The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe

By Daniel Goffman | Go to book overview

4
Factionalism and insurrection

The reaya no longer obeyed the sovereign's command; the soldiers turned against the sultan. There was no respect for the authorities and they were attacked not by words but blows. All acted as they pleased. As tyranny and injustice increased, people in the provinces began to flee to Istanbul. The old order and harmony departed. When these have finally collapsed, catastrophe will surely follow.1

This, also, is not concealed from the heart of the truth-seeker: in the Sublime State, in every period, the influence of speech and free action has fallen to the share of one group [or another]. And then until the time when, divine will permitting, influence and control pass from that corps to another corps, it is no more than natural for each group to vaunt itself foolishly while it has the royal favor and to rejoice in receiving profits to its heart's content. But one must add at least this much: those who attain to glory and favor through especial fortune of this sort must, no matter who they are, behave with good sense, and must not fail to observe the limits which the rights of God and of the people constitute.2

However invincible the Ottoman military machine seemed through much of the sixteenth century, however coherent Ottoman society seems to have become, and however much money poured into the state coffers, as a monarchy the empire remained dependent upon the abilities of a single man. Even though fortune, and prudent and inventive principles of succession brought a series of competent sultans to the throne, any despotism, reliant as it is upon whims and fancies as well as discretion and wisdom, is inherently unstable. Süleyman (1520–66) ruled during the supposed Ottoman golden age and exhibited all of these traits, both positive and negative. He was both a conqueror and the slayer of his chief lieutenant and his son, both a romantic poet and the spoiler of the Ottoman blueprint for imperial succession. He both benefited from a

____________________
1
Selânikî Mustafa Efendi, Tarih-i Selânikî: as quoted in Inalcιk, Ottoman Empire, p. 46.
2
Naima, Tarih-i Naima, as quoted in Lewis V. Thomas, A studyof Naima, ed. Norman Itzkowitz (New York, 1971), p. 101.

-98-

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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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