By Norman Itzkowitz

This skillfully written textual content provides the total sweep of Ottoman background from its beginnings at the Byzantine frontier in approximately 1300, via its improvement as an empire, to its past due eighteenth-century war of words with a quickly modernizing Europe. Itzkowitz delineates the elemental associations of the Ottoman nation, the foremost divisions in the society, and the elemental rules on executive and social constitution. all through, Itzkowitz emphasizes the Ottomans' personal perception in their old event, and in so doing penetrates the skin view supplied by way of the insights of Western observers of the Ottoman global to the middle of Ottoman existence.

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Extra resources for Ottoman Empire and Islamic Tradition

Sample text

The Tartars were to loom large during the next two centuries in the history of the Black Sea steppe, a region that provided thousands upon thousands of captives for the Ottoman slave markets. Three significant developments occurred in Bajazet II's reign that played important roles in determining much of the subsequent course of Ottoman history. One of these developments was the growth in the size and strength of the Ottoman navy. This growth had important implications for extension of the holy war and ghazi warfare to chal­ lenge Venice and Spain in the Adriatic, Aegean, and Mediterranean seas.

Zaganos was a slave, one of the slaves of the Porte, and had been Mohammed’s tutor in Manisa. He advocated a policy of expansion within the framework of the ghazi tradition and consistently urged the capture of Constantinople, in opposition to Halil’s concilia­ tory views. Halil Pasha, using the janissaries as the instru­ ment of his policy, implored Murad first to assume leadership of the army and then to return to the throne. He is suspected of having incited the janissary revolt in Edirne that resulted in the conclusion of Mohammed’s first reign and in his father’s return to power.

They are said to have been first organized in the reign of Murad I from the one-fifth share of the booty, including prisoners, allotted to the sultan by the religious law of Islam. Prisoners of war, however, provided neither a steady nor a properly trainable supply of slaves. To solve this problem the Ottomans hit upon the idea of taking into their service and converting to Islam the young male children of their Christian subjects. This periodic levy, known as the devshirme (from the Turkish verb meaning “to collect” ), was an Ottoman innovation in the ghulam system, but the precise date of its inception is still unknown.

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