MORDTMANN, Andreas David. Hamburg 11.2.1811 — Constantinople 30.12.1879. German Diplomat, Oriental Scholar and Epigraphist. Lived in Constantinople from 1845. Son of Jens M. (1786-1829), worker and shopkeeper, and Anna Peiniger (1794-1813). Educated at Johanneum in Hamburg. Lost early his parents and had to earn his living by giving private lessons and from 1829 as assistant teacher at elementary school. Learned easily languages, including some Oriental, and attracted the attention of the politician Karl Sieveking, who found him employment in Hamburg Senate. In 1840 he was asked to catalogue Oriental manuscripts in Stadtbibliothek, from 1841 librarian there. Ph.D. 1845 Kiel. In 1845 he was sent as chancery clerk to Spanish Embassy in Constantinople which was then also representing Hamburg. From 1847 chief clerk, from 1851 representant of the Hanseatic towns (and Consul of Oldenburg), until 1859, when their separate diplomacy was closed down. Mordtmann remained and entered Ottoman state service as judge of the newly established commercial court (in 1860-71). Rejecting other positions he retired in order to concentrate on research and accepted only a few brief obligations. Married 1838 Christina Fendt (1810–1891, née Brandemann), three daughters and three sons, i.al. Andreas (1837–1912), a physician, but also historian and epigraphist; August Justus (1839–1912), journalist and Homeric scholar; Johann Heinrich (1852–1932), diplomat, Arabic and especially South Arabian scholar.
As a scholar Mordtmann mainly concentrated on history and epigraphy of the Ottoman Empire. He did here pioneer work and, in addition, his writings are now important sources of contemporary history. As a skilled epigraphist and numismatician he also studied cuneiform texts and Sassanian coins. Also for the latter he made valuable pioneer work.
Publications: Translated from Arabic: Das Buch der Länder von Schech Istachri. 20+204 p. Hamburg 1845 (accepted as diss.).
– Belagerung und Eroberung Constantinopels im Jahre 1453. 147 p. St. – Augsburg 1858; much on Ottoman history and on the situation in his own times; on Byzantine epigraphy, on cuneiform studies, etc.
– “Erklärung der Münzen mit Pehlevi-Legenden”, ZDMG 8, 1854, 1-194 & 12, 1858, 1-56; “Zur Pehlevi-Münzkunde”, ZDMG 33, 1879, 82-142 & 34, 1880, 1-162.
– Die Amazonen: ein Beitrag zur unbefangenen Prüfung und Würdigung der ältesten Überlieferungen. 10+136 p. Hannover 1862.
– With A. F. Pott: “Zigeunerisches”, ZDMG 24, 1870, 681-703 (from Turkey).
– Anatolien. Skizzen und Reisebriefe aus Kleinasien 1850–59. 34+591 p. Hrsg. von F. Babinger. Hannover 1925.
Sources: O. Beneke, A.D.B. 22, 1885, 219; H.-G. Majer, N.D.B. 18, 1997, 92f.; v. Prantl, SBaAW 1880, 154f.; *bibliography in Bursians Jb. 16, 47ff.; *life (vii-xxi) and *bibliography (xxi-xxxiii) by Babinger in M’s 1925 travel book (above); J. H. Mordtmann, “Die Orientalischen Handschriften der Sammlung A.D.M.”, Der Islam 14, 1925, 361-377; German Wikipedia with portrait.