The Ottoman World: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Ottoman World

1st Edition

Edited by Christine Woodhead


560 pages

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The Ottoman empire as a political entity comprised most of the present Middle East (with the principal exception of Iran), north Africa and south-eastern Europe. For over 500 years, until its disintegration during World War I, it encompassed a diverse range of ethnic, religious and linguistic communities with varying political and cultural backgrounds.

Yet, was there such a thing as an ‘Ottoman world’ beyond the principle of sultanic rule from Istanbul? Ottoman authority might have been established largely by military conquest, but how was it maintained for so long, over such distances and so many disparate societies? How did provincial regions relate to the imperial centre and what role was played in this by local elites? What did it mean in practice, for ordinary people, to be part of an ‘Ottoman world’?

Arranged in five thematic sections, with contributions from thirty specialist historians, The Ottoman World addresses these questions, examining aspects of the social and socio-ideological composition of this major pre-modern empire, and offers a combination of broad synthesis and detailed investigation that is both informative and intended to raise points for future debate. The Ottoman World provides a unique coverage of the Ottoman empire, widening its scope beyond Istanbul to the edges of the empire, and offers key coverage for students and scholars alike. 


"Woodhead has assembled an excellent group of Ottomanists whose diversity of interests, training, and age adds to the value of this volume… Each essay is a gem unto itself, based on the individual author's specialized area of research. As a whole, the volume provides a detailed understanding of the richness and complexity of the empire as well as raising points for future debates, going well beyond what any narrative account is able to do. This book is indispensible for anyone interested in new trends in Ottoman research." - Choice

"A perfect combination of history and historiography, senior and junior scholars, archives and secondary materials, established trends in the field and sophisticated new methods, this book will be illuminating for both those long familiar with the Ottomans and those encountering the empire for the first time. If one is going to read just one book on the Ottoman Empire, this should be it. A truly impressive achievement." – Alan Mikhail, Yale University, USA.

"A highly useful instructional text that should be engaged by not only those teaching "Middle Eastern history" but those offering courses in European early modern history as well. There are a number of valuable intersections provided by a new generation of scholars who consciously engage "Europe" as part of the Ottoman story. For this reason, the book is probably the best collection of its kind on the early modern period in the market today and should provide a foundation for the next generation of scholars interested in expanding the study of the Ottoman Empire in order to fully engage European and Global history." - Isa Blumi, Leipzig University, Germany and Georgia State University, USA

“…this well-edited volume will undoubtedly be very useful, particularly for students who are not studying Ottoman history specifically and who need a general introductory text to the Ottoman world.” -Kate Fleet, The Skilliter Centre for Ottoman Studies, Cambridge

Table of Contents

List of Ilustrations List of Maps Preface Note on Turkish and technicalities 1. Introduction Christine Woodhead PART I: FOUNDATIONS 2. Nomads and tribes in the Ottoman empire Reşat Kasaba 3. The Ottoman economy in the early imperial age Rhoads Murphey 4. The law of the land Colin Imber 5. A kadi court in the Balkans: Sofia in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries Rossitsa Gradeva 6. Imarets Amy Singer 7. Sufis in the age of state-building and confessionalization Derin Terzioğlu PART II: OTTOMANS AND OTHERS 8. Royal and other households Metin Kunt 9. ‘On the tranquillity and repose of the sultan’: the construction of a topos Hakan Karateke 10. Of translation and empire: sixteenth-century Ottoman imperial interpreters as renaissance go-betweens Tijana Krstić 11. Ottoman languages Christine Woodhead 12. Ethnicity, race, religion and social class: Ottoman markers of difference Baki Tezcan 13. The Kızılbaş of Syria and Ottoman Shiism Stefan Winter 14. The reign of violence: the celalis c. 1550-1700 Oktay Özel PART III: THE WIDER EMPIRE 15. Between universalistic claims and reality: Ottoman frontiers in the early modern period Dariusz Kołodziejczyk 16. Defending and administering the frontier: the case of Ottoman Hungary Gábor Ágoston 17. The Ottoman frontier in Kurdistan in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Nelida Fuccaro 18. Conquest, urbanization and plague networks in the Ottoman empire, 1453-1600 Nükhet Varlık 19. Peripheralization of the Ottoman-Algerian elite Tal Shuval 20. On the edges of an Ottoman world: non-Muslim Ottoman merchants in Amsterdam Ismail Hakki Kadi PART IV: ORDINARY PEOPLE 21. Masters, servants and slaves: household formation among the urban notables of early Ottoman Aleppo Charles Wilkins 22. Subject to the sultan’s approval: seventeenth and eighteenth-century artisans negotiating guild agreements in Istanbul Suraiya Faroqhi 23. Literacy among artisans and tradesmen in Ottoman Cairo Nelly Hanna 24. ‘Guided by the Almighty’: the journey of Stephan Schultz in the Ottoman empire, 1752-56 Jan Schmidt 25. The right to choice: Ottoman, ecclesiastical and communal justice in Ottoman Greece Eugenia Kermeli 26. Ottoman women as legal and marital subjects Başak Tuğ 27. Forms and forums of expression: Istanbul and beyond, 1600-1800 Tülay Artan PART V: LATER OTTOMANS 28. The old regime and the Ottoman Middle East Ariel Salzmann 29. The transformation of the Ottoman fiscal regime c.1600-1850 Michael Ursinus 30. Provincial power-holders and the empire in the late Ottoman world: conflict or partnership? Ali Yaycıoğlu 31. The Arabic-speaking world in the Ottoman period: a socio-political analysis Ehud Toledano Glossary References

About the Editor

Christine Woodhead is Teaching Fellow in History at the University of Durham.

About the Series

Routledge Worlds

The Routledge Worlds are magisterial surveys of key historical epochs, edited and written by world-renowned experts. Giving unprecedented breadth and depth of coverage, they are the works against which all future books on their subjects will be judged and are essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in the subject.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General
HISTORY / Middle East / General