A History of Ottoman Political Thought Up to the Early Nineteenth Century

A HISTORY OF OTTOMAN POLITICAL THOUGHT
  • Book Title:
 A History Of Ottoman Political Thought Up To The Early Nineteenth Century
  • Book Author:
Marinos Sariyannis
  • Total Pages
608
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A HISTORY OF OTTOMAN POLITICAL THOUGHT – Book Sample

Contents – A HISTORY OF OTTOMAN POLITICAL THOUGHT

  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Note on Transliteration and Citations xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 What Is Ottoman Political Thought? 5
  • 2 Scope and Aims: the Quest for Innovation 8
  • 3 A Note on “Modernity”—Early or Not 14
  • 4 Trends and Currents: for a Thematic Description of Ottoman
  • Political Thought 22
  • 1 The Empire in the Making: Construction and Early Critiques 29
  • 1 Opposition to Imperial Policies as an Indicator of Gazi Political
  • Ideas 33
    • Yahşi Fakih and Aşıkpaşazade 33
    • Apocalyptic Literature as a Vehicle for Opposition 39
  • The Introduction of Imperial Ideals 44
    • Ahmedi and Other Persianate Works 46
    • The Main Themes of Early Ottoman “Mirrors for Princes”
  • Texts 51
  • Shifting Means of Legitimization 59
  • 2 “Political Philosophy” and the Moralist Tradition 63
  • 1 Works of Ethico-political Philosophy: from Amasi to
  • Kınalızade 67
  • 2 Moral Philosophy as Political Theory 75
  • 2.1 A Political Economy 80
  • 2.2 The Beginning and Principles of Government 84
  • 2.3 The adab Element in ahlak Literature 92
  • The Afterlife of a Genre 96
  • 3 The Imperial Heyday: the Formation of the Ottoman System and
  • Reactions to It 99
  • 1 The Basis of the Ottoman Synthesis: Ebussuud and the Reception
  • of Ibn Taymiyya 100
    • Dede Cِngi Efendi and the Legitimization of Kanun 104
    • Between State and Legal Thought 108
  • A New Legitimacy 110
  • vi Contents
  • Reactions to the Imperial Vision 114
    • The Ulema Opposition to the Süleymanic Synthesis 118
  • The Iranian Tradition Continued: Bureaucrats, Sufis, and
  • Scholars 124
    • The Scribal Tradition 128
    • Celalzade and the Glorification of the Empire 130
  • Lutfi Pasha and the Beginning of the Ottoman “Mirror for
  • Princes” 137
  • As a Conclusion: the Ideas at Hand, the Forces at Work 142
  • “Mirrors for Princes”: the Decline Theorists 144
  • 1 Ottoman Authors and the “Decline” Paradigm 148
    • In Lütfi Pasha’s Footsteps 149
  • Mustafa Ali and “the Politics of Cultural Despair” 159
    • Innovations, Abuses, Disorders: the Ottoman World According
  • to Ali 162
    • Ali as a Landmark of Ottoman Thought 171
  • Ali’s Contemporaries, Facing the Millenium 174
    • Hasan Kâfi Akhisari, ـveysi 180
  • The “Golden Age” as a Political Agenda: the Reform Literature 188
  • 1 The Canonization of Decline 190
    • “Constitutionalism” and Charismatic Rulership 192
  • The Landmarks of Declinist Literature 195
    • Murad IV’s Counselors: Koçi Bey and His Circle 197
    • Decline and Redress 199
    • The Sultan and His Government 209
  • Administration Manuals: an Ottoman Genre 213
    • Sanctifying Janissary and Landholding Regulations: the Early
  • Seventeenth Century 216
  • The Afterlife of the Genre: Late Seventeenth-Century
  • Manuals 221
    • Parallel Texts: Eyyubî Efendi, Kavânîn-i osmanî, Dımışkî 227
  • The “Sunna-Minded” Trend 233
  • E. Ekin Tuşalp Atiyas
  • 1 The Controversy of the Century? The Kadızadelis 234
  • 2 Beyond the Social History of the Controversy 239
  • 2.1 Münir-i Belgradi and Two Works for Two Distinct
  • Audiences 241
  • 2.2 Imam Birgivi as the “Predecessor” 245
  • Contents vii
  • 2.3 Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong 248
  • 3 Ottoman Decline à la Sunna 250
  • 3.1 Fighting Innovation through Consultation 253
  • 3.2 Who Is to Blame? Ulema, Non-Muslims and Evil
  • Merchants 258
  • Political Practice and Political Thought 264
  • Conclusion 277
  • Khaldunist Philosophy: Innovation Justified 279
  • 1 The Social and Ideological Struggles: between Viziers and
  • Janissaries 282
  • 2 Katib Celebi and Ottoman Khaldunism 285
  • 2.1 A Theory of State and Society 287
  • 2.2 Kâtib اelebi’s Other Works: World Order as Diversity 295
  • 3 Katib Celebi’s Immediate Influence: the Conciliation with
  • Change 302
  • 4 Na’ima: Stage Theory in the Service of Peace 308
  • 4.1 Peace as a Means to Avoid Decline 313
  • 4.2 Optimism Revisited: the Ulema as Destroyers of Peace 316
  • 4.3 Social Discipline and Political Economy 318
  • Peace and Change: Preparing an Ideological Environment 322
  • The Eighteenth Century: the Traditionalists 326
  • 1 The Eighteenth Century and Its Intellectual Climate: on Ottoman
  • “Traditionalism” 332
  • 2 Defterdar and His Circle 335
  • 2.1 “Mirrors for Princes” Revisited 337
  • 3 The Last of the Traditionalists 343
  • 3.1 Traditional Forms, Reformist Content 347
  • 4 Traditional Reformers: Rivers in Confluence 361
  • 4.1 On the Eve of Nizam-i Cedid: Vasıf, Ratıb Efendi, Abdullah
  • Halim 362
  • 4.2 Religious Zeal in the Service of Reform: Emin Behic and ضmer
  • Faik Efendi 369
  • 4.3 An Author in the Crossroads: Şanizade’s Views on History and
  • Politics 376
  • The Eighteenth Century: the Westernizers 381
  • 1 The Precursors of Nizam-i Cedid: İbrahim Muteferrika and the
  • Dialogue with the West 384
    • Westernization: the Early Proposals 389
  • viii Contents
    • Ahmed Resmi Efendi and the Balance of Powers 400
  • Selim III and the Reform Debate 408
    • For or against Reform? “Sekbanbaşı” and Kuşmanî’s
  • Libels 414
    • Janissary Views in the Mirror of Selimian Propaganda 421
  • The Last Round: from Selim III to Mahmud II 425
  • The Tanzimat as Epilogue 428
  • Conclusion: towards an Ottoman Conceptual History 432
  • 1 Politics 432
  • 2 State 436
  • 3 The Ottoman Political Vocabulary and Its Development 438
  • 3.1 Justice (adalet) 438
  • 3.2 Law and “The Old Law” (kanun, kanun-i kadim) 441
  • 3.3 Innovation (bid’at) 444
  • 3.4 World Order (nizam-i alem) 446
  • 3.5 Keeping One’s Place (hadd) 449
  • 3.6 Consultation (meşveret) 452
  • Some General Remarks 453
  • 4.1 Ottoman Political Ideas in Context 455
  • Appendix 1: Historical Timeline 461
  • Appendix 2: Samples of Translated Texts 480
  • Bibliography 515
  • Indices
  • Personal Names 573
  • Place Names, Subjects, Terms 582
  • Titles of Works 593

“Political Philosophy” and the Moralist Tradition

It may be argued whether certain elements of the “imperial vision” were present in the Ottoman state and ideology before the mid-fifteenth century; undoubtedly, however, it was during the reign of Mehmed II that the Ottomans became a fully-fledged empire with claims to universal dominion of some kind. As Dimitris Kastritsis notes, “Bayezid [I] … had anticipated in many ways Mehmed the Conqueror’s centralizing imperial vision”1 (and this explains why, as noted above, critics of the latter also dismissed the policy of the former).

Yet the battle of Ankara was a major setback, and in the first years of the inter-regnum a vision of the prevailing prince as primus inter pares seems to have gained traction once more.2 It took years for the Ottomans to recover militarily and politically, as well as ideologically, from this period of introverted self-reevaluation.

Moreover, their conquest of Constantinople, an ancient Islamic dream foretold in the Quran and laden with apocalyptic and eschatological overtones, permitted the Ottomans to pursue an imperial policy aimed at creating a world empire.

The conquest of Constantinople in 1453 was only the first in a series of victories:3 by 1458, Serbia (with its silver mines) was subjugated (partly due to the efforts of the grand vizier Mahmud Pasha Angelović, himself of Serbian origin), as were the Genoese colonies in western Anatolia and the north- eastern Aegean.

What remained of the Byzantine Empire, namely the Peloponnese and the Black Sea coast, followed a few years later (with some setbacks at the beginning of the next decade). Mehmed’s next targets were Wallachia, Bosnia, and Albania, where he gained considerable success (though not without some difficulties), while at the same time he consolidated his dominance over the Venetians in central Greece (notably with the conquest of Euboea in 1470).

Moreover, the Ottomans had to cope with the Akkoyunlus in their eastern borders, under their ambitious ruler Uzun Hasan (an ally of the Venetians): the early years of the 1470s were dominated by the struggle for suzerainty over Karaman, i.e. central Anatolia, which ended in total Ottoman victory. The second half of the decade saw Mehmed establish his hold over the western and northern coasts of the Black Sea, as well as over the Ionian and Adriatic coasts. Mehmed died in 1481, just after his vizier Gedik Ahmed Pasha had seized Otranto, leading to fears in Europe of a campaign against Rome.

Mehmed’s confrontation with the Genoese and the Venetians, on the one hand, and his unabashed expansion over the Muslim states of eastern Anatolia, on the other, show his desire to create an empire with claims to uni-versality. This imperial project, which had begun with the immediate trans-fer of the capital to newly-conquered Istanbul, was enhanced by his internal centralizing policies.

Mehmed II’s reforms concerning the land and revenue were referred to in the previous chapter;4 in the administrative field he also abolished (or tried to abolish) the hereditary right of the old families to the vizierial posts (beginning with Çandarlı Halil’s execution during the siege of Constantinople) and started using converts (such as members of the Byzantine imperial family)5 and devşirme recruits (such as Mahmud Pasha) in these offices.

 His son Bayezid II’s sultanate (1481–1512) seemed, at least in the beginning, to constitute a complete reversal of these policies: one of the new sultan’s first acts was to reverse Mehmed’s confiscation of private and vakıf revenues (an act which, as noted in the previous chapter, was hailed as a sign of generosity by the champions of the old warlord and dervish aristocracy).

His sympathies with the dervish orders (all too happy to have their properties restored) earned him the surname Veli (“the saint”); upon his ascension to the throne, he brought to Istanbul a sheikh of the Halveti order with whom he had been on good terms during his governorship in Amasya; thus, he initiated the presence of this fraternity (which was to became one of utmost importance throughout the next centuries) in the Ottoman capital.6

As far as external policy was concerned, Bayezid was a markedly more peaceful sultan than his predecessor: part of this commitment to friendly relations with the West was due to the constant threat posed by his brother Cem, held as a hostage on Rhodes, Rome, and later in France, until Cem’s death in 1495. To secure peace, Bayezid paid an annual tribute to Rome to ensure for his brother was held safe and quiet, while he also abandoned Otranto and concluded several truces with European states. However, Bayezid also waged

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