Empire and Power in the Reign of Suleyman

Empire and Power in the Reign of Suleyman : Narrating the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman World

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Kaya Sahin's book offers a revisionist reading of Ottoman history during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent (1520-66). By examining the life and works of a bureaucrat, Celalzade Mustafa, Sahin argues that the empire was built as part of the Eurasian momentum of empire building and demonstrates the imperial vision of sixteenth-century Ottomans. This unique study shows that, in contrast with many Eurocentric views, the Ottomans were active players in European politics, with an imperial culture in direct competition with that of the Habsburgs and the Safavids. Indeed, this book explains Ottoman empire building with reference to the larger Eurasian context, from Tudor England to Mughal India, contextualizing such issues as state formation, imperial policy and empire building in the period more generally. Sahin's work also devotes significant attention to the often-ignored religious dimension of the Ottoman-Safavid struggle, showing how the rivalry redefined Sunni and Shiite Islam, laying the foundations for today's religious tensions.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 15 b/w illus. 2 maps
  • 1139604430
  • 9781139604437

Table of contents

1. The formative years (1490-1523); 2. The secretary's progress (1523-34); 3. The empire and its chancellor (1534-53); 4. Toward the end (1553-67); 5. Narrating the empire: history-writing between imperial advocacy and personal testimony; 6. Imagining the empire: the sultan, the realm, the enemies; 7. Managing the empire: institutionalization and bureaucratic consciousness.
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Review quote

'Sahin gives us an excellent account of how Ottoman universalism was formulated by a high-ranking bureaucrat in the dual and seemingly unrelated contexts of Ottoman factionalism and early modern imperial rivalries. As he skilfully demonstrates, we need to connect the histories of different polities in order to understand such complex issues as political legitimacy and imperial ideology. Ottoman historians have come a long way in rescuing their subject from the isolationism and exceptionalism of the 1960s and 70s. Kaya Sahin's work is graceful testimony to this progress.' The Times Literary Supplement 'For Suleiman the Magnificent consult Kaya Sahin's very impressive Empire and Power in the Ade of Suleyman ...' translated from Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance 'Drawing on an impressive bibliography, which includes early modern history, New Historicism and literary theory, empire studies, Ottoman and Islamic studies, and social theory, Sahin offers a clearly written and thorough re-examination of Ottoman 'Great Power' status that will be of great interest primarily to Ottomanists but also to those interested in comparative empires and early modern world history.' Sahar Bazzaz, The Historian 'In narrating Mustafa's views and accounts, Sahin gives abridged translations in prose rather than quoting long and lofty passages from his works. This not only renders Mustafa's expressions readily understandable and makes it rather readable for the non-specialist, it also transmits the poetic/literary aspect of Mustafa's style and his imagery.' N. Zeynep Yelce, Canadian Journal of History
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About Kaya Şahin

Kaya Sahin is Assistant Professor of History at Indiana University, Bloomington. His research and writing have been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Newberry Library, and the Social Science Research Council.
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