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Imperial Subjects and Beneficence

Comparing Endowment Cultures from the 17th to the Early 20th Century

Nathalie Soursos, Stefano Saracino and Maria A. Stassinopoulou

This introduction describes the challenge of comparing beneficence practices in the Ottoman Empire and in the Habsburg Empire, which led to the workshop behind the Special Issue. Lenses proposed by histoire comparée and micro-history, this text argues, may supplement each other in this task. The editors’ research on Greek Orthodox merchants, who migrated from the Ottoman Empire into the Habsburg Lands and left rich archival sources connected to their beneficence, illustrates the possibility of not only micro-historically reconstructing their endowments (or other beneficiary practices), but to relate them to the entangled history of the Ottoman and the Habsburg Empire – two imperial spaces that both shaped the cultural horizon and the administrative and legal options of the founders and overseers of endowments. The contributions of the invited workshop guests introduce questions of changing moral views on philanthropy in Central Europe, confessional parallels and differences in beneficent attitudes of small migrant communities and on generational patterns in creating and administrating endowments. Continuity and change in the relationship between traditions of philanthropy and changing political and socio-economical environments are addressed particularly as regards the transition from the Byzantine to the Ottoman system, the importance of state-organized philanthropy for the Ottoman economy of the 17th century and finally the contesting models of private and ecclesiastical beneficence among the Greek Orthodox after the Tanzimat reforms.

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Olga Katsiardi-Hering and Maria A. Stassinopoulou

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Olga Katsiardi-Hering and Maria A. Stassinopoulou

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Edited by Olga Katsiardi-Hering and Maria A. Stassinopoulou

The Danube has been a border and a bridge for migrants and goods since antiquity. Between the 17th and the 19th centuries, commercial networks were formed between the Ottoman Empire and Central and Eastern Europe creating diaspora communities. This gradually led to economic and cultural transfers connecting the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the Continental world of commerce. The contributors to the present volume offer different perspectives on commerce and entrepreneurship based on the interregional treaties of global significance, on cultural and ecclesiastical relations, population policy and demographical aspects. Questions of identity, family, and memory are in the centre of several chapters as they interact with the topographic and socio-anthropological territoriality of all the regions involved.

Contributors are: Constantin Ardeleanu, Iannis Carras, Lidia Cotovanu, Lyubomir Georgiev, Olga Katsiardi-Hering, Dimitrios Kontogeorgis, Nenad Makuljević, Ikaros Mantouvalos, Anna Ransmayr, Vaso Seirinidou, Maria A. Stassinopoulou.