In this paper “Halil Inalcik and Marshall Hodgson’s views on the Ottoman Empire” the comparison between two historians will be made in an attempt to understand the operations of the empire and its success since its inception and prior to 1600 AD…
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There was an accepted mode of coexistence that was not occasionally as disruptive as a society as such would be in the modern world. This, however, did not mean that the different religious factions existed in absolute peace without any animosity or bad blood. On the contrary, there were documented cases of massacres and discrimination all over the empire that seemed to have been sparked by hatred and a religious bias. The breakdown of the empire of the Seljuk Turks was the catalyst in the formation of the Ottoman Empire1 which was one of the few surviving empires at the time. The Ottoman Empire started as one of the small states that were formed after the initial breakdown and existed as thus for a longer period of time before the reign of Muhammad II saw the absorption of all neighboring Turkish states in one unified monarch that was referred to as the Ottoman Empire. The rulers in the Ottoman Empire were primarily the descendants of Ghazi warriors who were very successful in the formation of a superpower in Europe at the time when all the other empires around them were disintegrating2. The Ottoman Empire existed peacefully with the other nations around it except for the occasional war that was primarily aimed at expanding trade routes or spreading the holy word of Islam. An alliance between the French and the Turks was formed later on with the driving force being a common enemy in Austria Hapsburg and Spain although it did not have much in the bearing of war. The then leader Sulayman (popularly referred to as Sulayman the magnificent) of the Ottoman Empire was responsible for creating this alliance. He was instrumental in the organization of the judicial system among many other accolades that he had and he was arguably one of the most successful rulers of the empire if not the greatest. In addition, his reign saw the flowering of Turkish literature, Ottoman architecture, and arts which served to expand the reach of the empire as scholars were attracted by them. Furthermore, traders also followed suit as the world was beginning to have an appreciation for the arts and literature although every culture had its own. The leader of the Ottoman Empire was popularly referred to as the sultan. The sultan was primarily charged with upholding the Muslim canonical law among many other implied responsibilities which were overshadowed by the fact that he was viewed as the representative of the Muslim God, Allah, on the ottomans. After the death of Sulayman, the Janissaries, who were largely Christians converted to Islam and trained to be deadly in war gained power and this was the cue for the empire to begin crumbling. Corruption then became the order of the day as the holders of the office of the day were charged with fleecing the people as they scrambled to keep what they would for themselves at the expense of the very people they were meant to be representative of. The first signs of the waning power of the empire lost in the battlefront, with enemies aligning with Austria in a bid to ceasing parts of the territory that was initially under the Ottoman Empire.
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