By Gábor Kármán
In A Seventeenth-Century Odyssey Gábor Kármán reconstructs the lifestyles tale of a lesser-known Hungarian orientalist, Jakab Harsányi Nagy. The dialogue of his actions as a college instructor in Transylvania, as a diplomat and interpreter on the chic Porte, as a secretary of a Moldavian voivode in exile, in addition to a courtroom councillor of Friedrich Wilhelm, the good Elector of Brandenburg not just sheds mild upon the terribly flexible occupation of this person, but in addition at the number of circles during which he lived. Gábor Kármán additionally offers the 1st old research of Harsányi’s contribution to Turkish stories, the Colloquia Familiaria Turcico-latina (1672).
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Extra info for A Seventeenth-century Odyssey in East Central Europe: The Life of Jakab Harsányi Nagy
56 This certainly made the adaptation of the newcomers to the foreign conditions easier, since they encountered a massive body of their compatriots who could help them overcome their initial difficulties. This informal help also stood at Harsányi’s disposal. Just like the majority of the Hungarian students, he arrived to the Netherlands during the summer. 58 They must have travelled together most of the way. 59 Harsányi, however, did not benefit from the opportunities offered by the “Hungarian colony” at Franeker.
ASALB I, 311– 329; AVSL XVI, 210. According to Jan Juliaan Woltjer, the reason for this was that the poorly paid jobs of minister and teacher made a career in the Church unattractive to young Dutchmen; see his “Introduction,” in Leiden University in the Seventeenth Century: An Exchange of Learning, ed. Th. H. Posthumus Meyjes (Leiden, 1975), 15–16. 69 From the summer of 1640 on, Harsányi spent between twelve and sixteen months in Leiden. 70 Besides the theological debates, Leiden offered many opportunities for education and self-instruction.
The Hungarian students most probably left Scotland, although it is hard to say which way they went. If they had left Cambridge because of the looming conflicts between the king and parliament, they would have been unlikely to risk a trip across England from north to south during July and August, when the actual military campaigns started, and to cross the route of first the royalist, and then the parliamentary, armies. They could have left Edinburgh by sea heading for Leiden, but in that case we might wonder why Harsányi only enrolled at the university again on 6 October.