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    Moudouros, Nikos 2016. Between anti-Westernization and Islamism: Turkey’s ‘Islamic’ vision in Cyprus?. Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, Vol. 16, Issue. 2, p. 317.

    2016. Glauben im Hinterland.

    Matthee, Rudi 2015. The Decline of Safavid Iran in Comparative Perspective. Journal of Persianate Studies, Vol. 8, Issue. 2, p. 276.

  • Volume 3: The Later Ottoman Empire, 1603–1839
  • Edited by Suraiya N. Faroqhi, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munchen

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Book description

Volume 3 of The Cambridge History of Turkey traces the history of the later Ottoman Empire from the death of Mehmed III in 1603 to the proclamation of the tanzimat, the administrative reconstruction of the Ottoman state, in 1839. This was a period of relative stability when trade between the empire and Europe flourished and, wartime apart, merchants and pilgrims travelled in relative security. However, despite the emphasis on the sultan's role as defender of the faithful and of social order, tensions did exist between the ruling elite in Istanbul and their provincial subjects. This theme is central to the volume. Other sections focus on religious and political groups, women, trade, rural life and, importantly, music, art and architecture. The history emphasises the political, cultural and artistic accomplishments of the Ottomans in the post-classical period, thus challenging traditional notions that this was a period of stagnation.


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  • 1 - Introduction
    pp 1-17
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    This introductory chapter provides an overview of the key themes discussed in the book. The study of provincial history has permitted us to reassess the operation of Ottoman state and society as a whole. It is useful for historians of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to link up with ethnologists, an approach that has proved fruitful to Europeanist historians but has so far been shunned by scholars concerned with the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire appears as a solid land mass, which is true enough but not the whole story: after all, the sultans did, with some justification, claim to reign over both land and sea. The sociopolitical system of Ottoman Empire had put down deep roots in most of the territories governed by the sultans, whose subjects profited from the precarious situation in their commercial dealings. An interesting feature of eighteenth-century provincial building was the inclination of certain patrons to revive elements of local pre-Ottoman traditions.
  • 2 - Ecology of the Ottoman lands
    pp 18-43
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    This chapter deals with the centuries of long-term contraction and stagnation of the Ottoman Empire, following the splendid period of Süleyman the Lawgiver (1520-66). It considers how the empire fitted into the physical landscape, and which political and social developments in the course of time changed the appearance of the various lands under Ottoman rule. The chapter discusses mutating patterns of settlement and rural production, and their 18 effects on the landscape, and attempts to establish why they occurred. It also includes natural events such as the plague, which, however, had only indirect influence on the economic potential of the Ottoman state. Climatic reasons are frequently held responsible for the stagnation and occasional decline in population after about 1600. Çiftliks dominance in the basins favourable to agriculture had important consequences, determining the distribution of settlements for centuries ahead. Among the results of the Ottoman occupation there were remarkable ethnic changes, especially on the Balkans and in the Pannonian basin.
  • 3 - Political and diplomatic developments
    pp 44-62
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    This chapter argues for a history of the Ottoman Empire narrated as transformations that allow for the simultaneity of conflicting tendencies, and in which external forces and internal dynamics both have their places. Seen in this perspective, Ottoman history is as much part of Western history. Social, cultural and provincial history have become prominent; by contrast, matters of philological interest and political history have receded into the background, and only in very recent years has a reintegration of political and social history been attempted. Large-scale rebellions in Anatolia marked the end of the rural prosperity and relative peace so crucial for the well-being of an agricultural empire. The period between the death of Süleyman the Magnificent in 1566 and the ascendancy of the Köprülü household in 1656 has been characterised as the 'Age of the Queen Mother'. Murad IV tried to control the social forces that formed the basis of his political power by imposing strict control.
  • 4 - Political culture and the great households
    pp 63-80
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    Understanding Ottoman political culture in the period 1603-1789 requires examining change governmental system, abuses and reflections on what to do about them, the rise of competing elite households within the state-as-household, and the post-1789 return towards centralisation. The period from 1603 to 1838 was one of crisis and change for all elements of the government. First among them, the sultan had historically been a warrior-patriarch ruling a state seen as a single patrimonial household. After 1600, Ottoman thinkers continued to add to the Islamic political-philosophical tradition. This chapter talks about the household factionalism of the era in which the treatises were produced. The social setting of greatest political significance was the great household. The old vision of the state as the sultan's all-inclusive household yielded to one in which there were 'slaves of the slaves' of the sultan and many households within his.
  • 5 - War and peace
    pp 81-117
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    This chapter emphasises changing techniques, primarily of continental warfare in a comparative context, including a description of the campaigns which serve as signposts in that regard; and concepts and tools of diplomacy. It highlights significant treaties, and alterations to Ottoman diplomatic strategy. The chapter also discusses political and social effects of military defeat, which by the end of the period under discussion were profound enough to encourage nineteenth-century reformers to reconstruct the empire along western European absolutist lines. Between 1650 and 1800, European warfare altered in ways that are still the subject of debate, but which seem to have radically changed the face of war as well as the government organisation and financing required to maintain a continual cycle of violence and control over local populations. A temporary peace had been drawn up in 1736, the Ottomans anticipating a campaign with Russia, and Nadir Shah, was diverted to India.
  • 6 - Public finances: the role of the Ottoman centre
    pp 118-132
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    In the first half of the seventeenth century the Ottoman central finance department faced and met the challenge of altering the taxation system to a cash basis, although it was not able to solve the deficit problem until the eighteenth century. The department also attempted to control tax-farming centrally through appointing governmental and military personnel as mültezims, allowing central appointments to supersede local ones, and intensifying the inspection of records and operations. To control the amounts collected, the finance department gave tax-collectors and mültezims copies of the survey registers and audited their books when collection was completed. By adapting time-honoured procedures to new situations, and by maintaining the peasants' productive capacity through its judgments, the finance department supported the legitimacy of the state and its procedures in a time of turmoil and change. Through the device of tax-farming, Ottoman tax collection was monetarised in advance of the stabilisation of the coinage or the full monetarisation of the economy.
  • 7 - The Ottoman centre versus provincial power-holders: an analysis of the historiography
    pp 133-156
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    Well into the 1970s the historiography of the Ottoman provinces allocated an inordinate amount of space to the spectacular rise and occasional rebellions of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century provincial power elite. The Ottoman conquest and control of vast territories depended to a large degree on the ability of the government to forge alliances with local power elites. Attempting to identify and categorise the provincial power-holders of the Ottoman Empire is a challenging undertaking. This is partly due to the fluidity of the borders between those who held formal administrative positions, such as members of the military and judiciary establishment on the one hand, and those who could wield influence through their positions within local society, known loosely as the ayan, on the other. The Ottoman government's views of local power-holders were at best ambivalent. Until the 1980s the historiography of the Ottoman Empire had emphasized the often conflict-ridden quality of relations between the central state and the provincial elites.
  • 8 - Semi-autonomous provincial forces in the Balkans and Anatolia
    pp 157-185
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    In the Ottoman Empire, some degree of communal autonomy was conducive to the emergence of local leadership. The beginnings of semi-autonomous provincial forces in the Ottoman Empire were embedded in a rather traditional matrix. In other words, these forces functioned not much differently from the so-called 'thematic' archontes of the late Byzantine period. Within Ottoman studies this significant shift in centre-periphery relations has not gone unnoticed, although the focus has been primarily on the Muslim notables, especially the ayan, whereas their non-Muslim peers, archontes and kocabaşis, have been rather neglected. It seems that the Ottoman Balkans at least experienced a demographic contraction during the seventeenth century. Efforts to reassert imperial rule during the subsequent decades hardly eased tensions. Quite to the contrary, disturbances caused by pastoral groups in Anatolia and Syria, who defied enforced sedentarisation, or rebellions in the Balkans by semi-military groups such as martolos, voynuk and derbendci, who feared the loss of fiscal privileges, contributed greatly to insecurity in the countryside.
  • 9 - Semi-autonomous forces in the Arab provinces
    pp 186-206
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    Given the diversity in conditions that existed in the Arab provinces, the local forces making for autonomy differed widely in their origins. Nonetheless, every Arab province witnessed the rise of political movements or personalities who challenged the sultan's monopoly of power in the eighteenth century. The origins of those elites are divided into four broad categories: tribal/clan-based groups; neo-Mamluks; Ottoman military forces; and the local ayan, or urban notables. Throughout the Ottoman period geographical Syria and northern Iraq were linked both culturally and economically. They also shared similar political experiences. Three major caravan cities, Aleppo, Damascus and Mosul, dominated the region and after some initial indecision, the Ottomans created three provinces, centred on each. In 1260 soldiers of slave origin seized control of Egypt and instituted a radically different kind of dynastic succession than any previously known in Muslim lands.
  • 10 - The Ottoman ulema
    pp 207-225
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    In the Ottoman Empire, as in Islamic states before it, the ulema occupied a singular place among the exemplars of faith and pious tradition: the ulema were viewed as the heirs of the Prophet, the repositories of the holy law. Efforts by the state to rein in the ulema's capacity for independent action, and the religious institution's own urge to autonomy, are recurring themes in Ottoman history. From the end of the sixteenth century, the ulema as an institution, the ilmiye as it was called, was subjected to the economic and demographic pressures that impelled others of the central elites to protect their privileged status against new claimants. Until the eighteenth century, class-based patrimonialism in the ilmiye had been gaining ground only episodically. The indulgence of aristocratic ilmiye leadership in the eighteenth century coincided with broad shifts in Ottoman statecraft and the regime's consequently greater reliance on the several roles of the ulema.
  • 11 - Muslim women in the early modern era
    pp 226-255
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    Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literary representations of Ottoman women occur in variant Eastern and Western forms. Sexuality was not a fit topic for polite Ottoman conversation, but it was a salient feature of Ottoman political and social governance. As for the role of polygamy and slave concubinage in Ottoman women's history, many travellers can be faulted for overstating the incidence of those practices in the population at large. Ordinary women as well as women of the elites not only possessed moveable and immoveable property in appreciable amounts, but actively tended to their property rights. Women's social latitude was conditioned on their place in the family and household. The central social fact in the lives of women and men in Ottoman society of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was family, or, more accurately, was still family. Family households were anything but stable. Muslim women are particularly called to account for sartorial and behavioural transgressions.
  • 12 - The Ottoman Jews
    pp 256-271
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    From the early eighteenth century to the 1880s, the stream of Jews from the lands of Christendom to the Ottoman Empire dried up completely. The Ottoman state was first and foremost a Muslim state, based on the teachings of Islam. The sultan's authority, and the importance of the Ottoman Empire in the life of its Jewish subjects, were perceived in the seventeenth century as an incontrovertible fact. At the time of arrival the Jewish immigrants were considered an economic asset to the empire, because of the new skills they brought with them as well as their economic ties with their countries of origin. The Ottoman Jewish family adopted many of the values of the Ottoman Muslim family. From all perspectives the 1600s and 1700s were the most 'Ottoman' centuries for the Jews of the empire. Yet it was the Jewish community's success in integrating within the Ottoman order that diminished its ability to contribute something new to the ambient society.
  • 13 - Christians in a changing world
    pp 272-280
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    The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries witnessed the intense political struggle that created the millets wherein religious identity for many of the empire's Christians became contested and was ultimately rearticulated. The Christians of the Asian and African provinces who were neither Orthodox nor Armenians, Copts, Jacobites, Maronites and Nestorians, were officially placed under the political, if not spiritual, direction of the Armenian patriarch although that authority was typically exercised only in the defence of traditionalist clergy against Catholic sympathisers. The emergence of the millet system lay in the ambitions of the Orthodox Ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople to secure his authority over all the Orthodox faithful in the sultan's realm, called simply, if somewhat ambiguously, the Rum in Ottoman Turkish. In the sixteenth century, the Orthodox patriarchs of Constantinople had been open to contact with Latin Catholics in the capital, but attitudes changed as the number of Catholic clergy in the empire increased and their actions became more aggressive.
  • 14 - Capitulations and Western trade
    pp 281-335
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    A general evaluation of Western trade in the Ottoman Empire during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is bound to consist of half-measures and half-truths. Throughout the fifteenth century, the capitulatory regime had remained an Italian affair, with successive confirmations of the documents granted to the Genoese and the Venetians, and their eventual extension to the Florentines under Mehmed II, and to the Neapolitans under Bayezid II. Throughout the 1700s French trade rose steadily: from some 10-15 million livres tournois at the beginning of the century to almost 50 million at the end. Independently of the vicissitudes of the commercial, economic and political conjunctures, the tone had been set for what was to come in the nineteenth century. The Ottoman economy and its major actors, even if they occasionally felt threatened by the growing presence of Western traders, had, until the nineteenth century, enough leeway to navigate between a multitude of actions and reactions, ranging from outright resistance to temporary collaboration.
  • 15 - Guildsmen and handicraft producers
    pp 336-355
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    This chapter discusses the condition of Ottoman artisans. Handicraft producers were linked to each other, and also to their suppliers, wholesalers and ultimate consumers, by a variety of social, political and 'economic' ties. Common purchasing by means of guild officers enhanced the guildsmen's bargaining power vis-à-vis peasant producers and, whenever semi-finished goods were needed, other craftsmen as well. From the second half of the seventeenth century onward, Muslim artisans frequently joined the military corps stationed in their places of residence, which by this influx became paramilitary, militia-like organisations. The participation of artisans in festivals organised by the Ottoman palace was probably less burdensome than logistical support for the army or navy on campaign, or actual military service. The crucial topic in the history of late Ottoman guilds is the gedik. This term has two distinct meanings: the right to follow one's trade in a given locale; and, the implements and raw materials needed to pursue the trade in question.
  • 16 - Declines and revivals in textile production
    pp 356-375
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    For some of the better-known branches of Ottoman textile production, the early seventeenth century was a period of difficulties. On the supply side, Iranian silk, as yet the principal raw material in the manufacture of Bursa silk stuffs, had become more expensive, due to increasing English and Italian demand. Difficulties connected with the growth of raw material exports were also experienced in the cotton industry. High-quality Indian cottons competed with silk, while more modest customers might wear quilted garments stuffed with cotton wool as a convenient substitute for woollens. Economic factors apart, seventeenth-century political problems aggravated the difficulties of Ottoman textile producers. In the early eighteenth century, Indian prints which had reached Ottoman markets by way of Jiddah or Basra occasionally figure among the fabrics exported by French merchants, and the same applies to Iranian cotton prints. Viewed from the manufacturers' angle, textile producers adapted quite rapidly to the falling away of the luxury market, and built up alternative clienteles.
  • 17 - Rural life
    pp 376-390
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    Many regions of the Ottoman Empire contained substantial proportions of nomads and semi-nomads, whose modes of life were extremely diverse. In consequence, many former nomads and semi-nomads abandoned their settlements, and in the absence of other means of livelihood, frequently robbed villagers and caravans. Before about 1980 scholars often linked the emergence of landholdings in non-peasant hands to expanding export markets. The Ottoman central administration never recognised the debasement of peasant status in law, but regarded it as an abuse to be remedied whenever possible. The extent of rural craft production remains unclear; but it seems that in the narrower sense of the term that is the replacement of agriculture by a craft as the principal source of income for a village community, proto-industry remained limited to few places. In other parts of the eighteenth-century empire, agricultural products were sold by local magnates, who had acquired them as part of the peasant taxes they had farmed from the central treasury.
  • 18 - The Ottoman musical tradition
    pp 391-407
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    An original and synthetic Ottoman musical tradition took shape only after the Empire had achieved its maximum extent and reached the zenith of its political power. In stark contrast to the overwhelming importance of the written word in other areas of Ottoman culture and in the polity at large, Ottoman/Turkish traditional music was always taught and transmitted orally. In contrast to the antecedent musical traditions, Ottoman/Turkish music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was no longer the preserve of an urban professional elite. Nor, as we have seen, was the court the only centre of music-making. Ottoman/Turkish music was essentially a 'chamber music' in terms both of general performance styles and of the number of performers usually involved in various ensembles. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries span a crucial period in the long, creative and heterogeneous history of Ottoman/Turkish art music. For the 'golden age', so to speak, of the Ottoman/Turkish musical tradition was indeed the nineteenth century.
  • 19 - Arts and architecture
    pp 408-480
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    In the Ottoman architecture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the survival of established conventions was accompanied by the development of new elements and combinations of motifs. The sudden end of miniature production in Baghdad must have been brought about by turmoil in the area after a partial Iranian blockade of the city in 1605 and a rising of the Shiites in Karbala. Artistic patronage also receded in seventeenth-century Istanbul, if not as abruptly as in Baghdad; this phenomenon remains unexplored in its wider dimensions. The appearance of album paintings in the early 1600s may indicate that patronage for more encompassing projects was currently unavailable. Among the noted illustrated manuscripts of the early seventeenth century one can still find representatives of the Ottoman historical tradition. The most innovative part of the vast complex and one of the most exquisite examples of Ottoman secular architecture is the royal pavilion, built over a high and deep arch abutting the mosque.
  • 20 - Ottoman literature
    pp 481-520
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    In the eighteenth century one supposedly encounters a widespread dissolution or degeneration of the established literary forms, a process that announced the profound changes in mentality, form, genre and topic that were to characterise Ottoman literature in the nineteenth century. By comparison with earlier and later periods, Ottoman literature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries presents some peculiar problems. Especially during the sixteenth century, one of the most important and striking changes experienced by the Turkish language involved the massive entry of Arabic and Persian words. An interesting indicator of the change of linguistic taste among educated seventeenth-century Ottomans is the recasting of older texts by the writer Cevrî. Until writers made contact with European literary forms in the nineteenth century, prose definitely took second place to poetry, and emphasis moreover was on style rather than on content. This chapter discusses two prose works, the ten-volume travel account of Evliyâ Çelebi and the Muhayyelât-i ledünn-i ilâhî of 'Azîz Efendi.

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