The State Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg houses the Golden Treasures of the Huns. This book is a product of meticulous work that began in October 2014. Russia’s most important and the world’s third largest museum houses works of pre-Islamic Turkish history. Starting with my dissertation and then again with this book I was fortunate to work with this rich archive. For this reason, I consider this academic archive to be like a “grand palace’. One of the most important academic royalty of this palaceis Dr. Irina P. Zasetskaya, the Archaeological Museum of Eastern Europe and Siberia’s Head of the Department of Artifacts and the Golden Treasure Chamber. Decorated by the rarely bestowed Russian Medal of Cultural Honor, Zasetskaya is a scholar who is in love with her profession. All of her most important work that contributed to world literature regarding the Huns, Sarmatians and Alans from Russian geography was something I was able to benefit for my PHD Thesis.
Especially 1975’s, “Золотые украшения гуннской эпохи / Zolotıye ukraşeniya gunnskoy epohi” (The Golden Treasures of the European Huns in the State Hermitage Museum), published in Leningrad and translated into three languages as a catalog in black and white was an academic important resource that was unreachable for me at the time. That is why after my dissertation, to both present this catalog, which is very important for the Turkish scientific world, and to work with this precious scholar I went once again to the Hermitage Museum.
Zasetskaya first read my PHD Thesis, that was translated into Russian and published by St. Petersburg University 2014, “ТЮРКСКИЕ МОТИВЫ И СИМВОЛЫ В ПОВСЕДНЕВНОЙ ЖИЗНИ: TURKISH SYMBOLS” И ИСКУССТВЕ ГУННОВ” and afterwards accepted to work with me. This was such a tremendous honor for me. In the Russian ‘successor-predecessor’ tradition, that is, working together with the most important teacher of the subject, she proposed for us to perform the tradition of publishing a book together with her as my predecessor. I am eternally grateful to Zasetskaya. The book titled, ‘St. Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum ‘Golden Hun Treasures and Blessed Meanings’ is the product of this union. This book is of great importance due to Zasetskaya’s no longer in print book of ‘The Hun Period Golden Ornamental Items’. This book being printed in this new and only edition as well as the added features of cognitive psychology and anthropology being included.
This project, which started in October 2014, was continued in April 2015 with the opening of the Treasury Room for the first time in history to a Turkish academician. For the first time, The Hermitage has given permission and signed over this material to be published in Turkey. I was the director of Istanbul University and Hermitage State Museum International Cooperation Project (20186), which was supported by Başakşehir Municipality as a public institution.
I am forever grateful to my precious Rector, Professor Dr. Mahmut Ak who since my first student years in 2010 has taught me history and both supported and helped me in all of my work. Special thanks goes to the previous Mayor of Başakşehir, Mevlüt Uysal who supported the project by publication of this book in Turkish. Thanks also go to my academic mentor, Prof. Dr. Mim Kemal Öke and precious Turkolog Prof. Dr. Osman Mert who read every line of this book and shared their valuable ideas with me. Also, my thanks to Maya L. Johnson, Gülcan İnalcık, and Ayşe Nilgün Sazak for their work on translation. And of course, my dear husband and children who are always with me in all my work.
Assoc. Prof., Dr. Gözde Sazak
August 2019, Istanbul