He was raised Jewish, but later became an atheist. He attended the local school until the age of 12 and showed a remarkable aptitude for learning languages. He was forced to walk with crutches because of a congenital disorder and eventually had to leave school due to difficult financial circumstances. He was also rapidly acquiring English , the Scandinavian languages , Russian , Serbian , and naturally other Slavic languages. He became a tutor in the house of Huseyin Daim Pasha , and, under the influence of his friend and instructor, Ahmet Efendi , became a full Osmanli , serving as secretary to Fuat Pasha.

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Possessed of an extraordinary capacity for languages and a phenomenal memory, he mastered numerous European languages and then turned to Arabic, Turkish, and Persian, achieving magisterial fluency and control in these. In his early twenties, fired by the dream of exploring the putative homeland of the Magyars in Asia, he moved to Constantinople where he lived as a tutor of European languages and executed translations from Turkish history.

He became a Muslim and entered the service of the Turkish government as secretary to Mehmet Fuad Pasha, five times foreign minister of Turkey. While in Constantinople he earned the esteem of Sultan Abdul-Hamid ii.

During his six years in Constantinople, he published a Turkish-German dictionary and other linguistic works, acquired a variety of Oriental languages and dialects, and traveled extensively. Said to have been the first European to make such a journey, the account of his exploits, Travels and Adventures in Central Asia , aroused great interest throughout Europe. This was the case especially in England appearing as it did at a time of acute tension between Russia and England for the mastery of Central Asia.

After his return from the long trek in the spring of , he visited London where he was lionized for his triumph as an intrepid adventurer and his impressive polyglot achievement. Then after a stop in Paris, Vambery, who had apparently become a Protestant, accepted an invitation from the University of Budapest to teach Oriental languages and in this capacity he served until Among his students were I.

His books were translated into many languages but his autobiography, Arminius Vambery , His Life and Adventures , and his memoirs, The Story of My Struggles , were written in English. One of his scholarly contributions to Turkology was the discovery of the relation of Turkish and Magyar. He also contributed to the ethnology of Central Asia and India. A staunch protagonist of British dominance in the East he placed his vast knowledge of Central Asia at the disposal of Great Britain , serving as her adviser on Indian and Asiatic policy, executing various diplomatic missions in the Near East, and becoming a personal friend of the prince of Wales, later Edward vii.

His preoccupation with the "Eastern question" is documented in various political essays, e. Herzl, Complete Diaries, ed. Patai, 5 , index; N.

Sokolow, Ishim , —; G. Nordau, in: Life and Adventures ; N. Tikhonov, Vambery Rus. Kramer ed.


Arminius Vambery: His Life and Adventures (1886)

Main article: History of Turkmenistan Guardian figures of the four gates of the Turkmen universe, from a Salor heirloom carpet dating from no later than the mid s and perhaps as early as the mid s. The motif recalls the small tent housing the bride on the wedding caravan camel. Subsequently, Turkmen tribes founded lasting dynasties in Central Asia, Middle East , Persia and Anatolia that had a profound influence on the course of history of those regions. Representatives of the Turkmen tribes of Ive and Bayandur were also the founders of the short-lived, but formidable states of Kara Koyunlu and Ak Koyunlu Turkomans respectively [35] [36]. Turkmens largely survived unaffected by the Mongol period due to their semi-nomadic lifestyle and became traders along the Caspian , which led to contacts with Eastern Europe. Following the decline of the Mongols, Tamerlane conquered the area and his Timurid Empire would rule, until it too fractured, as the Safavids , Khanate of Bukhara , and Khanate of Khiva all contested the area.


Arminius Vambery

Earlier on as a kid, he realized he had a knack for languages. After teaching himself German and Slavonic, he went on to learn Turkish after a lengthy stay in Istanbul. During his stay in Turkey, he became tutor of many people to make a living. Earning him access to the most influential sectors of the Turkish society in the process. He became increasingly lured by the then mysterious and unknown lands of Central Asia. Evocative names such as Bokhara, Khiva or Samarkand resonated heavily in his imagination. After mastering the Turkish language he resolved to travel across Turkey, Persia and the various Khanates in Central Asia.


Hermann Vámbéry


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