“But in history we care as much about what people believe to have happened as we do about the literal truth.” – Goldschmidt p. 140.


Mamluks: http://lexicorient.com/e.o/mamluks.htm

Baybars-fabled ruler in coffeehouse epics http://touregypt.net/featurestories/baybars.htm




Timur d. 1405

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mongol_dominions.jpg      Statue of Timur in Uzbekistan





Battle of Kosovo 1389. On the signifiance of Kosovo: http://uwyo.edu/sward/MME/Kosovo1.htm







Causes of Ottoman Success

            “Social Mobility”

reward for administrative excellence

uniquely successful dynasty with unambiguous rule (

            Administrative organization: Administrative, military, scribal, cultural

Administrative: Divan, Palace, Al-Bab al A’la

Military askari. Ieniceri and sipahi. Timars. Devshirme.

Scribes: Ottoman scribal tradition recorded everything. Tax farming, census, etc.

Ulama: qadis, waqf officials, teachers, etc. Shaykh al-Islam.


Everyone else: re’aya .

Organization by religion (millet), professional guilds, Sufi orders, etc.

Multinational and multilingual but this was not usually a concern.


Causes for decline:

            Social cohesion of slave soldiers declines

            Economic concerns – maintaining timars, getting ahead monetarily

            European expansion

            Ulama became too conservative

Breakdown in checks and balances: Commitment to slaves as source for soldiers and Vizirs gave too much power to one “branch” of government.


Ottoman Map: http://www.crystalinks.com/ottomanempire.html