By David S. Katz
This e-book is set the critical writings that formed the belief of Turkey for trained readers in English, from Edward Gibbon’s positing of imperial Decline and Fall to the proclamation of the Turkish Republic (1923), illustrating how Turkey has consistently been part of the trendy British and ecu event. it's a nice sweep of a narrative: from Gibbon as common textbook, via Lord Bryon the pro-Turkish poet, and Benjamin Disraeli the Romantic novelist of all issues japanese, by means of John Buchan's Greenmantle First global conflict espionage fantasies, after which Manchester Guardian reporter Arnold Toynbee narrating the struggle for Turkish independence.
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S. KATZ As a Musulman he seemed to respect the pious occupation of Bajazet, who was still engaged in the blockade of Constantinople; and after this salutary lesson, the Mogul conqueror checked his pursuit, and turned aside to the invasion of Syria and Egypt. In these transactions, the Ottoman prince, by the Orientals, and even by Timour, is styled the Kaissar of Roum, the Cæsar of the Romans: a title which, by a small anticipation, might be given to a monarch who possessed the provinces, and threatened the city, of the successors of Constantine.
In the long run, ‘the knowledge that Constantinople might be taken, was of more avail than the local precautions which that knowledge had inspired for its defence’. Yet the greatest damage was cultural, irreparable: Of the writings of antiquity, many that still existed in the twelfth century are now lost. But the pilgrims were not solicitous to save or transport the volumes of an unknown tongue: the perishable substance of paper or parchment can only be preserved by the multiplicity of copies; the literature of the Greeks had almost centered in the metropolis; and, without computing the extent of our loss, we may drop a tear over the libraries that have perished in the triple fire of Constantinople.
Gibbon begins by noting that in ‘the establishment and restoration of the Turkish empire, the first merit must doubtless be assigned to the personal qualities of the sultans; since, in human life, the most important scenes will depend on the character of a single actor’. After this clear statement of his philosophy of history, Gibbon notes that ‘except in a single instance’ the first nine reigns of the Ottoman sultans, a period of two and a half centuries, were occupied ‘by a rare series of warlike and active princes’.