Paul Wittek’s The Rise of the Ottoman Empire was first published by the Royal Asiatic Society in 1938 and has been out of print for more than a quarter of a century. The present reissue of the text also brings together translations of some of his other studies on Ottoman history; eight closely interconnected writings on the period from the founding of the state to the Fall of Constantinople and the reign of Mehmed II. Most of these pieces reproduces the texts of lectures or conference papers delivered by Wittek between 1936 and 1938 when he was teaching at Université Libré in Brussels, Belgium. The books or journals in which they were originally published are for the most part inaccessible except in specialist libraries, in a period when Wittek's activities as an Ottoman historian, in particular his formulations regarding the origins and subsequent history of the Ottoman state (the "Ghazi thesis"), are coming under increasing study within the Anglo-Saxon world of scholarship.
An introduction by Colin Heywood sets Wittek's work in its historical and historiographical context for the benefit of those students who were not privileged to experience it firsthand. This reissue and recontextualizing of Wittek’s pioneering work on early Ottoman history makes a valuable contribution to the field and to the historiography of Asian and Middle Eastern history generally.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part 1: The Rise of the Ottoman Empire 1. The Rise of the Ottoman Empire Part 2: Precursors of the Rise 2. The Sultan of Rum 3. Two Chapters in the History of Rum 4. Two Conference Papers From Leiden (1936) 5. From the Defeat at Ankara to the Conquest of Constantinople (A Half-Century of Ottoman History) 6. Two Essays on Mehmed II: Muhammed II and Fath Mubin
Paul Wittek (1894--1978) was one of the leading Ottoman historians of his generation. After serving in the old k. u. k. Armee in Galicia, Italy and Turkey, and an eventful career in Austria, Turkey and Belgium, in 1949 he became the first holder of the Chair of Turkish at the University of London.
Colin Heywood has taught Middle Eastern history at a number of American universities and at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where he took courses with Wittek in the 1950s. He is currently a member of the Maritime Historical Studies Centre, University of Hull; his areas of active research include the early modern maritime history of the Mediterranean and the intellectual legacy of Wittek’s contributions to Ottoman history.
"Colin Heywood ‘s publication of Paul Wittek’s Rise of the Ottoman Empire and other works... is almost as important as the publication of the original. Heywood has produced an outstanding, erudite work in commenting on Wittek's life and career... Heywood has succeeded in vigorously reasserting Wittek’s indisputable place in Ottoman historiography and his own fine contribution to the same history. We all should be grateful to him not only for signalling Wittek’s extraordinary contribution to Seljuki and Ottoman historiography but also for bringing to historians’ attention many of Wittek’s lesser-known works and clarifying their content and the circumstance of their writing." - Kemal H. Karpat, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Int. J. Turkish Studies Vol. 18, Nos. 1&2, 2012