Ottoman decline thesis debate

We see Michael Psellus in the 11th Century surprisingly contrasting "the ancient and lesser Rome, and the later, more powerful city" [! It is now hard to grasp Constantinople as a greater city than Rome, but there would have been little in Rome's favor in Psellus' day.

Ottoman decline thesis debate

For this reason it is difficult to see if an empire is steadily weakening or reforming by changing colour. Hence there is much debate over when the Ottoman Empire began to significantly decline.

Historians such as Dan Smith, Edward Freeman, Albert Hourani assert that the empire began to steadily decline after the death of Sulayman the Magnificent in Therefore this paper will deal with the major events which took place after Sulayman.

Ottoman decline thesis debate

I will look at the four sources of power claimed by Michael Mann; military, economic, political, ideological[4] and show how the Ottomans steadily lost power in each of these areas. Military Firstly, from a military perspective the Ottomans began to be defeated in battles and despite a few victories, overall they lost and subsequently began to contract.

The Ottomans, who began as a warrior state against the Byzantine Empire, were known for their military edge. However with the discovery of the New World and thus the wealth which flowed into Europe, they advanced technologically and militarily and so the balance began to tip.

This was exasperated, as Hourani says, by the end of the 16th Century as rulers who were weak in character and intellect came into power.


The first were the Ottoman-Habsburg wars. In they were defeated by the better trained and technologically advanced Habsburg army outside Vienna. This was followed by a further defeat in at the battle of Mohacs which freed Hungary from Ottoman control.

This treaty signified the end of Ottoman power in central and south Eastern Europe and the beginning of the Habsburg dominance. Get more of our great articles. The second was the Ottoman-Russian wars in This treaty had devastating effects.

This force was particularly important as it had supported the Ottoman army since the revolt of the Janissaries more on this below. The Ottomans also had to lose their monopoly over the Black Sea.

Moreover the Russians now had the right to protect the Christians in the Ottoman Empire which marked the first time another power ratified their authority. The third major turning point was the invasion of Egypt, the jewel of the Empire, by Napoleon Bonaparte in When the French left, Mohammad Ali came into power in and modernised Egypt.

He destroyed the Mamluks who were against reform and created a modern army and navy trained by the French. The fourth major turning point was the Greek revolt in In Romania and Greece they wanted independence and supremacy to lie with the Greek Orthodox rather than the Turkish Muslims.

However with European intervention their army was defeated and in at the Treat of London, Greece was declared an independent state. This was an inspiration for other Christians to gain independence and use the European powers to their advantage. In the 16th Century Europe was on the hunt for gold and so they focused on the navigation of the seas to find new trade routes.

As early as Ottoman geographers warned the Sultan of this new trend. Formerly the goods…used to come to Suez and were distributed by Muslims to the entire world.

But now these goods are carried on Portuguese, Dutch and English ships…the Ottomans must seize the shores of Yemen and the passing trade…otherwise Europeans will rule.

The Europeans traded directly with Asia leaving the Ottomans in the middle.

Roman Decadence, Rome and Romania, and the Emperors Who Weren't

Moreover the Ottomans had a silver based monetary system and with the new found metals from Americas it caused the sudden flow of cheap and plentiful silver which had a catastrophic financial impact.

The price of silver fell and that of gold increased. Turkish raw materials became cheap for European traders so they bought in great quantities. The industrial revolution in Europe led to the creation of new industries especially in textiles and metallurgy.

Hence with the cheap raw materials from Turkey these products were developed and exported back to the Ottomans competing with their own indigenous craftsmen. The European products were cheaper and at times better quality which undermined local businesses.

In the asper was reduced from one-fifth to one-eighth of a dirham of silver. This was firstly because of the decrease in feudal siphasis, a tactic used by Mehmed the Conqueror during the monetary crisis, namely paying the soldiers with fiefs rather than money.

However; since warfare had changed in the 16th and 17th Century this was no longer feasible as the use of firearms and artillery necessitated the maintenance of even larger paid professional armies.Ottoman Empire - The decline of the Ottoman Empire, – The reign of Süleyman I the Magnificent marked the peak of Ottoman grandeur, but signs of weakness signaled the beginning of a slow but steady decline.

An important factor in the decline was the increasing lack of ability and power of the sultans themselves. Süleyman tired of the campaigns and arduous duties of administration.

The Revenge Of Geography has 3, ratings and reviews. Riku said: The Revanche of the GeographersThere are books one turn to sometimes, not for i. The Decline Of The Ottoman Empire History Essay.

Print Reference this. Disclaimer: Like all empires that decline, the way in which the Ottoman empire declined was no different since it was due to multi-faceted complex interlinked problems that fed off each other rather than a singular major problem.

This included external problems problems. Beginning from the late eighteenth century, the Ottoman Empire faced challenges defending itself against foreign invasion and occupation.

Ottoman decline thesis debate

In response to foreign threats, the empire initiated a period of tremendous internal reform which came to be known as the Tanzimat, which succeeded in significantly strengthening the Ottoman central state, despite the empire's precarious international position.

Home › Forums › GastOuder Talk › Ottoman Decline Thesis Debate – This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last. The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire () Stoianovich, Traian. "Factors in the Decline of Ottoman Society in the Balkans," Slavic Review () 21#4 pp – in JSTOR.

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