Department of History
Kaya Sahin

Sahin publishes new book on the Ottoman empire

Kaya Sahin has published a new book on Ottoman empire building in the sixteenth century.  Empire and Power in the Age of Süleyman: Narrating the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman World offers a revisionist reading of Ottoman history during the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent (1520-1566).  Published by Cambridge University Press, the book situates Ottoman imperial policy within the larger Eurasian context of empire building in the same period more globally, from Tudor England to Mughal India.

The book revolves around the life and works of a career bureaucrat, Celalzade Mustafa, who served as chancellor of the empire for more than twenty years.  In contrast with many Eurocentric accounts which overlook the Ottoman empire, Sahin argues that the Ottomans were active players in European politics, with an imperial culture in direct competition with that of the Habsburgs centered in modern-day Austria.  Empire and Power in the Age of Süleyman faces east from the Ottoman empire as well as west, devoting significant attention to the often-ignored religious dimension of the struggle between the Ottomans and the Safavids of Persia.  Sahin demonstrates how their sixteenth-century rivalry redefined Sunni and Shiite Islam, laying the foundations for today’s religious tensions in the Middle East.