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Cambridge University Press
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June 2012
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Despite the fact that its capital city and over one third of its territory was within the continent of Europe, the Ottoman Empire has consistently been regarded as a place apart, inextricably divided from the West by differences of culture and religion. A perception of its militarism, its barbarism, its tyranny, the sexual appetites of its rulers and its pervasive exoticism has led historians to measure the Ottoman world against a western standard and find it lacking. In recent decades, a dynamic and convincing scholarship has emerged that seeks to comprehend and, in the process, to de-exoticize this enduring realm. Dan Goffman provides a thorough introduction to the history and institutions of the Ottoman Empire from this new standpoint, and presents a claim for its inclusion in Europe. His lucid and engaging book - an important addition to New Approaches to European History - will be essential reading for undergraduates.


‘His typically rich and thought-provoking book will be vital reading for all those interested in enriching and bolstering constructive dialogue between Islam and the West.’

Source: Discourse

'His text is suffused with an impassioned plea for recognition … a deft restatement of familiar topics that is both original and accessible … Goffman's new book convincingly shows that the history of the Ottoman Empire desperately needs re-telling … The Ottoman Empire and early modern Europe contributes to one of the most urgent historical tasks of our time …'.

Source: School of Oriental & African Studies

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Suggestions for further reading
Suggestions for further reading
Although this book's notes occasionally employ non-English-language texts, the works cited below are limited to the English language. My decision to do so does not disavow the richness of French, German, Italian, or especially Turkish literature. The selection rather is based upon the question of audience and constitutes a suggestion that the exclusion of the Ottoman Empire from European history is as much ideological as linguistic or because of a lack of accessible materials. The exhaustive body of English-language texts enables the interested historian to incorporate this empire fully into the Greater European World.
The most important reference work for Ottoman terms remains The encyclopaedia of Islam, new edn (Leiden, 1960–), which is now available in an excellent CD-Rom edition. Entries that the reader may find particularly useful include “ghulām,” “Imtiyāzāt,” “Istanbul,” and “Maktuc.” There are several English-language surveys of early modern Ottoman history. The most thorough and reliable remains Halil İnalcık, The Ottoman Empire: the classical age, 1300–1600, trans. Norman Itzkowitz and Colin Imber (London, 1973). A briefer introduction that covers much the same ground is Norman Itzkowitz, Ottoman Empire and Islamic tradition (Chicago, 1972). Justin McCarthy also offers a readable survey that perhaps over-stresses the Turkishness of the Ottomans in The Ottoman Turks: an introductory history to 1923 (Harlow, Essex, 1997). Its lack of notes and bibliography also limits its value. The advanced student might profitably consult the exhaustive state-of-the-profession survey by Halil İnalcık with Donald Quataert, An economic and social history of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1914 (Cambridge, 1994). Suraiya Faroqhi presents a fascinating look at Ottoman society and its material bases in Subjects of the sultan: culture and daily life in the Ottoman Empire (London, 2000). A text that, while focusing on the late empire also includes concise summary chapters on the early modern Ottoman world, is Donald Quataert, The Ottoman Empire, 1700–1922 (Cambridge, 2000).
On the specific problem of the Ottoman Empire's connection to Europe, see Paul Coles, The Ottoman impact on Europe (New York, 1968), which is limited because of its view of the empire as a parasite. Cemal Kafadar, “The Ottomans and Europe,” in Handbook of European history, 1400–1600, Vol. I: Structures and assertions, ed. Thomas A Brady, Jr., Heiko A. Oberman, and James D. Tracy (Grand Rapids, MI, 1994), pp. 589–635, constitutes an extended abstract toward a more balanced treatment. Andrew Wheatcroft, The Ottomans: dissolving images (New York, 1993) is intriguing, but idiosyncratic and not always reliable. The highly popular Jason Goodwin, Lords of the horizons: a history of the Ottoman Empire (London, 1998) is entertaining, but problematic because of inaccuracies and flights of fancy. Those interested in the Ottoman legacy to the Middle East and the Balkans should turn to L. Carl Brown (ed.), Imperial legacy: the Ottoman imprint on the Balkans and the Middle East (New York, 1996).
There are several “framing” texts that, while not specifically about the Ottomans, are theoretically and conceptually essential. Donald Lach and Edwin Van Kley's multivolume Asia in the making of Europe (Chicago, 1965–93) remains central for any study of how European expansion influenced Europe itself. Any examination of the ideological relationship between western Europe and the rest of the world must begin with Edward Said, Orientalism (New York, 1978). A good complement to this study is Thierry Hentsch, Imagining the Middle East, trans. Fred A. Reed (Montreal, 1992), which traces the specific concepts of Islam and the Middle East from the ancient through the modern European worlds. Anglo-Indian relations are particularly well studied by both historians and literary critics, on which see Jyotsna G. Singh, Colonial narratives, cultural dialogues: “discoveries” of India in the languages of colonialism (London and New York, 1996). For a study that persuasively explores the influence of gender roles in both Islamic and Christian societies, see Carol L. Delaney, Abraham on trial (Princeton, 1998). An entire issue of Past and Present (137[1992]) is devoted to an attempt to define how Europe has been envisioned historically. The specific Ottoman case is presented in M. E. Yapp, “Europe in the Turkish mirror,” Past and Present 137(1992): 134–55. The theoretical construct of nations and nationalisms, which has so obscured Ottoman history, is ably thrashed out in Benedict Anderson, Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism (London, 1983).
The student of Ottoman beginnings should read Cemal Kafadar, Between two worlds: the construction of the Ottoman state (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1995), which, while largely expository, not only lays out and elegantly critiques both Ottoman and modern theses of Ottoman origins, but also presents a middle-ground thesis of its own. A good discussion of the religious diversity that fed into Ottoman beginnings is Ahmet Karamustafa, God's unruly friends: dervish groups in the Islamic later middle period, 1200–1550 (Salt Lake City, 1994). Some of the works that have contributed to our understanding of (and confusions about) the early Ottoman world are Herbert A. Gibbons, The foundation of the Ottoman Empire (Oxford, 1916); Fuat M. Köprülü, The origins of the Ottoman Empire, trans. and ed. Gary Leiser (Albany, NY, 1992); Paul Wittek, The rise of the Ottoman Empire (London, 1938); and Rudi P. Lindner, Nomads and Ottomans in medieval Anatolia (Bloomington, IN, 1983). A revealing critique of both Wittek's writings and the historiography of this topic is Colin Heywood, “Wittek and the Austrian tradition,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1988): 7–25. Colin Imber presents a strong summary of Ottoman imaginings of the past in “Ideals and legitimation in early Ottoman history,” in Süleyman the Magnificent and his age: the Ottoman Empire in the early modern world, ed. Metin Kunt and Christine Woodhead (Harlow, 1995), pp. 138–53.
Colin Heywood examines the idea of an Ottoman frontier in “The frontier in Ottoman history: old ideas and new myths,” in Frontiers in question: Eurasian borderlands, 700–1700, ed. Daniel Power and Naomi Standen (London, 1999), pp. 228–50. He does not, however, consider the valuable writings on the American frontier that post-date Frederick Jackson Turner, such as Richard White, The middle ground: Indians, empires, and republics in the Great Lakes region, 1650–1815 (Cambridge, 1989), which examines the idea of frontiers as “middle grounds.” For the specific frontier created by the Crusades in Syria as a model for the Byzantine/Turkoman frontier in Anatolia, see Amin Maalouf's ingenious The Crusades through Arab eyes (New York, 1984) and Tariq Ali's fictionalized diary by a Jewish scribe, The book of Saladin: a novel (New York, 1999). An important source for such treatments is Usamah Ibn-Munidh, An Arab-Syrian gentleman and warrior in the period of the Crusades, trans. Philip K. Hitti (Princeton, 1987). On the specific Anatolian background to Ottoman expansion, see Speros Vryonis, The decline of medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the process of Islamization from the eleventh through the fifteenth century (Berkeley, 1971). Also useful if dated on this topic is Fuat M. Köprülü, Islam in Anatolia after the Turkish invasion (Prolegomena), trans. Gary Leiser (Salt Lake City, 1994). The specific case of the roots of the Ottoman sultanate is discussed in Halil İnalcık, “The Ottoman succession and its relation to the Turkish concept of sovereignty,” in The Middle East and the Balkans under the Ottoman Empire: essays on economy and society (Bloomington, IN, 1993), pp. 37–69.
There are several studies of European perceptions of the early modern Ottomans. Among the most important are Clarence Rouillard, The Turk in French history, thought and literature (1520–1660) (Paris, 1938), and Robert Schwoebel, The shadow of the crescent: the Renaissance image of the Turk, 1453–1517 (Nieuwkoop, 1967). Three recent discussions of European attitudes toward the “Turk” are Lucette Valensi, The birth of the despot: Venice and the Sublime Porte, trans. Arthur Denner (Ithaca, NY and London, 1993); Christine Woodhead, “‘The present terrour of the world?’ Contemporary views of the Ottoman Empire c. 1600,” History 72(1987): 20–37; and Aslı Çırakman, “From tyranny to despotism: the Enlightenment's unenlightened image of the Turks,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 33.1(2000): 49–68. Bernard Lewis attempts to reverse these views, looking at how the Islamic world imagined the western European one, in The Muslim discovery of Europe (New York, 1982). Martin Luther's “On war against the Turk, 1528,” in Luther's works, Vol. XⅬVI, The Christian in society, III (Philadelphia, 1967), pp. 155–205, is perhaps the most accessible of the many early modern religious pamphlets written in Christian Europe about and against the Ottoman Empire. The most essential positive treatment of the Ottoman polity is interspersed throughout Jean Bodin, The six bookes of a commonweale, ed. Kenneth Douglas McRae (Cambridge, 1962). There has been much written on Christian Europe's understanding of the Ottoman world. The thoroughness with which the Ottomans knew Christian Europe remains open to debate. Three studies that attack this question from very different angles are Thomas Goodrich's The Ottoman Turks and the new world (Wiesbaden, 1990); the novelist Roderick Conway Morris's Jem: memoirs of an Ottoman secret agent (New York, 1988); and Virginia Aksan's An Ottoman statesman in war and peace: Ahmed Resmi Efendi, 1700–1783 (Leiden, 1995).
There is now an excellent study of Ottoman methods of warfare: Rhoads Murphey, Ottoman warfare, 1500–1800 (Rutgers, NY, 1999). Caroline Finkel examines a particular campaign in The administration of warfare: the Ottoman military campaigns in Hungary, 1593–1606 (Vienna, 1987). The classic study on the process of Ottoman conquest and integration is Halil İnalcık, “Ottoman methods of conquest,” Studia Islamica 2(1954): 112–22. A specific example of the process is the same author's “Ottoman policy and administration in Cyprus after the conquest,” reprinted in The Ottoman Empire, conquest, organization and economy (London, 1978), article 8. For the specific case of Istanbul, see Steven Runciman, The fall of Constantinople, 1453 (Cambridge, 1991); and Halil İnalcık, “The policy of Mehmed II toward the Greek population of Istanbul and the Byzantine buildings of the city,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 23(1970): 213–49. Extant Byzantine as well as Ottoman buildings are discussed in Hilary Sumner-Boyd and John Freely, Strolling through Istanbul (Istanbul, 1972). On Ottoman Istanbul there are several recent works. A popular treatment is John Freely, Istanbul: the imperial city (London, 1996). Somewhat more sophisticated but still quite accessible is Philip Mansel, Constantinople: city of the world's desire, 1453–1924 (New York, 1995). Edhem Eldem, “Istanbul: from imperial to peripheral capital,” in The Ottoman city between East and West: Aleppo, Izmir, and Istanbul (Cambridge, 1999), is a stimulating and reliable survey of the city by a scholar comfortable with both Ottoman and western sources. On the social and political context of the sultan's palace itself, far and away the best study is Gülru Necipoğlu, Architecture, ceremonial and power: the Topkapı palace in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries (Cambridge, MA, 1991). A delightful and gossipy if not always accurate text is Godfrey Goodwin, Topkapi palace: an illustrated guide to its life and personalities (London, 2000).
The period of Süleyman's reign has received considerable attention. Metin Kunt and Christine Woodhead (eds.), Süleyman the Magnificent and his age: the Ottoman empire in the early modern world (Harlow, 1995) is filled with strong essays. Especially useful in this collection is Woodhead's “Perspectives on Süleyman,” pp. 164–90. On Islamic and sultanic law, see Colin Imber, Ebu's-su'ud: the islamic legal tradition (Stanford, CA, 1997), and on the particular topic of Süleyman's contribution to the codification of Ottoman law, see Halil İnalcık, “Suleiman the lawgiver and Ottoman law,” Archivum Ottomanicum 1(1969): 105–38. A fascinating study of this sultan's attempt to glorify himself in the context of the European world is Gülru Necipoğlu, “Süleyman the Magnificent and the representation of power in the context of Ottoman-Habsburg-Papal rivalry,” Art Bulletin 71.3(1989): 401–27; and for his endeavor to do so through public buildings, see Aptullah Kuran, Sinan the Grand Old Master of Ottoman architecture (Washington, DC and Istanbul, 1987). A good introduction to Ottoman poetry is Walter Andrews, Poetry's voice, society's song: Ottoman lyric poetry (Seattle, WA, 1985); many translations of such poetry are in Walter Andrews, et al., Ottoman lyric poetry: an anthology (Austin, TX, 1997).
A revealing work on the sultan and his household is Leslie Peirce, The imperial harem: women and sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire (Oxford, 1993). For a narrative of that period on gender relations in other elite households, see Evliya Çelebi, The intimate life of an Ottoman statesman: Melek Ahmed Pasha (1588–1661), intro. and trans. Robert Dankoff, historical comm. Rhoads Murphey (Albany, NY, 1991). On elite careers, see in general İ. Metin Kunt, “Ethnic-regional (cins) solidarity in the seventeenth-century Ottoman establishment,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 5(1974): 233–39; and, for a particular case, Cornell H. Fleischer, Bureaucrat and intellectual in the Ottoman Empire: the historian Mustafa Âli (1541–1600) (Princeton, NJ, 1986). The early chapters of Ehud R. Toledano, Slavery and abolition in the Ottoman Middle East (Seattle, WA, 1998) constitute a concise introduction to Ottoman slavery. A thorough discussion of the end to Ottoman slavery is Y. Hakan Erdem, Slavery in the Ottoman Empire and its demise (Oxford, 1997).
The seventeenth-century crisis, and especially its social aspects, has received much attention in recent years. An organizing model that may apply to Ottoman decentralization is presented in Frederic C. Lane, “The economic consequences of organized violence,” Journal of Economic History 18(1958): 401–17. Suraiya Faroqhi's “Crisis and change, 1590–1699,” in An economic and social history of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1914, ed. Halil İnalcık, with Donald Quataert (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 411–636, is a good place to start for the Ottoman case. This summation should be complemented by Halil İnalcık, “Military and fiscal transformation in the Ottoman Empire, 1600–1700,” Archivum Ottomanicum 6(1980): 283–337; the many articles by Ronald Jennings, particularly his “Urban population in Anatolia in the sixteenth century: a study of Kayseri, Karaman, Amasya, Trabzon, and Erzerum,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 7(1976): 229–58; and his “Kadi, court and legal procedure in seventeenth-century Ottoman Kayseri,” Studia Islamica 48(1978): 133–72; Şevket Pamuk, “The price revolution in the Ottoman Empire reconsidered,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 33.1(2001): 68–89; as well as Suraiya Faroqhi's Towns and townsmen of Ottoman Anatolia: trade, crafts and food production in an urban setting, 1520–1650 (Cambridge, 1984). A sociological model that links provincial unrest and the state apparatus is Karen Barkey, Bandits and bureaucrats: the Ottoman route to state centralization (Ithaca, NY and London, 1994). A study of society and commerce in a particular city is Daniel Goffman, Izmir and the Levantine world, 1550–1650 (Seattle, WA, 1990); religious unrest is covered in Madeline C. Zilfi, The politics of piety: the Ottoman ulema in the postclassical age (1600–1800) (Minneapolis, 1988). Financial innovations, with profound implications for the earlier periods, are persuasively analyzed in Ariel Salzmann, “An ancien regime revisited: privatization and political economy in the eighteenth century Ottoman Empire,” Politics and Society 21.4(1993): 393–423. A fascinating examination of the ideas of “distance” and “travel” in the early modern Ottoman world is Kurt W. Treptow, “Distance and communications in southeastern Europe, 1593–1612,” East European Quarterly 24.4(1991): 475–82.
There are several strong critiques of the Ottoman decline paradigm. One that focuses on Ottoman observers is Douglas Howard, “Ottoman historiography and the literature of ‘decline’ of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,” Journal of Asian History 22(1988): 52–77. A second that highlights the Ottoman bureaucracy and treasury is Linda T. Darling, Revenue raising and legitimacy: tax collection and finance administration in the Ottoman Empire, 1560–1660 (Leiden and New York, 1996). A concise summary and critique of the debate, which does not do away with the concept entirely but argues that decline set in much later than usually presumed, is in Quataert, Ottoman Empire.
One should begin a study of the sixteenth-century Mediterranean seas with Fernand Braudel's sweeping and still stimulating The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean world in the age of Philip II, trans. Sian Reynolds, 2 vols. (New York, 1972). A definitive work on Byzantine–Venetian relations is Donald M. Nicol, Byzantium and Venice: a study in diplomatic and cultural relations (Cambridge, 1988). Kenneth M. Setton, meanwhile, thoroughly studies relations between the papacy and the Ottomans in his The papacy and the Levant (1204–1571), 4 vols. (Philadelphia, 1974). General studies on Venice include Frederic C. Lane, Venice: a maritime republic (Baltimore, 1973), which remains the best English-language survey of Venetian history; while William H. McNeill, Venice: the hinge of Europe, 1081–1797 (Chicago and London, 1974), is an impressive attempt to show Venice as a great disseminator of ideas. One may complement Venice with William H. McNeill's companion volume, Europe's steppe frontier, 1500–1800 (Chicago and London, 1964), and, less engagingly but more from the Ottoman perspective, C. Max Kortepeter, Ottoman imperialism during the Reformation: Europe and the Caucasus (New York, 1972). Andrew C. Hess persuasively and with poise examines the far western Ottoman borders in The forgotten frontier: a history of the sixteenth-century Ibero-African frontier (Chicago and London, 1978); Palmira Brummett, Ottoman seapower and Levantine diplomacy in the Age of Discovery (Albany, NY, 1994) imaginatively examines Venetian–Ottoman–Mamluk–Safavid relations at a specific point in time; and John Francis Guilmartin, Jr., Gunpowder and galleys: changing technology and Mediterranean warfare at sea in the sixteenth century (Cambridge, 1974), persuasively and significantly liberates the early modern Mediterranean world from the Mahanian model of naval warfare. The commercial impact of the Portuguese movement into Asia is traced in Niels Steensgaard, The Asian trade revolution of the seventeenth century (Chicago, 1974); the specific Ottoman–Portuguese confrontation in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean is dealt with in Salih Özbaran, “Ottoman naval policy in the south,” in Süleyman the Magnificent, pp. 55–70; and the pivotal naval battle at Lepanto is lucidly studied in Andrew C. Hess, “The Battle of Lepanto and its place in Mediterranean history,” Past and Present 57(1972): 53–73.
Two charming and eloquent, if profoundly orientalist, introductions, especially to the topography of Venice and its empire, are Jan Morris, The world of Venice (Orlando, FLA, 1993), and her The Venetian Empire: a sea voyage (London, 1990). On Venetian Cyprus, the classic study remains Sir George Hill, A history of Cyprus, Vol. III: The Frankish period, 1432–1571 (Cambridge, 1948), but one must balance this account with Halil İnalcık, “Ottoman policy and administration in Cyprus after the conquest,” in The Ottoman Empire: conquest, organization and economy (London, 1978), article 8. Ronald C. Jennings, Christians and Muslims in Ottoman Cyprus and the Mediterranean world, 1571–1640 (New York, 1993), studies early Ottoman Cyprus. Seventeenth-century Habsburg–Ottoman–Venetian relations, with exhaustive attention given to war over Crete, are thoroughly and carefully examined in Kenneth Setton, Venice, Austria, and the Turks in the seventeenth century (Philadelphia, 1991). The consequences of the Ottoman–Venetian Cretan War, with particular attention to the Catholic – Greek Orthodox – Muslim nexus, is the topic of Molly Greene, A shared world: Christians and Muslims in the early modern Mediterranean (Princeton, 2000). The best study of Ottoman economic policy and its influence on the Mediterranean world remains Halil İnalcık, “Capital formation in the Ottoman Empire,” Journal of Economic History 19(1969): 97–140.
Piracy played a consequential role in inter-societal relations in the Mediterranean basin, as Peter Lamborn Wilson, Pirate utopias: Moorish corsairs and European renegadoes (Brooklyn, NY, 1995) argues. Several fine books exist on this subject, including Alberto Tenenti, Piracy and the decline of Venice, 1580–1615, trans. Janet Pullan and Brian Pullan (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1967); Catherine Wendy Bracewell, The Uskoks of Senj: piracy, banditry, and holy war in the sixteenth-century Adriatic (Ithaca, NY, 1992); and C. Lloyd, English corsairs on the Barbary coast (London, 1981).
On the early modern Mediterranean world as a cultural middle ground that rivaled the American colonies, see Nabil Matar's important and provocative Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery (New York, 1999). An account of the early English presence in the empire, which includes many of the most important sources on that settlement, is Susan A. Skilliter, William Harborne and the trade with Turkey, 1578–1582: a documentary study of the first Anglo-Ottoman relations (London, 1977). A. H. de Groot, The Ottoman Empire and the Dutch Republic: a history of the earliest diplomatic relations, 1610–1630 (Leiden, 1978), accomplishes much the same thing for the Dutch case. A comparative study of the role of Ottoman cities in the Mediterranean world is Edhem Eldem, Daniel Goffman, and Bruce Masters, The Ottoman city between East and West: Aleppo, Izmir, and Istanbul (Cambridge, 1999), and a case study is Bruce Masters, The origins of western economic dominance in the Middle East: mercantilism and the Islamic economy in Aleppo, 1600–1750 (New York, 1988).
On political formations that linked the Ottoman Empire to the rest of Europe, see, for Dubrovnik, Francis W. Carter, Dubrovnik (Ragusa): a classic city-state (London, 1972); and, for Chios, Philip P. Argenti, Chius Vincta or the occupation of Chios by the Turks (1566) and their administration of the island (1566–1912) (Cambridge, 1941). Philip D. Curtin, Cross-cultural trade in world history (Cambridge, 1984), eloquently frames the study of Armenian, western European, and other communal trading networks. The fundamental work for the specific case of Jews in commerce in the Islamic world is S. D. Goitein, Mediterranean society: an abridgment in one volume, ed. Jacob Lassner (Berkeley, CA, 2000); but see also Amitav Ghosh, In an antique land: history in the guise of a traveler's tale (New York, 1992), for a stimulating if eccentric treatment.
The most thorough treatment of non-Muslim groups in the Ottoman world, including several provocative articles on the millet system, is Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis (eds.), Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire, 2 vols. (New York, 1982). One may supplement this work with Michael Ursinus, “Millet,” Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd edn (Leiden: Brill, 1962–); and Daniel Goffman, “Ottoman millets in the early seventeenth century,” New Perspectives on Turkey 11(1994): 135–58. On the tangled question of Jewish relations with hegemonic religions, both Christian and Muslim, Mark R. Cohen, Under crescent and cross: the Jews in the middle ages (Princeton, 1994), is responsible and readable, while the most accessible works on the specific Ottoman case are Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam (Princeton, 1984); and Avigdor Levy, The Sephardim in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton, 1992). An inspiring case study of Mediterranean commerce is Benjamin Arbel, Trading nations: Jews and Venetians in the early modern eastern Mediterranean (Leiden, 1995); much of the raw data for my imagined biography of Kubad Çavuş, pieces of which preface each chapter of this book, derives from Arbel's work. For an examination of an Ottoman settlement in a Christian city, see Cemal Kafadar, “A death in Venice (1575): Anatolian Muslim merchants trading in the Serenissima,” Journal of Turkish Studies 10(1986): 191–218.
The case of the Ottoman Balkans remains shadowy, but has received some attention in recent years. Its history has been particularly prey to the subjective ruminations of nationalist agendas. Two good corrective essays for the Yugoslavian region in particular are Mark Pinson (ed.), The Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina: their historic development from the middle ages to the dissolution of Yugoslavia (Cambridge, MA, 1993); and Robert Donia and John Fine, Bosnia and Hercegovina (New York, 1995).
Despite recent attention to the Ottoman place in the “world economy,” surprisingly little has been done to examine the alien in early modern Ottoman society. This lacuna derives in large part from the historiography's persistent Eurocentric thrust. Volumes such as Alfred Wood, The history of the Levant Company (Cambridge, 1935), and Sonia Anderson, An English consul in Turkey: Paul Rycaut at Smyrna, 1667–1678 (Oxford, 1989), both of which ably and exhaustively discuss western Europeans in Ottoman domains, do so almost exclusively from a western European perspective and through English sources. Garrett Mattingly, Renaissance diplomacy (Boston, 1955), is another good example of Eurocentric partiality. This classic text traces the rise of modern diplomacy exclusively through Italy and Christian nation states. Niels Steensgaard has done much to ascertain the administrative structure of foreign merchant communities in his “Consuls and nations in the Levant from 1570 to 1650,” Scandinavian Economic History Review 15(1967): 143–62. J. G. A. Pocock presents a revisionist agenda for examining the English encounter with others in “British history: a plea for a new subject,” Journal of Modern History 4(1975): 601–24. An attempt to implement some aspects of this agenda is Daniel Goffman, Britons in the Ottoman Empire, 1642–60 (Seattle, 1998).
There are countless published sources on European observers of the Ottoman world. One of the most astute of such witnesses was O. G. de Busbecq, on which see Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq: Imperial ambassador at Constantinople (Oxford, 1968). A second is found in Konstantin Mihailovich, Memoirs of a janissary (Ann Arbor, 1975). Quite different but equally important is Robert Bargrave, The travel diary of Robert Bargrave, ed. Michael G. Brennan (London, 1999). Also fascinating is Lady Mary Wortley Montague, The Turkish Embassy letters, intro. Anita Desai (London, 1993).
While the publication of Ottoman documents has become quite an industry in Turkey, there are unfortunately few such collections available in English, especially for the earliest period. Any investigation into Ottoman sources, though, should begin with Suraiya Faroqhi's Approaching Ottoman history: an introduction to the sources (Cambridge, 1999), which constitutes an exhaustive discussion of Ottoman holdings in many libraries and archives. Bernard Lewis (ed. and trans.), Islam from the Prophet Muhammad to the Capture of Constantinople, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1987), contains a number of sources from the formative years of the Ottoman polity. More specific studies include Lewis V. Thomas's work on one of the most important seventeenth-century Ottoman chroniclers, A study of Naima, ed. Norman Itzkowitz (New York, 1971); Bernard Lewis's Notes and documents from the Turkish archives: a contribution to the history of the Jews in the Ottoman Empire (Jerusalem, 1952), which looks at a specific topic through the lens of the central Ottoman archives; Yvonne Seng's examination of kadi court records, “The şer'iye sicilleri of the Istanbul müftülüğü as a source for the study of everyday life,” Turkish Studies Association Bulletin 15.2(1991): 307–25; and Daniel Goffman's discussion of the “registers of foreigners” in Izmir and the Levantine world, pp. 147–54.
Among studies that discuss the difficulties of dealing with particular Ottoman sources are Heath Lowry, “The Ottoman tahrir-defterleri as a source for social and economic history: pitfalls and limitations,” Türkische Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte von 1071 bis 1920 (Wiesbaden, 1995), pp. 183–96; and Rifa'at Ali Abu-El-Haj, Formation of the modern state: the Ottoman Empire, sixteenth to eighteenth centuries (Albany, NY, 1992). Rifa'at's book also is a severe critique of the state of Ottoman studies, as is Halil Berktay and Suraiya Faroqhi, New approaches to the state and peasant in Ottoman history (London, 1992). Şevket Pamuk has attacked the complicated issue of Ottoman money in A Monetary History of the Ottoman Empire (Cambridge, 2000); and Jane Hathaway has recently dealt with the hoary matter of Ottoman periodization in “Problems of periodization in Ottoman history: the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries,” Turkish Studies Association Bulletin 20.2(1996): 25–31.


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