ME4856 From Byzantium to the Ottoman Empire
Lecturer Dr Dimitri Kastritsis (Room 133, New Arts Building)
Credits 60
Availability Semesters 1 & 2, 2019-20
Class Hour Wednesday am
Description Between the Latin occupation of Constantinople 1204–61, which coincided with the consolidation of Seljuk power in Anatolia, and the Ottoman conquest of the city in 1453, over two centuries elapsed in which the legacies of the Byzantine, Seljuk, and Mongol empires and of the Crusades remained politically and culturally influential, but real authority came to reside in a wide variety of regional actors with diverse roots (Byzantine, Turkish, French, Italian, Mongol, Albanian, Serbian, etc.) The fragmentation only ended with the final consolidation of Ottoman power in the old lands of Eastern Rome (Rum, Romania) in the second half of the fifteenth century. This module will study the period in as comprehensive a way as possible, in order to gain a broad understanding of political, economic, and cultural life.


Basic Reading

Kafadar, Cemal. Between Two Worlds: The Construction of the Ottoman State (Berkeley, 1995)
Necipoğlu, Nevra. Byzantium Between the Ottomans and the Latins: Politics and Society in the Late Empire (Cambridge, 2009)
Vryonis, Speros. The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor (Berkeley, 1971)
John E. Woods, John E. The Aqquyunlu: Clan, Confederation, Empire (Rev. ed., Salt Lake City, 1999), esp. pp. 1–23


Course Structure

1. Introduction: Discussion of Themes and Sources
2. Byzantium and the Islamic world in the Eleventh Century
3. The Crusades and the Eastern Roman World
4. The Fourth Crusade and the Fragmentation of Byzantium
5. The Byzantine Successor States and their Neighbours
6. The Seljuks of Rum: Politics, Society, Culture
7. Pax Mongolica? The Late Thirteenth Century
8. Byzantium under the Palaiologoi
9. The Eastern Mediterranean Economy, The Genoese
10. The Venetians and their Colonies
11. The Emirates (Beyliks) of Anatolia

1. The Ottoman Emirate
2. The Byzantine Civil War and the Ottoman Crossing to Europe
3. The Balkans on the Eve of Ottoman Expansion
4. The First Ottoman Empire and its Collapse
5. The Ottoman Civil War
6. The Reign of Murad II
7. The Conquest and Rebuilding of Constantinople
8. Mehmed II’s Empire and its Institutions
9. Events, Ideas, Interpretations
10. Discussion of Themes and Readings
11. Discussion of Themes and Readings


Assessment 2 x 3-hour Written Examinations = 60%, Coursework = 40%

Learning Outcomes

To introduce students to the study of a highly complex and fragmented period of history, which has rarely been considered as a whole. The period in question was important not only for the Eastern Mediterranean region, but for the development of the world as we know it. Students will be exposed to a wide variety of textual sources translated from many different languages, as well as other forms of evidence.

Restrictions Available only to students in the second year of the Honours Programme.
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