Ottoman Empire

ottoman-empire-1580.gif
The rise of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1453) is largely accredited to two military triumphs. The first triumph was that of the Ottomans over the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, a previous Muslim power that had control over most of central Anatolia. The Ottoman victory in 1307 over the sultanate put the Ottomans on their way to defeating the next largest power: the Byzantines.
The Byzantines fell to "the cannons of Sultan Mehmet" in 1453. The defeat of the Byzantines led to an overhaul in the religion of Europe, Anatolia and North Africa. For the first time in history, not only was there a power that rivaled the strength of the Romans, but Islam was gaining more ground than Christianity. The Ottoman Empire's military victories coincided with the decline of the Byzantine empire, and eventually the Ottoman's captured the failing Roman state. The Ottoman political structure was fairly simple. A sultan ruled over previous and new Ottoman territory captured during his reign. There was no real system for succession, brothers easily killed each other for the throne. After Murad III (1574-1595) and Mehmed III (1595-1603), seniority became the preferred system of succession. The system of fratricide (murder of all other siblings) also came to an end as a result of Ahmed I (1603-1617)'s reaction to Medmed III's fratricide of his 19 brothers.
The Ottoman sultans were secondary in importance to Islam, and carried a great responsibility to their empire to hold it together while keeping a strong focus on Islam.

The Ottoman Empire tried to mix many different cultures together and make them into something unique, unlike other empires of its time (Goffman). The empire tolerated other religions, although it was primarily Islamic (Encyclopedia of World History). The Ottoman Empire was influenced by other cultures in several ways. In the architecture, the Byzantine Empire and Seljuk traditions played roles. Also, both Baki and Na'ili, the two most popular Ottoman poets, used Persian forms and imagery to fit the time and culture of the Ottoman Empire (Goffman).

The outside influences probably strengthened the Ottoman Empire and another contributor to this empire's success was their policy on marriages. The Ottomans believed in polygony, which helped assure that there would always be an heir. Also, arranged marriages were very common here. Alliances and treaties with others were commonly achieved through marriage and provided “new blood.” The Ottoman Empire's choice to allow outside influenced and use others to their advantage probably perpetuated the empire and set it apart from other cultures. (Goffman)
Ecology; the force exerted by a growing population upon its environment, resulting in dispersal or reduction of the population. Many scholars believe that population pressure in the 16th century was a major cause of the fall of the Ottoman Empire. There was substantial growth in population during 16th and 17th century and this caused an inevitable increase of the number of peasants without land. Due to the amount of peasants without land to work and live on there was a gradual breakdown of the inner balance of the village economy and society, as well in the emergence of the ensuing Celali and widespread terror in the Ottoman Empire. In the 19th century there was the added blow of famine, and decentralization and the war had yet to end. the Ottoman Empire which had once been a melting pot of cultures was also experiencing the effects of nationalist movements and countless revolts ("History Study Center"). The decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire followed the predictions of Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations theory and Jared Diamond’s Collapse theory. Huntington wrote that war would always happen and that the basis of the clashes would be civilizations (Huntington). Jared Diamond’s theory is that the failure of a community would have the effects of ecocide prevalent, thus resulting in the collapse of the environment (Diamond). Both of these theories can be applied to the fall of the Ottoman Empire.


Works Cited:
Diamond, Jared. Collapse: How Societies Fail or Succeed. New York: Penguin, 2005. 1-15. Print.
Ottoman Empire. Digital image. Fact On File. 2 Apr. 2010. Web. 2 Apr. 2010. <http://www.fofweb.com/>.
Goffman, Daniel F. Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002. Print.
Huntington, Samuel. The Clash of Civilizations and Remaking the World Order. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996. 20-53. Print.

Terry, Janice J. "Ottoman Empire, 1450-1750." Encyclopedia of World History: The First Global Age. Vol. 3. New York. Facts on File. Web. 2 Apr. 2010. <http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp>.
"The decline of Ottoman power, 1839-1908." Study Unit. History Study Center. ProQuest LLC. Web. 3 Apr. 2010 <http://www.historystudycenter.com/>
Terry, Janice J. "Ottoman Empire, 1299–1453." In Ackermann, Marsha E., Michael Schroeder, Janice J. Terry, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, and Mark F. Whitters, eds.Encyclopedia of World History: The Expanding World, 600 CE to 1450, vol. 2. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2008. Modern World History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?
ItemID=WE49&iPin=WHII224&SingleRecord=True (accessed April 4, 2010).

Rosen, William. Justinian's Flea. London: Viking Penguin, 2007.