Legitimizing the Order

The Ottoman Rhetoric of State Power


A dynasty that ruled for more than six centuries certainly developed many strategies to confront “legitimacy crises” and undertook various endeavors to legitimize their rule.
After the introduction that establishes a theoretical framework for examining the Ottoman state’s legitimacy, the present volume deploys into three sections. “The Well-Founded Order” deals with the question of how the Ottomans imagined the order of their polity and how they tried to live up to this self-representation.
“Religiosity and Orthodoxy” turns to the question of religiosity and orthodoxy as defined by Ottoman political theory and how these concepts related to the issue of legitimacy. The last section discusses how the Ottoman notions of legitimacy were exposed to criticism, discussion or simply to transformations in situations of crisis, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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Hakan Karateke, Dr. phil (1998) in Turkology, Bamberg University, Germany, teaches at Harvard University. His dissertation entitled Long Live the Sultan! Ottoman Ceremonies in the 19th Century was published in 2004 in Turkish.
Maurus Reinkowski, Dr. phil. (1995) in Turkology, Bamberg University, Germany, teaches Islamic History at Freiburg University. Recently his interest has turned to the phenomenon of crypto-religious groups in the Muslim world.
"... the book fills a lacuna in Ottoman historiography by its attempt to understand the complexities and evolving nature of legitimacy throughout the entire life span of Ottoman dynastic and imperial establishment. The authors are to be credited for their contributions, all of which will surely pave the way for future studies and discussions." – Gühan Börekçi, International Journal of Middle East Studies, August 2008
All those interested in Ottoman intellectual and political history and in the comparative issue how pre-modern empires keep power by invocating their legitimacy will find in this volume ample material.
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