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Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg



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Otto Spies Memorial Series



Vol. 6: Slavery in the Ottoman World: A Literature Survey

After the Ottoman conquest of Syria in 1516, the Janissaries of Damascus were employed to meet the manpower needs of further campaigns in Iran, Cyprus, and particularly Yemen. The recruitment of the necessary troops beyond the devşirme dramatically changed the character of the Janissary corps and eventually the empire as a whole. It transformed the Janissaries from an elite military unit of slave soldiers into an assemblage of men from diverse origins, slave and free, who performed a variety of functions for the empire in addition to waging war. This transformation affected the role of the Janissaries in Ottoman politics as well as their own concept of themselves and their role, generating shifts among social groups and changes in the way Ottomans regarded their empire. This study examines the change in military recruitment in Syria through the documents of the Ottoman government, showing how the actual beginning of this transformation differed from its description by contemporary writers of nasihatnameler.


OSMS Vol. 4

 Vol. 4: Slavery in the Ottoman World: A Literature Survey

After decades of relative neglect, Ottoman slavery in recent years has become a favoured topic among historians. New sources especially on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have become available, due to the progressive cataloguing of the Ottoman archives, especially the newly instituted secular Nizamiye courts providing evidence of the difficult road toward the abolition of slavery. As in the later centuries of the empire’s existence, Ottoman slaves were so often female the topic has also interested historians of Ottoman women. Given the ‘literary turn’ in historiography worldwide and the critical questioning of—mostly but not exclusively—European primary sources, the reports of liberated former slaves have also attracted historians. Rather than studying slavery per se, this group of scholars investigates perceptions of ‘the other’ and the ways in which ex-slaves who had managed to return to their home countries negotiated patrons and publishers in their attempts to get their stories into print.
The result is a bibliography, dating largely from recent years, with divergent directions and discourses. Perhaps the time has come to pull together the different threads and survey the results, emphasizing at every turn how provisional they really are. On this occasion, we will take the opportunity of identifying questions and sources, which, at least in the opinion of the present author, have not received the attention they deserve. 


OSMS Vol. 3

Vol. 3: Meninski’s Grammar Simplified:

In 1766, Thomas von Chabert was born in Pera into a family of dragomans and diplomats of French origin, who had settled in Constantinople a century before. As a young boy, Chabert was sent to Vienna to study at the K.K. Akademie Orientalischer Sprachen, where he subsequently became a professor and continued teaching until 1817. He authored a number of works, the earliest of which being Kurze Anleitung zur Erlernung der türkischen Sprache für Militär Personen, Vienna 1789. It was a practical guide for soldiers serving in the Austro-Russian war against the Ottoman Empire (1787–1791/1792). The grammar is based on Kollár’s 1756 re-edition of Meninski’s grammar of 1680. Chabert adapted it by omitting the Arabic and Persian elements and the Arabic script. He partly included texts from the Meninski-Kollár reading section and added his own phrasebook. Besides giving an overview of Chabert’s activities within Viennese Oriental Studies of the period, this present publication analyses his Anleitung and compares it to Kollár’s re-edition of Meninski’s grammar. 



OSMS Vol. 2

Vol. 2: Leisure, Pleasure – and Duty

Reindl-Kiel’s study offers glimpses into Ottoman courtly life and its music scene in the second quarter of the 17th century.  Several archival registers and the relevant chronicles form the basis of her paper on Tüccarzade Silahdar Mustafa Pasha, the favourite and intimate friend of Murad IV in his final five years. Two of the treasury inventories under study record not only objects purchased or received as gifts but also cash coming in and the details of how this money was spent. It is a peculiarity that allows us to trace aspects of the pasha’s everyday life. Viewed from the perspective of the records, these years – interrupted by the Baghdad campaign – seem to have been an endless garland of leisure, pleasure, parties, music and joy; only a closer look reveals the pasha’s duties. Through these sources we can follow not only the pastimes of Silahdar Mustafa but, to a certain extent, those of the sultan himself.