The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe

By Daniel Goffman | Go to book overview

6
Commerce and diasporas

My Exalted Self commands the kadi and bey of Jerusalem: the bailo of Venice petitioned the Sublime Porte that those who visit Jerusalem from the subjects of the nobles of Venice should not be injured. Nor should any one of you interfere with the monks who live in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. When they repair and renovate according to their old situation areas of that church which have fallen into ruin, they seek a command that it is in accordance with Venice's capitulations (ahdname and nişan). Such a decree is given to these Frankish monks.1

In Pera they speak Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, Armenian, Arabic, Persian, Russian, Slavonian, Wallachian, German, Dutch, French, English, Italian, Hungarian; and, what is worse, there is ten of these languages spoke in my own family. My grooms are Arabs, my footmen, French, English and Germans, my Nurse an Armenian, my housemaids Russians, half a dozen other servants Greeks; my steward an Italian; my Janissaries Turks, that I live in the perpetual hearing of this medley of sounds, which produces a very extraordinary effect upon the people that are born here. They learn all these languages at the same time and without knowing any of them well enough to write or read in it.2

One must turn to Ottoman history rather than western European history to explore how Venice and other western European states organized presences in the Levantine world, for the underlying design of Ottoman society did much to accommodate and make possible the development of commercial and diplomatic settlements in the empire. During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the Islamic state constructed a system, based upon a broad-minded interpretation of Islam's attitude toward rival monotheists, that provided inclusion for the Christians and Jews who populated the conquered lands of Anatolia and the Balkans.

____________________
1
Başbakanlιk Osmanlι Arşivi, Ecnebi Defteri 13/1, p. 14, doc 1 (imperial decree, 1604–5).
2
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Turkish embassyletters, intro. Anita Desai, ed. Malcolm Jack (London, 1993), p. 122 (Lady Mary Montagu to Mady Mar, 16 March 1718).

-169-

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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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