George Strachan of the Mearns

Seventeenth-century Orientalist

Tom McInally

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An up-to-date study of one of early modern Scotland’s most remarkable travellers
  • Examines the life of George Strachan (1572 – 1635), Scottish Humanist scholar, Orientalist and traveller
  • Draws on a wealth of newly discovered archival material to offer new insights into Strachan’s life and work
  • Explores Strachan’s key role in advancing European scholarly understanding of Islam and Arabic culture

The book explores the voyages that the Catholic exile took to many of the Catholic courts of Europe as a scholar and spy before turning eastwards to embark upon a 22 year journey around the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires. By becoming fully literate in Arabic and Farsi he was able to gain a unique knowledge of Eastern societies. Strachan’s collection of Arabic and Farsi texts on Islam, philosophy and humanities, which he translated and sent to Europe for the advancement of European knowledge of Islam and Islamic societies, became Strachan’s real intellectual legacy.

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Introduction1. Heritage2. Exile3. The Humanist Scholar4. To Constantinople5. Aleppo6. Mohammed Ҫelebi7. The Ḥusaynābādī Scholiasts8. Strachan’s Library9. The English East India Company10. ‘Stracan our Infernall Phesition’11. Among Friends12. The Mission at SrinagarAppendix

Tom McInally, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen

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