Skip to main content

Communities on the Verge: Unraveling the Phanariot Ascendancy in Ottoman Governance

  • Christine Philliou (a1)

Phanariots were an Ottoman Christian elite which, despite structural impediments, imperial ideology, and religious doctrine that would preclude their participation in Ottoman governance, ascended to power in multiple political arenas between the 1660s and 1821. Their rise came about just as the larger imperium was undergoing profound military and political crises precipitated by both internal threats and periodic invasions by the Russian and Habsburg Empires. While some Phanariots were stalwart servants of the sultan, others exacerbated these crises, allying with Russian officials and planning a secessionist uprising that would later unfold into the Greek War of Independence. Their ascendancy, however, is an Ottoman story—a specific outcome of Ottoman responses to the dilemmas of empire in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Hide All

1 For a fuller elaboration and an extension of the present argument beyond the 1820s, see Philliou Christine, Biography of an Empire: Practicing Ottoman Governance in the Age of Revolution (Berkeley: University of California Press, forthcoming 2009).

2 For instance, there is only one book-length study in English dedicated to the reign of Selim III: Shaw's StanfordBetween Old and New: The Ottoman Empire under Selim III 1789–1807 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971).

3 Shaw, Between Old and New, 3.

4 Lieven Dominic, Empire: The Russian Empire and Its Rivals (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), xiii.

5 Symposium L'Epoque Phanariote 21–25 Octobre 1970 (Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies, 1974); Demaras K. Th., Neoellenikos Diaphotismos [Modern Greek enlightenment] (Athens: Hermes, 1977; 1993); Iorga Nicolae, Byzance après Byzance (Paris: Balland, 1992); Sözen Zeynep, Fenerli Beyler: 110 Yılın Öyküsü [Phanariot princes: A 110-year story] (Istanbul: Aybay yayınları, 2000); Kitromilides Paschalis, Neoellenikos Diaphotismos: Hoi politikes kai koinonikes idees [Modern Greek enlightenment: Political and social ideas] (Athens: Morphotiko Hidryma Ethnikes Trapezes, 2000).

6 Emerging scholarship regarding the Islamic dimensions of the Russian Empire, particularly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, points to the instrumentalization of Islamic institutions, authority structures, and provincial elites as part of Catherine's policy framework of toleration. See, for instance, Crews Robert, For Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006); and for the later-nineteenth-century case of Central Asia, see Khalid Adeeb, Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadidism in Central Asia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).

7 Here I am adding to the discussion of “government in the vernacular” in Salzmann's ArielTocqueville in the Ottoman Empire: Rival Paths to the Modern State (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2004), esp. ch. 3; and of provincial elite integration elaborated by Khoury Dina Rizk in the case of Mosul Ottoman, in State and Provincial Society in the Ottoman Empire: Mosul, 1540–1834 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). In a broader sense I am responding to the historiography on Ottoman-local elites that has focused predominantly on the Arab provinces. For example: Hourani Albert, “Ottoman Reform and the Politics of Notables,” in Polk William R. and Chambers Richard L., eds., Beginnings of Modernization in the Middle East: The Nineteenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), 4168; and Hathaway Jane, The Politics of Households in Ottoman Egypt: The Rise of the Qazdagli (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

8 The book's full title is Historia tes Palai Dakias ta nyn Transylvanias, Wallachias, kai Moldavias ek diaphoron palaion kai neon syngrapheon syneranistheisa para Dionysiou Photeinou [History of the former Dacia, the current Transylvania, Wallachia, and Moldavia compiled from various old and new sources by Dionysios Photeinos] (Vienna: Typ. Io. Varthol. Svekiou, 1818–1819).

9 I use the term “Phanariot” loosely to mean Phanar-based elites and their retinues/affiliates. Phanariots differed from non-Phanariot Orthodox Christian elites because they held an office associated with the Ottoman central state and/or the Phanariot administration in Moldavia and Wallachia, and were therefore servants of the Ottoman state in addition to being merchants or Church functionaries. The term “Phanariot” has a range of connotations—most often pejorative—that depend on one's regional and social vantage point. From the perspective of Arab provinces and Romanian/Bulgarian/Serbian nation-states, “Phanar” connotes the corrupt central Church hierarchy that suppressed local non-ethnically “Greek” Orthodox Christian elites, although in actuality Phanariots mostly operated through lay rather than clerical offices.

10 For general background regarding Phanariots in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, see Runciman Stephen, The Great Church in Captivity: A Study of the Patriarchate of Constantinople from the Eve of the Turkish Conquest to the Greek War of Independence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968); Sphyroeras Vassilis, Hoi Dragomanoi tou Stolou: Ho thesmos kai hoi foreis [The dragomans of the fleet: The institution and its occupants] (Athens: n.p., 1965); Sözen, Fenerli Beyler; Pippidi Andre, “Phanar, Phanariotes, Phanariotisme,” in Hommes et idées du Sud-Est européen a l'aube de l'age moderne (Bucharest: Editure Academei, 1980, and Paris: Edition du CNRS, 1980); contributions to Symposium L'Epoque Phanariote 21–25 Octobre 1970 (Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies, 1974); Sturdza Mihail-Dimitri, Dictionnaire Historique et Généalogique des Grandes Familles de Grèce d'Albanie et de Constantinople (Paris: Chez l'auteur, 1983, 1999); Janos Damien, “Panaiotis Nicousios and Alexander Mavrocordatos: The Rise of the Phanariots and the Office of Grand Dragoman in the Ottoman Administration in the Second Half of the Seventeenth Century,” Archivum Ottomanicum 23 (2005): 177–96; and Tipau Mihai, Domnii Fanariotii in Tarile Romani (1711–1821): Mica Enciclopedie [Phanariot Princes in Romanian Lands (1711–1821)] (Bucharest: Editura Omonia, 2008).

11 Voyvodas were also known as prince, Sl. voevode, hospodar; T. bey, voyvoda; Gr. hegemonas, prigkepas. Moldavia and Wallachia were Boğdan and Eflak, and were often referred to together in Ottoman Turkish as Memleketeyn, or the Twin Principalities.

12 This became ever more important in the eighteenth century, after 1765 interruptions in supply from Egypt and the 1783 loss of Crimea to Russia. Alexandrescu-Dersca-Bulgaru M. M., “Les rapports economiques de l'Empire Ottoman avec les Principautes Roumaines et leur reglementation par les Khatt-i Serif de privileges (1774–1829),” in Bacque-Grammont Jean-Louis and Dumont Paul, eds., Economie et societés dans l'Empire Ottoman (fin du XVIIIe-début du XIXe siècle) (Paris: Editions du Centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1983), 317–26.

13 The grand dragoman was “the only Ottoman official to pay formal calls on European diplomats” by the turn of the nineteenth century. See Findley Carter, Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire: The Sublime Porte 1789–1922 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), 78. In the period under discussion, the Principalities were supplying one-third of the grain for Istanbul. Guran Tevfik, “The State Role in the Grain Supply of Istanbul, the Grain Administration, 1793–1839,” International Journal of Turkish Studies 3, 1 (1984–1985): 2741.

14 Musurus Papers (hereafter “MP”) II.2.18; BOA HAT 11633.

15 Stamatopoulos Dimitris, “Constantinople in the Peloponnese: The Case of the Dragoman of the Morea Georgios Wallerianos and some Aspects of the Revolutionary Process,” in Ottoman Rule and the Balkans, 1760–1850: Conflict, Transformation, Adaptation (Rethymno, Greece: University of Crete Press, 2007), 148–67.

16 A passage from Dimitri Cantemir under the heading of “Muhammad's magnanimity” conveys this understanding of belonging to things Greek: “For I call not them Greeks who are born in Greece, but those who have transferred the Grecian learning and Institutions to themselves. It is justly said by Isocrates in one of his Panegyricks, I had rather call them Graecians, who are Partakers of our Discipline, than those who only share with us the same common birth and nature.” Dimitrie Cantemir. Historian of Southeast European and Oriental Civilizations. Extracts from “The History of the Ottoman Empire,” Alexander Dutu and Paul Cernovodeanu, eds.; N. Tindal, trans. from Latin (Bucharest: Association internationale d'etudes du sud-est europeen, 1973). Cantemir's original work was completed shortly before his death in 1723.

17 See Strauss Johann, “The Millets and the Ottoman Language: The Contribution of Ottoman Greeks to Ottoman Letters (19th–20th Centuries),” Die Welt des Islams 35, 2: 189249.

18 This is not to imply these figures were all Phanariots per se (monks, for instance, were not), but rather to point out that a vast range of contacts was possible through these Phanariot networks. For example, should a Phanariot need information or goods from a monastery such as St. Catherine's of Sinai, it was quite easy to establish contact given the many monasteries under Phanariot control in the principalities that St. Catherine's held.

19 I refrain from referring to these networks as an incipient kind of civil society, in part because to do so would draw more attention to where the story did not go (toward the formation of a normative liberal democracy, for instance), and cause us to lose sight of the many processes that were underway.

20 Soutsos Nicholas, Mémoires du prince Nicolas Soutzo, grand-logothète de Moldavie, 1798–1871, publiés par Panaiïoti Rizos (Vienna: Gerold, 1899), 39.

21 See Ismail F., “The Making of the Treaty of Bucharest, 1811–1812,” Middle Eastern Studies 15, 2 (1979): 163–92.

22 “Kaymakam Paşa: Bu günlerde Fenarlı takımı kendu meramlarını terviç içün gunagun eracif ve havadis ve mülgatlar neşr eyledikleri mesmu'm oldu. Bunların bu hareketi devletime müzir oluyor. Niçün sen ve sair memurin buna dikkat edüp def'ine say etmiyors[un]uz? Bu kafirlere hiç bir şey tesir etmez mi acaba? Hançerlioğlu ibret olmadı mı? Böyle şeyler Eflak ve Boğdan takımından çıkar lakin bunlar benim gayet intikal edeceğim şeyidir. İşte bu fesadın def'i suçlu suçsuz bu kafirlerin ekserini katl ile öldür. Bundan sonra bir şeyi işitmeyeyim. Bila-iman cümlesini katl ederim. Bunlara sen iyice tenbih ile gözlerini açsunlar sonra kendüleri bilur.” BOA HAT 13375 (undated).

23 For the establishment of a permanent diplomatic corps under Selim III, see Findley, Bureaucratic Reform.

24 BOA HAT 13745-A.

26 BOA HAT 23768 (h. 1225; m. 1810/11): “Rusya taraftarlığı ile ittiham ederler: Muruz Aleksandiri Bey dört defa beyliklere … Fransa taraftarlığı ile muştehirdir: Suçu Aleko hala Eflak Voyvodasında olarak; Rusya taraftarlığı ile ittiham ederler: Moruz Bey'in ikinci karandaşı Dimitreşko al-yevm ordu-yu hümayun tercümanıdır… .”

27 See, for example, BOA HAT 13662, for Moruzis’ report from Paris ca. 1803; BOA HAT 2443 (h. 1209), for a translation of the Spanish consul's (maslahatgüzar) dispatch on the events involving Robespierre (Robzpiyer nam şahs) and others in Paris in the summer of 1794; BOA HAT 12565 (h. 1232; m. 1816/17), for Moldavia Voyvoda “Iskerlet's” reports gathered by his spies about goings-on across the banks of the Pruth River, in Russian territory; and BOA HAT 13081 (h. 1212; m. 1797/98), for news regarding the French Revolution conveyed by Wallachian Voyvoda Alexander.

28 On ceremonies, see Hobsbawm Eric and Ranger Terrance, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983); on Ottoman ceremonial, Necipoğlu Gülru, Architecture, Ceremonial, and Power: Topkapi Palace in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Deringil Selim, “The Invention of Tradition as Public Image in the Late Ottoman Empire, 1808–1908,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 35, 1 (1993): 329; and Karateke Hakan, ed., An Ottoman Protocol Register Containing Ceremonies from 1736 to 1808: BEO Sadaret Defterleri 350 in Prime Ministry Ottoman State Archives, Istanbul (Istanbul: The Ottoman Bank Archive and Research Centre, 2007).

29 In one Ottoman document from ca. 1801–1802, it is even declared that these voyvodas were considered equal in rank to the kings in Europe (“saye-i Padişahide memleketeyn-i merkümeteyn voyvodalığı Avrupa'da kral payesinde itibar olunduğuna…”). BOA HAT 13745-A (h. 1216).

30 The ceremony had changed and grown in complexity over time. The version depicted here is from Dionysios Photeinos’ History of the Former Dacia, and likely reflects the 1812 investiture ceremony. This may have been particularly elaborate since it marked the retaking of the Principalities by the Ottoman state from Russian control between 1806 and 1812. For descriptions and analysis of earlier investiture ceremonies, see Christine Philliou, “Worlds, Old and New: Phanariot Networks and the Remaking of Ottoman Governance, 1800–1850,” Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 2004, ch. 1; Paun Radu G., “Sur l'investiture des derniers princes phanariotes. Autour d'un document ignore,” Revue des Études Sud-Est Européennes XXXV (1997): 6375; Wilkinson William, An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia: Including Various Political Observations Relating to Them (London: n.p., 1829; repr. New York: Arno Press, 1971), 99; Zallony M. P., Essai sur les fanariotes, où l'on voit les causes primitives de leur élévation aux hospodariats de la Valachie et de la Moldavie, leur mode d'administration, et les causes principles de leur chute; suivi de quelques réflexions sur l’état actuel de la Grèce (Marseille: A. Ricard, 1824).

31 Confirming Photeinos’ description, Sultan Selim III orders in a note to his grand vizier that if Aleko, the son-in-law of the reigning Moldavian voyvoda and the current kapıkethüdası of Moldavia, is to be appointed dragoman of the fleet, then the following evening an “inviter” should be sent to him and the following day the ceremony should commence. BOA HAT 7872.

32 Photeinos, History of the Former Dacia, vol. 3, 418.

33 Alexandrescu-Dersca-Bulgaru “Les rapports economiques,” 317–26.

34 Photeinos, History of the Former Dacia, vol. 3, 419–20.

35 For an example of a telhis, see BOA HAT 5530 (h. 1216; ca. 1801–1802).

36 “Killeri hümayunum, dikkat eylen [sic] rabıtasını senden matlub olunur. Avrupa tarafından havadis yetiştiresin, Eflak voyvodalığı menküli serbestiyet üzere sana nasp olundu, sadakatin matlup olunur.” Photeinos, History of the Former Dacia, vol. 3, 422.

37 Ibid., 483.

38 Ibid., 445–46.

39 Ibid., 446–47.

40 Kitromilides Paschalis, Enlightenment as Social Criticism: Iosipos Moisiodax and Greek Culture in the Eighteenth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992).

41 Kitromilides, Enlightenment, 93; op. cit. Dionysios Photeinos, History of the Former Dacia, vol. 3, 174.

42 For biographical information, see Svoronos Nicholas, “Dionysios Photeinos kai to historiko ergo autou” [Dionysios Photeinos and his historical work], Hellenika 9 (1936): 133–78.

43 According to Svoronos, “following the custom of many/most educated Greeks of the time.” There is some inconsistency with the chronology provided by Svoronos. For instance, Svoronos places Photeinos in Wallachia in 1786, although Sultan Abdülhamit was still alive at this time. Svoronos quotes others as placing Photeinos in Wallachia in 1804, and 1801, when he dedicates an unpublished collection of ecclesiastical hymns to Constantine Filipescu. Photeinos himself writes (in vol. 2 of History of the Former Dacia, 431) that he left Wallachia in 1802 along with Dimitrios Ghikas, due to the attacks of Osman Pasvantoğlu, and in the Prologue to History of the Former Dacia (as of 1817, or 1818 at the latest) Photeinos tells us that he had already been in the Principalities for eighteen years, placing him there as of 1799. This chronology is confirmed by his seemingly eyewitness account (in verse) of the tragic death of Prince Hantzeris (=Hançerlioğlu) that year.

44 Dimitri Cantemir (1673–1723) was a pivotal figure for the Phanariot and Moldo-Wallachia story. It was his flight to Russia while serving as voyvoda of Moldavia that prompted the Ottoman decision to shift from indigenous boyars to Istanbul-based Phanariots for the positions of prince of the twin Principalities. Cantemir distinguished himself also through his History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire, and through his establishment of a notation system for Ottoman music.

45 Svoronos, “Dionysios Photeinos,” 140.

46 The Hypsilantis family was Russian-aligned, and members of the family would go on to spearhead the Greek rebellions in 1821, first in Moldavia, and then after the failure there, in the Peloponnese, where the rebellions eventually succeeded. See Sturdza, Dictionnaire, 468–73; Mihai Tipau, Domnii Fanariotii, 94–105.

47 The office of ispravnik was akin to that of regional governor; according to Photeinos’ description, something between a voyvoda and a kadi “in Turkey.” Photeinos, History of the Former Dacia, vol. 3, 509.

48 Svoronos notes that this promotion, according to Photeinos, was not made out of good will, but out of Karaca's fear that Photeinos would malign him in subsequent volumes of the history. Consequently, when Karaca abandoned his position as prince and left the Principalities in October of 1818, Photeinos wrote to his editor Zinovio Pop and requested he send him back the manuscript so he could correct the chapter dealing with the reign of Karaca. The second volume had already gone to press the month before. This prompted Photeinos to describe the “tyrannical” and “Machiavellian” conditions of Karaca's reign to Pop (Svoronos, “Dionysios Photeinos,” 142).

49 Photeinos died sometime between 1821 and 1824 in Bucharest. We find in February 1824 one Vasilios Dimitriou Photeinos, “nephew of the deceased Serdar Dionysios Photeinos,” receiving 1700 florins from a member of the Balasa (Balche) family for a property of Dionyisios’ in Wallachia. Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul Archives, outgoing correspondence, Codex IE’, p. 116.

50 Goldfrank David, The Origins of the Crimean War (London: Longman, 1994), 42; Shaw, Between Old and New, 22.

51 The key to understanding lies perhaps in the multiple meanings of the term “Romaios” (T. Rum), meaning Roman (and by extension what we would call Byzantine) and Orthodox Christian subject of the Ottoman sultan (The term is also a geographic signifier for what we now call Anatolia [Rum], in Arabic and Persian, and for what we now call the Balkans [Rumeli] for the Ottomans). It would seem, then, that Photeinos, and presumably his fellow Phanariots, took the connection to the Roman Empire seriously and were implying that their patrimony was not a Byzantine (in the Greek national sense) one but instead a Roman (imperial) one.

52 Photeinos, History of the Former Dacia, vol. 3, 426–27.

53 Ibid., vol. 2, 488–558.

54 Ban—highest ranking of the indigenous boyars.

55 Postelnik was analogous to foreign minister: see Photeinos, History of the Former Dacia, vol. 3, 485: “Ο Μέγας Ποστέλνικος—Ούτος είναι καθ’αυτό του ηγεμόνος μινίστρος των εξωτερικών υποθέσεων.”

56 Stoianovich Traian, “The Conquering Balkan Orthodox Merchant,” in Economies and Societies: Traders, Towns, and Households, Vol. 2 of Between East and West: The Balkan and Mediterranean Worlds (New Rochelle: A. D. Caratzas Publishers, 1993).

57 Sturdza, Dictionnaire, 245–47. If we go even further back, the Kallimaki family traces its origins back to Poland and apparently settled in the Principalities and “Romanized” before “Hellenizing.” See Mihai Tipau, Domnii Fanariotii, 49–60.

58 Ibid., 297.

60 It should be kept in mind that in many cases these name changes did not constitute an irreversible and complete change of identity (since many shifted the endings of their names depending on the context, reverting back to Slavic when in a Slavic milieu, etcetera). But it is clear that there existed a Phanariot-dominated arena wherein names of non-Greek origins were altered to fit the context.

61 See Tuğlacı Pars, Osmanlı mimarlığında batılılaşma dönemi ve Balyan Ailesi [Westernization and the Balyan family in Ottoman architecture] (Istanbul: Yeni Çığır Kitabevi, 1990), 5, passim.

62 Reflected in the work of Traian Stoianovich and Paschalis Kitromilides, respectively.

63 At the same time, that Kallimaki chose to commission a nasihatname begs the question of whether he saw himself as a sovereign in need of advice, or accepted that the sultan was the only sovereign. This question is complicated further by the fact that the work was commissioned in 1808, just after the janissaries had executed Sultan Selim III and Sultan Mahmud took the throne as a young boy. It is an open question whether Kallimaki was hoping to usurp a greater share of sovereign power, albeit in an Ottoman idiom.

64 Tülay Artan, “Architecture as a Theater of Life: Profile of the Eighteenth-Century Bosphorus,” Ph.D. diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1989.

65 BOA Cevdet Hariciye 6632.

66 BOA HAT 7560: “Dün söylediğim gibi Kallimaki Beyi şimdilik Boğdan Voyvodası namiyle Mustafa Paşa maiyyetine irsal olunması bana münasib görünuyor. Mülahaza eyliyüb münasib ise irsal edesin.”

67 The kuruş was suffering severe devaluation at this time (post-1760). About ten or eleven kuruş were worth one Venetian ducat in 1810. See Pamuk Şevket, “Evolution of the Ottoman Monetary System,” Part V of An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, Vol. 2, 1600–1914. İnalcık Halil with Quataert Donald, eds. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 945–80. Providing some comparative perspective on the value of 30,000 kuruş, Ariel Salzmann notes in her Tocqueville in the Ottoman Empire (p. 111) that “a governor from Aleppo spent 126,830 kuruş for ten months in office over the years 1781 and 1782.”

68 BOA HAT 12550-A: “Senede bir defa Eflak ve Boğdan voyvodaları taraflarından nakit olarak Enderun-e hümayuna irsali emr-i hümayun buyurulan: kuruş 30,000… .”

69 Kamaraş was the name of a rank in the Phanariot administration; tuğsuz means one without a horsetail (tuğ), which was another indicator of rank.

70 BOA HAT 14731 (h. 1210; m. 1795/96). For an even more comprehensive list of “Bayram peşkeş” given by the voyvoda to the Ottoman Palace in the 1780s, see Athanasiou Komnenou-Hypsilantou, Ekklesiastikon kai politikon ton eis dodeka biblion H’, Th’ kai I’ etoi Ta Meta ten Alosin (1453–1789), ek cheirographou anekdotou tes hieras mones tou Sina) Ekdidontas Archim. Germanou Afthonidou Sinaitou [Ecclesiastical and political events from after the fall (1453–1789) in twelve books from an unpublished manuscript in the Monastery of [St. Catherine's of] Sinai, published by Archimandrite Germanos Afthonides of Sinai] (Athens: Bibl. Note Karavia, 1972), 793–96.

71 For prohibitions on provincial dragomans’ activities in tax farming and guild politics, see Philliou Christine, “Mischief in the Old Regime: Provincial Dragomans and Social Change at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century,” New Perspectives on Turkey 25 (Fall 2001): 103–21.

72 Phanariots are often mentioned in lists of ayan families of the eighteenth century, but they are portrayed as a small elite group of families that administered the Danubian Principalities and engaged in European-Ottoman commerce. See, McGowan Bruce, “Elites and Their Retinues,” in Inalcik Halil with Quataert Donald et al. ., eds., An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire 1600–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); and Sadat Deena, “Rumeli Ayanlari: The Eighteenth Century,” Journal of Modern History 44, 3 (Sept. 1972): 346–63.

73 See Aksan Virginia, An Ottoman Statesman in War and Peace: Ahmed Resmi Efendi (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995), for an exception to this.

74 See works by Nagata Yuzo, such as Muhsin-zade Mehmed Paşa ve Ayanlık Müessesesi [Muhsinzade Mehmd Pasha and the ayan institution] (Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, 1976).

75 Hourani, “Ottoman Reform,” 41–68; McGowan Bruce, “Age of the Ayans, 1699–1812,” in Inalcik Halil with Quataert Donald, eds., An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994): 639758; Deena Sadat, “Urban Notables in the Ottoman Empire: The Ayan,” Ph.D. diss., Rutgers University, 1969; Deena Sadat, “Rumeli Ayanlari”; Robert W. Zens, “The Ayanlik and Pasvanoglu Osman Pasha of Vidin in the Age of Ottoman Social Change, 1791–1815,” Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2004.

76 See Salzmann, Tocqueville.

77 Other ayans, particularly those in Arab provinces and to some extent in Bosnia, had different origins, including in the indigenous Muslim landed elite.

78 Robert W. Zens, “The Ayanlık and Pasvanoglu Osman Pasha,” 40.

79 There were important exceptions to this. In 1800, the Hospodar of Wallachia Moruz Bey raised troops to attack rebel ayan Osman Pasvantoğlu on his northern flank, as central state loyalists were attacking him on the southern flank. See Leger L., “Le Boulgare sous Pasvan oglou” [Memoires de Sophroni], Mélanges orientaux; textes et traductions pub. par les professeurs de l'Ecole spéciale des langues orientales vivantes à l'occasion du sixième Congres international des orientalistes réuni à Leyde (septembre 1883), vol. 9 (Paris: E. Leroux, 1883.), 383429. Nicholas Mavroyenis raised an army of Christians and commanded an army of Muslims to fight the allied Austrian and Russian invasion of the Principalities in the late 1780s. See Photeinos, History of the Former Dacia, vol. 2, 360, passim; Shaw, Between Old and New, 32.

80 Columbeanu Sergiu, Grandes exploitations domaniales en Valachie au XVIII-e siècle (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste Romania, 1974).

81 See Sphyroeras Vassilios, “Ho Kanounnames tou 1819 gia ten ekloge ton Phanarioton stis Hegemonies kai thn Dragomania” [The kanunname of 1819 for the election of Phanariots to the Principalities and the dragomanate], Ho Eranistes 11 (1974): 568–79; Otetea Andrei, “La desegregation du regime phanariote,” in Symposium l'Epoque Phanariote (Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies, 1974), 439–47.

82 Photeinos, History of the Former Dacia, vol. 2, 447.

83 BOA Name-i Hümayun #989.

85 This is not to deny that serious efforts had been made and incentives put in place to encourage conversion to the dominant religion in both the Ottoman and Russian cases. In the former, tax exemption was a major incentive. In the latter, policies for compulsive conversion to Christianity waxed and waned with different emperors. Catherine, for instance, “closed the office of the militant proselytizers who had antagonized Muslims and animists in the Volga and Kama River and Urals regions.” Crews, For Prophet and Tsar, 39.

86 See various selections in Brower Daniel R. and Lazzarini Edward J., eds., Russia's Orient: Imperial Borderlands and Peoples 1700–1917 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997).

87 See, for example, Crews, For Prophet and Tsar; King Charles, The Black Sea: A History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004); Lieven, Empire; Kemper Michael, et al. ., Muslim Culture in Russia and Central Asia from the Eighteenth to the Early Twentieth Centuries, 4 vols. (Berlin: Schwartz, 1996–2004); Frank Allen J., Muslim Religious Institutions in Imperial Russia: The Islamic World of Novouzensk and the Kazakh Inner Horde, 1780–1910 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2001).

88 Crews, For Prophet and Tsar, 34–49, esp. 47–48.

89 On the Tanzimat reforms, see Davison Roderic, Reform in the Ottoman Empire, 1856–1876 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963); Carter Findley, Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire. For a comparative perspective, see Lieven, Empire, ch. 4.

90 On sectarian violence in nineteenth-century Lebanon, see Makdisi Ussama, Cultures of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000). On conversion and apostasy, see Deringil Selim, The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and Legitimacy in the Late Ottoman Empire, 1876–1909 (London: I. B. Tauris, 1998).

91 See Vryonis Speros, “The Byzantine Legacy and Ottoman Forms,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 23 (1969–1970): 251308.

92 See Christine Philliou, Biography of an Empire. For Phanariot ambitions in the national age, see Paschalis Kitromilides, Neoellenikos Diaphotismos.

Acknowledgments: The author wishes to thank CSSH editor David Akin and the four anonymous CSSH readers of this article for their tremendously helpful comments and suggestions; the staff of the Başbakanlık Ottoman Archives and Ecumenical Patriarchate Archive in Istanbul, the Gennadeion Library in Athens, and the National Archives of Romania in Bucharest for their assistance; as well as Persis Berlekamp, Bob Crews, Nenad Filipovic, Evan Haefeli, Eileen Kane, and Rebecca Kobrin for reading and commenting on earlier versions. Research for this study was made possible by the Fulbright-Hays International Dissertation Research Fellowship, the American Research Institute in Turkey, the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 8
Total number of PDF views: 63 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 238 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 16th January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.