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Accessing the shadow of God: Spatial and performative ceremonial at the Ottoman Court

Accessing the shadow of God: Spatial and performative ceremonial at the Ottoman Court

Talbot, Michael ORCID: 0000-0001-7198-1422 (2016) Accessing the shadow of God: Spatial and performative ceremonial at the Ottoman Court. In: The Key to Power? The Culture of Access in Princely Courts, 1400-1750. Rulers & Elites, 8 . Brill, Leiden, pp. 101-123. ISSN 9789004304246 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004304246_006)

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Abstract

This paper examines Ottoman notions of access to the sultan at the end of the seventeenth century. Focusing primarily on the British experience, this paper examines Ottoman court ritual surrounding ambassadorial audiences with the sultan through two main questions. The first will examine the essential role of gift-giving in enabling access to the Ottoman court, and argues that these were a central aspect of Ottoman court patronage networks. The second considers the ceremonial and spatial elements of access, from the laying on of feasts demonstrating imperial benevolence to the humiliation of ambassadors in the audience chamber as they were forced to the ground before the sultan. Movement between public and private spaces were determined by participation in particular events and rituals, conformity to which demonstrated the universalism of Ottoman monarchy. In discerning the rationale for these particular practices that were designed to include foreign ambassadors in Ottoman notions of patronage and social hierarchy, it is argued that that these ceremonials formed a crucial part in articulating the Ottoman world-view to Christian allies and enemies. Moreover, these Ottoman court practices demonstrate the heterodox nature of the Ottoman court and monarchy in borrowing from earlier Islamic, Byzantine, and Turkic customs.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Title of Proceedings: The Key to Power? The Culture of Access in Princely Courts, 1400-1750
Uncontrolled Keywords: Diplomatic ceremonial; Ottoman court; Ottoman-British diplomacy
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CD Diplomatics. Archives. Seals
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Department of History, Politics & Social Sciences
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2017 10:05
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: GREAT b
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/16108

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