Chapter

An Imperial Caste

Leslie Peirce

in Rereading the Black Legend

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780226307213
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226307244 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226307244.003.0002
An Imperial Caste

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This chapter explores the self-fashioning of the Ottoman dynasty and the unusual pattern of recruitment employed in the construction of the Ottoman ruling class. It argues that the Ottomans used enslaved, converted Christians from the borders of their empire to create an elite ruling caste with which the Ottomans continuously intermarried for six centuries of remarkably stable rule. This chapter also contends that the Ottoman rulers ever married out to other royal dynasties and this endogamous and self-perpetuating unit controlled an expanding polyglot empire, which allowed the conquered kingdoms to retain their various cultural differences unconverted and so remained densely hybrid in nature.

Keywords: Ottoman dynasty; ruling class; converted Christians; royal dynasties; polyglot empire; cultural differences; conquered kingdoms

Chapter.  9372 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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