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The Sultan's Fleet: Seafarers of the Ottoman Empire - softcover
Author: Christine Isom-Verhaaren
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Year: Dec 2021
Weight: 484 g
While the Ottoman Empire is most often recognized today as a land power, for four centuries the seas of the Eastern Mediterranean were dominated by the Ottoman Navy. Yet to date, little is known about the seafarers who made up the sultans' fleet, the men whose naval mastery ensured that an empire from North Africa to Black Sea expanded and was protected, allowing global trading networks to flourish in the face of piracy and the Sublime Porte's wars with the Italian city states and continental European powers.
In this book, Christine Isom-Verhaaren provides a history of the major events and engagements of the navy, from its origins as the fleets of Anatolian Turkish beyliks to major turning points such as the Battle of Lepanto. But the book also puts together a picture of the structure of the Ottoman navy as an institution, revealing the personal stories of the North African corsairs and Greek sailors recruited as admirals. Rich in detail drawn from a variety of sources, the book provides a comprehensive account of the Ottoman Navy, the forgotten contingent in the empire's period of supremacy from the 14th century to the 18th century.
"This is a story not of ships but of men - the men who led the sultan's fleet. Turks, Greeks, Italians, and others, they came from all walks of life: pirates, slaves, or members of the sultan's court. This is also the story of navl competition between Venice and the Ottoman Empire, and the lives and careers of several Ottoman admirals who were intertwined with this rivalry. Isom-Verhaaren deftly interweaves these tensions with the history of Ottomans' role in the Mediterranean. The outcome of its naval warfare with Western Europe may have had less to do with the strength or weakness of the empire than with internal patronage and politics, the structure of the ruling elite, and that elite's concept of its identity." ―Linda Darling, The University of Arizona, USA
"The Sultan's Fleet is an insightful, people-centered history of the early modern Ottoman navy based on original Ottoman sources. It challenges us to revise our understanding of how the Ottoman Empire remained so powerful for so long, and will prove immensely helpful in building a truly balanced, comparative history of the early modern Mediterranean world." ―Douglas Howard, Calvin University, USA
"Recovering the sweep of maritime history from the medieval and early modern Ottoman world, Professor Isom-Verhaaren challenges the established narrative of Ottoman history as one of a land-based empire by bringing its naval componet to the fore-thereby demonstrating that the achievements of its sailors were of critical importance to Ottoman fortunes."
―John Curry, University of Nevada, USA