The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe

By Daniel Goffman | Go to book overview

Kubad at the Sublime Porte

There is, at the end of a secret gallery, a small square window which serves as a listening post. It is a wicker-work grille, with a curtain of crape or black taffeta, and is called the “dangerous window, ” because the prince may, whenever he wishes, listen to and see all that takes place, without being seen.1

Before embarking for Venice, Kubad had to appear before the Imperial Divan to receive his documentation and verbal instructions.2On a gloomyand drizzly morning in earlySeptember 1567, then, he rode from his home in Fatih, the quarter erected around the rather squat mosque of Mehmed II the Conqueror,3 nudging his mount along the slipperyand uneven cobbled roads that twisted up and down the hillycityand across the grounds of the ancient Byzantine hippodrome. He circled to the right of the Hagia Sofia mosque and through the Imperial Gate into the first and most public of the three courtyards of Topkapι, the imperial palace. Here he dismounted and left his steed to be dried and fed at the imperial stables. As Kubad hurried along, he unconsciously noted his surroundings: to his left laythe ancient Byzantine church, Hagia Irene, as well as the mint, the hospital, and the imperial stables; and to his right towered the high wall that marked out the entire palace grounds.4The imperial official, however, walked straight ahead, toward a second portal, the Gate of Salutation.

No guard had challenged his entryinto the first courtyard, for all were allowed here. The area bustled with everytype of person, both subject and foreigner. Some waited to present petitions to scribes who forwarded them to appropriate imperial

____________________
1
Illustrations de B. de Vigenère Bourbonnois sur l'histoire de Chalcocondyle athénien, in Histoire de la décadence de l'empire grec et l'éstablissement de celuydes turcs (Rouen, 1660), p. 19; quoted in Inalcιk, Ottoman Empire, p. 90.
2
We have no information about how Kubad received his instructions. He certainly went to Topkapι Palace in order to do so, however. The best, indeed the definitive, work on this structure is Necipoˇglu, Architecture, ceremonial, and power. See also Godfrey Goodwin, Topkapi Palace: an illustrated guide to its life and personalities (London, 2000).
3
On this mosque and its district, see Sumner-Boyd and Freely, Strolling through Istanbul, pp. 253–69.
4
Any visitor to the palace today can visit all of these landmarks, many of them restored.

-93-

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The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Maps xii
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xvi
  • Note on Usage xix
  • Chronological Table of Events xx
  • The Ottoman House Through 1687 (Dates Are Regnant) xxiii
  • 1 - Introduction: Ottomancentrism and the West 1
  • Part 1 - State and Society in the Ottoman World 21
  • Kubad's Formative Years 23
  • 2 - Fabricating the Ottoman State 27
  • Kubad in Istanbul 55
  • 3 - Aseasoned Polity 59
  • Kubad at the Sublime Porte 93
  • 4 - Factionalism and Insurrection 98
  • Part 2 - The Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean and European Worlds 129
  • Kubad in Venice 131
  • 5 - The Ottoman—venetian Association 137
  • Kubad Between Worlds 165
  • 6 - Commerce and Diasporas 169
  • Kubad Ransomed 189
  • 7 - Achang Ing Station in Europe 192
  • 8 - Conclusion. the Greater Western World 227
  • Glossary 235
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 240
  • Index 252
  • New Approaches to European History *
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