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A Social History of Ottoman Istanbul


  • Authors:
  • Ebru Boyar, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
  • Kate Fleet, University of Cambridge
  • Date Published: April 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521136235

£ 29.99

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About the Authors
  • Using a wealth of contemporary Ottoman sources, this book recreates the social history of Istanbul, a huge, cosmopolitan metropolis and imperial capital of the Ottoman Empire. Seat of the Sultan and an opulent international emporium, Istanbul was also a city of violence shaken regularly by natural disasters and by the turmoil of sultanic politics and violent revolt. Its inhabitants, entertained by imperial festivities and cared for by the great pious foundations which touched every aspect of their lives, also amused themselves in the numerous pleasure gardens and the many public baths of the city. While the book is focused on Istanbul, it presents a broad picture of Ottoman society, how it was structured and how it developed and transformed across four centuries. As such, the book offers an exciting alternative to the more traditional histories of the Ottoman Empire.

    • Based on a wealth of Ottoman sources garnered from literature, chronicles, poems, state documents and travel accounts
    • Includes a detailed chronology, maps and illustrations, as well as short biographies of key protagonists
    • Offers an exciting alternative to the more traditional histories of the Ottoman empire
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'The authors paint a vivid picture of the Ottoman capital, as seen through Ottoman eyes and as it appeared to foreign visitors down the ages. Every serious visitor to Istanbul should read this book.' Colin Imber

    'An engaging work, full of Ottoman voices. The authors make the city come alive, showing its inhabitants as spectators and participants: gossiping, strolling, demonstrating, smoking, bathing, and even feeding the birds. They persuasively address historiographic assumptions from the seclusion of women to the supposed 'supine fatalism' of the masses.' Palmira Brummett, University of Tennessee

    'In Ebru Boyar and Kate Fleet's A Social History of Ottoman Istanbul, the sights, sounds, and smells of the city staged alongside catastrophic events and royal pageantry provide a captivating and rewarding read.' G. Carole Woodal, H-Urban (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521136235
    • length: 378 pages
    • dimensions: 231 x 154 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 50 b/w illus. 2 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Conquest
    2. The palace and the populace
    3. Fear and death
    4. Welfare
    5. The consuming city
    6. Outings and excursions
    7. The hamam
    8. The nineteenth century
    Beyond the city
    Who's who.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • From Constantinople to Istanbul
    • HIstory of the Ottoman Empire
    • Lanthier Michael
    • Mediterranean World, 1450-1750
    • Middle East from Muhammad
    • Middle East from rise of Islam to 1800
    • Ottman History to 1500
    • Ottoman Empire
    • Sultans harems & slaves: the ottoman empire
    • Westernization and Turkish Literature: The Tanzimat Era
  • Authors

    Ebru Boyar, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
    Ebru Boyar is Assistant Professor in the International Relations Department at the Middle East Technical University, Ankara. Her previous publications include The Ottomans and Trade (edited with Kate Fleet, 2006) and Ottomans, Turks and the Balkans: Empire Lost, Relations Altered (2007).

    Kate Fleet, University of Cambridge
    Kate Fleet is Director of the Skilliter Centre for Ottoman Studies at Newnham College, University of Cambridge, and Newton Lecturer in Ottoman History in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge. Her previous publications include The Ottoman Capitulations: Text and Context (edited with van den Boogert, 2003) and The Cambridge History of Turkey, Vol. I. Byzantium to Turkey, 1071–1453 (edited, Cambridge, 2008).

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