Sir Paul Rycaut FRS (23 December 1629 London - 16 November 1700 Hamburg) was a British diplomat and historian, and authority on the Ottoman Empire.
His Huguenot father was held in the Tower of London, during the English Civil War, for his Cavalier sympathy, but the sequestration of his property was lifted.
Rycaut was born in Aylesford, Kent and graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1650. In 1652, he was admitted to Gray's Inn. While studying at Alcalá de Henares, he learned Spanish and translated the first part of Baltasar Gracián's The Critick. Rycaut was then employed as private secretary to Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Winchilsea, ambassador to Constantinople. He became British Consul and factor at Smyrna. From 1689 to 1700, he was Resident at Hamburg.
On 12 December 1666, Rycaut was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Knighthood was conferred on him in 1685.
- The Present State of the Ottoman Empire. Printed for C. Brome. 1665.
- The Present State of the Greek and Armenian Churches, Anno Christi 1678 Written at the Command of His Majesty by Paul Ricaut, Printed for John Starkey, 1679
- General Historie of the Turks, Knolles, Continuation, printed by J.D. for Tho. Basset, R. Clavell, J. Robinson, and A. Churchill, 1687
- Lorenzo Gracián (1681). The Critick. Translator Paul Rycaut. Printed by T.N. for Henry Brome.
- Baptista Platina, The lives of the popes, Translator Paul Rycaut, Illustrator Robert White, printed for C. Wilkinson, 1688
His letters to William Blathwayt are held at Princeton University.
- "Rycaut, Paul". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- "Paul Rycaut", The Royal Society
- "Ottoman Politics Through British Eyes: Paul Rycaut's the Present State of the Ottoman Empire", Journal of World History, Linda T. Darling, Vol. 5, 1994
- "Sir Paul Rycaut's Memoranda and Letters from Ireland 1686-1687", Analecta Hibernica, Patrick Melvin and Paul Rycaut, No. 27 (1972), pp. 123, 125-199