The Seljuk victory over the Byzantine emperor at Manzikert in 1071 opened the doors of ancient Anatolia to Turkish settlement. However, the lure of Damascus, Aleppo, and Jerusalem distracted the newcomers and for centuries the Seljuk Turks failed to consolidate their position in Asia Minor. The task of delivering the death blow to the Byzantines was left to rival sultans. Beginning in the early Fourteenth Century, a tribal leader named Osman established a power base in the area of modern Sakarya. From those small beginnings, his dynasty would expand their area of control to encompass the Black Sea and most of the Mediterranean. Eclipsing the height of Byzantine power, the Ottoman Empire stretched from Tunisia to the Ukraine and from Baghdad to Budapest. As the Christian nations of Europe turned to the sea and explored westwards, the sultans built one of the last great land empires. From their capitol in Istanbul, they administered what now consists of dozens of modern countries across North Africa, the Middle East and Southeastern Europe. Their core achievement would endure for more than five centuries, until the Allied Nations forced the dismemberment of the empire at the end of World War One.
This new encyclopedia explores the expanse of Ottoman history, from the initial conquests of western Anatolia to the birth of modern Turkey. More than 400 articles introduce ruling sultans, palace officials, provincial families and conquered elites. Administrative practices, royal family arrangements, military strategies and provincial governance also are explained. The survey of the empire includes religious and ethnic minorities as well as influential social and economic groups. Monumental architecture, folk literature, cuisine, social institutions and foreign impressions of the empire are part of the cultural tour. From the Battle of Lepanto to the Arab Revolt, the chief military, diplomatic and political events are chronicled. The Ottoman tradition of employing innovations is demonstrated in articles on the use of firearms, printing, railroads and the telegraph. From Süleyman the Magnificent to public debt administration, an outstanding team of more than 90 international scholars explain the successes of the Ottomans. With each article they provide substantial suggestions for further reading. More than 85 maps and illustrations support the text and the introduction and chronology provide an overview of Ottoman history. The detailed index supports further research. All told, this encyclopedia provides an excellent introduction to a rich history that is essential to understanding the Balkans and the Middle East today. This volume is highly recommended for academic and public libraries.