nd Dept., West Asian Studies, pages 1–38.
  • 1929: On the life story of Kemal Reî in: Communications from the Seminar for Oriental Languages , 2nd Dept., West Asian Languages, page 231 f.
  • 1931: with Eugen Wednesday: Sabaean inscriptions . Friederichsen, de Gruyter & Co., Hamburg, Rathjens-von Wissmannsche Südarabien-Reise, Volume 1. Treatises from the field of foreign studies Volume 36, Series B, Ethnology, Cultural History and Languages ​​Volume 17.
  • 1932/1933: with Eugen Wednesday: Old South Arabic inscriptions . Pontifico Instituto Biblico, Rome, in: Orientalia Issue 1-3 1932 and Issue 1 1933.


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