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1st Edition

Plural Pasts Power, Identity and the Ottoman Sieges of Nagykanizsa Castle

By Claire Norton Copyright 2017
    ISBN 9780367882105
    202 Pages
    Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge

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    ISBN 9781472485342
    202 Pages
    Published February 16, 2017 by Routledge

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    Through a study of a variety of Ottoman and modern Turkish accounts of the Ottoman-Habsburg sieges of Nagykanizsa Castle (1600-01) including official documents, correspondence, histories, and more literary genres such as gazavatnames [campaign narratives], Plural Pasts explores Ottoman literacy practices. By considering the diverse roles that the various accounts served – construction of identities, forging of diplomatic alliances and legitimization of political ideologies and geo-political imaginations – it explores the cultural and socio-political significance the various accounts had for different audiences. In addition, it interweaves theoretical reflection with textual analysis. Using the sieges of Nagykanizsa as a case study, it offers a sophisticated contribution to ongoing historiographical arguments: namely, how historians construct hierarchies of primary sources and judge some to be more truthful, or more valuable, than others; how texts are assigned to particular genres based on perceived epistemological status – as story or history, fact or fiction; and the circular role that historians and their histories play in constructing, reflecting and reinforcing cultural and political imaginaries.


    1. The Authority of Eyewitness Accounts Reconsidered

    2. Fethnames: Not Just Literary Bombast

    3. The Gazavatnames: Erasing Oral Residue and Correcting Scribal Error

    4. The Gazavatnames: Re-Writing the Exemplar - Individual Scripta

    5. Writers Reading: Reading the Gazavat-i Tiryaki Hasan Paşa with Katib Çelebi and Naima

    6. Nationalism and the Re-Invention of Early Modern Identities

    Conclusion: Making the Sieges of Nagykanizsa Morally Defensible


    Claire Norton is Reader in History at St Mary’s University.

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