Classic Era


By Rahul Kumar

On the following page you will find simple, but important notes regarding the Ottomans most important things in life, such as there economy, military, and religion.

 

Economy-

The economy of the Ottomans is clearly divided into two eras due to its large history spanning from 1299 to 1923. The two common eras are the Classic Era which took place during its rapid expansion, and the Reformation Era, which mainly happened around during contact with the Western Civilizations.

 

During the Classic Era, the Ottomans were a growing empire. They started of by building large cities around arable land, which would allow cultivation of crops, to support the urban population which rapidly rose during this period. These cities had large economies, manufacturing items for trade (output goods), and maintained high quality due to competition within the guilds that supplied.One such example is Istanbul, which, due to its strategic position between the Aegean and Black Sea, became immensely wealthy and was a center for trade and culture. The fortune of the Ottoman empire revolved around this thriving city.  Overall, the main reason that led to the Ottoman's immense wealth is the trade of raw materials and reliant goods such as gems, and silk. However, due to their large size, there main economic booster was their taxation of traders who crossed through their vast lands. After the 17th century the Ottomans faced an economic clout due to the lack of traders that passed their lands, mainly the Dutch and the British. Eventually the economy was hit with inflation due to price increases in many areas, and uneven ratios in gold and silver. With this the many Ottoman empires suffered great blows, and guilds were no longer producing quality products, when compared to relatively same European products which were much cheaper. This led to price reductions on products, and caused damage to the local economy. After this period of ups and downs, the Ottomans relinquished their empire by trading in the Reformation Era.

 

  • Causes for Power-military policies which included taxation, agriculture, and quality poriducts created by goods.
  • Causes for Decline- large unemployment, inflation, competition with European economies, unbalanced trade.

Social Structure-

 

The social structure of the Ottomans was mainly feudal. The feudal structure mostly part due to Islamic religion which could be found in most cultures, and legislations.

 

Social Structure in the Ottoman Empire was headed with the Sultan up top, followed by wealthy leaders, who were followed by the commoner class who were known as the rayyahs. The Sultan was the commander of all, and made decision regarding politics and empire wealth. His "slaves", the leaders were to protect and enlargen the wealth of the empire. Finally, the commoners, or the Rayyahs, who consisted of townsfolk, villagers, paid taxes from their profits.

 

  • Social Structure: Sultan(made political decisions), Leaders(protected wealth), and Rayyahs(commners who paid taxes through profits)

Military-

 

The military of the Ottomans was first created in the 14th century to take over the region of Anatolia. The infantry of the army were known as yays, while the cavalry were known as mussulmens. Besides consisting of  the main men, the army has its own marching band who were known as the mehters. Overall, the most most acclaimed troops of the army were the janissaries,  were either prisoners of war and slaves, and were related straight to the Sultan.

 

Religion-

 

The Ottomans when first arriving from Asia upon the Medditerranean Peninsula, were people who believed in the Christian faith, but eventually converted to Islam, after their battle victory in Talas.Due their Christian roots, the Ottomans were tolerant to people of many religions including: Islam, Christianity, and Jew, but not towards polytheists due to the Sharia Law. Due to the variety of religions, there were clashes from time to time between religions such as Christianity and Islam, but they were solved through balancing acts by the Ottoman Government.

  • All religions were tolerated including Islam, Christinaity, and Islam, but polytheistic religions were not accepted.