PADERY, Etienne (b. Athens, ca. 1674), Ottoman Greek who served as a translator to the French embassy at Istanbul, and as a French consul at Shiraz. The “Compte au Roy par le Chevalier Paderi parti pour la Perse par ordre de sa Majesté en l’année 1719 et de retour en France en 1725” has survived in the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paris (published in Touzard, pp. 46-62). In connection with his letters (cf. Touzard, pp. 302-6), it reveals Padery’s twofold mission between France, Turkey and Persia as the paradigm of Franco-Persian relations between 1714 and 1725 (cf. Duparc, pp. 169, 240). The French objective was a commercial treaty with the Safavids while preserving the military option of overthrowing Muscat’s naval power (Kroell, p. 648). Its diplomatic failure, however, must be seen within the larger contexts of Safavid and French politics, which was dominated by the rise of the Afsharids and the financial crisis after the death of Louis XIV (r. 1643-1715).

The extant diplomatic sources provide scanty information about Padery’s life. His parents died during the Venetian siege of Athens in September 1687. Since his family had served the French embassy in Istanbul, an uncle, who was a physician, introduced Padery in Istanbul to Pierre de Girardin, seigneur de Vaubreuil (d. 1689), the French ambassador in Istanbul between 1686 and 1689. Pierre-Antoine de Castagnères, marquis de Châteauneuf (1647?-1728), Giradin’s successor at the Sublime Porte from 1689 to 1699, sent Padery to the Ecole des jeunes de langues, a French government school in Pera, one of the non-Turkish Christian districts of Istanbul, to train him as translator. Padery started his work for Châteauneuf perhaps as early as sometime between 1694 and 1696. Subsequently, he won the ambassador’s confidence, as well as the trust of his successors Charles, Comte de Ferriol (d. 1718), and Pierre Puchot, Marquis des Alleurs (1643-1725), who served in Istanbul from 1699 to 1709 and from 1709 to 1716, respectively. While Padery was traveling to France in 1715, the plague in Athens claimed almost his entire family, with one son as the sole survivor.

In August 1714, after the French had helped to free the Safavid envoy Moḥammad-Reżā Beg (d. 1715) from an Ottoman jail, des Alleurs ordered Padery to accompany the envoy of Shah Solṭān-Hosayn (r. 1694-1722) on his visit to Louis XIV, serving as his interpreter. In 1708, the shah had finally concluded a treaty with the French king, but the visit of a Safavid representative offered the opportunity to renegotiate this treaty (Calmard, p.129). After signing a new treaty on behalf of the shah, Moḥammad-Reżā boarded a ship at Le Havre, though Padery was called back to Paris when the Safavid envoy disembarked at Copenhagen.

In 1715, during the Regency of Philippe d’Orléans (r. 1715-22), chevalier Ange de Gardane, seigneur de Sainte-Croix, was appointed as chief consul of Isfahan, and Padery as consul of Shiraz. From 1717 to 1720, the Regent had entrusted the Scottish banker and economist John Law (1671-1729) with the task of reforming the finances of France, and Law also took a keen interest in France’s trade with Persia. In March 1719, Padery departed from Paris. The preserved letters document that Gardane and Padery did not get along and worked on different objectives. Gardane rejected the overthrowing of Muscat’s naval power, while Law considered Padery on a secret mission to negotiate military assistance. Padery held talks about the so-called Muscat affair in Qazvin in 1720, and in Isfahan between 1721 and 1722, while in August 1721, Gardane finally succeeded in securing Padery’s dismissal. In May 1725, Padery again arrived in France, and shortly thereafter submitted his written report to Louis XV (r. 1722-74).




J. Calmard, “France ii. Relations with Persia to 1789,” EIr X, pp. 127-31.

P. Duparc, Recueil des instructions donnée aux ambassadeurs et ministres de France depuis des Traités de Westphalie jusqu’à la Révolution Française, Paris, 1969, esp. pp. 169 (Ferriol) and 240 (Bonnac).

F. Hitzel, ed., Istanbul et les langues orientales, Paris, 1997.

A. Kroell, “East India Company, French,” EIr VII, pp. 647-49.

L. Lockhart, “European Contacts with Persia, 1350-1736,” Camb. Hist. Iran VI, pp. 373-411, esp. pp. 406-7.

Recueil de cent estampes representant differentes nations du Levant tirées sur les tableaux peints d’après nature en 1707 et 1708 par les ordres de monsieur de Ferriol, ambassadeur du roi à la Porte, Paris, 1714.

A.-M. Touzard, Le drogman Padery: Emissaire de France en Perse (1719-1725), Paris, 2005; orig. “Les relations franco-ottomans-persanes (1704-1725) à la lumière de la mission de Padery: Prèsentation analytique et structurelle de la documentation,” Ph.D. diss., Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, 1992.

(Anne-Marie Touzard)

Originally Published: July 20, 2009

Last Updated: July 20, 2009