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The Timurid Vocabulary of Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire of the Sixteenth Century, Christopher Markiewicz (University of Birmingham)

February 19, 2018, 5:00pm BST - 7:00pm
Department of History, SOAS, University of London, SOAS, University of London

Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: Wolfson Lecture Theatre
10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom

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Christopher Markiewicz, University of Birmingham

Ottoman conceptions of rule in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries have most frequently been cast in relation to the Ottoman sultans’ activities as preeminent warriors of the faith (gazis). This focus is entirely justified, and, no doubt, expansion of the domains of Islam constituted an important aspect of Ottoman imperial ideology in this period. And yet, in the sixteenth century, an alternative conception concurrently emerged that emphasized the cosmically ordained status of sultans as universal sovereigns. Significantly, this new vocabulary of sovereignty was shared by all of the major Muslim empires of the sixteenth century. This presentation will examine why the Ottomans adopted this new vocabulary in the sixteenth century and what processes facilitated its adaptation among the major powers of the Islamicate ecumene.  

Christopher Markiewicz is Lecturer in Ottoman History at the University of Birmingham. He received his doctorate from the University of Chicago and spent two years as a research fellow at the University of Oxford. He is currently working on a book project, entitled ‘The Crisis of Kingship in Islam: History and Sovereignty at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century.’ In 2016, his doctoral dissertation was awarded the Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award in the Humanities from the Middle East Studies Association.  

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