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Abstract

This article explores a collection of some 59 letters written by Thomas Coke, the secretary to the Levant Company, to William Paget over the period of 1691 to 1694. Coke’s letters offer a detailed vision into Ottoman decision-making as it unfolded from one day to the next and as it varied across the perspectives of individual Ottoman decision-makers. They challenge longstanding ideas about Ottoman diplomacy, for example the idea that until Carlowitz the Ottomans had only engaged in unilateral diplomacy for short periods of time because of a deep-rooted reluctance to relinquish lands that had once been ruled over by Muslims. Throughout this period, Coke offered to Paget one letter after another full of close detailed accounts of political developments in the capital, ranging from such things as changes in appointments, Ottoman attitudes to war, preparations related to Paget’s arrival, and much more. The rest of this article presents some of the most important aspects of these letters, particularly with regard to what they reveal about Ottoman diplomacy in this critical period of war leading up to the Treaty of Carlowitz.

In: The Treaties of Carlowitz (1699)
In: The Teaching and Learning of Arabic in Early Modern Europe