De Constantinople à Istanbul : la représentation nuancée des Ottomans par des voyageurs européens aux XVe et XVIe siècles

Abstract : After Constantinople’s conquest in 1453, the need to gather updated information on the city under its new rulers became a necessity. Not only the available documentation on the Turks was obsolete, the Ottomans themselves were different from the Seljuk dynasty encountered during the Crusades. Both Asian and European, Muslim and Christian, Turks and Greeks, defining the Ottoman society was a hard task that needed a journey and a shrewd observer. The Ottomans were involved in almost all the European and Mediterranean affairs whether through forming alliances, waging wars, creating puppet states or establishing trade routes. The Holy Roman Empire, France and the Italian city states were among the first to send emissaries to Constantinople. The reports gathered by the travelers offer a variety of first-hand eye witnesses of how the capital of the Ottoman Empire is ruled from daily life activities to the political vision of the sultan. The identity of the traveler plays a great role in determining the content of his report. An ambassador, a spy see things differently from a merchant or a monk. The perception of the Ottoman reality itself evolves from the beginning of the journey to its end. The representation of the average Turk, the sultan, the Greeks and other minorities in Constantinople gives a great insight about the social and political representation of self and others in Europe during the Renaissance. The frequent comparisons with the Roman Empire shows that, surprisingly, the Ottomans are inheriting some characteristics that explain their golden age with Mehmed the Conqueror and Suleiman the Magnificent. The result of crossing the traveler’s accounts leads to the unexpected conclusion that not only Constantinople is becoming Istanbul, it is reclaiming its Roman roots.
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Rami Mahjoub. De Constantinople à Istanbul : la représentation nuancée des Ottomans par des voyageurs européens aux XVe et XVIe siècles. Littératures. Université Côte d'Azur, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017AZUR2028⟩. ⟨tel-01689859⟩

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