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Empires and IndigenesIntercultural Alliance, Imperial Expansion, and Warfare in the Early Modern World$
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Wayne E. Lee

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814753088

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814753088.001.0001

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Ottoman Ethnographies of Warfare, 1500–1800

Ottoman Ethnographies of Warfare, 1500–1800

(p.141) 6 Ottoman Ethnographies of Warfare, 1500–1800
Empires and Indigenes

Virginia H. Aksan

NYU Press

This chapter begins by examining the state of Ottoman historiography on warfare and warrior societies. It then considers how the Ottomans extended power in the Balkans and Arab world through their understanding of “ethnicity” or “indigenous” peoples as part of their coercive strategy of conquest, settlement, and resource extraction; and discusses the use of auxiliary/militias/indigenous forces by the Ottomans over time. The chapter concludes with some thoughts on the question of indigenous warriors and theories of military reform. It argues that the Ottoman Empire might be better described until the 1830s as a contractual, negotiated state. Far from holding the Weberian “monopoly of armed force,” the sultan relied on the military qualities and services of peoples only partially or barely subservient to the state. Although coercive in its initial conquest, demanding submission, the empire proved to be highly adaptable to local situations and attempted no real integration except as related to shari'a law and taxes.

Keywords:   Ottoman Empire, Ottoman historiography, warfare, imperialism, imperial conquest, ethnicity, indigenous peoples, indigenous warriors, military reform

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