Paul Rycaut

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Sir Paul Rycaut

Sir Paul Rycaut FRS (23 December 1629 – 16 November 1700) was a British diplomat and historian, and authority on the Ottoman Empire.[1]


Rycaut's 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.[2] 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 the Ottoman Empire. He became British Consul and factor[3] at Smyrna (now İzmir).[4] From 1689 to 1700, he was Resident at Hamburg.[5]

On 12 December 1666, Rycaut was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.[6]

Knighthood was conferred on him in 1685. He died in Hamburg, aged 70.


«Monarchia turecka opisana przez Ricota», Slutsk, 1678
  • 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
  • The Turkish History. 1. 1687.
  • The Turkish History. 2. 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
  • Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (1688). Comentarios Reales de los Incas [The royal commentaries of Peru]. Translated by Paul Rycaut.

His letters to William Blathwayt are held at Princeton University.[7]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Rycant, Paul (RCNT646P)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ Jason Goodwin (2003). Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-42066-6.
  4. ^ Sonia P. Anderson (1989). An English consul in Turkey: Paul Rycaut at Smyrna, 1667-1678. Oxford University Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-19-820132-8. Sir Paul Rycaut.
  5. ^ Phyllis S. Lachs (1966). The diplomatic corps under Charles II & James II. Rutgers University Press.
  6. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". The Royal Society. Retrieved 10 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Sir William Ellis
Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
Thomas Sheridan
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Bevil Skelton
Resident to the Hansa Towns
Succeeded by
Sir John Wich