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Table of
Was it a Dream?! Page 3
By Abdultawwab Alaa

The Lifestyle of the Ottoman Empire Page 6

By Ahmed El-Baz

They were not just Womanizers! Page 11

By Amr Hesham

At Constantinople, they ruled in a different way Page 18

By Habiba Hesham

An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire

By Mirna Medhat Page 23

Is it a Mixture of Eastern and Western Lives?

By Mohamed Mostafa Page 31

The Influence of Previous Cultures on the Ottoman Culture

and Entertainment
By Omar Medha Page 36
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Staff Positions
Abdultawwab Alaa

Ahmed El-Baz
Content Manager

Amr Hesham
Copy Editor, Designer, Print Manager

Habiba Hesham

Mirna Medhat
Administrative Director

Mohamed Mostafa
Print Manager

Omar Medhat
Print Manager
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Was it a dream?!
By Abdultawwab
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the article in the newspaper:’’ NASA invented
a time machine that prepares journeys to any era you wish to go to. First 50 who try the
machine will be for free, and then the cost of one journey will be 60,000 $’’. Immediately ,I
went to NASA’s agency and I was lucky to be the 48’th person , so I will take a journey for
free to the era that I always dreamt of living in , The era of the OTTOMAN EMPIRE !. I
entered the machine, when the scientists launched it, I felt a terrible headache. My eyes
closed, and suddenly I found myself in a whole different world!
I found myself in some kind of a desert, a palace in front of me, and 3 soldiers
dressed in funny outfits. I couldn’t recognize that they were soldiers except that they were
holding rifles. Weapons that looked almost like our modern machine guns. The soldiers took
me to the Sultan, and no, it’s impossible. It’s OSMAN I sitting in front of me! Osman I:
“Who are you and why are you trespassing the borders of my empire?”
I explained the whole story to him. He thought that I was lying, or pretending to be crazy, so
he ordered his soldiers to execute me; however, I intercepted him saying:
“Can you answer some questions that I want to know about the empire before I die?”
Osman I: “If this will be your last Abdeltawab Alaa:” I think that
wish, okay, go on” camels have priority in your empire as
means of transport, is this true?”
Abdeltawab Alaa:” What are the
methods of transport and travel in your Osman I:”No, mules, donkeys, and
empire?” horses sometimes are preferable to camels
for shorter trips because of their greater
speed. For example, camels need 5-9 days
Osman I : “A strange question from but mules only 4-5 days to carry a cargo
a man who will die in a minute , but I will between Aleppo and Latakia. Camels are
answer you,“ he said, “In the Ottoman famed for their ability to carry cargoes of
Empire, transporting goods on animals’ 550 pounds and more for distances of 24-
backs are more common than transporting 32 km per day.” (İnalcık, 1994)
goods on carts. Generally, carts are
restricted to travel within a village, but Abdeltawab Alaa:”Well, camels
became more common day by day. In the can carry cargoes of 550 pounds and more
areas where they settled, Circassian and for distances, what about mules and
Jewish immigrants re-introduced wheeled donkeys, how many pounds can they carry,
transport to us”. (İnalcık, 1994) and for how long can they carry the
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Osman I: ’’ You are beginning to

annoy me, young man , my empire is
named after me ,I’m the first sultan&
leader of the Ottoman Turks and founder
of the dynasty which established and ruled
the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Turks
derived their name from me. I proclaimed
independence from the Seljuk Turks, upon
the collapse of their empire. My full name
is Osman Ghazi, my father’s name is
Camels had the priority in land travel Ertuğrul, and my empire came to power
after the collapse of the Byzantine Empire.
I married Valide Sultan and Mal Hatun”
Osman I:” Mules and horses can (İnalcık, 1994)
carry 420 pounds, while donkeys transport
about 170 pounds. Camels are more
common in the Arab lands.” (İnalcık, Abdeltawab Alaa:” What about the
1994) children? How many children do you have,
Abdeltawab Alaa:”What about the
sea transports?” Osman I:” Don’t you think that you
want to know things that are none of your
Osman I: ”As for Sea Transport, business? It’s good that you are going to be
Small sailing ships transport most Ottoman executed!”
goods and passengers and. Sailing vessels Abdeltawab Alaa:”I’m sorry Sultan, but
with hulls weighing more than 200 tons are please answer my questions, they are my
unusual in the Mediterranean. The volume last wishes before I’m going to be
of shipping in Ottoman waters during the executed.”
early years of the century was
unimpressive compared to the levels
reached nowadays. The sea-lanes to Osman I: “Well young man, I have
Istanbul certainly are the most heavily Kashif, Melik and Hamid.” (İnalcık, 1994)
traveled in the empire.” (İnalcık, 1994)
Abdeltawab Alaa:”What about
Orhan I, Tchioban, and Pazarlu?” (İnalcık,
Abdeltawab Alaa: “Impressive,
Can you tell me more about yourself, as Osman I:” How did you know
the sultan of the Ottoman Empire?” about them, young man? You’d better tell
me or your questions will be over, and you
will be immediately executed.”
Abdeltawab Alaa:”I told you
sultan, I’m from the future!”
I felt that Osman I began to think of
that I said was true, and that he began to
believe me as I’m a man from the future.
He thought of what I said for a minute and
then told me: “proceed with your questions
Battle ships
young man”
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Abdeltawab Alaa:” Don’t you think

that the empire is huge for a man like you Osman I:”It’s the time of your execution
to rule?” young man.”
The soldiers took me and were
Osman I:”Should I understand that about to kill me. I screamed, and then I
you are doubting my abilities, young found my friends at work waking me up
man”? and telling me that I was dreaming. A few
moments later, a man came to me and told
Abdeltawab Alaa:”No, I mean that me “I’m a secret agent of NASA, the
the Ottoman Empire contains 29 provinces machine seemed to be crashing, and we
and spans three continents as known in our returned you at the last minute. You were
future, controlling much of South Eastern fainting and we returned you to work
Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. secretly. We’ve even took all the copies of
How do you rule all of this huge Empire?” the magazine that you read the article
(İnalcık, 1994) about the time machine in. It won’t exist
Osman I:”Look young man, as
long as you are a great warrior and a brave
leader, nothing can stand in your way. As I was depressed to see that I will
long as you are strong and you rule wisely, never return to that era again, but I knew
your soldiers and people will love you and now a lot about the Ottoman Empire. Of
sacrifice their lives for you; but I will course no one will believe that I was sitting
always tell you, “With great powers, with the sultan of the Ottoman Empire,
comes great responsibilities.” (Parker, Osman I. But at least I know that it
2002) happened, also I know the origins of the
quote “with great powers, comes great
responsibilities.” Now I know that peter
I heard this quote before; it’s from the
parker took it from Osman I, and that he
Spiderman movie.
was the first to say it.


İnalcık Halil , Quataert Donald , An economic and social history of the ottoman empire 1300-
1914, New York City, Great Britain Cambridge University press.

Spiderman the movie(2002) ,

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The lifestyle of the

Ottoman Empire
By Ahmed El-Baz

I am a young man who works at a magazine company that has its huge name in the world of
magazines. I want to gain Experience, so I am training there. As usual, I went at 8:30 to my
work and I took my cup of hot tea to relax. While I was thinking, my Boss came suddenly and
asked me to go to his office and to sit down. I was very excited about it, as I thought that this
was going to be the first job for me. He told me that I have to write an article about the
Ottoman people in Constantinople, and that the deadline is after two weeks. I felt that I will
not have enough time to finish the article; however, I decided not to complain. I smiled to the
boss and said, “Sure boss, you will have it on your desk two weeks from now.”

I returned to my office and began to panic. I opened my laptop and began to research

about the topic, then after a long time of searching; I found a book which was talking exactly

about what the boss asked me to write about. I began to read, actually I found so many things

that I never knew about. I went on reading, and got a lot of information.

The Ottomans were like the Arabs in their lifestyle, music, and philosophy. They were

also interested in gold and silver.

Origins of the ottoman state

It's great for us to understand the rise of great empires such as Rome, the Ming, the

British, and the Ottomans. But how can these world shaking events be explained?

In summary, the Ottomans grew in the context of Turkish traveling invasions that

shattered central Byzantine state control in Asia Minor; in the Middle East, a Mongol

invasion brought chaos and increased the people on the frontiers. The Ottomans were very

lucky because the geographic location enabled them to control the trade routes to the Balkans

(Quataert, 2005, p. 13).

The Ottoman Empire was born between the thirteenth and the fourteenth centuries, it

was also called Asia Minor (Quataert, 2005, p. 17).

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History of the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire passed on only what remained of their barbarian

past. The Ottomans were Turks to most outsiders (the Balkans and the

European were Christians, while the North Africans were Muslims). Terms

suggestive of their Turkish ethnicity can be found in ottoman sources. Both the

Eastern and the Roman empires had converted to Christianity before falling
City Tavern

victim to barbarian conquest. In the Eastern Empire, Christianity was displaced by rival faith.

(Quataert, 2005, p. 25).

The Turkish invasion of Anatolia in the eleventh century and the ottoman conquest of

Constantinople in the fifteenth completed the assault of Islam on the eastern Roman Empire,

initiated by the Arabs in the seventh century. Back then, Islam was a religion that was very

different from Christianity (Quataert, 2005, p. 16).

The rise of the Ottoman Empire

In the second half of the seventeenth/thirteenth century, as the Seljuk state fell apart, a

number of beyliks of new kind came into being in the western marches of Anatolia. The

emergence of the ottoman state can be understood only in the general history of the marches

(Quataert, 2005, p. 16).

Osman had become master and the chief of an area that contains from (eskisherhir to

the plains of iznik and bursa), and had organized a fairly powerful principality. In 701/1301

the byzantine emperor sent him against Osman a force of 2,000 men under the command of

the hataereiareb muzalon charged with the task of release iznik. When Osman knew that there
Page |9

is a trap in this force, he destroyed it at Baphaeon. The people were panicked and started to

leave, seeking shelter in the castle of Nicomedia (Quataert, 2005, p. 44).

Mehmed bey, son of Ayden, captured pyrgion, made it his own capital by extending

his power as far as Smyrna, then he became the most powerful prince in western Anatolia.

These successful leaders naturally attracted a great number of ghazis.

Abdulhamid II

He was the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He oversaw a

period of decline in the power and extent of the Empire. He ruled from

31 August 1876 until he was deposed on 27 April 1909. Known to

some as the Great Khan, he is also known in the West as "The Red

Sultan” (Quataert, 2005, p. 162).

Turkish family at the park

Mehmed VI

He was the 36th and the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, reigning from 1918 to

1922. Being the brother of Mehmed V, he succeeded to the throne as the eldest male member

of the House of Osman after the 1916 suicide of Abdulaziz's son, Yusuf Izzettin Efendi, the

heir to the throne. He was girded with the Sword of Osman on July 4, 1918, as the thirty-

sixth padishah. His father was sultan Abdulmecid, (1831 - May 1861), originally named

Henriet, a Circassian. (Vernon J, Parry,M and A. Cook, 1976, p. 23)

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Suleiman Salem was one of the greatest ten ottomans that passed on the Ottoman

Empire he was the magnificent; he made the Ottoman Empire at this time a remarkable one

and he was a great ruler and a great knight. (Vernon J, Parry,M and A. Cook, 1976, p. 24)

Among mehmed11's main concerns was to make Istanbul one of the world's political

and economic centres, to turn it into a populous city, to develop it and to adorn it with new

buildings. Before the ottoman conquest, Constantinople had been like a head without a body,

and in the last days of the Byzantine Empire, it was a poor and largely depopulated city of

ruins. After the conquest, Mehmed tried to repopulate the city, from which its old inhabitants

had fled. Until the end of his reign, Mehmed continued to resettle the city through the system

of forcible settlement and other measures. Greeks, Italians and Jews were brought for

settlement to the city from phoccea in western Anatolia, from Argos and elsewhere in the

morea, from the island of Thasos, Samothrace, mytilene and Euboea, from Asmara, Trebizond

and kaffa in the black sea. Mehmed encouraged Jews to come from as far away as Germany

and Italy. (Vernon J, Parry,M and A. Cook, 1976, p. 134)


Quataert, D. (2005). The Ottoman Empire, 1700–1922. New York:

State University of New York.

Vernon, J., Parry, M., & Cook, A. (1976). A History of the Ottoman Empire to 1730.

London: Cambridge University Press.

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They were associated with the Ottomans! However,

not just the man seemed insulted about my thought.

At that time, he told me that he wants to do

this website to correct people’s ideas about
By Amr Hesham
the Ottomans. He argued that the Ottomans

were great scientists and technological

A few days ago while sitting
leaders. He backed up his argument by
behind my desk waiting for another
stating the technological advancements
customer to come and ask me to do him
that Taqi Al-Din Muhammad Ibn Ma’ruf
that boring database driven website, I was
who excelled at many fields like optics,
surprised when a client asked me to do him
physics, astronomy, and mechanics
a website on the Ottomans. At first I
(Aslam, 2009).
thought he wanted an image gallery of the

harem of that age, as this is what is usually

The man really amazed me when invent what can be described as a simple

he said that before Taqi Al-Din, people telescope (Hill, 1978). At that time I

believed that they saw objects when light remembered that I have read something

came out of their eyes and hit the object about that book when I was at school, so I

(Science and Technology in the Ottoman asked the client to tell me more about it.

Empire, 2009)! However, he let me know The client told me that according to Aslam

that in Taqi Al-Din’s book: Kitab Nur (2009), Al-Din’s book consisted of three

hadaqat al-ibsar wa-nur haqiqat al-anzar, volumes. Volume one talked about the

he discovered that we see an object when nature of light, possible sources of light,

light falls on the object, and then reflects rules governing the propagation of light,

into our eyes. As a result, he was able to how we see things, and the relationship
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between the light and the formation of the about Taqi Al-Din. The book mentioned

sight. The man continued elaborating that other European names to make us believe

volume two mainly talked about the that Muslims were always useless; those

reflection of light. In this volume, Al-Din European authors usually conceal the fact

put the basic rules governing the reflection the Muslims were great, and try instead to

of light, as well as how to make a copper make us believe that all the technological

instrument to measure the reflection of advancements are of European origins.

light from mirrors, whether they are plain,

convex, or concave. The client continued

on that in Al-Din’s third volume, he

discussed the refraction of light. He put

rules for the refraction of light when it

travels in different densities. The man

insisted on the fact that this book was

translated to Latin, and used as the main

Taqi Al-Din Muhammad Ibn Ma’ruf
text book in many European universities

for a long time (Hill, 1978).

After the client told me about Al-
I have to admit that I was surprised
Din’s inventions and discoveries in the
when I learnt that a Muslim scientist was
field of optics, I asked how he managed to
the one who discovered all these things
know all these things when there was no
related to light that I studied at school. I
internet or huge databases to build his
was fascinated back then when I studied
knowledge from! The client even surprised
optics at high schools; however, neither the
me more when he told me that Taqi Al-Din
teacher, nor the book mentioned anything
was not just an optician, he was a
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polymath! He went on telling me that Taqi sexagesmial fractions used by his

Al-din once suggested to Sultan Murad of contemporaries and predecessors (Science

Istanbul to build an observatory so that Al- and Technology in the Ottoman Empire,

Din can make more accurate astronomical 2009). The man kept on telling that Al-Din

predictions (Sayili, 2004, p. 11); however, was able to make a framed sextant that he

a month after its completion, Al-Din used in his observations. Something that

observed a comet and claimed that it is a attracted my attention is that Al-Din used

precursor to an Ottoman’s military the scientific method in his researches. I

campaign success; however, that did not thought that this method is something new;

happen, so the Sultan so no reason why he however, I learnt from the man that it dated

should keep the observatory alive (Aslam, back to old eras. The customer elaborated

2009). The client told me that it was not a more on how Al-Din used the scientific

wise decision of the Sultan to destroy that method; he told me that he used a method

observatory, because it may have been the called “Three points observation” (Science

origin of many astronomic discoveries and and Technology in the Ottoman Empire,

innovations that might have come; 2009). This method was used by earlier

however, he told me that Aslam (2009) Muslim scientists to perform astronomical

stated that Al-Din was given three years calculations; however, Al-Din’s results

before the observatory was destroyed. were more accurate due to the use of his

During those years, Al-Din was able to newly-invented astronomical clock (Sayili,

compile an astronomical table that was 2004, p. 11).

more accurate than what his predecessors

and contemporaries could make. He also

told me that Al-Din used decimal notations

in his calculations instead of the

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system within the watch by putting a peg

in the direction of the hand that produced a

sound when the pointer hits it. The client

also told me that Al-Din’s astronomic

advances were due to the astronomic clock

Framed Sextant
that allowed him to draw more accurate
At that time the customer was
results than any of his contemporaries.
taking too much of my time; however, I

decided to let him tell me more about the At that time I had already prepared

inventions of Taqi Al-Din, but this time I the agreement for the customer to sign;

asked him to tell me about something that however, he told me “do you know who

is still existent today. The customer was the first one to prototype a rotisserie?”

seemed to think for a while, and then he I promptly replied by saying that I cannot

told me “The watch!” I asked him what is afford to listen to anything else because I

wrong with the watch! The man grinned at had other things to do. I knew he was

me and told me do you know who invented going to tell me that it was Al-Din, so I

the watch you are keeping behind your decided to make him sign the contract and

desk? I pretended that I was thinking; ask him to leave so I can meet another

however, he told me “Taqi Al-Din customer. A minute later I recognized that

invented it!” I was very eager to know how the man is taking too much time signing

he did, so I let the client elaborate more on the contract, so I asked him “Is it taking

that topic. He told me that Aslam (2009) that long to sign your name?” At that

stated that Taqi Al-Din was the one who moment he did not reply; instead, it turned

invented the first mechanical watch. Al- out that he was drawing a model of the

Din also was able to include an alarm engine rotating the rotisserie instead of
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signing his name! The model looked a bit our brains. He wanted to show the whole

strange at the beginning; however, after a world that the Ottomans were great, that

while I could interpret that it consisted of a they were not womanizers, that they were

steam powered turbine that caused a great scientists who have made the

rotating spit to spin (Science and technological advances that we are

Technology in the Ottoman Empire, 2009). experiencing today possible. They made

contributions to optics, physics, astronomy,

and numerous other sciences. I decided to

tear up the contract and promised the man

that I will make this website for free. He

told me that he is always trying to restore

the power of our ancestors, and to make us

Steam Engine

proud of ourselves once more in order to

be a powerful empire once again.

Actually I took the paper away and

understood that he wanted to make us,

Muslims, proud of our ancestors. He

intended to correct the corrupt ideology

that the west has been trying to plant into

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Aslam, S. (2009). Muslim Scientists and Thinkers–Taqi al-Din. Retrieved from

Hill, D. (1978). The History of Science Society. Isis, 69 (1), 118. Retrieved from JSTOR


Sayili, A. (2004). Turkish Contributions to Scientific Work in Islam. Manchester: FSTC

Limited. Retrieved from

Science and Technology in the Ottoman Empire. (n.d.) Retrieved from

P a g e | 19

At Constantinople, they
ruled in a different way
By Habiba Hesham

As I was sitting on my chair having looked at the book and asked him “why this

my cup of coffee and watching the beautiful book specially?” He said, “This book is

view from my balcony, while doing nothing, talking about a very great ruler and his

I decided to go to a book store to buy a book achievements. It is talking about Suleiman

for me to read. I asked the receptionist the Magnificent…” and he kept telling me

where I could find the nearest book store, how he was a good man in his life and how

and he guided me. I went and there were so he ruled Constantinople which is today

many books that I didn’t know what to Istanbul. He also told me how he made

choose; however, I realised that I have read Constantinople very powerful at his era. At

many of these books. While I was searching, that time I began to feel eager to learn more

I found a book about the Ottomans. I stood about that ruler, so I leafed through the book

there for a moment and thought, “how could and found it interesting, so I asked the man

I have read no books about the Ottomans in tell me a about Suleiman. He told me that

my whole life, after hearing so many stories Suleiman was a powerful sultan who ruled

about them!” So I asked the man who was for about forty-six years (Greenblatt, 2003,

working there for a small piece of advice p.3). “He was raised only by his mum,

about which book to choose. I thought he Hafiza Khatoun, because his father Selim I

would tell me “take this one, it’s about their was always in field fighting to expand his

life” or something, but actually he didn’t. land, so he barely knew his father,”

Instead, he suggested a certain book. I (Greenblatt, 2003, p.5) Said the man. I asked
P a g e | 20

the man, “how did Suleiman II become such his time, first came to take over the throne,

a great ruler?” He told me, “He was not only he went to city secretly after the death of his

a great ruler, but also a great knight.” He father probably by a cancer. (Greenblatt,

continued on telling me a quote which 2003, p.5)

Suleiman learned and followed throughout

his life: “To control a state, requires an

army. To support troops, requires a great

wealth. To obtain this wealth, the people

must be prosperous. For the people to be

prosperous, the law must be just. If any of Emperor Suleiman

this is neglected, the state will

collapse“(unknown, Suleiman the

He was welcomed by the army and
magnificent and the ottoman empire
the people. The next day, he announced the
[Greenblatt, 2003, p.20]). I looked to the
death of his father and became the next ruler
man and said, “Okay I will take this.” I
on throne. He buried his father’s body (when
bought the book and returned to the hotel,
a sultan at that time died, they built after his
went to my room, took my shoes off, sat on
death a tomb, mosque, hospital and a hostel)
my bed and began to read it. I found out that
and built these four constructions and
all the information the guy has given me was
another constructions such as a school. He
was so kind and generous. After a few days

When Suleiman, one of the ten in Constantinople, he went to the soldiers

greatest rulers of the Ottomans who ruled and gave them money; he also freed

Constantinople and made it remarkable at prisoners and made lots of things which
P a g e | 21

showed the people that he was a fair person. for help but there was no reply. When

The book also talked about his achievements Suleiman was going to start the war against

in the battlefields and how he was a great the Hungarians, the Hungarians were facing

leader two the army. When Charles V, the some problems caused by their nobles, and

holy roman emperor and the king of Spain, when they faced Suleiman, Suleiman’s army

and Francis I, the king of France, started the and soldiers surrounded the Hungarians

war against each other, Suleiman took the army from every side and circled them, and

advantage of this war and went up the made a great victory. They killed thousands

Danube river valley to take over the and thousands of Hungarians, and their king

Belgrade city. After a month, he captured was killed too. It was a huge victory to

the city. The people of Belgrade asked Suleiman. After a few days, he went and

Charles V for help, but he couldn’t reply took over two cities: Buda and Pest, which

because he was having his own war. After are now called Budapest. Back then, he

taking over the Belgrade, he wanted to take returned back to Constantinople with all

over the island of Rhodes in the these great victories and achievements

Mediterranean Sea, and it has been a great (Greenblatt, 2003, p. 12, 13, 14).

achievement because he didn’t capture it by

the same plan he used to capture Belgrade,

by artillery. Instead, he took over the island

of Rhodes by mines which exploded by

gunpowder, which was not done in the past

that often or barely, but was a successful try. Suleiman the Magnificent

Also the island of Rhodes asked Charles V

P a g e | 22

At that time, I closed the book and they made him know how to control a huge

asked myself how a great knight and a sultan empire without failing, for a long time.

he was. Really, “the magnificent” is the What he made wasn’t easy, but he made it

right word to be given to Suleiman Selim. well. He knew what he wanted and how to

He really managed his life and wars and achieve it. He managed to make a

Empire by the quote which the man told me. remarkable empire, and was successful at

I liked the words; they were true and really, that too


Greenblatt, M. (2003). Suleiman the magnificent and the Ottoman Empire. New York:

Benchmark Books.
P a g e | 24

By Mirna Medhat

I usually used to read the news paper every day. One day I found a good writer who

not only wrote about the economics of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th century, but

also about Mehmed II faith. He also wrote about the economic prosperity that took place in

the 19th century within the Ottoman Empire, and why the Empire was so successful

especially in that time. Actually the article was interesting and I started to concentrate while

reading it. In my article I hope to share with my readers the attraction to the Ottomans.

A good economy takes place, when people provide their own needs by themselves.

They can perform this by hunting, woodcutting, and knitting for example. On the other

hand, an excellent economy is based on commercial activities, but citizens have to pay taxes.

Mehmed II’s personality (Sansal,2009)

One of the most important economists in the Ottoman Empire is Mehmed II who was

born in March 30, 1432 and died in May 3, 1481. Mehmed' personality was a unique

combination of power and honesty. When he was a child, he studied science in the school of

the princes. He really got a lot of knowledge and learnt how to speak different languages. All

of this affected his personality and knowledge positively (Sansal,2009). Mehmed II felt the

responsibility of completing the centralist and absolutes Ottoman systems in Anatolia and
P a g e | 25

the Balkans. By taking Constantinople, Mehmed the conqueror felt that he was the most

powerful sovereign in the Islamic world, and he challenged the Islamic empire in Iran and

Egypt. (Sansal,2009)

Mehmed II

Mehmed was great economists who did a lot of things. Sultan Mehmed was

interested in trade and industry, and worked on treatments for all the means and the factors

and causes and the knowledge of international markets. He tried to use new ways in

transportation other than sea (Inalcik&Quataert,1994). He created new bridges, which helped

the movement of trade across the country. The foreign countries forced Mehmed to expand

the ports across the Ottomans nation to learn the trade under the ottoman flag, and then

the ports became a building which protected them from their enemy. Later on it became a

place of factories and industries for weapons, ammunition, castle, and these products

became the main interest of the military forces in the country. (Inalcik&Quataert,1994)

Finally Mehmed II was one of the finest and greatest leaders of economics in his

century. He left a great influence on the ottomans empire life.

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Economics in 16th and 17th

centuries (Britannica 2009)

In the late 16th and 17th centuries, a lot of economic difficulties aroused because the

Dutch and British decided to close the international trade routes through the Middle East.

So the growth of the economy in the Middle East turned down (Britannica 2009. As a result,

the Ottoman economy faced many problems; the first one was inflation, which was caused

when people were forced to buy expensive products from America, and that decreased the

balance of trade between the east and the west, so the capital lost most of its revenues. The

government was forced to increase taxes; that became a huge problem to the people who

could not pay high taxes (Britannica 2009). Actually, employees did not receive their salaries

and the unemployment increased. The guilds were unable to provide quality goods at prices

low enough to compete with the cheap European manufactured goods that entered the

empire without restriction because of the Capitulations agreements, and that was due to

functioning under strict price regulations. That caused the Ottoman industry to decline.

(Britannica 2009).

The Sultan's Muslims and Jewish subjects were driven out of

industry into poverty and despair, and that was all because of Christian

subjects who combined with foreign diplomats and merchants, who

were protected by the Capitulations. (Britannica 2009).

Trade in the market

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Ottoman Empire

Taxes (jstor by Bekir Kemal Atamar 2009)

Rulers in 1600s and 1700s centuries were very tough. They demanded applying

higher taxes on people. They not only doubled the taxes, but also tripled it on merchants

and entrepreneurs. As a consequence, the economy suffered from high taxes which lead to a

great inflation and poverty. (jstor by Bekir Kemal Atamar 2009)

Taxes were so high, so people began to close their businesses and a lot of

employees were driven out of work. That led to unemployment. (jstor by Bekir Kemal Atamar


The economy of the Ottoman Empire was hurt also by an unfavorable balance of

trade. Wealthy Muslims were purchasing goods from Christians, but little was being

exported and the supply of gold was diminishing. As manufactured goods flowed into the

Ottoman Empire, local handicraft industries suffered. Manufacturing remained largely a

peasant operation -- home industry. Foot-operated treadle reels, hand-operated looms and

silk-twisting machines were to be used in the Ottoman Empire into the 1800s. And, for the

Ottoman Empire, economic weakness produced military weakness. (jstor by Bekir Kemal

Atamar 2009)
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Ottoman Empire in the 19th

In the 19 centuries, the Ottoman Empire had a great economical boast. That was not

only because it was a political and military capital, but also because of its position at the

junction of Europe, Africa and Asia. The 19th century was one of the most successful

centuries trade wise in history. The two most important trading countries were Bursa and




 Silk and other cloth (bbc 2009)

 Musk (bbc 2009)

 Rhubarb (bbc 2009)

 Porcelain from China (bbc 2009)

 Spices such as pepper (bbc 2009)

 Dyestuffs such as indigo (bbc 2009)

Why was the Empire successful in

19 century? (bbc 2009)

There were many reasons why the Ottoman Empire was so successful:
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 Highly centralised (bbc 2009)

 Power was always transferred to a single person, and not split between rival

princes (bbc 2009)

 The Ottoman Empire was successfully ruled by a single family for 7 centuries.

(bbc 2009)

 State-run education system (bbc 2009)

 Religion was incorporated in the state structure, and the Sultan was regarded

as "the protector of Islam". (bbc 2009)

 State-run judicial system (bbc 2009)

 Ruthless in dealing with local leaders (bbc 2009)

 Promotion to positions of power largely depended on merit (bbc 2009)

 Created alliances across political and racial groups (bbc 2009)

 United by Islamic ideology (bbc 2009)

 United by Islamic warrior code with ideal of increasing Muslim territory

through Jihad (bbc 2009)

 United by Islamic organisational and administrative structures (bbc 2009)

 Highly pragmatic, taking the best ideas from other cultures and making them

their own (bbc 2009)

 Encouraged loyalty from other faith groups (bbc 2009)

 Private power and wealth were controlled (bbc 2009)

 Very strong military (bbc 2009)

 Strong slave-based army (bbc 2009)

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 Expert in developing gunpowder as a military tool (bbc 2009)

 Military ethos pervaded whole administration. (bbc 2009)

Finally, the Ottoman Empire suffered from many things. Actually, it was really one of

the greatest empires in the history that we will never forget because it left for us many

things that we can learn from.


BBC.Religions-Islam:Ottoman Empire(1301-1922).Retrieved December 02,2009 ,from

Inalcik,H. & Quataert,D.(1994). Economic and Social history of the Ottoman Empire.United

Kingdom.Cambridge University Press.

Sansal,Burak. Mehmet II the Conqueror-All about Turkey.(1996-2009).Retrieved December 02,2009,


Ottoman Empire. (2009). In Britannica. Retrieved December 03, 2009

Ottoman Demographic History (14th-17th Centuries). Some Considerations, by Bekir Kemal Atamar.

(jstor by Bekir Kemal Atamar 2009)

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Is it a mixture of
Western and Eastern
By Mohamed Mostafa

A few years ago, I used to teach history for high school students. I loved all students

from the bottom of my heart. They were brilliant, hard workers, full of ethics, and full of

spirit at the same time. I like how most of these students like to collect information about

their past. I believe, with no doubt, this is because they completely know that a person

without a past is nothing. One day, I explained to the class the Ottoman Empire’s lifestyle. I

explained and demonstrated this lesson with a positive spirit and manner. This was not

because this is my job, but because I really like the past and I am proud of it as an Arab.

Below, is a summary of the most important details of what I said in the class, followed by a

dialogue between a student, who asks for some more specific details, and me. What grabbed

the Student's attention and made him ask me for more explanation and demonstration is when

I mentioned that "The Ottoman Empire is a mixture of Western and Eastern life."

The Ottoman Empire was located at a strategic and a golden place. It was located at

two different continents. The two continents are: Europe and Asia. This led to the diversity of

ethic and religious groups during the Ottoman Empire. (2008, p.25) I believe that the

Ottoman Empire was not only a Turkish society, but also a mixture of Western and Eastern

life. The three components of the ruling class at that time were: the ulema, the bureaucracy,

and the army, which consisted of the janissaries and timariot cavalry. 80% of the population

was literate and 20% was illiterate. (2008, p.25) The Muslim community was the dominant

one and full of Sunnis .The other Muslim population was a mix of Shiites, Alevis ,Druzes,

and Nusayris. The Christian community existed too at that time, as well as the Jewish
P a g e | 33

population, but with a small portion. The ethnic group was

made up of Albanians, Arabs, Armenians, Bulgarians,

Greeks, Kurds, Serbs, and Turks. (2008, p.25)

Ottoman Empire

The middle class and lower-middle class were centered in Istanbul, the capital. Men

used to wear jackets, trousers, head wraps, and head caps. Women's clothing was kind of

similar to those of men. They used to wear long sleeves trousers, jackets, and scarves that

cover their head, so I believe clothing at that time was simple. Furniture was extremely old.

Mostly, middle class houses had living rooms, which consisted of a large cushion for the

master of the house and the guests in his house. They used to sleep on

simple cotton mattress. (2008, p.26) Can you recognize how simple

their life is? Decorative art was rare in any of the Muslim houses

.Upper class houses consisted of traditional arts, such as ebru, which is

the Ottoman's art of making marbled paper(2008,p.28). Husband and Wife

Student: Excuse me Sir, would you please tell and demonstrate for me what do you mean

by "The Ottoman Empire is a mixture of Western and Eastern life." I understand it

but just make it clear for me. Like in what way do you mean they are alike?

Me: Sure I can tell you. What makes the Ottoman Empire a mixture of Eastern and

Western life is it’s strategic location. It lies on two different continents as I

mentioned. The continents are Asia, and Europe

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Student: How unique it became after the diversity of ethics taught from the two other

continents Asia and Europe?

Me: In both continents, socialization is important in their culture. People were simple and

living a typical life. People used to socialize in the coffeehouse to gather and share

information. It wasn't only a matter of that, there in the coffeehouse, there was a story

teller, who reads books for people there. (Lifestyle of the Ottoman Empire, 2009)

Student: Great!.Sorry, but may I ask you another question?

Me: Go ahead

Student: According to your description of their houses, you demonstrated the rooms and

living room, but you did not demonstrate how toilets were for example.

Me: Oh! Thanks for reminding me and for being that much alert. People at that time used

to take shower in the Turkish bath, which is called Hammam. Turkish bath was

unique. It was a luxurious place with high quality of architecture. People there gathered

and shared time. They showered, chatted, and socialized there, so it was a great place that

played an effective role in their life. (Lifestyle of the Ottoman Empire,2009)

Student: I see. Thanks for your time Sir.

Me: Do not say that at all. It is my own pleasure to serve you as your Teacher. I’m yours


In a nutshell, I believe that the Ottoman Empire at it's time was a piece of art on the earth.

Its strategic location made it one of the most successful empires. As we can all see. Life style

at the Ottoman Empire time did not change or vary from that time up until today. That is why

Istanbul still remains a city of history, socialization, and religion now a days.
P a g e | 35

This is the Hammam. It is this In this picture, we can see the Story
luxurious place, where people spend Teller. A Story Teller's job is to tell
time showering and socializing people in the Coffee House.
.Mostly, People visit it daily.

Lifestyle of the Ottoman Empire.(2009,August 15).In wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Retrieved November 27, 2009, from

Sukru,M.(2008) A brief history of the late Ottoman Empire.NJ:Princeton University Press.

Upham,Edward.(1848). History of the Ottoman Empire. 1828.Edinburgh.

P a g e | 37

The Influence of
previous cultures on
the Ottoman culture &
By Omar Medhat

For thousands of years, we have stood their stunned and left grasping for air whenever we

visit Turkey at their magnificent tourists sites that have on them hundreds of creative and artistic

designs that were built especially during the 15th & 16th centuries, but still stand to this day. The

Ottomans, or the Turks as they are now called, despite their flourishing reign (1453-1918), did

not create all of these beautiful sites based just on their own ideas. No the Ottomans were also

influenced by other great cultures the came before them such as the byzantine, Chinese and many

more. Not just in architecture, but also in other important areas of their culture and entertainment

like music, literature and art.


Ottoman music at the time was based on influences coming from both the western and the eastern
civilizations like the Byzantine, Arabian and Persian cultures. Ottoman music was based on
something they called Taksim, which we now call Iambic pentameter and something called the
Makkam which is influenced from the Islamic culture. During the era of Sultan Selim the third
there were no restrictions regarding who was playing music whether it was the high class and the
nobles or even if it was a simple peasant. But they did however classify their music in 5 steps
a) According to the type of the music (religious music and secular music)
b) According to the means of performance (vocal music, instrumental music)
c) According to the field of use (military music, religious music, classical music, folk music,
entertainment music)
P a g e | 38

d) According to the space of performance (military music, palace music, mosque music, tekke
music, urban music, rural music)
e) According to the style of performance (rhythmic, performance, i.e. with usul; and non-
rhythmic performance, i.e. without usul). (Discover the Ottoman Music)

The musicians of that ottoman era used many similar instruments we still use today such

as the rababa, the udd, the tambourine, the piano and the violin.(The Ottoman Music)

The Tambourine

The Udd The Rababa

During this period there were many great musicians such as:
P a g e | 39

Dede Efendi: was one of the greatest Turkish classical music composers of all time, his

music was heard by many sultans and kings including Selim the third who was an admirer of his

music. He also taught Haci Arif Bey who was a student of his who would later become his

prodigy. He is probably remembered most for his most famous work which is the 7 Mevlevi

pieces for Samah.

Dede Efendi most famous work

Hacı Arif Bey: who was the most renowned musician of classical music at the time, he

was taught by the late Dede Efendi. He was also the head singer in the palace during the reign of

Abdul hamid the second. He was very dedicated to his music where sometimes he could write up

to 7 songs a day.

Tanburi Cemil Bey: who was known for playing the tambourine, he abandoned his

education in order to pursue his dream of being a musician. He achieved doing so at the age of 20
P a g e | 40

where he would later go on to gain success in Turkey for not just playing the tambourine but also

other instruments like the cello.

Architecture & Art

After the Ottoman Empire conquered the Byzantine Empire (Discover The Ottomans), the

Ottomans underwent a very wealthy and rich era where they were known to be very good

constructors and engineers, which is one of the main reasons why we find Turkey today mostly

consists of mosques, churches, and mausoleum shaped like domes from the top with Islamic

calligraphy on them. This domed structure was created by Seljuks in Anatolia (The Art of the

ottomans). As I mentioned before the artistic designs found on many beautiful sites were

originally ideas of Byzantine, Italian and Chinese cultures that were first applied then modified

by the Ottomans, Some of these designs can be found more specifically on the The Hagia Sophia

mosque, The Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul (Discover the Ottoman art)

Hagia Sophia Mosque

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The Byzantine influence appears in this structure in features such as stone and brick used

together or in the use of pendentive dome construction (Discover the Ottoman art)

Süleymaniye Mosque

Selimyie Mosque
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The designs of the exterior facade and of windows, gates, and roofs to features found in

Italian architecture. (Discover the Ottoman art)

During this period there were many great architects and designers such as:

Mimar Sinan: was probably the greatest architect of the ottoman, with more than 300

hundred structures credited to him including mosques, universities and bridges(Discover the

ottoman art). He is famous for constructing the Süleymaniye Mosque for sultan Suleiman the

magnificent, Selimiye Mosque and Sehzade Mosque among other constructions.

Selimyie Mosque

Atik Sinan: known for being one of the many architects under mehmed the second and

Mustafa the third. He is well known for being the architect who created Istanbul’s first mosque,

which is the Fatih Mosque. He was also partially in charge of making the dome of the Hagia
P a g e | 43

Sophia mosque bigger, but he failed in doing so and as a result he was punished by mehmed the

second by having his hand cut off. (Discover the ottomans art)

Garabet Amira Balyan and Nigoğayos Balyan: Armenian father and son architects who

were famous for creating Ortaköy Mosque and Dolmabahçe Palace. Dolmabahçe Palace was

created by Nigoğayos Balyan, this construction was covered by Islamic calligraphy created by

then at the time sultan Abdülmecid himself who was a master calligrapher.


During the golden era which the Ottoman Empire underwent, one of many fields they

were good at was Literature. There literature was known to be divided into two main schools.

The first was poetry and the second was prose (which is a form of free verse writing where one

does not have to follow the rhythm and meter used commonly in poetry). During that era, poetry

dominated the literature field more than prose; Ottoman poetry during this period was influenced

by the Persian culture (Turkish Literature) where they had many aspects and ideas similar. For

example, they wrote their poetry about life, death, love, romance, history, theology and

travel.(Turkish Literature)

In this period there were many revolutionary artists who were known to have distinctive

style when it comes to write poetry, such as:

Fuzûlî: an Azerbaijan born poet, thinker, astronomer, mathematician and writer, he was

known to be one of the greatest artists in the field of poetry. He is remembered most for his

ability to write in Arabic, Persian and Turkish languages which he demonstrated through
P a g e | 44

collections of poems of his work that he translated in these 3 languages, his most famous work is

Leylā and Mejnūn( Turkish Literature)

In Conclusion, one can say that if it wasn’t for the basic concepts and ideas introduced by

previous cultures; the Ottoman Empire wouldn’t have flourished as much as they did if they

hadn’t modified these concepts and ideas.


Discover the Ottoman art. (n.d.) Retrieved from

The Art of the Ottomans.(n.d.) Retrieved from

Turkish Literature. (n.d.) Retrieved from


Turkish Culture.(n.d.) Retrieved from

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The Ottoman Music.(n.d.) Retrieved from