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Egyptian and Islamic Law: Selected Essays
In Sharia, Justice and Legal Order: Egyptian and Islamic Law: Selected Essays Rudolph Peters discusses in 35 articles practice of both Sharia and state law. The principal themes are legal order and the actual application of law both in the judiciaries as well in cultural and political debates. Many of the topics deal with penal law. Although the majority of studies are situated in the Ottoman and, especially, Egyptian period, few of them are of a more recent period, such as in Nigeria and, also, Egypt. The book’s historical studies are based on archival judicial records and are definitively pioneering. Although the selected articles of this book are the fruit of more than forty years of research, most of them have constantly been cited.
Antecedents, Course and Consequences
Editors: Colin Heywood and Ivan Parvev
The Treaties of Carlowitz (1699) includes recent studies on the Lega Sacra War of 1683-1699 against the Ottoman Empire, the Peace treaties of Carlowitz (1699), and on the general impact of the conflict upon Modern Europe and the Balkans. With its contributions written by well-known international specialists in the field, the volume demonstrates that sometimes important conflicts tend to be forgotten with time, overshadowed by more spectacular wars, peace congresses or diplomatic alliances. The “Long War” of 1683-1699 is a case in point. By re-thinking and re-writing the history of the conflict and the subsequent peacemaking between a Christian alliance and the Ottoman state at the end of the 17th century, new perspectives, stretching into the present era, for the history of Europe, the Balkans and the Near East are brought into discussion.

Contributors are: Tatjana Bazarova, Maurits van den Boogert, John Paul Ghobrial, Abdullah Güllüoğlu, Zoltan Györe, Colin Heywood, Lothar Höbelt, Erica Ianiro, Charles Ingrao, Dzheni Ivanova, Kirill Kochegarov, Dariusz Kołodziejzcyk, Hans Georg Majer, Ivan Parvev, Arno Strohmeier.
Moving Frontiers, Shifting Identities in the Land of Rome (13th-15th Centuries)
Warriors, Martyrs, and Dervishes: Moving Frontiers, Shifting Identities in the Land of Rome (13th-15th Centuries) focuses on the perceptions of geopolitical and cultural change, which was triggered by the arrival of Turkish Muslim groups into the territories of the Byzantine Empire at the end of the eleventh century, through intersecting stories transmitted in Turkish Muslim warrior epics and dervish vitas, and late Byzantine martyria. It examines the Byzantines’ encounters with the newcomers in a shared story-world, here called “land of Rome,” as well as its perception, changing geopolitical and cultural frontiers, and in relation to these changes, the shifts in identity of the people inhabiting this space. The study highlights the complex relationship between the character of specific places and the cultural identities of the people who inhabited them.
Editors: Stefan Winter and Mafalda Ade
Aleppo and its Hinterland in the Ottoman Period comprises eleven essays in English and French by leading scholars of Ottoman Syria which draw on new research in Turkish, Levantine and other archival sources. Focusing on both the city and its place in the wider region, the collection examines trade guilds and Christian settlement in Aleppo, Turkmen and Bedouin tribes in Aleppo’s interior, international trade and the establishment of an Ottoman commercial tribunal in the Tanzimat period, Aleppo and the rise of the millet system, the Belgian consular presence, Sufi networks in the province of Aleppo, the countryside of Antioch under the Egyptian occupation, and the urban revolt of 1850.

With contributions from Enver Çakar, Elyse Semerdjian, Charles Wilkins, Stefan Winter, Mary Momdjian, Bruce Masters, Sylvain Cornac, Mafalda Ade, Feras Krimsti, Nicolas Jodoin, Stefan Knost.
Caught in a Whirlwind: A Cultural History of Ottoman Baghdad as Reflected in its Illustrated Manuscripts focuses on a period of great artistic vitality in the region of Baghdad, a frontier area that was caught between the rival Ottoman and the Safavid empires. In the period following the peace treaty of 1590, a corpus of more than thirty illustrated manuscripts and several single page paintings were produced. In this book Melis Taner presents a contextual study of the vibrant late sixteenth-century and early seventeenth-century Baghdad art market, opening up further avenues of research on art production in provinces and border regions.
Ottoman-Southeast Asian Relations: Sources from the Ottoman Archives, is a product of meticulous study of İsmail Hakkı Kadı, A.C.S. Peacock and other contributors on historical documents from the Ottoman archives. The work contains documents in Ottoman-Turkish, Malay, Arabic, French, English, Tausug, Burmese and Thai languages, each introduced by an expert in the language and history of the related country. The work contains documents hitherto unknown to historians as well as others that have been unearthed before but remained confined to the use of limited scholars who had access to the Ottoman archives. The resources published in this study show that the Ottoman Empire was an active actor within the context of Southeast Asian experience with Western colonialism. The fact that the extensive literature on this experience made limited use of Ottoman source materials indicates the crucial importance of this publication for future innovative research in the field.

Contributors are: Giancarlo Casale, Annabel Teh Gallop, Rıfat Günalan, Patricia Herbert, Jana Igunma, Midori Kawashima, Abraham Sakili and Michael Talbot
Studies in Honor of Virginia H. Aksan
The articles compiled in Ottoman War & Peace. Studies in Honor of Virginia H. Aksan, honor the prolific career of a foremost scholar of the Ottoman Empire, and engage in redefining the boundaries of Ottoman historiography. Blending micro and macro approaches, the volume covers topics from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries related to the Ottoman military and warfare, biography and intellectual history, and inter-imperial and cross-cultural relations. Through these themes, this volume seeks to bring out and examine the institutional and socio-political complexity of the Ottoman Empire and its peoples.

Contributors are Eleazar Birnbaum, Maurits van den Boogert, Palmira Brummett, Frank Castiglione, Linda Darling, Caroline Finkel, Molly Greene, Jane Hathaway, Colin Heywood, Douglas Howard, Christine Isom-Verhaaren, Dina Rizk Khoury, Ethan L. Menchinger, Victor Ostapchuk, Leslie Peirce, James A. Reilly, Will Smiley, Mark Stein, Kahraman Şakul, Veysel Şimşek, Feryal Tansuğ, Baki Tezcan, Fatih Yeşil, Aysel Yıldız.
Life and Politics of Brotherhood in Modern Turkey
In Reading Islam Fabio Vicini offers a journey within the intimate relations, reading practices, and forms of intellectual engagement that regulate Muslim life in two enclosed religious communities in Istanbul. Combining anthropological observation with textual and genealogical analysis, he illustrates how the modes of thought and social engagement promoted by these two communities are the outcome of complex intellectual entanglements with modern discourses about science, education, the self, and Muslims’ place and responsibility in society. In this way, Reading Islam sheds light on the formation of new generations of faithful and socially active Muslims over the last thirty years and on their impact on the turn of Turkey from an assertive secularist Republic to an Islamic-oriented form of governance.

Abstract

Nikolaos Kasomoulis, a veteran of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, then went on to write a history of that conflict. Of particular value for our purposes is that his account also includes a history and a genealogy of nearly twenty armatole families, stretching back to the late seventeenth century when the War of the Holy League ushered in major changes in the Ottoman military institution of armatolık. While the mountain world of the western Balkans in the eighteenth century has received a fair amount of attention, due to the tumultuous events as the century came to a close, most of the scholarship has concentrated on the men at the top; here of course Ali Pasha looms very large. The society that produced Ali Pasha is much more in the shadows and there is often a slide out of history and into anthropology. Kasomoulis is an underused source that allows us to begin to construct the history of the military families that played a central role in the Empire’s far western provinces in the eighteenth century.

In: Ottoman War and Peace

Abstract

This article argues that the catalyst for the industrialization along the coastal strip from Yedikule (Seven Towers) to the Çekmece region in the first half of the 19th century was the Azadlu Gunpower Works. It follows the new scholarship that focuses on the Ottoman transformations from 1768 – 1839, which laid the groundwork for the Tanzimat reforms. After a brief discussion of the gunpowder plants in Istanbul that preceded the Azadlu, i describe the stages of gunpowder production in order to highlight the reasons for the need for a new gunpowder works. Moreover, I show the interconnection between the new gunpowder plant with distant and nearby provinces, in order to demonstrate the way in which it transformed its immediate surrounding, and created a regional network for collecting raw materials.

In: Ottoman War and Peace

Abstract

What did loyalty and identity mean in the eighteenth-century Ottoman Empire, and how did that change amid geopolitical reconfigurations and new methods of recruiting and organizing military forces? This article offers a micro-historical perspective on those questions – prompted by Virginia Aksan’s work – by using archival documentation to trace a clash between Ottoman Christian sailors and Ottoman Muslim militiamen during the 1787 Russo-Ottoman War. As the Christians defended themselves against charges of piracy, they forced Sultan Selim iii to confront tensions between relying on irregular forces and religious rhetoric to defend his empire while, trying to retain the loyalty of Christians.

In: Ottoman War and Peace
In: Ottoman War and Peace

Abstract

The British army officer George Frederick Koehler is described by the first researcher to take him as the subject of a full biographical article as “one of those mysterious people who flit across the pages of history, appearing from nowhere and dying without leaving a clue to their origins…” It is not his origins that concern us here, but rather his activities in the Ottoman empire where he first went in summer 1791 following the Ochakov crisis, when he was covertly sent by the British government to assess Ottoman capacity to withstand further Russian attack. Like his origins, these periods of his life are imperfectly known.

Koehler served in the Ottoman Empire for two discrete periods. Between 1791 and 1793 he was in Istanbul and the Ottoman Balkans, and following the French invasion of Egypt in 1798 he was sent to Istanbul at the head of a military mission. During this latter period, he inspected the Dardanelles defences, and in November 1799 travelled to join the Ottoman army at Jaffa, where he died of plague a year later.

Koehler’s career in the Ottoman Empire has hitherto been traced with reference to European, almost exclusively English-language sources. Documents in the Ottoman archives in Istanbul provide information that amplifies what we know of his movements in 1792, when he was sent by the Sultan to inspect fortresses on the Danube and Dniester: it is my purpose here to make this material known.

In: Ottoman War and Peace

Abstract

The Janissaries, iconic warriors of the Ottoman Empire, gained mythological status in observers’ eyes. But in the ordinary world, “whatever happened to the Janissaries?” Their private lives are almost unknown. This chapter uses mühimme defterleri (official registers of important affairs) to investigate Janissaries’ private lives through the records of crimes. Janissaries, it appears, lived in villages, married, participated in society, frequented markets and taverns, were argued with, robbed, murdered. They committed crimes, had intimate relationships with slaves, and were more immune from prosecution than the ordinary Ottoman subject. Other people pretended to their privileges through the crime of impersonating a Janissary. However, when these episodes were brought to the state’s attention, it took them very seriously.

In: Ottoman War and Peace

Abstract

The term Ottoman Turkish literature is not limited to compositions containing a wealth of Arabic and Persian loanwords, written by and for the empire’s elite. For the non-elite public there was a parallel literature, with vocabulary and syntax much closer to the spoken Turkish of the general Turkish-speaking population. Inserted in a copy of a mid-19thcentury printed medrese textbook in my collection, I found a scrap of a manuscript in Turkish, containing popular pseudo-medical and magical prescriptions, probably copied in the late 18th or early 19th century, and now in my collection of Islamic manuscripts. I present two short passages: (1) How to achieve immunity from the plague; and (2) a recipe for a love potion.

In: Ottoman War and Peace

Abstract

In the Ottoman Empire, the modern infantry drill was at first performed by the soldiers of the New Order Army (1791–1807) under the surveillance of foreign experts. But since the beginning of the eighteenth century, Ottoman bureaucrats understood its importance and meaning. In their treatises, modern drill and discipline were initially represented as the remedy for the disastrous defeats suffered by the Ottomans, especially at the hands of the Russian army. At the time of Selim iii, more serious steps were taken and new barracks were built in Istanbul and Anatolia. Building the barracks in the countryside implies Ottoman bureaucrats saw the application of modern drill as a magical medicine for the pacification of the state at a time when the empire was in turmoil. The modern drill also created a solid ground for the enactment of Sultan’s authority. Unlike disorderly heterodox ideology of Janissaries, seen as a political threat for the power of the palace in the barracks, recruits were subjected to Sunni Islamic ideology, which including the need to recognize the power of caliph, namely Ottoman Sultan. In this article, I argue that the new army and its well-ordered soldiers were the products and representatives of this new ideology.

In: Ottoman War and Peace

Abstract

In both the Mamluk Sultanate and the Ottoman Empire, eunuchs were integral parts of the state apparatus since they belonged to the ruler’s household. The Mamluks introduced two new eunuch functions: (1) a eunuch officer who supervised the training of young mamluks, or elite military slaves, to prevent sexual abuse of new recruits by older mamluks, and (2) eunuch guardians of tombs, above all the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb in Medina. The Mamluks also began importing a large number of eunuchs from Ethiopia.

While Ottoman employment of eunuchs built on Mamluk practice, it also bore the imprint of other polities, above all the Byzantine Empire. Though the Ottomans did not employ a eunuch to oversee training of new military recruits, they expanded the tradition of eunuchs guarding the Prophet’s tomb. Under the Ottomans, in contrast to Mamluk Sultanate practice, eunuchs from the Balkans and the Caucasus could, for a time, become high military and administrative officials. Yet the dichotomy within the Ottoman palace between the African harem eunuchs and the white eunuchs who patrolled the sultan’s audience chamber was unprecedented. In general, Ottoman eunuchs far outnumbered their Mamluk Sultanate counterparts and took a more active role in setting imperial policy and state-building.

In: Ottoman War and Peace
In: Ottoman War and Peace
In: Ottoman War and Peace

Abstract

This article demonstrates some of the ways in which members of the Ottoman legal hierarchy from relatively less privileged backgrounds were disadvantaged in reaching the higher ranks of that hierarchy. It also suggests that the social disadvantage of relatively humble backgrounds became almost insurmountable if one were farther away from the imperial center, especially in the Arab provinces. The evidence drawn on in this study also highlights certain features of the Ottoman scholarly community that rendered it more bureaucratic and conservative than scholarly in the late sixteenth century.

In: Ottoman War and Peace

Abstract

Ottoman and Iraqi Nationality laws were not based on the liberal secular concept of national individual rights. The Lausanne Treaty and the series of nationality laws that emerged in its aftermath, based as they were on the Ottoman Nationality Law, assumed that religion and nationality were intertwined and singled out non-Muslims for protection. This chapter argues that while the language of the Iraqi Nationality Law did not designate the Shi’is of Iraq as a separate religious group, conflicts between Iraqi/British and Iranian officials and between these officials and local populations over jurisdictional sovereignty during implementation led to the deployment by all parties of the rhetoric of minority/majority and of sect.

In: Ottoman War and Peace

Abstract

The anonymous treatise commonly known as Koca Sekbanbaşı Risālesi is one of the most important and enigmatic texts from the reign of Sultan Selim iii, with a long debate over the author’s true identity. This article wades into the discussion anew, reviewing the evidence and offering new considerations in favor of a specific candidate, the reformer and court historian Ahmed Vāsıf Efendi (d. 1806).

In: Ottoman War and Peace

Abstract

Non-Muslim Ottoman brokers (dellâls, simsârs, “warehousemen”) were essential go-betweens in the trade between the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe, but little is known about what is was that they actually did. Based largely on the analysis of a dispute between an English merchant in Aleppo and his Maronite “warehouseman” from the eighteenth century, the present article investigates the division of labour in European firms established in the Ottoman Empire. The dispute sheds light on the roles of the patron, the scribe, and the broker in the every-day mechanisms of international trade, and what happened when their routines were interrupted by outbreaks of the plague or a breakdown of trust.

In: Ottoman War and Peace

Abstract

The present paper publishes in transcription text and facsimile an Ottoman mu‘āf-nāme (Deed of Exemption) issued in the reign of Ahmed i (1603–18) to the descendants of Fātima Hātūn, the kira (femme d’affaires) of Hafsa Sultan, the mother of Süleyman i, and now preserved in the National Library of Lithuania in Vilnius. The document is compared with a later mu‘āf-nāme for the same recipients which was issued by ‘Osmān ii (1618–22) and published in the nineteenth century by the Russian orientalist V.D. Smirnov and subsequently by the German scholar J.D. Mordtmann. Comparison of the two texts permits the recovery from the Vilnius document of the “core” element of the original mu‘āf-nāme text of 1521, which otherwise has been lost.

In: Ottoman War and Peace
In: Ottoman War and Peace