The Ottoman empire as a political entity comprised most of the present Middle East (with the principal exception of Iran), north Africa and south-eastern Europe. For over 500 years, until its disintegration during World War I, it encompassed a diverse range of ethnic, religious and linguistic communities with varying political and cultural backgrounds.

Yet, was there such a thing as an ‘Ottoman world’ beyond the principle of sultanic rule from Istanbul? Ottoman authority might have been established largely by military conquest, but how was it maintained for so long, over such distances and so many disparate societies? How did provincial regions relate to the imperial centre and what role was played in this by local elites? What did it mean in practice, for ordinary people, to be part of an ‘Ottoman world’?

Arranged in five thematic sections, with contributions from thirty specialist historians, The Ottoman World addresses these questions, examining aspects of the social and socio-ideological composition of this major pre-modern empire, and offers a combination of broad synthesis and detailed investigation that is both informative and intended to raise points for future debate. The Ottoman World provides a unique coverage of the Ottoman empire, widening its scope beyond Istanbul to the edges of the empire, and offers key coverage for students and scholars alike. 

1. Introduction PART I: FOUNDATIONS  2. Nomads and tribes in the Ottoman empire  3. The Ottoman economy in the early imperial age  4. The law of the land  5. A kadi court in the Balkans: Sofia in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries  6. Imarets  7. Sufis in the age of state-building and confessionalization  PART II: OTTOMANS AND OTHERS  8. Royal and other households  9. ‘On the tranquillity and repose of the sultan’: the construction of a topos  10. Of translation and empire: sixteenth-century Ottoman imperial interpreters as renaissance go-betweens  11. Ottoman languages  12. Ethnicity, race, religion and social class: Ottoman markers of difference  13. The Kızılbaş of Syria and Ottoman Shiism  14. The reign of violence: the celalis c. 1550-1700  PART III: THE WIDER EMPIRE  15. Between universalistic claims and reality: Ottoman frontiers in the early modern period  16. Defending and administering the frontier: the case of Ottoman Hungary  17. The Ottoman frontier in Kurdistan in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries  18. Conquest, urbanization and plague networks in the Ottoman empire, 1453-1600  19. Peripheralization of the Ottoman-Algerian elite  20. On the edges of an Ottoman world: non-Muslim Ottoman merchants in Amsterdam  PART IV: ORDINARY PEOPLE  21. Masters, servants and slaves: household formation among the urban notables of early Ottoman Aleppo  22. Subject to the sultan’s approval: seventeenth and eighteenth-century artisans negotiating guild agreements in Istanbul  23. Literacy among artisans and tradesmen in Ottoman Cairo  24. ‘Guided by the Almighty’: the journey of Stephan Schultz in the Ottoman empire, 1752-56  25. The right to choice: Ottoman, ecclesiastical and communal justice in Ottoman Greece  26. Ottoman women as legal and marital subjects  27. Forms and forums of expression: Istanbul and beyond, 1600-1800  PART V: LATER OTTOMANS  28. The old regime and the Ottoman Middle East  29. The transformation of the Ottoman fiscal regime c.1600-1850  30. Provincial power-holders and the empire in the late Ottoman world: conflict or partnership?  31. The Arabic-speaking world in the Ottoman period: a socio-political analysis