Pub. date: 2012 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI: 10.4135/9781452218458 | Print ISBN: 9781412981767 | Online ISBN: 9781452218458 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ottoman Society: 1250 to 1920: Middle East
The term Ottomans identifies a diverse cluster of people associated with the Ottoman Empire. As a long-lived Turkish-Islamic state (1299–1923) and successor of the Byzantine Empire (from 1453), the Ottoman Empire has come to symbolize the epicenter of interactions between Eastern and Western civilizations. By the end of their formative years (1299–1453), the Ottomans had transformed from a rather insignificant principality into a vast empire ruling southeastern Europe, northern Africa, and the Near East. Consequently, a combination of these societies and cultures created what historians call “Ottoman civilization.” A review of the political, economic, and social developments of this civilization provides historical insights into the making of modern eastern Europe, Turkey, and the Middle East. Geopolitically, the Ottomans began in a favorable location. Unlike the other Turkic principalities huddled within Anatolia, they were on the wavering eastern frontier of the Byzantine Empire. Furthermore, the Ottomans courted Turcoman-Muslim tribes—migrating westward away ...