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In: Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4) (2 vols)

Abstract

This article traces the intertwining of contemporaneous Muslim and Christian millenarian beliefs and excitation from the early fifteenth to late sixteenth centuries, specifically as crystalized by the rise of the Ottoman power, the Muslim conquest of “Rome” (Constantinople) in 1453, and the sixteenth century Ottoman-Habsburg rivalry for recognition as legitimate claimants to the world empire of the last age of history. The most influential formulator of the Ottoman eschatological identity was the mystic and lettrist ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Bisṭāmī, whose works underlie the fully articulated royal messianism of Sultan Süleymān (r. 1520-1566). At Süleymān’s court the French orientalist and apocalyptic enthusiast Guillaume Postel, a proponent of French Valois universal end-time monarchy, saw al-Bisṭāmī’s work brandished in 1535. Following the trajectory of the production, consumption, and deployment of these texts in the context of revolutionary changes across the Mediterranean—not least of all in understandings of religions and their relationship to historical empire—makes clear the centrality of apocalyptic to contemporary understandings of history and the significance (and legitimacy) of the new imperial formations, and to new understandings of the interrelationship between cognate, if sometimes hostile, monotheisms.

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
In: Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4) (2 vols)

Abstract

This chapter revolves around the autograph mecmua of Celâlzâde Sâlih (c.1495–1565), compiled by the author towards the end of his life as a selection from his own writings, both literary and epistolary. The mecmua, meant to be a representative summary of the author/compiler’s œuvre, comprises letters sent by Sâlih to the sultan, various officials, and acquaintances; panegyrics offered to grandees; a selection from Sâlih’s poetry; an account of the 1532–33 Ottoman campaign against the Habsburgs, the so-called Alaman seferi; and a group of letters sent by Sâlih to Prince Bayezid and two members of his household, concerning a translation project commissioned by the prince. We argue that, just as Celâlzâde Sâlih’s life reflects the tensions, challenges and opportunities of the Süleymanic era, his personal anthology allows us to discuss several important themes that pertain to early modern history, Ottoman and otherwise: the large-scale institutional and cultural transformations of the sixteenth century; the ideological and cultural functions of history-writing; and the impact of networks of patronage and solidarity on cultural production and intellectual life.

In: Dimensions of Transformation in the Ottoman Empire from the Late Medieval Age to Modernity
In: Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4) (2 vols)
In: Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4) (2 vols)