Son of a well-to-do family that paved its way from artisanate (the family name means “son of the comb-maker”) to higher ulema bureaucracy, Şânî-zâde Mehmed Atâ’ullah Efendi (ca. 1770-1826) had a good education in religious studies, medicine and mathematics and knew quite a few European languages (including Greek), apart from his usual Arabic and Persian. He served as a teacher (müderris) in various medreses, as a judge of Eyyüb and as an inspector of vakfs before being appointed as official historian (vak’anüvis) in 1819. He was removed in 1825, probably due to the palace chief-doctor’s jealousy; with the abolishment of the janissary corps (and maybe due to his participation to the “Scientific Society of Beşiktaş”, Beşiktaş İlmî Cemiyeti or Beşiktaş İ’tikâdı, a closed group of conversations and scientific lessons with allegedly close ties to the Bektaşi order and perhaps Masonic influences: Z. Yılmazer ed., Şâni-zâde Mehmed ‘Atâ’ullah Efendi: Şânî-zâde târîhi [Osmanlı tarihi (1223-1237 / 1808-1821)], Istanbul 2008, XCVII-XCIX) he was exiled to Tire and died there after two months (according to a story, because he misheard the coming of an order for his pardoning and considered it an execution order).
Târîh(“History”) covers the period from Mahmud I’s ascension (1808) up to August 1821; his notes for the subsequent years were used by his successor, Es’ad Efendi. Şani-zâde also wrote various medical treatises (among them, a translation of an Austrian treatise), poetry, and translation of German and French military manuals, as well as of geographical and mathematical works.