Rethinking Greece | Marinos Sariyanis on the thriving field of Ottoman Studies in Greece

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Marinos Sariyannis has been moving arsenic a researcher astatine the Institute of Mediterranean Studies/FORTH since 2007, specializing successful Ottoman social, taste and intelligence history. He is lawman manager of the Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FORTH and subordinate of the Editorial Board of Archivum Ottomanicum (Wiesbaden) and of Bulletin de Correspondance hellénique moderne et contemporain (Athens – Paris). He has published much than 50 articles and chapters successful journals specified arsenic Turcica, Archivum Ottomanicum, International Journal of Turkish Studies, Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient, Turkish Historical Review, and others. His monograph entitled “A History of Ottoman Political Thought up to the Early Nineteenth Century” was published successful 2019.

Sariyannis spoke to Rethinking Greece* astir the displacement successful cognition of the Ottoman past successful Greek historiography and the emergence of a caller procreation of Greek Ottomanist scholars, whose their easiness with some Greek and Ottoman sources allows them to analyse Ottoman realities successful the Greek lands successful a multifaceted way; connected the main fields of Ottoman Studies probe successful Greece (urban history, cultivation realities, the peculiarities of islands, the commercialized and maritime activity, monasteries); connected the task GHOST, an effort to research the meaning and contented of what the Ottomans meant by “marvelous”, “strange” oregon “extraordinary”, and whether the Weberian conception of “disenchantment” tin beryllium applied successful an Ottoman context; and finally, connected his monograph “A History of Ottoman Political Thought up to the Early Nineteenth Century,” claiming that “the Ottomans had their ain stock successful the ‘Age of Revolutions,’ though a precise sui generis one.”

Up until the 1980s-1990s, the Ottoman play (termed Tourkokratia oregon ‘Turkish rule’) was seen mostly by Greek scholars arsenic a play not worthy studying. Why bash you deliberation this cognition had remained prevalent for truthful agelong successful Greek historiography? What was the displacement that caused this cognition to change?

    Undoubtedly, this cognition was chiefly a effect of the prevalent nationalist foundations of Greek historiography. Greek historians felt their work was to survey the improvement of the ‘Greek nation’ passim the centuries; the Ottoman play was considered a lacuna of sorts, a acheronian abstraction of yoke and repression betwixt 2 superb periods of autarkic glory (the Byzantine Empire considered a predominantly Greek formation). Being a pillar of the ideological foundations of the Greek state, this conception remained prevalent for much than 1 100 and 50 years. The Ottoman play was seen arsenic a overseas rule, an concern that lasted centuries and prevented immoderate benignant of intelligence and societal development, during which thing mattered but the efforts of the Greeks to revolt.

    By the extremity of the 1970s, however, aft the autumn of the nationalist subject junta, a caller procreation of historians had begun studying this play successful its ain right, focusing successful its economical and societal realities and trying to instrumentality into relationship the fewer translated Ottoman sources. It was successful this discourse that the archetypal generations of Ottomanist scholars, trained successful the UK, the USA, Austria oregon France, begun exploring and publishing Ottoman archives connected the past of the Greek lands. Some of them inspired young students to prosecute Ottoman studies, and with the assistance of immoderate financially blessed years that allowed respective posts of Ottoman past to beryllium created successful universities and probe centers each on Greece successful the 2000s the tract is present thriving.

    What did the Greek position bring to the tract of Ottoman studies? And connected the different hand, however has the inclusion of Ottoman studies influenced our knowing of modern Greek history?

    The main vantage of Greek Ottomanists implicit their peers is precisely their easiness with some Greek and Ottoman sources, which allows them to analyse Ottoman realities successful the Greek lands successful a multifaceted way. Their accent connected the hard information is dictated some by their grooming successful the intelligence clime of modern Greek historiography and by the quality of the Ottoman sources, i.e. chiefly taxation registers oregon judicial proceedings. The operation of Ottoman administrative sources and Greek communal narratives and archives leads to an accent successful “history from below” and has possibly contributed to a much nuanced knowing of the coexistence of spiritual groups nether Ottoman rule. On the different hand, the enactment of Greek Ottomanists showed that nary past of the Greek lands tin beryllium written without studying Ottoman sources and without taking into relationship not lone the Ottoman institutions, but besides non-Greek populations. What is more, the Ottoman play is not immoderate much seen arsenic a static discourse of a dynamic Greek nation; we present recognize that the organization and societal realities of the Ottoman Empire developed considerably from the fifteenth done nineteenth centuries.

    What tin you archer america astir Ottoman Studies successful Greece now? What are the main fields of studies?

    Ottoman studies are blooming successful Greece: determination are professors and researchers of Ottoman past successful astir each assemblage and probe center, and postgraduate students often take an Ottomanist direction. Greek Ottoman assistance has been predominantly occupied with economic, demographic and societal history: this is lone excessively natural, fixed the multitude of specified sources preserved successful Greek archives. Urban history, cultivation realities, the peculiarities of islands, the commercialized and maritime activity, monasteries – these person been the main topics that inhabit Greek Ottomanists. Furthermore, immoderate scholars person addressed wider topics that use to the Ottoman Empire arsenic a whole, specified arsenic revolts, centre-periphery relations oregon issues of taste and intelligence history.

    You thatch astatine the Department of Ottoman History astatine the Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FORTH successful Rethymnon. How has the past of Crete during influenced probe successful the Department? What are the peculiar sources that a specializer successful Ottoman past tin survey οn the field?

    To beryllium much precise, I lone thatch successful the postgraduate programme which is tally jointly by the Institute and the University of Crete; the Department astatine the Institute chiefly deals with research, alternatively than teaching. That said, ever since its instauration successful the mid-1980s the Department has been focusing successful Cretan history, engaging successful a long-time task that aims to people the immense Ottoman judicial archive of Iraklio/Kandiye (Candia) since 2000. All of the members person besides dealt with assorted aspects of the past of Ottoman Crete. However, successful the past 10 years our probe directions person moved toward different sources and topics arsenic well, ranging from the survey of different places successful Ottoman Greece to the janissary networks successful the Eastern Mediterranean, not to notation my ain musings successful taste and intelligence history. At immoderate rate, Crete remains a favourite entity of our research, not slightest due to the fact that of the wealthiness of archival sources available. These see the voluminous judicial registers, but besides taxation registers and different documents preserved successful Istanbul.

    Since 2018 you nonstop the task “GHOST – Geographies and Histories of the Ottoman Supernatural Tradition: Exploring Magic, the Marvelous, and the Strange successful Ottoman Mentalities”. Can you archer america much astir this fascinating premise and the penetration it brings to Ottoman studies?

    The GHOST project, which present comes toward its end, is an effort to research the meaning and contented of what the Ottomans meant by “marvelous”, “strange” oregon “extraordinary”, and, vice versa, the analogous notions that covered what we present picture arsenic “supernatural/preternatural” and “irrational”. We question to specify the Ottoman attitudes against beliefs successful specified phenomena oregon signifier of specified methods, some beatified (e.g. miracles of dervishes) and fishy (magic, witchcraft). Various authors mightiness property specified phenomena to actions by the jinn or, alternatively, to a concealed enactment of the cosmic elements. A large purpose of the task is to analyse the assorted ways changes took spot from the mid-seventeenth period onwards: for instance, we tried to survey whether definite phenomena were pushed from the tract of “inexplicable” to the tract of “marvelous”, whether we tin talk of immoderate inclination to “rationalize” the representation of the world, or, successful different terms, whether the Weberian conception of “disenchantment” tin beryllium applied successful an Ottoman context.

    To this aim, we sought to hint the semantic shifts successful presumption denoting nature, miracles, magic and truthful forth, examining miracles, dreams and the assorted beliefs concerning the relation of stars and the homologies and hierarchies of the microcosm and the macrocosm. There is besides the “preternatural”, i.e. what is deemed earthy (not miraculous) but inexplicable (the “paranormal” successful modern terms): wonders of the world, hermetic knowledge, the jinn, and of people the shifting ways to construe earthy phenomena. Furthermore, we analyzed efforts and techniques designed successful bid to found quality power implicit specified phenomena: successful different words, Ottoman occult sciences, specified arsenic divination, magic, astrology, alchemy and truthful forth.

    The results of the task tin beryllium seen successful much item successful our publications: mainly, the papers published successful our online, unfastened entree diary called “Aca’ib: Occasional papers connected the Ottoman perceptions of the supernatural” and successful a monograph I wrote,  Ottomans and the Supernatural: Nature, the Hereafter, and the Limits of Knowledge successful the Ottoman Empire, which is hopefully to beryllium published soon.

    Υou are the writer of the publication “A History of Ottoman Political Thought up to the Early Nineteenth Century.” What are your thoughts connected the beingness of “Ottoman Enlightenment?” Can you place immoderate enduring legacies of Ottoman governmental thought successful modern governmental mentation oregon practice?

    This publication was the effect of different probe project, backmost successful 2014-2015, which sought to hint the past of Ottoman governmental ideas and their narration to societal and governmental developments. Now, this task had nary aspirations of making immoderate connections with the present; it aimed successful mapping the intelligence trends from the fourteenth to the aboriginal nineteenth centuries, seeing them successful the inheritance of erstwhile Islamic thought, alternatively than modern ideas. There has been a lively treatment astir “Ottoman Enlightenment”, indeed, oregon if you similar an “Islamic Enlightenment” of the eighteenth century. This has little to bash with governmental ideas than with a democratization of cognition and a legitimization of idiosyncratic thought, which successful my presumption was linked someway paradoxically with the influential fundamentalist question of the seventeenth century, the Kadızadelis. Indeed, if Islamic fundamentalism is simply a recurrent thought successful modern governmental realities it has its origins successful the Ottoman era. But successful my presumption it is much absorbing to analyse definite governmental developments of the eighteenth century, namely the self-legitimization of the janissary networks seeing themselves arsenic representatives of each Muslims and frankincense morganatic members of the governmental federation (the assemblage which could assertion a stock successful governmental deliberation). It tin beryllium said that the Ottomans had their ain stock successful the “Age of Revolutions”, though a precise sui generis one, and that the interior dynamics of Ottoman nine were little “despotic” than we usually thin to think.

    *Interview to: Ioulia Livaditi


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