The early modern period was a time of increasing interconnection around the globe. Some of the most extensive interactions came around the Mediterranean between the Ottoman Empire, its vassal states in North Africa, and Christian Europe. Contrary to the popular imagination, these interactions were not always violent. Indeed, despite the religious divisions that permeated Europe and the Mediterranean from Protestant-Catholic divisions in the Christian West to the Catholic-Muslim divisions in the East and South that were punctuated by violence, political and social accommodation characterized foreign policy between the growing territorial states of the region (1). In addition, many of the phenomena historians once attributed solely to Christian Europe were more broadly experienced: the cartographic revolution of Renaissance Europe was mirrored in the Ottoman Empire(2); religious orthodoxy was increasingly defined and articulated and enforced against competitive alternative beliefs and their state’s sponsors in both the Christian west (the Reformation) and Islamic east (the increasingly polarized Sunni-Shi’a division between the Ottomans and the Safavids)(3); similarly all of the states and their societies experienced profound transformations and rebellious push-back from the stresses imposed by an increasingly intensive, broad, and new style of warfare referred to as the military revolution(4). All of these states from Spain to the Ottoman Empire and to a certain extent Safavid Iran as well involved one another almost all of the major political conflicts that permeated the period. Historians are increasingly demonstrating the connections between these two regions that have traditionally been studied as mutually exclusive from one another: Europe and the Islamic world.(5) In my own research, I have emphasized the great degree to which the French treated and thought of the Ottomans as a fundamental part of their geopolitical community. The French and Ottomans continually collaborated both militarily and diplomatically against Spain and the Holy Roman Empire.

  1. Benjamin Kaplan, Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Religious Toleration in Early Modern Society (2007); Eric Dursteler, Venetians in Constantinople: Nation, Identity, and Coexistence in the Early Modern Mediterranean (2006).
  2. George MacLean (ed.), Re-Orienting the Renaissance: Cultural Exchanges with the East. (2005); Anna Contadini and Claire Norton (eds.), The Renaissance and the Ottoman World (2013).
  3. Madeline C. Zilfi, The Politics of Piety: The Ottoman Ulema in the Postclassical Age (1600-1800) (1988); Tijana Krstic. Contested Conversions to Islam: Narrative of Religious Change in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (2011);
  4. Karen Barkey, Bandits and Bureaucrats: The Ottoman Route to State Centralization (1994); Gabor Agoston, Guns for the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman Empire (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005).
  5. Daniel Goffman, The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe, (2002); Molly Greene, A Shared World: Christians and Muslims in the Early Modern Mediterranean (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2000); E. Natalie Rothman, Brokering Empire: Trans-Imperial Subjects between Venice and Istanbul (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012); The traditional interpretation can be found in Bernard Lewis, Cultures in Conflict: Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Age of Discovery (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).