An Ottoman Tragedy: History and Historiography at Play by Gabriel Piterberg

By Gabriel Piterberg

Within the area of six years early within the 17th century, the Ottoman Empire underwent such turmoil and trauma--the assassination of the younger ruler Osman II, the re-enthronement and next abdication of his mad uncle Mustafa I, for a start--that a student mentioned the period's three-day-long dramatic climax "an Ottoman Tragedy." lower than Gabriel Piterberg's deft research, this era of difficulty turns into a historic laboratory for the background of the Ottoman Empire within the 17th century--an chance to watch the dialectical play among historical past as an incidence and event and background as a recounting of that have. Piterberg reconstructs the Ottoman narration of this fraught interval from the foundational textual content, produced within the early 1620s, to the composition of the nation narrative on the finish of the 17th century. His paintings brings theories of historiography into discussion with the particular interpretation of Ottoman historic texts, and forces a rethinking of either Ottoman historiography and the Ottoman nation within the 17th century. A provocative reinterpretation of an immense occasion in Ottoman heritage, this paintings reconceives the relation among historiography and historical past.

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The third observation concerns the sociology of the Ottoman historians. ” 2 It would be erroneous to interpret, both contextually and textually, the Tarih-i Al-i Osman genre of the early seventeenth century as a linear progression from its fifteenth-century putative predecessor or as merely an “improvement” of it. The fourth and final observation alludes to modern scholarship. Two main trends, which are not mutually exclusive and may be found within a single study, are concurrent in the scholarship on Ottoman historiography.

Whatever the judgment passed on him, Mustafa Ag˘a’s involvement highlights another facet of the changes in the royal household at that period: the dramatic ascendancy of the black eunuchs in general and the chief black eunuch in particular, frequently in conjunction and alliance with the valide sultan. This ascendancy should be understood within the underlying framework of the transformation of the state and the royal household described above. The Ottomans were not the first to recruit and employ eunuchs— black or white—in their households: they were preceded by numerous Mediterranean states all the way back to antiquity.

Instances of parsimoniousness and an arbitrary attitude as a major cause for the kul’s resentment abound. The importance of performing certain rituals that demonstrated imperial largesse as well as acknowledgment of the kul’s commitment and effort were central to keeping the relationship harmonious. 32 Tug˘i’s pro-kul predilection notwithstanding, this discursive and material context explains why the kul’s contention in his text, that the behavior of Sultan Osman had justified their lackluster performance, not only was not considered a priori preposterous but could actually make sense.

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