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The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe (New Approaches to European History) Hardcover – May 13, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0521452809 ISBN-10: 0521452805

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Product Details

  • Series: New Approaches to European History (Book 24)
  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521452805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521452809
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 4.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,761,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...essential reading for historians of western Europe and for those interested in the interaction of states in the early modern period. Thought provoking and strenously argued, The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe will be of value to specialists for its efforts to synthesise new research and to non-specialists for both its lucid and lively depiction of the empire and its innovative efforts to knit western and eastern Europe together." Itinerario

"Goffman's book fills a useful gap for history instructors and students by presenting an empathetic history of the Ottoman Empire that is both scholarly and accessible." ComiTATUS

"Highly recommended for the academic undergraduate." Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Literature

"[A]n excellent monograph.... This stimulating bok should be required reading in all courses on early modern Europe. All levels and collections." Choice

"This important study of the Ottoman Empire has a number of unconventional approaches that should endear it to the student unfamiliar with its historical evolution and accomplishment up to the period of decline. ...In my judgement this well-written text should serve the interest not only of students, but in many respects, that of the scholar bent on adopting new and more intimate approaches to the history of the Ottoman empire. ...I highly recommend it as an important text for the study of the Ottoman state in its European setting." Digest of Middle East Studies

"...thought-provoking..." Canadian Journal of History, Thomas Scheben, City of Frankfurt

Book Description

Daniel Goffman's lucid and accessible book examines Ottoman relations with Europe in the Early Modern period. Despite the fact that its capital city and over one third of its territory was within the continent of Europe, the Ottoman Empire has consistently been regarded as a place apart, inextricably divided from the West by differences of culture and religion. This new study argues that, beginning in the fourteenth century, the Ottoman Empire slowly became part of Europe not only physically but institutionally and psychologically as well.

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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Cesar Gonzalez Rouco on June 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I find in this book a good defence against the "Ottoman Black Legend", insisting that Turkey is also part of Europe, and showing that the Ottoman Empire was more alike to the present world than contemporary Christian societies, given that its degree of tolerance towards other people's religions and the ethnic compo-sition of its subjects was far greater and more varied than those of Christian Early Modern Europe. But I have the feeling that this book is not for beginners, but for those who already know about the Ottoman Empire and which wish to deepen their knowledge.I have rated it four starts. Considering its content, I think it should be five; conside-ring its readability, three.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Collin Garbarino VINE VOICE on June 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
In The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe, Daniel Goffman takes a fresh approach to explaining the relationship between Europe and the Ottoman Empire. He takes a dim view of earlier historians of the Ottoman Empire whom he accuses of being guilty of Orientalism. Goffman's goal in this book is to highlight the commonalities between the Ottoman Empire and the rest of Europe by investigating two aspects of the empire, the state's polity and its interactions with Western Europe.

Perhaps the strangest aspect of this book is Goffman's attempt to bring a personal character to Ottoman studies. He introduces each chapter with a vignette from the life of a certain Kubad. These vignettes are meant to provide a narrative aspect to this work that is otherwise a survey. In looking at these glimpses of Kubad's life, Goffman takes certain liberties with his tale by fabricating details to fill the lacuna in Kubad's life. Though he notes when he is speculating, these flights of fancy may leave some historians uneasy. Ultimately, the perceived effectiveness of this technique is a matter of taste. Some people may appreciate the narrative and personal touch these vignettes provide, while others may find the work disjointed as it bounces between speculative biography and survey.

In this book, Goffman proposes that historians cannot understand the history of Western Europe during the early modern period without addressing the Ottoman Empire. He writes, "It is thus not only reasonable--but quite fruitful--to conceive and study a "Greater Western World" which encompassed the followers of both Jesus and Mohammed" (8). In this book, Goffman investigates early modern Europe from an "Ottocentric" point of view.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This is primarily an analysis of the Ottoman Empire during the Early Modern period. Basic narrative is included but Goffman's primary interest is in discussing the basic features of the empire and, in particular, rebutting some historiographic stereotypes. In this well written book, Goffman presents the basic narrative from approximately the early 14th century to the end of the 17th century. Goffman describes the construction of the Ottoman state, its evolution over time, and the way Ottoman institutions changed as a result of interactions with other states, particularly with Catholic Europe. There is a nice description of basic institutions of the Ottoman state and their evolution. The imperial court, the basic structure of the bureaucracy, the use of slave retainers, the pseudo-feudal use of landholders, and the relationship to Islam are discussed well. Goffman shows, for example, how the famous janissery corps were used to extend military power, guarantee a loyal following for the court, and counterbalance the power of traditional Turkic warriors. The development and evolution of the corps is laid out well. Similarly, Goffman describes quite well how succession practices and the relationships will Islam changed over this period.

Goffman is particularly concerned with 2 major themes. One is the relatively syncretic and creative nature of the Ottoman state. The Ottomans are shown to adopt governing practices from a variety of sources incluidng Central Asian, Persian, Arab, Byzantine, and European traditions. He emphasizes the considerable flexibility of Ottoman institutions across this period. A second theme is the ways in which the Ottoman Empire was strongly integrated with the developing European state system and European commerce.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zachary W. Schulz on March 6, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Daniel Goffman’s The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe advocates that the Ottoman Empire held “many common elements between it and the rest of Europe.” (p. 6) Integration between the Ottomans and Europeans became possible through commercial and diplomatic ties nurtured by the diverse polities within the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire consisted of a vast multitude of different peoples with different customs that allowed for greater commercial flexibility than Orthodox Islam allowed. The complex trade structure, Goffman contends, refutes the ‘decline theory’ held by modern historians as “not tenable” and fails to account for the Ottoman polities that stabilized the empire until the 17th century. (p. 18)

Goffman posits that “trade within the Mediterranean basin served to bind the two worlds” of the Europeans and Ottomans. (p. 9) After the 1453 fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, the Ottomans had a militaristic and economic staging area for the European theater. In the opening dialogues of trade, Goffman points to “Armenian middlemen.” (p. 15) The Armenians, being a Christian community situated within the Ottoman Empire, could easily interact with European Christians. The sharing of a common religion facilitated trade by providing an avenue of interaction otherwise not open between Muslims and Christians. Goffman attributes this as an early instance of “the Ottoman polity serv[ing] as the linchpin of [a] far-flung commercial network” binding the worlds together. (p. 15)

Furthering his argument, Goffman addresses the role of Jewish communities within the Empire. He maintains that “Jewish subjects made good use of the knowledge gained by direct exposure to southern and western Europe” to establish European trade relations. (p.
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