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Author(s): Caroline Finkel

Review by: Caroline Finkel
Source: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 60,
No. 1 (1997), pp. 142-143
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of School of Oriental and African Studies
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system of their empire and hastened the Ottoman antecedents-Roman, Byzantine and
progress of its decline' (p. 192). Islamic-as well as of the conditions inherited
There are several diagrams and maps, the by the Ottomans in the lands over which they
most useful of which illustrate the Mamluk came to rule; this inheritance shaped Ottoman
Anatolian frontier in the second half of the rural organization in all its geographic vari-
ninth/fifteenth century (p. 46), Mamluk opera- ation. Inalcik's chapters on trade are of the
tions in the Taurus Mountains in 892/1487 utmost importance in that they add to the
(p. 150), and the Ottoman capture of Cilicia in familiar silk route a thorough analysis of routes
893/1488 (p. 166). The map of the Ottoman that are all too easily forgotten. He shows that
and Mamluk empires in the second half of the trading relations with the Black Sea region and
ninth/fifteenth century (p. 5) anachronistically Eastern Europe, as well as with the Persian
shows the Funj sultanate, which did not then Gulf and India, were vital to the Ottoman
exist. Some of the illustrations are also ana- economy in its early centuries. Inalcik also
chronistic: 'A Mamluk palace in Cairo' deals in detail with the political context within
(p. 155), and 'A Mamluk in full armour' which such trading relations functioned, indic-
(p. 170), show the neo-Mamluk domestic archi- ating how closely diplomatic activity was linked
tecture and panoply of the eighteenth and early to commercial considerations.
nineteenth centuries. Suraiya Faroqhi's section on the economic
One regrets to close with criticism of a and social history of the years 1590-1699 is
book which is so comprehensive in scope and prefaced by a useful chapter on the major
important in content, but no reader can fail to political events of the century--these are well-
observe the numerous and avoidable slips chosen and succinctly summarized. Like Inalcik
which disfigure its text. As a few examples out she is an extremely prolific writer, breaking
of many, one may instance the transformation new ground on many fronts, and here she has
of biographical dictionaries into 'bibliograph- the opportunity to bring together the fruits of
ical dictionaries' (p. 23), of a methodical survey her years of empirical research. In the course
into 'a methodological survey' (p. 64), of the of her contribution she clarifies the current
Ottoman Drang nach Osten into a more state of debate on the various topics which she
laborious drag nach osten (p. 60), and of casus treats; each of her topical chapters ends with a
belli into causus belli (pp. 104, 135). The names conclusion in which she proposes different ways
Mustafa and Ishak are repeatedly transliterated in which we may interpret the evidence she has
Mustafa' and and diacritics generally brought before us and draws our attention to
tend to be allotted
Ishd.k,or withheld in a wildly the most important issues. While it is a truism
haphazard manner. These and abundant similar that no new paradigms have been generated
faults detract from the quality and scholarly from within Ottoman history, familiarity with
authority of an otherwise significant work the debates of colleagues working on other
which breaks new ground in Ottoman- regions have clearly left their mark.
Mamluk studies. The introduction to Bruce McGowan's
section on the eighteenth century (in fact,
1699-1812) is a rather cliched survey of the
period which was produced before the appear-
ance of the exciting research of a new generation
HALIL INALCIK and DONALD QUATAERT of scholars who are radically altering our view
(ed.): An economic and social history of this period: among such are Artan, Aksan,
of the Ottoman empire, 1300-1914. Zilfi and Salzmann, and out of their work is
coming the new language which will set the
xl, 1026 pp. Cambridge, etc.: terms of debate for the future. The hyperbole
Cambridge University Press, 1994. of unfit sultans, institutional decay, harem
?80. control of the state and economic and political
decline cannot compensate for a lack of
The economic and social history of the Ottoman analysis. By contrast, the main body of
empire has been slow in attracting the attention McGowan's contribution offers a very different
of researchers. However, during the last 20 view from usual. He is more familiar with the
years or so, this has become one of the most Rumelian provinces of the empire, and situates
vigorous fields of scholarly endeavour and now, his contribution firmly in Europe; he relies to
with the appearance of this dense volume, we a great extent on sources in Balkan languages-
have the first synthetic treatment which spans there are few enough Ottomanists who have
the full chronological and geographical range the capacity to do this. His discussion of the
of the empire. It is a decisive step away from ayan, local 'big men' whom he characterizes
the state-centred, sui generis history which as 'warlords', perhaps, on his reading, a not
prevailed for too long. The material presented totally inappropriate label for those in the
in this book is the work of five authors and Balkans, reminds us of the different trajectories
should be readily accessible to those who are in the west and east of the empire. The
not themselves Ottoman historians. Those who relatively few tables used in McGowan's piece
are, will find much that is familiar but also is indication of how little quantitative research
much that is not, and will refer to it time there has been on the eighteenth century.
and again. Quataert's is the contribution which relies
A glance at the bibliography to the 300 most heavily on recent archival research, an
years of Ottoman history covered by Halil indication of our ignorance hitherto of the
Inalcik indicates the extent to which this section Ottoman empire in the nineteenth century. His
is the culmination of a life's work. Among the books on the post-Industrial Revolution
most notable of his chapters are those on the Ottoman empire have broken new ground;
land regime, where he stresses the role of pre- together with his contribution to this volume,

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these provide an account of the various sectors course of their contributions, and the gaps in
of the economy which, given the scope of his our knowledge which they reveal, will
research on this little-known topic, will not undoubtedly set the research agenda for the
easily be challenged. He identifies four periods foreseeable future.
in Ottoman economic policy in the years
1812-1914: first, until 1826, the state tried to
maintain its monopolistic position and
demanded the retention of raw materials to
satisfy the domestic market; in the second FERYAD FAZIL OMAR: Kurdisch-
period, until c. 1860, the Ottomans participated Deutsches Wdrterbuch(Kurmanc) /
in the international tendency toward free trade;
this phase lasted, with lapses, until the Young Ferhenga Kurdi-Elmanf.xiv, 721 pp.
Turk Revolution of 1908 when protectionism Berlin: Kurdische Studien Berlin im
won out and a 'national economy' was the VWB, 1992. DM 89.
result. Quataert locates the beginnings of
commercialization in agriculture in the mid Until recently the dearth of adequate dictionar-
eighteenth century, when European demand ies of Northern Kurdish was one of the factors
for raw materials began to rise as that for which impeded the progress of Kurdish studies.
manufactured goods fell. Although he concurs As the Kurdish problem in the Middle East
with the accepted view that the international once more became acute in the 1980s and early
economy shaped the nature and direction of 90s, and the needs and wishes of Kurdish
change in the nineteenth century, his analysis immigrants in the West came to be voiced more
affirms that the topos 'Sick Man of Europe', articulately, the urgent need for more and
which implies an externalist, Eurocentric view better dictionaries finally began to be met. The
of the later years of the empire, is no longer years 1991-94, in fact, saw the publication of
sufficient for academic study of the period. an unprecedented number of such works.
One of the most basic and most intractable Besides the work under review there was
problems in Ottoman economic history is the a two-way Kurmanci-German dictionary,
question of units of measurement, whether D. Amirxan's W5rterbuch Kurdisch (Vienna:
monetary or avoirdupois. The diversity of Max Hueber, 2 vols., 1992). Two two-way
Ottoman units frequently impedes attempts at Kurmanci-Turkish dictionaries appeared in
quantitative measurement. Sevket Pamuk has 1992 (D. Izoli, Ferheng, Kurdf-Tirki, Tiirkpe-
written a short survey of money in the Ottoman
Kiirtge, Istanbul: Deng; Tori, Ferheng, Kurdf-
empire from the minting of the first silver akCe Tirki, Tiirkpe-KartCe,Istanbul: Koral), while
in 1326 to the eve of the First World War, an edition of Joyce Blau's well-known diction-
while Inalcik's appendix lists around 250 ary, with a Turkish version added to the
different weights and measures in use in the original English and French translations, was
period 1300-1600. published in 1991 (Istanbul: Sosyal). Finally,
The approaches adopted by the authors are two two-way Kurmanci-English dictionaries
as consistent as the available material allows. appeared in the same period (Baran Rizgar,
Lacunae are inevitable: the cost of warfare in Kurdish-English, English-Kurdish (Kurmancf)
social and economic terms is one example of a dictionary, London: M. F. Onen, 1992; A.
topic that can barely be addressed for lack of Amindarov, Kurdish-English, English-Kurdish
primary research. The periodization adopted is dictionary, New York: Hippocrene Books,
the standard one: thus we have three centuries, 1994).
until 1600, of centralized government operating The author says in the preface that the
a command economy, followed by the failure present work is intended for the use of Germans
of that system in the seventeenth century and learning Kurdish and Kurds learning German.
the search for a new equilibrium which is Mention is also made of meeting the needs of
characterized as as a period of transformation scholars, with reference to the impressive
rather than of 'decline'. The eighteenth century, German tradition in the field of Kurdish
then, was a period of decentralization, with the studies. The preface further offers a brief sketch
establishment of local dynasties encouraged by of the development of the Kurmanci literary
the system of lifetime tax-farming, designed to language (where the subdialects of Cezire and
raise money more quickly, to which the state Botan are called 'the oldest dialects ', seemingly
resorted in the face of the military imperatives implying that Kurds in other areas remained
of the last years of the seventeenth century. mute until later-but this may be quibbling).
Ottoman dependence on the West and concom- The author, a Kurd whose native dialect is not
itant Westernization reforms marked the nine- Kurmanci, states that he has incorporated the
teenth century. Readers may wonder, with vocabulary of classical and modem literary
Faroqhi (p. 433), whether political conditions works based on the speech of Cezire and Botan
are the prime determinant of economic conjunc- (which could be called Standard Kurmanci),
ture; they may also ponder whether the avail- and on the writings of some modem authors
able data and syntheses on economic and social from Badinan (Northern Iraq) and the former
history can be fitted within the periodization Soviet Union. Moreover, field-work in Cizre
offered here. (Cezire) and Diyarbekir in Turkey, in
For all the irritations encountered in reading Qamishliye in Syria, and west of Lake Urmia
the text-indexing errors, incongruence in Iran, enabled him to collect material from a
between footnotes and bibliography, tables variety of spoken dialects.
whose relationship to the text are not always The appearance of so many Kurmanci
clear-this volume is a major achievement. dictionaries in the space of a few years is apt
Ottoman history is here seen on its own terms. to have the effect of making reviewers more
The hypotheses offered by the authors in the demanding and critical than they might other-

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