The Ottoman Empire has been many things throughout its long history. One of the greatest and gravest threats to Christian Europe. A source of inspiration for Renaissance and Reformation thinkers. An exoticized realm of sultans, slaves and harems. An equal and key partner in the European system of international relations. And, near its end, “the sick man of Europe”.
The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars, and Caliphs by Professor Marc David Baer charts the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire, not just dealing with its sultans and military expansion, but also a wide range of topics like the roles played by women and minorities in Ottoman society.
In this interview, Marc and I talk about the Ottoman empire’s rise and “fall”—a term that may actually mischaracterize how the Ottoman Empire transformed after its heights under Selim and Suleiman. We also talk about its legacy, both for Europe and the wider world.
Marc David Baer is professor of international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author of five books, including Honored by the Glory of Islam: Conversion and Conquest in Ottoman Europe (Oxford University Press, 2011), which won the Albert Hourani Prize, and Sultanic Saviors and Tolerant Turks: Writing Ottoman Jewish History, Denying the Armenian Genocide (Indiana University Press, 2020), which won the Dr Sona Aronian Book Prize for Excellence in Armenian Studies.