Istanbul as a hub of early modern European diplomacy

von by Christine Vogel Original aufOriginal in German, angezeigt aufdisplayed in English
PublishedErschienen: 2021-01-12
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    By the 16th century at the latest, Istanbul had become a hub of early modern diplomacy that radiated to points far beyond Europe. The capital of the Ottoman Empire, which stretched over three continents, was a gateway for east-west trade and communication routes and thus at the same time an important site of transcultural integration and cross-border politics. If there was anything like a "diplomatic world capital" in the early modern era, it was arguably Istanbul rather than Vienna or Versailles. In any case, the capital of the Ottoman Empire was a dynamic testing ground for transcultural diplomatic procedures and practices, which provided essential impulses to the development of modern diplomacy.

    InhaltsverzeichnisTable of Contents

    Ottoman diplomacy

    The methodological and conceptual innovations that have been developed in recent years, including global-historical and praxeological approaches to historical research, have radically changed our focus on the and Ottoman diplomacy. Previously, historians frequently struggled to plausibly integrate the "Muslim colossus"1 at the edge of Europe into the Eurocentric master narrative of the parallel formation of the international state system and modern diplomacy. In most cases, this was due to the assumption of supposedly irreconcilable cultural differences between Ottomans and Europeans. Meanwhile, for all the differences in the details of social and political forms of organization, research stresses the structural similarities of political cultures, the adaptability of imperial elites, and the manifold social, economic, and political interdependencies in a Mediterranean and Southeast European world shared by Ottomans and Europeans.2

    The fact that Ottoman diplomacy was considered for such a long time from the European point of view to be at least "unconventional"3 also had largely to do with the imperial self-understanding of the empire. Since the conquest of Eroberung Konstantinopels durch die Osmanen 1453 IMGby Mehmed II (1432–1481)[Sultan Mehmed II. IMG], it saw itself as heir to , which was reflected in the diplomatic ceremony at the sultan's court. In the competition with the Persian Safavids in the East and the Habsburgs in the West, the Ottoman dynasty's claim to world domination was consolidated in the 16th century, and under the sultans Selim I (1470–1520) and Suleiman I (ca. 1494–1566) it also had a religious dimension.4 The Ottomans' idea of imperial rule found its sacred legitimation in Islamic law, although they were keen to manage relations with Christian powers not only with military force but also diplomatically.5

    In fact, both Ottomans and Europeans in the early modern period pursued a pragmatic approach in shaping their foreign relations. Religion played here an important, but by no means the exclusive role. Like their Christian counterparts, the Ottoman sultans relied above all on a strategy of dynastic preservation of power and territorial expansion, whereby treaties with non-Muslim rulers were dictated by reason or raison d’état. Countless peace and trade agreements between Ottomans and Europeans attest to the intensity of diplomatic relations. These treaties were the result of an overlapping of Islamic legal norms with sultan law, Byzantine traditions, diverse local customary laws and, last but not least, Western European ideas of precedence and ius gentium.6

    A glance, then, at diplomatic treaties and negotiations between Ottomans and Europeans makes one thing abundantly clear: At least for the early modern period, the concept of "westernization," conceived as a process of unidirectional cultural transfer, does not represent an adequate approach to understanding Ottoman diplomacy.7 A stronger and increasingly one-sided orientation toward Latin European international law norms and procedures on the part of the political elite of the Ottoman Empire can be established only at the very end of the 18th century. At this time, the empire under Sultan Selim III (1762–1808) began to dispatch permanent-resident ambassadors to European capitals according to the Western European modelSortie de l'ambassadeur de la Sublime Porte 1721 IMG.8 Until then, the diplomatic ties between Ottomans and Europeans were characterized by a variety of transcultural processes and practices, whose primary stage was .9 Moreover, they only gained their defining features in the multicultural setting of the Ottoman capital.10

    Varieties of European diplomacy in Istanbul

    European diplomacy in early modern Istanbul was typified by plurality and competition. After all, the emissaries of the various European powers operated under very different conditions, at least until the end of the 17th century. Their status, scope of action, freedom of movement, and even the location of their residence within the capital was determined by the relationship between their patron and the Ottoman ruler. Two models of European diplomacy can be distinguished as ideal types in Istanbul before the 18th century, depending on their function and historical development. First, the Western European model of representation was based on the historical precedent of the Venetian bailo, who had a dual function as ambassador and consul; second, the Eastern European model was characterized by official, high-level embassy for special occasions, whereas everyday business was handled by simple residents. After 1700, the boundaries between the two models began to blur.

    The Western European model

    The Western European trading powers , , , and the negotiated so-called capitulations (ʿahdnāme) with the sultan, which regulated the legal status of their subjects living in the Ottoman Empire and defined the rights and duties of their ambassadors.11 Under the protection of the capitulations, privileged Western European trading colonies constituted themselves in the Ottoman port cities. In contemporary European usage, for example, one spoke of the French nation in Constantinople or the English nation (or factory) in (Izmir).12 The members of a nation13 were exempt from the head tax (jizya/ cizye), distinguishing them from the sultan's non-Muslim subjects, with whom they often also shared churches or schools. In addition, they enjoyed customs and judicial privileges and other special rights, which were set out in detail in the respective capitulations. While Venice had already received capitulations from Mehmed II in 1454, France was the first Christian monarchy to negotiate its own capitulations in 1569; England and the Netherlands followed in 1580 and 1612, respectively. In the 17th and 18th century, the regular renewal and expansion of the capitulations and the monitoring of their compliance represented a main sphere of activity of the Western European diplomats in Istanbul. The negotiations were marked by intra-European competition for the most favorable conditions in the Levant tradeDie Länder der Levante. But they not only concerned economic policy: Questions of precedence and religion were also negotiated in the context of the capitulation renewals. In addition, the Western European powers at the Sublime Porte always pursued power-political goals.14

    Under the legal umbrella of the capitulations, the Western European ambassadors acted as the responsible contacts for the Ottoman government in all matters concerning members of their nation, but also the political relationship with their patrons. This entailed not only extensive judicial, police, administrative, and fiscal rights, but also tax privileges and immunities for the ambassadors themselves and their households. The capitulations thus provided the European trading colonies in the Ottoman Empire with something akin to extraterritorial status. The permanent residence of the Western European diplomats in Istanbul was just as much due to the Islamic immigration law and the Mediterranean consular function, which dated back to antiquity, as to the newly emerging diplomatic customs within Latin-Christian princely society.15 The Western European representatives in Istanbul retained their characteristic dual function as ambassadors/consuls throughout the early modern period.16 In the case of France and England, this was evident not least in the financing model. For instance, the English ambassador was paid by the Levant Company until the end of the 18th century, and the French received half of their gratuities directly from the Chamber of Commerce in . This did not change the fact that both crowns, just like Venice, gave their representatives at the sultan's court the rank of ambassadeur. However, there was considerable potential for conflict between both the European diplomats on the ground and in relation to the Ottomans.17 One reason for this is the fact that in the European practice of international law of the early modern period the notion of different diplomatic ranks was intertwined with a complicated order of precedence. Also, the function of the ambassadeur in this context directly alluded to the delegating monarch’s claim to sovereignty.

    Galata/Pera: European embassy district and "urban middle ground"

    The Western European ambassadors resided in the vineyards of above Galata (today’s district of Beyoğlu), in close proximity to their trading compatriotsJean-Baptiste Vanmour (1671–1737), View of Istanbul from the Dutch Embassy at Pera, ca. 1720–1737 IMG. The close entanglement of trade and politics explains why the European embassy district was built in Galata/Pera of all places. Located far away from the palaces of the sultan and the grand vizier, boat passages across the Golden Horn had to be organized for every negotiation with Ottoman officials. A Genoese trading colony had already been established on this site in Byzantine times. After the Ottoman conquest, the hitherto autonomous municipality was integrated into the new administrative structures of the capital and developed into the multicultural center of long-distance trade and diplomacy. With its port district, markets, taverns, and other relevant establishments, it soon acquired the at once dubious and alluring reputation in Ottoman society as a "Frankish" cesspool of sin.18 Christians, however, formed only a minority among the inhabitants of this district in the early modern period. At the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, a small Catholic community of long-established Italian families, which had been recognized by the sultan as the Magnifica Communità di Pera since the 15th century, comprised only about two dozen families, i.e. a few hundred individuals. The majority of the inhabitants of Galata/Pera were , , Jewish and Muslim subjects of the sultan, who lived and worked here side by side with the small number of members of the Western European trading colonies and perhaps a few thousand Christian slaves.19 From the middle of the 16th century, more and more Moriscos settled, who fled to the Ottoman Empire to escape persecution under Philipp II (1527–1598). From 1600, the majority of the population of Galata/Pera was already Muslim.20

    Nonetheless, neither the religious-denominational, ethnic, linguistic, or social boundaries here – or for that matter in the other urban centers of the Ottoman Mediterranean – were congruent, impermeable, or easy to define. In early modern Istanbul, for example, there were denominationally or ethnically determined residential neighborhoods, yet there was no strict separation of the population in the sense of "ghettos." The Western embassies stood in close proximity to each other; the Venetian and French embassies were even connected by a common gate. In the neighborhood, however, there were also private residences of wealthy Ottoman renegades, a mosque, and a hamam, a dervish convent and the Galata Palace School founded by Sultan Bayezid II.21 Galata/Pera was therefore not just a European embassy district, but an "urban middle ground," a site of cross-border encounterPlan de la ville de Constantinople IMG.22

    The Western embassies as centers of diplomatic sociability

    The embassies were centers of multicultural sociability, trans-imperial networking and social permeability. The strands of all those personal networks came together here which were indispensable for the day-to-day business of diplomacy. Their quality and scope could decide on a mission's success or failure. The embassy buildings were located in the heart of their multicultural milieu. They housed not only the ambassador and his family, but also their entire household, often consisting of several dozen people, and the diplomatic staff, which was not always strictly separated from it. The French ambassador Pierre Girardin (died 1689), for example, arrived from France in 1685 with more than 50 servants, including secretaries, bellboys, stable boys, footmen, sedan bearers, valets and maids for himself and his wife, but also cooks, gardeners, an upholsterer and a tailor.23 Further servants were usually recruited locally. Likewise belonging to the permanent inhabitants of the Palais de France were some JanissariesJanitscharen am Beginn des 19. Jahrhunderts and, since the late 17th century, the "jeunes de langue." These boys selected for the study of the Oriental languages would often later work as royal interpreters in the Levant. Many others residents could be added to the list, who only temporarily took up quarters in the palace: transient cavaliers, freed slaves, holed-up Ottoman dignitaries,24 artists, and explorers. The famous testimony of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762)[Lady Mary Wortley Montagu IMG], the wife of the British ambassador in Istanbul at the beginning of the 18th century, shows that the French embassy was no exception in this regard:"I live in a place that very well represents the Tower of Babel; in Pera they speak Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, Armenian, Arabic, Persian, Russian, Slavonian, Wallachian, German, Dutch, French, English, Italian, Hungarian; and what is worse, there are ten of these languages spoke in my own family. My grooms are Arabs, my footmen French, English, and Germans; my nurse an Armenian; my housemaids Russians; half a dozen other servants Greeks; my steward an Italian; my janissaries Turks, that I live in perpetual hearing of this medley of sounds, which produces a very extraordinary effect upon the people that are born here. They learn all these languages at the same time and without knowing any of them well enough to write or read in it."25 A ground plan of the Palais de France, drawn up at the beginning of the 18th century, shows a larger building complex on a terraced sloping surface of the equivalent of a little over one hectare.26 The accompanying description lists residential and reception rooms, courtyards and gardens, stables, washrooms and kitchens, as well as a chancellery and infirmary, a chapel, classrooms and a Capuchin convent directly adjacent to the embassy. The embassy's reception hall was designed to give guests a view of the sultan's palace on the opposite bank of the Golden HornHans de Jode (ca. 1630–1663), Die Serailspitze in Konstantinopel, 1659 IMG.27

    The complex architectural structure of the Palais de France reflects the multifunctionality of European embassies as official residences and centers of diplomatic sociability and transcultural networking. In the more formal rooms, there were diplomatic negotiations as well as the courtesy visits and return visits which the Christian ambassadors paid each other on arrival and departure according to European diplomatic protocol. The ambassador also received selected members of his nation and the multicultural upper class of Galata/Pera for banquets on special occasions. This could have included, for instance, his inaugural audience with the sultan and the grand vizier, or the celebration of a military victory, the birth of an heir to the throne, or other dynastic events. The guest lists of the Istanbul embassies always reflected the current European lines of conflict.28

    Nonetheless, the embassy palace served more than official purposes. It also formed the social, administrative, economic and cultural center for the respective nation: It was a place where information was gathered, meetings of the nation were held, speakers were elected, disputes were settled, passports were issued, posts were given, travelers were received, petitions were delivered, but also parties, theater performances and competitions were organized. Not only did the members of one’s own nation come together, but often there were other Europeans and the sultan's subjects. When in doubt, the decisive factor was not religious affiliation, but social status. Ample testimony shows that European ambassadors – and possibly their wives – received Ottoman officials in their palaces and paid reciprocal visits, and also debated with Muslim scholars and met with delegates of Armenian or Greek Christians.29 Although it is not as well documented, similar encounters may have taken place on the lower social ranks.

    The Eastern European model

    By contrast, the Central and Eastern European diplomats first acted in Istanbul under quite different conditions than their Western European counterparts. This was because the relationship of their principals to the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries was largely marked by war-like conflict. In the course of the Ottoman expansion into Southeastern Europe, the defeated princes were given the rank of vassal or tributary states – or, as with the Habsburgs, at least treated analogously. The ceasefire and peace treaties with the Ottomans included the obligation to maintain a diplomatic resident in Istanbul. Since the Habsburg-Ottoman peace treaty of 1547, there was accordingly a Habsburg resident on the . In addition, official special envoys from also regularly arrived in the Ottoman capital.30 Their main function was the ceremonial handing over of the monetary payments agreed upon in the peace treaty. Contemporaries as well as later historians disputed whether these payments were actually tributes or honorary gifts.31

    Although the armistice of (1606) effectively ended the Habsburgs' tribute obligation, they continued to adhere to this form of "double" diplomatic representation. They were represented by a low-ranking imperial resident for day-to-day diplomatic business, as well as by occasional, but particularly magnificent and high-ranking embassies.32 For the emperor, this arrangement made perfect sense: It was appropriate given the imperial rivalry between the Habsburgs and the Ottomans and European notions of diplomatic representation. A unilateral high-ranking diplomatic representation at the sultan's court also would not have been compatible with the emperor’s own universal claim to power. Finally, it was also useful in view of the intra-European rivalry: A special envoy like Wolfgang Graf zu Oettingen-Wallerstein (1626–1708), who entered Istanbul with great pomp as imperial representative in February 1700 to seal the Treaty of , was able to claim the distinguished rank of ambassadeur extraordinaire according to the European order of precedence. The French ambassador, who traditionally claimed first place among all Christian diplomats in Istanbul, was displeased by this. But as resident ambassador he was only ambassadeur ordinaire, and so his king gave him explicit instructions to avoid any encounters with Oettingen-Wallerstein.33

    In structural terms, the Habsburgs' diplomatic presence in Istanbul therefore continued long after their tribute obligation to resemble how the Ottomans shaped diplomatic relations with their European tributary states. For instance, the principalities Transylvania, and Walachia as well as the Islamic Crimean Khanate were not only obliged to send diplomatic delegations every year to present the tribute payments to the sultan's court, but also to permanently station a representative in Istanbul. He was simultaneously the contact person for the Ottoman government and a potential captive.34 And just like the representatives of the tributary states, the Habsburg residents were initially housed in the Elçi (or: Nemçe) Han, a special accommodation for foreign diplomats near Topkapı Sarayı. Since the 17th century they usually rented quarters in the district of Fener and thus remained close to the political center of the capital, though far away from the Western European representatives in Galata/Pera.35 As a rule, they remained excluded from the everyday, low-threshold practices of diplomatic sociability that were cultivated in the Western European embassy district, both because of their spatial distance and for reasons of rank and power politics.

    The situation was quite similar with the emissaries, who had been coming to Istanbul since the 15th century, usually with particular ceremonial splendor. They, too, initially resided in Elçi Han and left again once the mission was completed. It was not until the middle of the 18th century that the Polish and Habsburg representatives moved into permanent residences. Just like their Western European colleagues, however, they then chose the Pera district.36

    The 18th century: unification qua "westernization"?

    The spatial separation and at the same time the differentiation in rank between Eastern European residents in Fener and Western European ambassadors in Pera was already seen by contemporaries as an intentional move by the Ottomans. It enabled tighter control of the Habsburgs' diplomatic activities and, moreover, brought them closer to the dependent tributary states, if only symbolically. The Western European diplomats, on the other hand, were in principle recognized as representatives of sovereign powers and accordingly enjoyed far greater freedoms in remote Galata/Pera.37 Nonetheless, since the category of sovereignty was anchored in European international law, not in the legal understanding of the Ottomans, this interpretation was problematic at the least. Whether by design or simply a historical coincidence, the obvious spatial separation of Western and Eastern European diplomats in Istanbul in the 16th and 17th centuries also marked a functional and symbolic differentiation between two varieties of European diplomacy in the Ottoman capital. It was not until after the power political balance in shifted in favor of the Habsburgs and their allies in the wake of the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699) and the Russian Tsarist Empire appeared on the scene as new, powerful actor that the functional and symbolic boundaries between East and West European diplomacy in Istanbul increasingly blurred. There were more frequent consultations and joint interventions among European diplomats. Something like a European diplomatic corps developed in which Western European norms progressively molded diplomatic practice.38

    It remains debatable, however, whether all this is sufficient to speak of a "westernization" of the diplomatic practice in Istanbul before the late 18th century – particularly since an essential impulse for these developments came from the Russian tsardom. Nevertheless, the rapprochement and increasing joint agreements between the diplomats of Western and Eastern Europe on the ground made it possible to appear more united vis-à-vis the Ottoman interlocutors and thereby generate more pressure to negotiate. The aforementioned functional differentiation of the two European diplomacy models became gradually obsolete, at least in the course of the 18th century. This unification of diplomatic practice in Istanbul became outwardly visible, among other things, in the fact that in the course of the 18th century not only the Habsburg and Polish representatives, but also all new European ambassadors – for example those from , and – settled in Galata/Pera. Unlike their French or English counterparts, though, the latter did not monitor any trading colonies and did not perform any consular functions.

    The city as a stage: diplomatic ceremony at the sultan’s court

    Within the framework of the Ottoman Sultans' imperial strategy, the reception of foreign diplomats played a central role. The diplomatic ceremony was the medium through which the Ottomans symbolically asserted their claim to world domination and staged themselves as otherworldly religious rulers.39 In this context, two events played a prominent role: public audiences and the exchange of gifts.

    Arrival and reception

    The urban space of the Ottoman capital was an integral part of the reception ceremonies for foreign representatives. Istanbul and the Topkapı PalaceTopkapı-Palast IMG built by Mehmed II on the headland between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara served as a stage, while residents and visitors played the important role of spectators. They lined streets and squares when the emissaries of , , or rulers moved in solemn procession with a large cohort and valuable gifts along the central boulevard (today: Divan Yolu Caddesi) to the Topkapı Palace. It was almost impossible to tell from the outside whether it was the freely sent delegation of a sovereign prince or the forced homage of a defeated tributary. On their way to the sultan, they all had to cross various architectural and ceremonial thresholds in a prescribed manner before reaching the "Gate of Felicity," the third and last gate to the strictly shielded innermost part of the vast palatial complex. Once there, the guests were dressed in honorary robes (hil'at), which symbolically integrated them into the Ottoman world order. They were then led into the audience chamber directly behind the gate to "kiss the Sultan's skirt," as it was soon expressed metonymically in European reports.40 In fact, the Christian ambassadors were held by the arms of two servants of the sultan and more or less gently brought to a kneeling position before the sultan. In the center of the capital and in the very heart of the palace, they thus gained a view of the empire's incarnate center of power: Here the sultan, surrounded by his highest-ranking servants and most important dignitaries, appeared on his throne in motionless silence as the "Sultan of the Sultans," "Crown Giver of the Earth," "Ruler of the countries of the Rûm, the Persians, and the Arabs," "Hero of the Cosmos," and "Shadow of God on Earth"Jean-Baptiste Vanmour (1671–1737), Ambassador Cornelis Calkoen, ca. 1727–1730 IMG.41

    The Ottoman reception ceremony was the ultimate symbolic staging of world domination. Thus, just like Suleiman I's cited titles from his letters to the Habsburg emperors, it corresponded to a self-understanding according to which there could actually be no such thing as "foreign relations." A closer look, however, reveals that the diplomatic ceremony was by no means inflexible. Although little changed overall in the course of reception ceremonies for foreign diplomats throughout the early modern era, the details – e.g. the length of waiting times, the positions in the room, the size of the entourage, the splendor of the decorations, the type and extent of gifts, the modalities of their delivery – could vary considerably. The Europeans translated all this and much more into the language of their own order of precedence and negotiated closely with the Ottoman interlocutors in the run-up to the ceremonies. Intensive discussions took place through various official and informal channels even before a diplomatic representative was officially received and "accredited." Moreover, the reception at the sultan was simply the last and most magnificent stage of the complex Ottoman reception ritual, which sometimes stretched over weeks. Prior to that, the emissary had to be welcomed by the grand vizier in a solemn audience. Indeed, this ceremony was deliberated, at least from the 17th century, just as in depth as that of the sultan. If the emissary travelled over land, like the Habsburg representatives, similar ceremonies were required for arriving at the Ottoman provincial governors.42

    Yet, any one particular ceremony could give rise to disputes and disagreeable incidents. For example, when the French ambassador Charles de Nointel (1635–1685) appeared in May 1677 for the inaugural audience at Kara Mustafa Pasha (1634/35–1683), he left the audience chamber under protest before the grand vizier's arrival, because he did not agree with the intended seating arrangement.43 Some twenty years later, his successor Charles de Ferriol (1652–1722) provoked a loud brawl in the middle of the Topkapı Palace on the threshold of the audience chamber, because he insisted on appearing before Sultan Mustafa II (1664–1704) with his sword. He finally left the palace without an audience.44 These and other ritual conflicts were long attributed to a lack of intercultural competence on the part of the involved actors. They were accordingly interpreted as cultural misunderstandings, thus underpinning the thesis of a supposedly fundamental incompatibility of the political systems of meaning. Today, however, such incidents are being examined using the methods of historical ritual research and, like intra-European ritual conflicts, are analyzed as targeted attempts to assert political claims to validity in their respective historical contexts.45


    The issue of gifts was a central yet particularly conflict-ridden aspect of the diplomatic ceremony at the sultan's court. As already mentioned, vassal states and enemies defeated in war had to deliver their tribute payments, called "honorary gifts," to the sultan every year in public ceremonies. But even the ambassadors of the Western European trading powers had to hand out gifts to the sultan, the highest dignitaries and their servants during their inaugural audiences, according to precisely regulated procedures and to a previously negotiated extent. In general, the Ottomans already defined the establishment of diplomatic relations in the language of giving and receiving gifts: Peace, the sultan let the Western sovereigns know, was only possible between friends, and friendship was established through gifts. Therefore, a prerequisite for the granting of capitulations was a written request for friendship from a ruler, accompanied by suitable offerings.46

    Both the sultan's court and the Western embassies in Istanbul had detailed gift registers drawn up. For each side, it was not only a matter of documenting the material value of the gifts, but also maintaining a list of precedents. The Western gift registers usually distinguished carefully between so-called obligatory gifts and extraordinary gifts. Obligatory gifts were textiles distributed on the day of the audience to the Sultan and all high-ranking dignitariesReis Efendi, 19. Jahrhundert and their servants down to the stable boy, each in different quality and quantity according to the respective rank. Extraordinary gifts, on the other hand, were reserved only for the highest dignitaries. As a rule, these included valuable watches, jewelry, technological innovations such as nautical measuring instruments, but also animals or exotic goods which honored both the giver and the receiver. In this case, the ambassadors were confronted with very specific "orders" from the Ottomans, which repeatedly caused irritation, since it was difficult to reconcile with European ideas of giving.47

    In return, the European diplomats received ceremonial robes of honor (hil'at) at their audiences, which had a high symbolic value and, according to Ottoman tradition, marked the recipient as hierarchically subordinateHans von Aachen, Kaiser Matthias als König von Böhmen.48 The number and quality of these vestments were regarded as an indicator of the homage paid by the Ottomans to the respective ambassadors or their patrons. Europeans quickly grasped this – to the point, in fact, where the claim to have received more robes of honor than any other European diplomat before them became a common topos in their reports.49 The question of robes of honor repeatedly gave rise to complicated and protracted negotiations in the run-up to ceremonies. Europeans used this element as a way of enhancing their cachet for settling internal precedence disputes.50

    Diplomatic gift-giving in Istanbul was thus embedded in the very specific and ritualized Ottoman economy of giving. Obligatory honorary gifts for assuming office or for regularly recurring appointments had a fixed place in Ottoman culture and formed a separate category of gifts as part of rituals of investiture (pīşkeş).51 Moreover, they had to be presented by European diplomats not only to the highest dignitaries such as the sultan or the grand vizier in public audiences, but also to all other officials with whom they had dealings, such as clerks or customs officers. Gifts therefore represented a significant cost factor in the ambassadors' budgets and led to repeated complaints, particularly as Europeans could not expect any consideration in return for this type of gift other than that the officials were permitted to hold their offices.52 For this reason, individual European diplomats repeatedly attempted to persuade their counterparts to take concerted action against this costly and dishonorable practice. This usually failed, however, owing to intra-European competition.53

    Diplomacy as a transcultural practice

    European diplomacy in Istanbul encompassed a broad spectrum of different actors and a continuum of practices. These ranged from ritualized and highly formalized official meetings before large audiences to manageable everyday interactions and informal or even secret meetings in the smallest of circles. Usually, the higher the social rank of the participants and the greater the publicity of their interaction, the more the competing imperial validity claims of Europeans and Ottomans shaped the form and structure of the exchange. The multicultural setting of the Ottoman capital influenced the diplomatic practice as much as the city's unique topography, in which spatial proximity or distance always had a figurative dimension. Yet diplomatic practice in Istanbul was by no means a one-way street, even if it was the Ottomans who initially set the local parameters. In everyday interactions, the rules of the game were repeatedly renegotiated, boundaries were shifted and crossed.

    Diversity of diplomatic actors

    In order to deal with the daily business of diplomacy, there were a multitude of actors in action, only a few of whom held official positions. Activities ranged from negotiating the course of official diplomatic ceremonies and the content of treaties and agreements to initiating and resolving conflicts, gathering information or spreading disinformation. The solemn meeting between the ambassador and the sultan or even the grand vizier in a public audience was merely the tip of the iceberg. Day-to-day business was conducted through various channels, some official and public, some informal and secret. However, the diplomatic ritual was constitutive to the extent that, in the complex field of diplomatic practice in early modern Istanbul, it delimited an area of official interaction, as it were, performatively. All the actors who had been formally introduced to each other according to the rules of the ritual during ceremonial inaugural audiences were then able to interact with each other, either "en cérémonie" or incognito. The ritual thus served, in a sense, to make the group of official diplomatic actors visible.54

    The official interlocutors of the ambassador on the Ottoman side thus included, in addition to the sultan and the grand vizier, all those dignitaries to whom he paid his solemn respects in public audiences when he assumed office. This group of people varied during the early modern period: Where appropriate, they were e.g. the kaimakam, the deputy of the grand vizier in Istanbul, the kapudan paşa, the commander-in-chief of the fleet, or even the şeyhülislam, the supreme Islamic legal scholar of the empire.55

    In everyday diplomatic life, however, many things could and indeed had to be clarified at the operational level. For example, one important function on the Ottoman side was the reisülküttâb, the "chief of the chancery clerks," who was charged with writing documents. Originally only an employee of the divan, he finally took over the function of a foreign minister in the 19th century after diplomatic relations with the European powers increasingly fell within his scope of responsibility from the 18th century onwards.56 The secretaries of the ambassador or the kethüda of the grand vizier or the reisülküttâb were also used for minor negotiations.

    Institutionalized intermediaries: the dragomans

    The dragomansAmbassadeur de France avec son Drogmans ou Interprete IMG (from the Ottoman "tercüman") had a prominent and utterly central function. Officially appointed interpreters who worked both at the sultan's court and at the embassies, they not only appeared in diplomatic ceremonies, but were also present in practically every conversation between Ottomans and Europeans. Sometimes, they even conducted negotiations themselves on behalf of their patrons. This omnipresence of the dragomans was due first of all to the fact that the language was one of the great hurdles in Ottoman-European diplomacy.57 Certainly, a pidgin of Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Turkish and Provençal served for everyday communication in Istanbul's streets and markets as well as in other Mediterranean port cities. Also many Ottoman dignitaries, as well as most Western European diplomats who stayed longer in the Ottoman Empire, knew several languages, so that they would often have been able to communicate to some extent – for example, in Italian – without a dragoman.58 However, Ottoman, as an administrative and elite language, had a special cultural prestige within the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, it played a central role in the integration of the empire and its multicultural political elites, which gave it a high representative value, especially in diplomatic dealings.59 The use of officially appointed dragomans in diplomatic negotiations and ceremonial audiences was therefore not only a pragmatic necessity, but also an important component of imperial display.

    It is therefore only logical that the office of Dragoman of the Porte (or chief interpreter) was created in the 16th century under Suleiman the Magnificent at the same time as Ottoman became established as the official language of the empire. In this early period, the office was given exclusively to converts who brought the necessary linguistic skills from their cultures of origin and at the same time were loyal to the dynasty.60 From the last third of the 17th century until the 19th century, the empire recruited the Dragomans of the Porte among the members of the Greek Orthodox upper class of Istanbul, the so-called Phanariots. Their most important representative was Alexander Mavrocordatos (1641–1709) who held this post from 1673 until his death and contributed significantly to the expansion of the political functions of the chief dragoman.61 After his death, his son Nicolas Mavrocordatos (1680–1730) assumed the office and later became the first Greek prince of Moldavia and Wallachia to establish the Phanariot period in the Danube principalities. The impressive rise of the Mavrocordatos' family thus took place in the context of Ottoman-European diplomacy and also had a lasting influence on its structures: The Greek Orthodox Dragomans of the Porte established themselves as indispensable mediators, built up extensive and widely distributed cross-border patronage and client networks and consistently used this key position for the benefit of their own family clan.

    Dragomans played a similar role, albeit at a lower social level, at the European embassies.62 Very often they were recruited from the long-established Italian families of the magnifica comunità di Pera, that is, from the ranks of the Sultan's Catholic subjects, but occasionally also from the Orthodox or Jewish families of Galata. By entering the service of a Western ambassador, the dragomans became members of his household, were under his protection and thus attained a special legal status, which was officially confirmed by a dragoman patent (berat) of the Sultan. In comparison to other Ottoman subjects, they thus enjoyed extensive legal and fiscal privileges and attained, as it were, an "extraterritorial status in their own country."63 As natives, they brought with them important social contacts for the ambassadors, and since they were often committed to the same embassy for generations, they effectively embodied its institutional memory. They were usually the first point of contact for the diplomats, most of whom were unfamiliar with local customs on their arrival. The task of the dragomans was by no means limited to purely linguistic translation services, but consisted in cultural translation services in the broadest sense.

    Due to their deeply ambivalent loyalties, however, the Ottoman embassy dragomans were deeply distrusted by their Western patrons. Laments about the Levantine dragomans' incompetence, disloyalty and timidity were among the most common themes in Western embassy reports. Nevertheless, they were also bearers of the embassy's secrets through their translation work and there was always the danger that other embassies might recruit them as spies. Therefore, it was not easy to get rid of incompetent or obstinate dragomans. Although France and Venice made repeated attempts to train "their own" or "national" interpreters on the spot, these "language boys" ("jeunes de langue," "giovani di lingua") were soon absorbed by the "transnational and also intercultural elite" of the Ottoman metropolis through marriage or conversion. Through increasingly complex and dense kinship relations, which were at odds with ethnic, linguistic, political, and even class distinctions, the dragomans gradually established themselves as a separate social group in Istanbul. Several particularly influential dynasties, such as Testa, Grillo, and Fornetti, predominated here and they divided the market of Western embassies with their lucrative employment opportunities among themselves.64

    Diplomatic network building in a multicultural setting

    Just as at the Christian princely courts of Europe, the actual political power at the sultan's court did not always lie with the official officeholders. It was therefore important for the Western diplomats to identify and come into contact not only with their official interlocutors but also with other relevant and politically influential persons at the sultan's court. For example, this might include the sultans’ mothers, who were at times particularly politically influential, or high-ranking palace servants from the insulated interior of Topkapı Sarayı.65 Not unlike in Vienna or , the establishment of an efficient network was therefore also in early modern Istanbul the prerequisite for successful diplomatic work; and, here as there, kinship, friendship and patronage were the basic modes of social networking and confidence building. However, the underlying conditions and the rules of social interaction in the multi-denominational setting of the Ottoman capital differed considerably from the customs at the Christian courts of Europe. On the other hand, the location also offered a particularly large and diverse reservoir of potential informants, spies and mediators of contacts between Western ambassadors and Ottoman dignitaries.

    A primary starting point for the Western ambassadors to establish their own local network of clients and informants was their own nation, whose members had often already been living there for generations. The English, French, Venetian and Dutch merchants and craftsmen who lived in Galata/Pera were connected through business relations and kinship, not only among themselves but also with Ottoman subjects of different denominations. Their cross-border personal ties made them important brokers in the process of diplomatic network building. The ambassadors, in turn, were able to integrate these existing networks into their own through clever client politics and thus exploit them for diplomatic ends.66 For the Western ambassadors in Istanbul, the dragomans they commissioned were one of the most important patronage channels. They enabled the ambassadors to engage non-Muslim subjects of the Sultan as clients and gain access to the important political households in the Ottoman Empire.

    The logic of gift exchange and the patronage ethos therefore also shaped the formation of diplomatic networks in Istanbul. Both were, moreover, basically familiar to Western diplomats from their own culture.67 However, the actual organization here followed the rules of the Ottomans, who expressed social relations through practices of giving. Reference has already been made to the obligatory gifts (pīşkeş) to office holders, which initially took some getting used to for European actors. Still, they did not create a personal relationship between the giver and the receiver and, accordingly, did not bind the latter to any further commitments. In this respect, these gifts were only relevant for the "official" side of diplomatic network building. A clear distinction was made here with gifts of friendship, which served exclusively to build relationships and were also firmly anchored in Ottoman culture as an important gift category in their own right (hibe). This type of gift-giving had a significance for diplomatic practice that can hardly be overstated, but is often difficult to fully grasp in the sources because of its informal nature and its transition to corruption.68 Unlike obligatory gifts to dignitaries, this category of gifts did not primarily depend on the material value, but on the gesture of giving itself. Often consumer goods were therefore presented as gifts, which had rather symbolic than material value: embroidered handkerchiefs, somewhat exotic food, scented waterEau de Cologne-Flasche IMG, or pharmaceuticals. This enabled contacts to be made that went beyond the official hierarchy and into the direct vicinity of the sultan.69

    Istanbul as a center of transcultural diplomatic practice in the early modern period

    At the end of the 17th century, the long-standing English embassy secretary Paul Rycaut (1629–1700) let his European audience know that the Turks were not capable of true friendship with Europeans.70 The authors of the relevant treatise literature of the 17th and 18th centuries left no doubt that the ambassador post in Istanbul was untenable: Whoever was sent to the sultan's court by his prince must in any case be prepared for the "tyranny and pride" of the "Turks" and for humiliation and insults of all kinds.71 Since the 17th century at the latest, official diplomatic correspondence also repeatedly employed the topos of Oriental despotism and thus operated within the discourse field of the Turkish fear.72 There is much to suggest that this discourse of otherness was an effective means for European diplomats to compensate for the symbolic humiliations they had to endure in the reception ceremony at the sultan's court. It was only when the Ottomans were branded as barbarians and thus excluded from the circle of civilized peoples that the symbolic practices at the sultan's court could be reconciled with the sense of honor of European princely society, on the one hand, and the doctrine of sovereignty that prevailed there, on the other. Nonetheless, the discursive demarcation should not obscure the fact that on the level of interaction, Ottoman-European diplomacy functioned for centuries. Moreover, a set of transcultural practices developed in the urban space of the Ottoman capital that ensured communication across denominational and linguistic boundaries.

    For diplomatic practice in Istanbul, the people who mediated as border crossers between the religions, languages and competing empires of the Habsburgs, Venetians and Ottomans fulfilled a critical function. In recent research, the term "trans-imperial subjects" has been coined to emphasize that these individuals traversed political, linguistic, and religious boundaries through mobility, kinship, or patronage relationships. At the same time, they contributed to their institutional consolidation by drawing on their expertise to negotiate the foreign and their own "otherness" in the imperial space of boundaries and competition.73 As institutionalized mediators in Ottoman-European diplomacy, the dragomans were paradigmatic. But there were also countless informal actors who shaped the multicultural environment of the European embassies in Istanbul: freed slaves, converts, merchants, and certainly the Jews, who because of their trans-imperial kinship networks were quite prevalent in diplomatic contexts.74 To a certain extent, however, this definition ultimately applies to all diplomatic actors in Istanbul, right up to the ambassadors. At least in their communication with their courtly clients, the latter performed precisely this role as experts in mediation and agents of an institutionalization of boundary demarcations. In this respect, Ottoman-European diplomacy in Istanbul as a whole presents itself as a complex of practices largely borne by trans-imperial actors.

    Christine Vogel



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    I thank Florian Kühnel for his careful criticism and valuable comments.


    1. ^ Duchhardt, Balance of Power 1997, pp. 189, 188; see also here the talk of the Ottoman Empire as "the great outsider in the European power game"; similarly in the Handbuch der Geschichte der internationalen Beziehungen, also in Malettke, Hegemonie 2012, p. 21; and Schilling, Konfessionalisierung 2007, p. 10; and in Bély, Relations internationales 1998, pp. 46-49. The Eurocentric master narrative of the history of diplomacy is found, for example, in Frey / Frey, Diplomatic Immunity 1999; Mattingley, Renaissance Diplomacy 1955; Anderson, Modern Diplomacy 1993; Bély, L'art de la paix 2007. For a critique of this Eurocentric master narrative from a global historical perspective, see Kleinschmidt, Kultur der Diplomatie 2015; Black, History 2010; Hobson, Provincializing Westphalia 2009, Amsler / Harrison / Windler, Introduction 2019; Krischer / von Thiessen, Diplomacy 2018; Osborne / Rubiés: Introduction 2016; as well as, specifically with regard to the Ottoman Empire, Kühnel, Westeuropa 2015; Göl, Europe 2014; Koller, Zwischen Integration und Exklusion 2013; Rudolph, Ottoman Empire 2013; Gürkan, Christian Allies 2010; Goffman, Negotiating 2007; Yurdusev, Ottoman Attitude 2005; Faroqhi, Ottoman Empire 2004.
    2. ^ On the entangled history of the Ottoman Mediterranean, see the essential work Greene, Shared World 2000; Horden / Purcell, Corrupting Sea 2000; Dakhlia, Les musulmans 2013; Dakhlia, Les musulmans 2011; Firges, Well-Connected Domains 2014; Van Gelder / Krstić, Introduction 2015; as well as the research reports of Dursteler, Bazaars 2011; Trivellato, Renaissance Italy 2010. On Ottoman Southeast Europe: Koller, Das osmanische Europa 2014; Spannenberger, Raum im Wandel 2014; Strohmeyer, Frieden 2013; Born, Osmanischer Orient 2014; Born, Türkenkriege 2014; Rohdewald, Transottomanica 2019; Koller, Das Osmanische Reich 2017; Barth-Scalmani, Politische Kommunikation 2013.
    3. ^ As in the subtitle in Yurdusev, Ottoman Diplomacy 2005.
    4. ^ Cf. Necipoğlu, Architecture 1991, pp. 12–16; Koller, Zwischen Integration und Exklusion 2013, pp. 119–124; for the further development Ágoston, Information 2007, pp. 75–193; Karateke, Legitimizing 2005; Murphey, Exploring 2008.
    5. ^ Islamic law traditionally distinguished between the "House of Islam" (Dâr al-Islâm) and the "House of War" (Dâr al-Hârb) and usually derived from this difference an obligation of the Islamic ruler to wage holy war against the infidels (jihad). At first glance, there seems to be no place for diplomacy and peaceful relations with non-Muslim powers. But contrary to what had long been assumed, the Ottomans' relationship with the powers that surrounded them was not based on a simple dichotomy between Muslim and non-Muslim rulers, nor did it obey exclusively an ideology of holy war. Conversely, they did not shy away from bringing war into the "House of Islam" when it was against the Mamluks or the Safavids. The latter were unceremoniously declared infidels by Sunni jurists at the Ottoman sultan's court and thus transferred to the "House of War." Cf. Masters, "dar al-harb" 2009, pp. 174–175.
    6. ^ Cf. İnalcık, Imtiyāzāt 1971; Goffman, Negotiating, pp. 65–66; De Groot, Historical Development 2003, pp. 575–604; Van den Boogert, Capitulations 2005; Eldem, Capitulations 2006, pp. 283–335.
    7. ^ The paradigm of westernisation is represented by Naff, The Ottoman Empire 1983, pp. 166-169; Hurewitz, The Europeanization 1961; Hurewitz, Ottoman Diplomacy 1961; Arı, Early Ottoman Diplomacy 2005. In contrast, critical and much more nuanced with regard to the "saddle time": Windler, La diplomatie 2002.
    8. ^ Cf. Kürkçüoğlu, Adoption 2004, pp. 131–150; Koller, Zwischen Integration und Exklusion 2013, pp. 128–132; Hurewitz, Europeanization 1961; Hurewitz, Ottoman Diplomacy 1961, pp. 141–152; Arı, Early Ottoman Diplomacy 2005, pp. 36–65; Aksan, War and Peace, pp. 107–114.
    9. ^ The term multicultural is used here in reference to Andreas Reckwitz and is described as a constellation in which "different lifeworld practice complexes and correspondingly different lifeworld knowledge systems [...], such as different historical traditions, morals, ethics of the good life, etc., and thus different background languages that are constitutive for the way of life and the form of one's own identity" come together. In multicultural constellations, actors are thus confronted with cultural interference and at the same time are under immediate pressure to act. In reaction to this, actors can combine "different sensory elements to form new kinds of lifeworld knowledge orders and practice complexes," see Reckwitz, Multikulturalismustheorien 2010, pp. 81–87. For the new practices and orders of knowledge emerging in such multicultural constellations, the term transcultural is used here in reference to more recent global historical studies, see also Flüchter, Vielfalt, pp. 124–125; Flüchter, Grußpraktiken 2014, p. 22; Brauner, Kompanien 2015, pp. 29-34.
    10. ^ On Istanbul as diplomatic world capital, see Rudolph, The Ottoman Empire 2013, p. 174; as well as Mansel, Constantinople 2006, pp. 189-219; Gürkan, Bir Diplomasi 2015, pp. 372–399; Gürkan, Mediating Boundaries 2015, pp. 107–128; as well as Gürkan, Christian Allies 2010. On diplomatic relations between the Ottoman Empire and its Southeast European vassal states: Kármán, European Tributary States 2013. Research into this transcultural diplomatic practice in early modern Istanbul is still in its infancy, but is currently developing very dynamically in the larger context of the New Diplomatic History and the entangled history of the Mediterranean region and Southeast Europe: Particular attention is paid to diplomatic ceremonies, the various official and informal actors in diplomacy, and the practices of cross-border networking. Beyond that, however, questions of communication flows or the materiality of transcultural diplomacy are also becoming central. Although diplomatic relations between the Ottoman Empire and Europe continue to be a clear focal point, within which the role of the trading powers of Venice, France and England is particularly well researched, global interdependencies beyond Europe are increasingly being examined. While not always explicitly diplomacy oriented, the monographs of Dursteler, Venetians 2006; Ghobrial, The Whispers 2013; Goffman, Britons 1998; Talbot, British-Ottoman Relations 2017; Graf, The Sultan's Renegades 2017; Rothman, Brokering Empire 2012 are groundbreaking. Numerous case studies on individual aspects of diplomatic practice in early modern Istanbul can also be found in newer anthologies and diplomatic-historical focal points of journals, e.g. in Biedermann, Global Gifts 2018; Sowerby, Practices 2017; Burschel, Die Audienz 2014; Garnier, Interkulturelle Ritualpraxis 2016; Gelder van, Cross-Confessional Diplomacy 2015; Talbot, Contacts 2016; Amsler / Harrison / Windler, Introduction 2019, pp. 943–946; also: Koller, Einblicke 2017; Koller, Osmanisches Reich 2017, pp. 77–90; Do Paço, Social History 2018; Gürkan, Dishonorable Ambassadors 2018; Gürkan, Espionage 2012; Gürkan, Mediating Boundaries 2015; Gürkan, Touting for Patrons; Gürkan, Early Modern Istanbul 2015; Kühnel, Professionalisierung 2019; Vogel, Gut ankommen 2013; Rudolph, Ökonomische Grundlagen 2013, pp. 239–263; Rudolph, Material Culture 2013, pp. 213–238.
    11. ^ On capitulations in general, see above, note 6. Especially on the capitulations for Venice: Theunissen, Ottoman-Venetian Diplomatics 1998, pp. 1–698. For France: Panaite, French Capitulations 2014, pp. 71–87; Poumarède, Négocier 1998, pp. 71–85. For England: Talbot, A Treaty of Narratives 2016, pp. 375–398. On the capitulations as a type of official document and the Ottoman legal institution, with which the empire e.g. also regulated the relations with its Christian as well as Muslim vassal or tributary states, see Papp, System 2013, pp. 375–419; and with examples for Poland: Kołodziejczyk, Ottoman-Polish Diplomatic Relations 2000, pp. 3–7.
    12. ^ On the French nation in the various Levant trading centers, see Robert Paris, Histoire 1957, pp. 231–262; on the English and British nation Wood, History 1935, pp. 59–79; Goffmann, Britons 1998, p. 14; Vlami, Trading 2015; and Talbot, British-Ottoman Relations 2017; on the Venetian nation: Eric R. Dursteler, Venetians 2006, pp. 23–102.
    13. ^ In the following, the term is written in italics and small letters to distinguish it from the modern concept of nation.
    14. ^ On France, most recently Isom-Verhaaren, Allies with the Infidel 2011; on England, Heywood, English Diplomatic Relations; Laidlaw, The British 2010; Berridge, British Diplomacy 2009; Talbot, British-Ottoman Relations 2017; on Venice: Dursteler, Venetians 2006; Coco / Manzonetto, Baili 1985; on the Netherlands Arı, Four Centuries 2014; de Groot, Ottoman Empire 2012.
    15. ^ On the extraterritorial status of the Latin Christian nations in the Levant, see Goffman, Negotiating 2017, p. 66; as well as Windler, La diplomatie 2002, p. 223. On the Mediterranean consular function, see Ulbert, Introduction 2006, pp. 9-20, here 11; see also Poumarède, Naissance 2001, pp. 65–128. Geoffrey Berridge identifies in Istanbul the origin of the modern "diplomatic corps," cf. Berridge, Origins 2008, pp. 15–30.
    16. ^ Admittedly, this could only be seen as a sign of backwardness within the framework of the Eurocentric narrative of progress in the older history of diplomacy, which saw the separation of consular and political functions as an aspect of modernization. How problematic such a narrative is, especially in view of the omnipresent entanglement of trade and politics, was most recently described by John Watkins in 2008 in his plea for a New History of Diplomacy; he observed here the range of tasks of modern diplomats in the age of globalization: "The ambassador is becoming once again a bailo," Watkins, Toward a New Diplomatic History 2008, p. 5.
    17. ^ On the connection between European notions of sovereignty and diplomatic ceremony or diplomatic rank, Krischer, Gesantschaftswesen 2011, pp. 197–239; Krischer, Souveränität als sozialer Status 2009, pp. 1–32.
    18. ^ İnalcık, Ottoman Galata 1991, pp. 17–116; Goffman, Britons 1998, p. 35; Mansel, Constantinople 2006, p. 14; Talbot, British-Ottoman Relations 2017, p. 145; Dursteler, Ventians 2006, pp. 152–158; Eldem, Ottoman Galata 2006, pp. 19-36, here esp. 29–33; Eldem, Istanbul 1999, pp. 135–206, here pp. 142–152.
    19. ^ Dursteler, Venetians 2006, pp. 23–24; Boyar / Fleet, A Social History 2010, pp. 16–17; Goffman, Britons 1998, pp. 31–35; Eldem, Ottoman Galata 2006; Mansel, Constantinople 2006, pp. 12–15; Borromeo, Catholiques 2005.
    20. ^ Krstić, Elusive Intermediaries 2015, pp. 132–133. On the multiconfessional population of Galata/Pera, see Eldem, Foreigners 2007, pp. 114–131; Eldem, Ottoman Galata 2006; Mansel, Constantinople 2006, pp. 7–21; Dursteler, Venetians 2006, p. 155; Goffman, Britons 1998, p. 35.
    21. ^ Cf. Talbot, British-Ottoman Relations 2017, p. 145. Hoenkamp-Mazgon, Palais de Hollande 2002.
    22. ^ Dursteler, Venetians 2006, pp. 151-185; Goffman, Britons 1998, pp. 18–23; Gürkan, Early Modern Istanbul; Ghobrial, Whispers, pp. 65–87.
    23. ^ Girardin, Journal de mon ambassade à la Porte, BNF FR 7162, fol. 40v–41r (listing of the entourage); 43v (De la Haye recommendations). See also Vogel, Gut ankommen 2013, p. 165.
    24. ^ The example of the gate interpreter Alexander Mavrocordatos is documented as well as a similar request for help from the sword bearer of Sultan Mehmed IV in 1687, cf. Camariano, Alexandre Mavrocordato 1970, p. 35; Giradin, Journal, BNF FR 7170, fol. 173v. During the rebellion of 1703, family members of Alexander Mavrocordatos also sought protection at the French embassy, see Păun, "Well-born of the Polis", p. 66 and note 86.
    25. ^ Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Letter 41. In: Heffernan, Turkish Embassy Letters 2013, 163. See also Mansel, Constantinople 2006, pp. 207-210; Dursteler, Speaking in Tongues 2012, pp. 47–48.
    26. ^ Memoire du Palais de France situé a Pera lez constantinople par le Sr. Vigny architecte et dessinateur ordinaire des bâtiments du Roy a la fin de l’année 1722, MAE Nantes, 166 PO A 252, fol. 4:
    27. ^ Charles de Nointel an Arnauld de Pomponne, Sept. 1676, MAE La Courneuve, CP Turquie 13, fol. 121v–122r; see also Casa, Palais de France 1995.
    28. ^ Examples of festive events at the Palais de France near Vandal, Les voyages 1900, pp. 205–213; Vogel, Sonnenkönig 2016, pp. 123–143.
    29. ^ Relevant examples include Dursteler, Venetians 2006, pp. 173–180; Ghobrial, The Whispers 2013, pp. 73–79; Mansel, Constantinople 1995, pp. 189–219.
    30. ^ Cf. Müller, Der umworbene "Erbfeind" 2005, pp. 270–272; Petritsch, Der habsburgisch-osmanische Friedensvertrag 1985, pp. 49–80; Petritsch, Zeremoniell 2009, p. 303.
    31. ^ Petritsch, Tribut oder Ehrengeschenk 1993; Windler, Tribut und Gabe 2000.
    32. ^ However, there can be no question of a clear abolishment of the tribute obligation by the Zsitvatorok agreement; rather, this question has become blurred between the various versions and vague translations of the agreement, see Bayerle, The Compromise of Zsitvatorok 1980, pp. 27–28.
    33. ^ Cf. Memoire du Roy pour servir d’instruction au sieur de Ferriol allant à Constantinople en qualité d'ambassadeur de sa Majesté [28.5.1699]. In : Duparc, Recueil des Instructions 1969, pp. 163–174, here 173–174. On the precedent conflict provoked by the French ambassador Ferriol in this context, see Vogel, Caftan 2015, pp. 25–44.
    34. ^ On the terminology and delimitation of the "tributary" or "vassal states" of the Ottoman provinces cf. Papp, System 2013, pp. 375–419; on the place of tributary states in Ottoman diplomacy cf. Kármán, Sovereignty and Representation 2013.
    35. ^ Cf. Petritsch, Zeremoniell 2009, p. 309; Kármán, Sovereignty and Representation 2013, p. 168.
    36. ^ Cf. Kołodziejczyk, Ottoman-Polish Diplomatic Relations 2000, pp. 171–178.
    37. ^ Critical of this thesis at present: Kármán, Sovereignty and Representation 2013, pp. 172–173.
    38. ^ See also Berridge, Origins 2008, pp. 15–30.
    39. ^ Cf. essential reading on the following: Necipoğlu, Architecture, 1991; Boyar / Fleet, A Social History 2010, pp. 28-71; Murphey, Cultural and Political Meaning 1999, pp. 247–255; Petritsch, Zeremoniell 2009, pp. 301–322; Dilger, Untersuchungen 1967.
    40. ^ On the origin and symbolic significance of Ottoman robes of honor, see Stillman, "Khila" 1986, pp. 6–7; Pelletier, Les robes d'honneur 1999, pp. 89–100; Springbert-Hinsen, Hil'a 2000, p. 242; Faroqhi, Introduction 2004, pp. 15–48.
    41. ^ For some elements of the forms of address used by Sultan Süleyman I in his letters to the Habsburg emperors, see Schaendlinger, Schreiben Süleymāns 1983, p. XIX.
    42. ^ Cf. for example Petritsch, Zeremoniell 2009, pp. 301–322.
    43. ^ Cf. Poumarède, La querelle du sofa 2001, pp. 185–197; Vogel, Marquis 2014, pp. 221–245.
    44. ^ Ferriol to Louis XIV, 8 January 1700, MAE Paris CP Turquie 33, fol. 64v–74r ; Relation, de ce qui s'est passé entre Monsieur de Feriol, Ambassadeur du Roy de France, a Constantinople, et les Premiers-Ministres de l'Empire Ottoman, touchant le ceremoniel, qui se doit observer aux audiences solennelles du Grand-Seigneur, [s.l.], [ca. 1700] ; cf. Vogel, Caftan 2015, pp. 25–44.
    45. ^ As for instance in: Grygorieva, Zur Selbstdarstellung 2014, pp. 81–99; Grygorieva, Symbols and Perceptions 2010, pp. 115–131; Kühnel, No Ambassadour 2016, pp. 95–122; Burschel, Der Sultan 2007, pp. 408–421; Burschel, Topkapı Sarayı 2007, pp. 29–40; Hanß, Udienza, pp. 195–216; Vogel, Caftan 2015, pp. 25–44.
    46. ^ Talbot, A treaty of Narratives 2016, pp. 367 and 383; Talbot, British-Ottoman Relations 2017, p. 108.
    47. ^ See, for example, Estat des presents que l'Ambassadeur de France est obligé de faire à l'audience du Grand Seigneur [...] MAE La Courneuve MD Turquie 105, fol. 83r–85r. See also Burschel, Der Sultan 2007, pp. 408–421; Kühnel, Fascination [forthcoming]; Rudolph, Material Culture 2013; and, using Tunis as an example, which functioned similarly, Windler, Diplomatie 2002, pp. 485–548. See also Rudolph, Entangled Objects 2016 and Talbot, Gifts of Time 2016.
    48. ^ See above, note 40.
    49. ^ See Kühnel, No Ambassador 2016, pp. 95–122.
    50. ^ An example in Vogel, Caftan 2015, pp. 25–44.
    51. ^ Cf. Talbot, British-Ottoman Relations 2017, p. 110; Reindl-Kiel, The Scent of Power 2005, pp. 195–-258; Reindl-Kiel, Pracht und Ehre 1997, pp. 161–189; Reindl-Kiel, East is East 2005, pp. 113–123; Faroqhi, Bringing Gifts 2011, pp. 383–402.
    52. ^ On gift-giving as a cost factor in the embassy budget and an element of a history of the materiality of diplomacy, see Talbot, British-Ottoman Relations 2017, pp. 105–140; Graf, Preis der Diplomatie 2016; Rudolph, Ökonomische Grundlagen 2013, pp. 239–263.
    53. ^ Cf. for example the report of the French Ambassador Girardin of May 2, 1686, BNF FR 7164, fol. 180r; and Talbot, British-Ottoman Relations 2017, pp. 131–132, on a successful agreement in 1775.
    54. ^ On the difficulty of differentiating between informal and formal interactions or official and unofficial actors, see Osborne / Rubiés, Introduction 2016, p. 319 and forthcoming Pohlig, Formalität.
    55. ^ On the diplomatic function of şeyhülislam, see White, Fetva Diplomacy 2015, pp. 199-221; and Yurkadul, Şeyhülislam 2009, pp. 524–525.
    56. ^ Akyıldız, "reisülküttab" 2009.
    57. ^ A comparison of the multilingual documents and peace treaties already makes it clear that translations have always also been "interpretations" of existing power relations, whereby they could both emphasize and conceal them, see Baramova, Übersetzung 2012, pp. 197–205.
    58. ^ Cf. Dursteler, Speaking in Tongues 2012, pp. 47–77. On the Mediterranean "lingua franca," see Dakhlia, Lingua franca 2008; Wansbrough, Lingua Franca 1996.
    59. ^ Above all the renegades among the Ottoman functionaries proved their loyalty to the empire and the dynasty through their mastery of the Ottoman language, see Woodhead, Ottoman Languages 2011, pp. 143–158; Krstić, Of Translation and Empire 2011, pp. 131–132.
    60. ^ Tijana Krstić has shown that the gate interpreters of the 16th century not only fulfilled a pragmatic function in diplomatic practice, but through their literary activities, among other things, they played an important role in the spread of the imperial Ottoman hegemonic discourse in Europe and thus became important actors in the process of trans-imperial cultural translation. Cf. Krstić, Of Translation and Empire 2011, pp. 131–132.
    61. ^ On the following, see Janos, Panaiotis Nicousios 2005, pp. 177–197; Camariano, Alexandre Mavrocordato 1970; Mansel, Constantinople 1995, pp. 148–162; Livanios, Pride 2000, pp. 1–22; Irmscher, Alexandros Mavrocordatos 1999, pp. 589–592; Păun, "Well-born of the Polis" 2014, pp. 64–66. On Mavrocordatos' role in the Karlowitz peace negotiations, see Mólnar, Friede von Karlowitz 2013, pp. 197–220.
    62. ^ Cf. de Testa / Gautier, Drogmans 2003; De Groot, Dragomane 2005; Rothman, Interpreting Dragomans 2009, pp. 771–800.
    63. ^ De Groot, Dragomane 2005, p. 477.
    64. ^ Rothman, Interpreting Dragomans 2009, p. 781; De Groot, Dragomane 2005, pp. 478–488 (quote p. 479); de Testa / Gautier, Drogmans 2003.
    65. ^ Peirce, Imperial Harem 1993; Pedani, Safiye's Household 2000; Koller, Einblicke 2017; Gürkan, Touting 2015.
    66. ^ For example, immediately after his arrival in January 1686, the French ambassador Pierre Girardin managed to negotiate favorable conditions for his inaugural audience at the kaimakam through his client Jean-Baptiste Fabre, a French merchant who had been running the business of his Marseilles family business in Istanbul for decades.[66] An important intermediary in this process was a Jewish business partner of Fabre's named Zafir, who was also a client of the kaymakam Kara Hassanağazade. [66] Zafir was appointed as a dragoman of the French embassy on Fabre's initiative; he remained a subject of the sultan, but was also under the special protection of the ambassador and enjoyed the tax and legal privileges of the French nation. His position as interpreter in this case remained purely nominal. Relation véritable de l’agence du S.r Jean Baptiste Fabre de Constantinople, MAE La Courneuve MD Turquie 105, fol. 93r–112v.
    67. ^ Cf. von Thiessen, Diplomatie 2010.
    68. ^ Cf. Talbot, British-Ottoman Relations 2017, p. 110; Vogel, Geschenke 2017.
    69. ^ For instance, the friendship is documented between the French ambassador Pierre Girardin and the sword bearer (silâhdar aga) of Sultan Mehmed IV, Moralı Hasan, which was established by informal gifts such as perfumes and jams. The sword bearer was a high-ranking palace servant who, together with the head of the black palace eunuchs (kızlar ağası), had achieved an influential position of power at the sultan's court during the turbulent years following the second Turkish siege of Vienna, which was endangered, however, after the fall of Mehmed IV in 1787. Throughout this period of crisis, Girardin and Moralı Hasan managed to maintain regular contact, communicating almost exclusively through middlemen, such as an Italian renegade, and only meeting in person once. Both profited considerably from this friendship in their own careers. Cf. Girardin, Journal de mon ambassade, BNF FR 7163, fol. 431r ; FR 7169, fol. 261r and 326v°; FR 7170, fol. 173v. On Moralı Hassan's career, Abou-El-Haj, The 1703 Rebellion, pp. 84–85, 112.
    70. ^ Rycaut, The Present State 1686, p. 170.
    71. ^ Lünig, Theatrum ceremoniale 1719, pp. 442–443. See also Rycaut, The Present state 1686, pp. 167–171.
    72. ^ For essential reading, Höfert, Feind 2003; Konrad, Türkengefahr 2011. For examples of the use of the topos from the diplomatic correspondence of the French ambassadors, see Vogel, A Sublime Illusion 2013.
    73. ^ The concept of "trans-imperial subjects" introduced by Natale Rothman counters the danger of an essentialization of cultural or political borders by emphasizing their processual and dynamic character and at the same time emphasizing that the creation and maintenance of such boundaries is not only a discursive phenomenon, but is linked to local and institution-bound practices of individual actors. Boundaries are thus created precisely by those who cross them, see Rothman, Brokering Empire 2012, pp. 4–5, 11–15; on the reception of the concept, see most recently Graf, Sultan's Renegades 2017; Van Gelder / Krstić, Introduction 2015, pp. 93–105; Gürkan, His Bailo's Kapudan 2016, p. 280.
    74. ^ Cf. Pedani, Safiye's Household 2000; Dursteler, Venetians 2006, pp. 111–112; Gürkan, Touting 2015; Gürkan, Dishonorable Ambassadors? 2018.

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