Nasîhatnâme (singular: Nasîhat, from Arabic nasiha, meaning the advice) were a type of guidance letter for Ottoman sultans, similar to mirrors for princes. They draw on a variety of historical and religious sources, and were influenced by the governance of previous empires such as the Sassanids or the Mongols, as well as by Muslim history and by contemporary events.
Nasîhatnâme became common in the sixteenth century but built on earlier works such as the Kutadgu Bilig (Knowledge of Prosperity), written in 1070 by Yusuf Has Hacip. Early influences include inşa literature from Persia, so nasîhatnâme are influenced by the workings of Sassanid and Mongol government; some even refer to Alexander the Great.
Nasîhatnâme were even commissioned by aspirants to Ottoman government - including, in one case, by the Phanariot Alexandros Skarlatou Kallimaki, the probable father of Skarlatos Voyvodas Alexandrou Kallimaki.
By the 17th century, a sense of imperial decline began to affect the content of these texts; more than just advocating a return to some golden age (i.e. Suleyman the Magnificent) they highlighted specific systemic problems in the empire - including nepotism, revolts, military defeat, and corrupt Janissaries.
Nasîhatnâme typically state a clear moral reason for why they are written and presented to leaders; whether piety, or morality, or realpolitik.
- Nasihat al-Muluk (literally "advice for rulers") by al-Ghazali
- Kabusnama, by Keykavus bin İskender
- Siyasetname by Nizamülmülk, written by order of the Seljuk emperor Melikşah.
- Ahlak-ı Nasıri (Nasırian Ethics) by Nasiruddin Tusi
- Çahar Makala (Four Discourses) by Nizamuddin Arudi
- Kitab Nasihat al-Mulk, by Al-Mawardi
- Tarih-i Ebü’l-Feth (History of the father of conquest), by Tursun Bey
- Destan ve Tevarih-i Müluk-i Al-i Osman, by Ahmedi
- Nushatü’s Selatin (Advice to the sultans), by Gelibolulu Mustafa Ali
- Hirzü’l-Mülûk (Spells of the sultans), anonymously written
- Usûlü’l-hikem fi Nizâmi’l-âlem (The principles of wisdom for the order of the world), by Hasan Kâfî el-Akhisarî
- Habnâme (Book of dreams), by Veysi.
- Kitâb-i Müstetâb (Beautiful book), anonymous.
- Risale, Koçi Bey
- Veliyüddin Telhisleri
- Kanûnnâme-i sultânî li Aziz Efendi; the identity of the author, Aziz Efendi, is unclear.
- Kitâbu mesâlihi’l-müslimîn ve menâfi’i’l-müminîn, anonymous.
- Düsturü’l-Amel li-Islahi’l-Halel, by Katip Çelebi
- Telhisü’l-beyan fi kavanin-i al-i Osman, by Hezarfan Hüseyin Efendi, who also wrote the history book Tenkîh-i Tevârih-i Mülûk
- Third Congress on the Social and Economic History of Turkey. Varia Turcica. 1990. ISBN 9780941469012.
- Faroqhi, Suraiya (2011). The Ottoman Empire and the world around it. I. B. Tauris. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-84511-122-9.
- İnan, Kenan. "Remembering the Good Old Days: the Ottoman Nasihatname [Advice Letters] Literature of the 17th Century". Ideology, Society and Values.
- The Ottomans and the Balkans: A Discussion of Historiography. Brill. 2002. p. 199. ISBN 9789004119024.
- Philiou (2011). Biography of an Empire: Governing Ottomans in an Age of Revolution. p. 30. ISBN 9780520266339.
- "Comité international d'études pré-ottomanes et ottomanes, VIth Symposium". Varia Turcica 4: 191. 1987.
- "Tursun Beg, Historian of Mehmed the Conqueror’s Time". Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 69: 55–71. 1977.
- Lowry (2003). The Nature of the Early Ottoman State. p. 17. ISBN 9780791456354.