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13 - The Ottoman empire: the age of ‘political households’ (eleventh–twelfth/seventeenth–eighteenth centuries)


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2011

Maribel Fierro
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Madrid
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Marking off the period

In this chapter I shall briefly discuss the relations of the Ottoman rulers with neighbouring potentates and, at much greater length, the empire’s domestic affairs. The latter discussion will highlight politically active households within the ruling group; for not only has this been a favourite research topic during the last thirty years or so, such households were also at the core of many early modern polities from England all the way to Mughal India. Another central theme to historians throughout the early modern world is military change and the political repercussions of the latter. I shall discuss this question in conjunction with another major research topic, namely decentralisation on the one hand and recentralizing measures on the other. A discussion of the attempts by Ottoman authors to master intellectually the new situations that they encountered will conclude our chapter.

At the beginning of the eleventh/seventeenth century the Ottomans were still embroiled in the Long War with the Habsburgs of Vienna. Peace was concluded in 1015/1606, with the Ottomans gaining a few fortresses and both sides exhausted to the point of agreeing to an ambiguous peace treaty. The document issued by the Habsburg chancery stated that, by immediate payment of a lump sum, the emperors would be absolved from future tribute payments for ‘royal’ Hungary. By contrast the document emitted by the Ottoman side stated that this was merely a down payment on the tribute of future years, which was to resume at a later date.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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