By Daniel Goffman

Even though its capital urban and over one 3rd of its territory used to be in the continent of Europe, the Ottoman Empire has regularly been considered as a spot aside, inextricably divided from the West by way of ameliorations of tradition and faith. A notion of its militarism, its barbarism, its tyranny, the sexual appetites of its rulers and its pervasive exoticism has led historians to degree the Ottoman international opposed to a western common and locate it missing. In contemporary many years, a dynamic and convincing scholarship has emerged that seeks to realize and, within the method, to de-exoticize this enduring realm. Dan Goffman presents a radical advent to the historical past and associations of the Ottoman Empire from this new viewpoint, and offers a declare for its inclusion in Europe. His lucid and interesting book--an very important addition to New techniques in eu History--will be crucial analyzing for undergraduates.

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More importantly, Europe simply produced little of interest to the peoples of the Islamic Middle East. Italian merchants who sought the silk, pepper, cinnamon, and other spices that flowed through Syrian and Egyptian ports had little other than bullion to offer in return. Although Muslims certainly were involved in this trade, their businesses tended to be stationary. It was merchants from the northwest who traversed the trading corridors of the Mediterranean. Christian Europe did not suddenly begin drawing Muslim merchants after 1453.

It thus makes good sense to highlight religion as a fundamental building block of civilizations that predated the Ottoman, Venetian, and Habsburg hegemonies. After all, early modern Europe emerged from a Christian ecumene that had helped define and grant legitimacy to a medieval Europe that presided over several crusades against Islam. Although the transformations of the Renaissance and the Reformation shook that world to its core, Christian Europe – particularly in its relations with non-Christian societies – continued to cast its existence in terms of a “universal” faith.

Through their ventures – often in concert with Ottoman Arab Muslims, Armenian Christians, Orthodox Greeks, and Turkish Muslims – commercial relations became cultural ties. Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Ottomans involved themselves in these exchanges and built and crossed economic, cultural, and political bridges by doing so. The heyday for Greek Orthodox commerce did not arrive until the eighteenth century, when the Phanariot of Istanbul linked up with coreligionists in Ottoman outports not only to dominate seaborne commerce within the Ottoman Mediterranean world, but also to direct the government’s fiscal procedures and even challenge the Atlantic seaboard states in their own entrepots.

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