Chapter

The Ottomans: From Frontier Principality to Empire

Gábor Ágoston

in The Practice of Strategy

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608638
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731754 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608638.003.0006
The Ottomans: From Frontier Principality to Empire

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From its rise around 1300, and continuing from the mid‐fifteenth century until its demise during World War I, the Ottoman Empire was a crucial player in European and Asian power politics: first as a major Islamic threat to Christian Europe and later as a weakening military power over whose territories and resources the European Great Powers competed. In Chapter 5, Gábor Ágoston examines the grand strategy of the early Ottomans, focusing on how a small Turkic principality evolved into an empire with the conquest of Byzantine Constantinople (1453). Ágoston suggests that until the late sixteenth century, the Ottoman rulers sought ‘the gradual expansion of earlier Ottoman frontiers into a world empire by defeating Christian and Muslim neighbours and rivals and incorporating their territories’. Changes in the geopolitical setting during the mid‐sixteenth century caused the Ottoman strategy to shift towards defending earlier gains, using fortresses, garrisons, and provisional forces.

Keywords: Ottoman Empire; war; strategy; power politics; military power; Constantinople; Christian; Muslim

Chapter.  14456 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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