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Le monde de l’itinérance

Claudia Moatti
Wolfgang Kaiser
Christophe Pébarthe

Fugitifs et droit d’asile

Refugees and Asylum seekers on Ottoman territory in the early modern period

Suraiya Faroqhi

Texte intégral

  • 1 A note on transliteration: the names of figures from the Ottoman world have been rendered in moder (...)

1In the present paper we will deal with the political problems connected to the reception of refugees and fugitives on the territories of the Ottoman sultans, and in some instances, concern ourselves with the ultimate integration of these new arrivals1. As to the legal aspects they will have to be treated by a specialist. As asylumseekers necessarily arrived from foreign principalities and empires, in the best of cases there survives a double documentation, both Ottoman and non-Ottoman. Wars, persecutions and expulsions, the typical reasons why men and women of the early sixteenth to late eighteenth centuries departed from the countries in which they had been born, will normally be discussed in the records of the places of origin, such as the kingdoms of Spain and Hungary. As to the Ottoman side, archival documents and narrative texts should reflect the considerations that prompted rulers and highlevel administrators to accept certain refugees on the sultans’territories, to eventually employ them in some capacity or other, and in certain cases to assign them specific places of residence. We are left to wonder whether sometimes applications for asylum were rejected; but on this issue the records accessible to date are virtually silent.

2As anybody with experience in the archives knows, in practice the available documentation is much less orderly. And as we can only discuss cases that are reasonably well documented, we will find ourselves treating a rather disparate collection of individuals, families and in addition, a few more substantial groups of people who sought refuge in the lands of the sultans during the early modern period. The oldest cases are linked to the completion of the Reconquista in 1492, and thus to the end of Muslim principalities on the Spanish peninsula; for this event was the starting point for the expulsion of the Jewish and Muslim minorities. The most recent examples will date from the late eighteenth century, when the Russian conquest of the Crimea brought a number of Tatar aristocrats to the Ottoman lands.

3From the political viewpoint we will thus be dealing with three periods: a time in which the empire expanded in a dramatic fashion, particularly during the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent (1520-1566), followed by a period in which conquests were largely made at the expense of secondary powers such as Venice or Poland (1570-1670). In addition we will deal with a third period in which territorial losses had begun to occur (1680s to 1780s). Yet as we will see, this sequence of expansion and contraction was not very relevant to our topic: the Ottoman realm continued to attract refugees throughout all three periods, and in fact, well beyond the time-span covered here.

  • 2 Temimi 1989; Harvey 2005, 322-368.

4One of the largest groups of refugees entering the Ottoman territories was that of the Jews and baptized Jews (Marranos), who arrived at the very end of the fifteenth and during the first half of the sixteenth century. But the fate of these people, already quite well studied, shall be treated in detail in another paper, and thus is of no concern to us here. In addition there is the story of the Morisco refugees from Spain; the integration of this Muslim group into what was becoming an Ottoman provincial society in North Africa will form our first topic2.

5A further group of significant size and political importance were the Sunni refugees from Sāfawid Iran, who were sometimes the victims of religious persecution and sometimes probably aimed at public careers that were not open to them in their homelands unless they professed allegiance to the Shia. A borderline case involved the Central Asian dervishes who occasionally appeared in the Ottoman Empire in order to perform the pilgrimage. Given the length of their journey these men spent years on the sultans’territory and sometimes died there. Just getting to the Ottoman lands involved such an extraordinary effort on their part that it is legitimate to ask ourselves whether some of them were not in fact refugees; unfortunately in most cases the paucity of sources seems to preclude any definite answer, and we will leave aside this issue as well.

6Secondly we will put together the rather limited amount of information on the young Spaniards and Italians who, as individuals without their families, came to the Ottoman territories in search of a better life. While many of the renegati who populated Algiers, Tunis and Tripolis had originally arrived in the Ottoman territories as slaves, here we will only deal with those who came voluntarily. A third section will concern itself with another type of individuals – and sometimes families – seeking asylum “in the shade of the sultan’s throne”, but situated much higher on the socio-political scale and thus often relatively well documented. These were the members of royal/princely dynasties, and also courtiers and high-level military men who arrived in the Ottoman Empire as fugitives. Some of them had lost out in factional struggles in their own countries. Others, like the Tatars already mentioned, had been driven away by the conquest of the state that they had once ruled on the part of a foreign power, in this particular instance, the Russian Tsarina Catherine II.

7Such refugees might come from both eastern and western courts. Thus arrivals from Muslim lands included the Indian princes, princesses and courtiers whose place of exile was typically Mecca, under Ottoman control since 1517. As to the Sāfawid ruling dynasty of Iran, competition between princes resulted in one spectacular case of defection, namely when Elkās Mīrzā appeared at the court of Süleyman the Magnificent. As to those arriving from the West, we have chosen three prominent examples: Ferenc II Rákószi the exiled prince of Transylvania (1676-1735), the Swedish king Charles XII (r. 1697-1718) and the Marquis de Bonneval, who became Humbaracı Ahmed Paşa (1675-1747); differently from the two others the latter had a career in the Ottoman lands.

8Through our study, we hope to demonstrate how the sultans and their high officials viewed the arrival of outsiders, in other words we will highlight the Ottoman point of view wherever possible. Unfortunately there are some difficulties with this approach, for the number of documents or chronicles in which issues linked to asylum-seeking refugees are explicitly discussed is relatively small. Some conclusions can be drawn from the references that have been tracked down to date. But especially where the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are concerned we will principally base our conclusions upon the concrete measures which the Ottoman administration devised in order to handle the manifold problems resulting from the immigration of refugees. As the sultans’bureaucrats of that time were not much given to discussing why they proceeded in this or that fashion, we cannot often discuss policy on the basis of explicit statements, but must look at what the Ottomans did in practice and draw our own conclusions. Of course the results obtained in this manner will always remain tentative.

Group arrivals: Morisco refugees from Spain in Tunis and Istanbul

  • 3 Dominguez Ortiz & Vincent 1978, 17-35.
  • 4 Dominguez Ortiz & Vincent 1978, 225-246; Harvey 2005, 336-340; on Moriscos transiting through Vene (...)

9In the years around 1500, strong pressures to convert were being brought to bear on the Muslims of Spain by both church and state; placed before the choice of leaving the country or accepting baptism, most of them converted during those years3. However in practice these cristianos nuevos or Moriscos continued to live in separate communities, and while some individuals especially from the upper levels of society chose to assimilate, the majority held on to the requirements of Islamic belief and ritual as best as they could. There was also piecemeal emigration, mostly to North Africa, by groups who organized their own transportation or else made use of corsair ships cruising close to the Mediterranean coasts. This means that Moriscos had already begun to arrive in Tunis well before the two conquests of that city by the Ottomans, first in 1570 and finally in 1574. Especially the failed uprising in the Alpujarras (1568-1570) resulted in a wave of emigration to North African ports. Moreover a sizeable number, probably around 300,000, fled mostly to the Ottoman lands when all Moriscos were driven out of Spain between 1609 and 1614. Some of them even made their way to Istanbul4.

  • 5 This is the conclusion I would draw from the documents analyzed in Temimi 1989, although the autho (...)
  • 6 Bartl 1974.

10It is rather obvious that Selim II (r. 1566-1574) accorded only very limited support to the uprising in the Alpujarras5. While in Spain there was much concern about a possible landing of the Ottoman fleet, in real life the sultan gave priority to conquests closer to home, such as Spanish-occupied Tunis and particularly Cyprus, which happened to be a Venetian possession and did not belong to the king of Spain (1570-1573). Apparently both the sultans and the Spanish kings both tended to avoid campaigns in the heartlands of their respective opponents. For similarly to what Selim II did or rather omitted to do in the Spanish peninsula, Philip II, whom the French did not nickname le roi prudent without reason, avoided all involvement in the Balkans, even when during the Long War between the Austrian Habsburgs and the Ottomans (1593-1606) he was bombarded with counsels suggesting otherwise6.

  • 7 Dominguez Ortiz & Vincent 1978, 240-241.
  • 8 Valensi 1969.

11This brings us to the question of how the Morisco refugees were received in the Ottoman Empire. Apparently those who landed in Tunis itself fared best, while those who arrived in the smaller ports or even on deserted coasts of northern Africa faced severe hardships. Perhaps this was due to the fact that Tunis was a city with significant potential for both commerce and crafts, with productive lands close by that could be taken over by those new arrivals who had been agriculturists back in Spain7. As this was a new Ottoman province that the governors sent out from Istanbul were called upon to populate and re-organize, immigrants may well have received some help in inserting themselves, while this was not true of the more remote areas. An important industry established by the newcomers was the manufacture of bonnets (chechias) that in the long run came to be exported all over the Muslim Mediterranean8. Apparently those immigrants who came from the same parts of Spain tended to settle together in separate town quarters, an arrangement that was practiced for instance by immigrating Jews as well. To what extent directives from the Ottoman centre determined the newcomers’modes of settlement is still an unsolved problem; the chancery registers of the years around 1600 do not contain a great deal of information, and local archives seem to be unavailable.

Sunnis from Sāfawid Iran

12Whether we are here dealing with group arrivals similar to those of the Spanish Jews, Marranos and Moriscos remains a matter for discussion. Some of these former subjects of the Safawids arrived as single households and sometimes perhaps even as individuals, rather than in large compact groups. But as this was also true of some of the Spanish Jews, and of those Moriscos who came before 1609-1614, we will here stress the collective identity of these new arrivals; for it was as a group that they were quite often perceived in Ottoman sources.

  • 9 Fleischer 1986, 154-159.

13As background information, we need to keep in mind that while the differences between Sunnis and Shiites went back to the early history of Islam, in the sixteenth century, these matters took on a political relevance they had not possessed in earlier periods. With Shiism being turned into a state religion in Iran, it made sense for local Sunnis to emigrate and try their luck in the lands governed by the sultan, while the Ottoman rulers in the sixteenth century aggressively defined themselves as protectors of Sunni right belief and – evidence to the contrary notwithstanding – all their Muslim subjects as faithful Sunnis. The situation was further complicated by Ottoman conquests in the Caucasus, in addition to Shirwan and even Tabriz; while these were largely temporary acquisitions, the Ottoman presence did result in applications on the part of Sunni Muslim military men attempting careers in the sultans’service9. Once these Iranian conquests had been lost, the men in question would have had no alternative but to continue seeking their fortunes in lands remaining under the sultans’control. Some of them also may have fled because their loyalty to the Sāfawids had now been compromised.

  • 10 Fleischer 1986, 155-157.

14Educated personages from the Sāfawid territories possessed a career advantage because they were familiar with Persian literature, and this cultural attainment was highly prized in Ottoman bureaucratic circles. At the same time, the rapid careers that some of these immigrants were able to make did result in resentment among their Ottoman-born competitors. Thus in the late sixteenth century, the historian and littérateur Mustafa ‘Âlî had few good things to say about the literary qualifications of most of the şehnamecis, men of Persian-speaking backgrounds whose duty it was to extol the heroic deeds of the current sultans in works modeled on early Iranian epics. Even worse, when discussing a governor from this milieu that he did not care for, ‘Âlî insinuated that this man might harbor heretical beliefs, an accusation that would have gotten the accused into serious trouble if ‘Âlî’ s claims had been believed10. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there were further distinguished emigrants from the Iranian world who made reputations for themselves in Istanbul, but it is often difficult to decide whether they had come as refugees, or else with the aim of building a career or breaking ground for a new dervish order. Mixed motives must have been common enough.

Inhabitants of the Mediterranean world in search of a better life – including freedom from religious persecution

  • 11 Rostagno 1983; Bennassar 1989; Preto 1999; Ricci 2002, 77-94.

15When we take a look at the mountains of literature about the Ottoman Empire written in Europe between about 1500 and 1700, those that describe the sultans’domain as a veritable hell for Christians are abundant. But during the last twenty years or so, specialists on early modern European mentalities have pointed out that for certain subjects of Christian rulers, the Ottoman lands also held considerable attraction. Especially Italian historians have made this point: in many social situations,’mi faccio Turco’was a convincing threat because it was evident to speakers and listeners alike that such a move could in fact be attractive11.

  • 12 Price Zimmermann 1995, 86, 118, 200ff. has provided a very suggestive account of how bishops were (...)

16After all in most European societies during the early modern period, it was difficult if not impossible to leave the estate into which one had been born, and not only was social mobility so difficult to achieve, it was officially frowned upon. High office in the Catholic Church, where in theory one might have expected meritocratic principles to be of greater importance than elsewhere, in practice were largely monopolized by various aristocracies; noble families had little trouble in getting their sons appointed to bishoprics even when the young gentlemen’s commitment to religion was practically non-existent12. Enlisting as a mercenary also offered but few realistic chances of social betterment, as most regiments were put together by “military enterprisers” who were nobles or at least members of the gentry and would not have offered much opportunity for commoners to advance, even if the latter had shown special military talent.

17On the other hand entering the household of an Ottoman dignitary, as a mercenary or sometimes even as a slave, might allow the person in question, if he was lucky, to rise in society. Members of modest Italian or Polish families thus might have been able to turn themselves into high-level dignitaries in the Ottoman palace and administration. Given the conditions under which commoners in early modern Europe often had to live, it is perfectly defensible to include those who ran off to the Ottomans in the number of ‘legitimate’ refugees, namely as people who fled from lives of appalling poverty and drudgery. Mutatis mutandis we might compare them to those men and women who, in our own day, try to enter the United States or the European Union because living conditions in their own countries are so discouraging.

  • 13 Salzmann 1992.

18Examples of this kind have come to light largely through the study of Inquisition documents that has been undertaken mainly by French and Italian scholars, but also by work on documents left by secular authorities in Venice13. In Inquisition archives there survive trial records of men who had spent time in the Ottoman Empire without being merchants, embassy personnel or gentlemen traveling for their private instruction. In terms of occupation, it was thus former slaves, along with occasional mercenaries once in Ottoman service, who formed the most important category of men appearing before the Inquisition tribunals. These former denizens of the Islamic world, usually of modest backgrounds, upon their return were supposed to satisfy the court with respect to their constant adherence to the Catholic faith. Or else if they had been converted to Islam and could not hide the fact, they needed to convince the judges that they had acted under constraint.

  • 14 Gonzalez Raymond 1992, 108-117.

19Certainly the Inquisition did not expect special heroism from prisoners under strong pressure to convert, and was quite ready to re-integrate those men – women being at issue but rarely – who could reasonably claim to have yielded to force majeure. Those who got into serious trouble were either men who had borne arms against Christians, or else had become convinced Muslims and were unwilling to conceal the fact. Deserting soldiers, not rare among the underfed Spanish garrisons in North Africa, were also at risk if ever they fell into the hands of the king whom they had originally served. As so many people appearing before the Inquisition courts had first come to the Ottoman lands as captives, the relevant records are mostly marginal to the question that concerns us here. Yet they do contain some cases of relevance. Thus we hear of a young man who fled from the boat of a French captain who was fishing for coral near Tunis, after a violent dispute with his superior, and of a Franciscan friar who voluntarily embarked on an Ottoman galley and was captured while serving as a janissary; nor was this friar the only man of religion who had come to prefer life in the Islamic world14.

  • 15 Pedani Fabris 2000.

20By contrast documents surviving in the Venetian archives reflect a rather different reality. For in times of peace, the Signoria was anxious to maintain good relations with the Ottoman sultans. This might even mean that the rule that those who entered the service of the sultan and converted to Islam had their Venetian properties confiscated was waived in practice. To the contrary such people even might employ their influence at the Ottoman court in order to obtain certain advantages for their relatives back in Venice15.

21As to the Ottoman bureaucracy we already have had occasion to note that it had but little to say about those people who came to the sultans’ realm in search of a better life. Our ignorance is compounded by the fact that in Ottoman society, it was not considered polite to refer to the “filthy infidel” ancestors of a Muslim. Therefore converts to Islam were identified by their Muslim names plus generic patronymics meaning “servant of God” such as Abdullah; the latter name could also be the given name of a Muslim. As the non-Muslim names of converts thus were almost never mentioned in Ottoman documents, the best we can do is to reconstruct the biographies of a few such refugees and, in this way, try to gain some understanding of how patronage relations might promote a former refugee’s ascent within a palace, military or bureaucratic career. But given the embryonic stage of Ottoman prosopography, this has not as yet been attempted on any major scale. However it would appear that for those who really wanted to “make it big”, it was better to arrive as a young and gifted slave than as a volunteer, who necessarily was of more mature years and thus disadvantaged when it came to adapting to the Ottoman milieu.

  • 16 Fleischer 1986, 201-213.

22Certainly upward social mobility, which usually implied moving from the taxpaying class into tax-exempt officialdom, was not uncontested in Ottoman society either. Thus according to numerous edicts emitted in the sultans’names, peasants were expected to stay in their villages and could be called back by local administrators if they left without permission. Holders of military tax assignments who had been awarded their grants for bravery but who lacked the appropriate family backgrounds were liable to lose their prebends whenever the requisite registers were checked. As to the well-known author Mustafâ ‘Âlî, he had nasty things to say about people who tried to enter the Ottoman administration without belonging to the milieu of officialdom by birth16. But such details would not have been known to many of the young men who contemplated moving from southern or central Europe into the Ottoman realm, and our sources do not tell us whether some hopeful career-seekers ultimately were disappointed with what they were able to achieve.

  • 17 “Ibrâhîm Müteferrika” by Niyazi Berkes, in Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd edition, vol. III: 996-998.
  • 18 For a discussion of the religious and quasi-religious beliefs of Tommaso Campanella, and of his su (...)

23Some of the voluntary migrants probably left their homes because they had gotten themselves into trouble with the powers-that-be in lands where the Counterreformation was dominant, but it is almost impossible to obtain evidence on this matter. Usually groups of Protestants or Anti-Trinitarians who had to leave Habsburg-controlled territories or else Poland after the Counterreformation had begun in this kingdom as well, went to Protestant territories rather than to the Ottoman Empire. Individuals living in close proximity to the Ottoman border may have fled to the sultans’territories, but this was not a matter that their fellow believers would have been anxious to publicize, as such a gesture would have resulted in a loss of face on the part of the entire group. Given the lack of information in Ottoman records, it is very possible that the Transylvanian İbrahim Müteferrika (about 1670-1745) had a Unitarian background and perhaps sympathized with Islam even before he fled to the Ottomans, but these assumptions can neither be proved nor disproved17. In a similar vein while returnees may have made statements in front of the Inquisition that from a Catholic viewpoint appeared heretical, this fact does not allow us to determine whether these people had had such beliefs before fleeing to the Ottoman lands, or whether they had come to view Islam with sympathy because of positive experiences during their stay18.

Men and women of high degree: Indian princes and ex-courtiers in the Hijaz

  • 19 Farooqi 1986, 187, 228.

24Already in the fourteenth century representatives of the Bahmanid dynasty of the Deccan had visited Mecca as pilgrims and established a presence through almsgiving and the construction of lodgings for the poor. Members of this princely family that had been unable to ascend the throne or else maintain themselves as rulers sometimes took refuge in Mecca; this was true of Sultan Shams al-dīn Davud II who had occupied the throne for a few months in 1397 and lived as an expatriate in the Holy City until 1414. After the dynasty had been overthrown in 1538, a son of the last ruler Kalīmullāh also appeared in Mecca, by now an Ottoman possession, and there lived out his life19.

  • 20 “Kāmrān” by H. Beveridge, in Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd edition, vol. IV: 523.
  • 21 Farooqi 1986, 217.

25Once the Moghul Empire was established in the north of India, the custom of sending troublesome personages to faraway Mecca also was adopted in Delhi and Agra. The best-known case was that of Prince Kāmrān, a son of the emperor Babur; after several rebellions he was blinded by his half-brother Humāyūn (r. 1530-43 and 1554-56) and then retired to Mecca, where he died in 1557.20 The Moghul prince was accompanied by his wife Māh Čičak Begām Arghūn, who had refused to abandon her husband and survived him by only a few months. Kāmrān’s younger brother ‘Askarī, who had governed Afghanistan on behalf of his brother for a while, also was ultimately packed off to Mecca21.

  • 22 Abū’l-Fadl, reprint 1977, vol. III, 571-573.

26Under Humāyān’s son Akbar (r. 1556-1605) it was no longer members of the royal family who were banished to Mecca but rather courtiers who had fallen from favor, including ‘ulemâ and dervishes. This was at least in part connected to Akbar’s attempts to establish a new syncretistic religion that he called dīn-i illāhī and that was meant to gain him the loyalty of his Hindu subjects. However this experiment sparked a great deal of opposition among Muslims apparently without adding much to Moghul legitimacy among Hindus; accordingly it was given up after Akbar’s death. However while this ruler was alive, several people who had voiced their opposition to the dīn-i illāhī were banished to the Hijaz, and told to not return to India before they had obtained the ruler’s permission to do so. The scholar and courtier ‘Abdunnabī disregarded this warning and was killed in 1584 after an unauthorized return. ‘Abdullāh Sultānpūrī was another scholar who had at one time been close to the court, but then had fallen foul of the ruler: he was reportedly killed after his return to India, or perhaps died under unknown circumstances, because while in Mecca, he had accused Akbar of heterodoxy22.

  • 23 Farooqi 1986, 218 and 243.
  • 24 Abbas Rizvi 1965, 386-389.

27In other instances courtiers who disagreed with Akbar’s religious policies apparently withdrew to Mecca on their own initiative; this was the solution preferred by one of the senior figures among the Čishtiyya dervishes, one of the heads of an order that was otherwise close to the Moghul court23. In addition the practice of banishing “undesirable” members of the elite to Mecca did not cease with Akbar’s death. Thus under the latter’s grandson Shāh Djahān (r. 1628-1658) Sheik Adam Banūrī, one of the most prominent representatives of the Indian Mudjaddidiyya-Nakshbandiyya movement, had to beat a hasty retreat to the Hijaz. Apparently the emperor had taken offense at the sheik’s claims to be a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and on a more practical level was concerned about the large retinue of warlike Afghans that the sheik had assembled. Possibly Sheik Adam’s attempts to preach in the imperial camp had brought the conflict into the open. Although some contemporary sources claimed that a re-conciliation took place later on, this seems to have been an over-optimistic view of the situation24. Banishing noblemen and religious figures to Mecca continued through the reign of Aurangzeb (r. 1659-1707).

  • 25 In a similar vein we do not know what the Ottoman central administration thought of the attempts o (...)

28For the time being, we do not know of any official Ottoman reaction to this centuries-long practice, which must have resulted in sizeable groups of Indians residing in the Holy City at any one time. To date we have no evidence that any person from this group ever left the Hijaz to try for a career in Cairo or Istanbul. Normally pilgrims were encouraged to leave Mecca as soon as they had completed their religious duties, but an exception must have been made for the benefit of exiled Moghul dignitaries25. Did silence mean relative indifference to the “Indian connection”, or have the relevant documents simply been lost?

A Sāfawid prince

  • 26 On the political aims of Shah Tahmāsp see Turan 1961, 143-157.

29Even apart from the Indian case it was not unusual in the sixteenth-century Islamic world for members of reigning dynasties who had lost out in struggles for the throne to seek refuge at foreign courts. Such fugitives normally did not regard the place to which they had fled as merely a secure haven for themselves and their families, but rather were actively engaged in a struggle for their positions back home. This meant that they needed to mobilize support at the court hosting them which went beyond the mere granting of asylum. In this undertaking the second Moghul emperor Humāyūn was quite successful for after a long exile in Iran, he managed to regain his father’s throne. But his case was the exception proving the rule; the son of Süleyman the Magnificent Prince Bayezid fled to the court of Shah Tahmāsp, but while in Iran was killed at the instigation of his father and brother (1562). Obviously the shah was more interested in maintaining reasonable relations with Süleyman than in protecting a powerless refugee26.

  • 27 “Alqās Mīrzā” in Encyclopedia Iranica, by Cornell Fleischer, vol. 1, fasc. 9: 907-909.
  • 28 Pedani Fabris 1996, 73.

30Nor was Alkās Mīrzā (1516-1550) the son of Shah Ismācī l I more fortunate when in 1547, after an unsuccessful revolt against his half-brother Tahmāsp, he fled to the Crimea and from there to Ottoman territory.27 Upon arrival he immediately offered to recognize the Ottoman ruler as his suzerain if the latter was willing to support him. Against the advice of some of his viziers Sultan Süleyman accepted this offer, and postponed a projected campaign in Hungary in favor of an immediate Iranian war28. However Alkās Mīrzā proved unable to dislodge his brother from the latter’s capital of Isfahan and returned to the Ottoman lands, only to find that his support at the sultan’s court, not too solid even previously, had completely disappeared. Well aware of this situation, the Sāfawid prince negotiated both with his enthroned brother and with Süleyman, thus becoming a major player in the Ottoman-Sāfawid rivalry over the Kurdish principalities of eastern Anatolia.

31Apparently the grand vizier Rüstem Paşa in 1549 managed to persuade the sultan to break off relations with Alkās Mīrzā, who thus had no option but to return to Iran: the unlucky prince was thrown into jail and a few months later, killed by some of his personal enemies, perhaps with the connivance of the shah. From our perspective, the most important feature of this affair was that Alkās Mīrzā appeared as a political player and not as an exile who had thrown himself and his family upon the sultan’s mercy; and when he was unable to deliver upon his promises, the sultan evidently saw no reason for continuing to protect him. Thus Sultan Süleyman and Shah Tahmāsp, whatever their other disagreements, completely saw eye to eye in this matter.

The Tatar aristocracy of the Crimea in Istanbul

  • 29 Fisher 1978, 58-93.
  • 30 Fisher 1970, 151.

32As it became clear that the Ottomans were losing the war of 1768-1774 against the Russians, Tsarina Catherine II demanded that the centuries-old subordination of the Crimean khanate to the Ottoman sultans should cease. According to Russian war aims, the khanate was to become an “independent” state governed by a member of the ruling dynasty of the Girays, by the name of Şahin Giray, who was willing to accept Catherine’s tutelage in exchange for the chance to establish himself as a “modernstyle” absolutist ruler29. However Şahin Giray was quite unable to gain a permanent base for himself in the khanate, and in 1783, his state was annexed to the Russian empire. Şahin Giray ultimately fled to the Ottoman lands, but Sultan Abdülhamid I (r. 1774-89) had him executed in 1787, just a few months after his arrival30.

  • 31 Aksan 1995, 120, 160-161, 171, 174.

33Before 1768 the rule had been that the sultans chose the khans, but always from the same princely dynasty; as a result, prolonged sojourns of members of the Giray family with hopes of becoming the khans of the future had not been rare. However during the years of instability while the peace of Küçük Kaynarca was being negotiated and signed, and later on during the reign of Şahin Giray, a much larger group of Tatar nobles including several former khans established themselves in the Ottoman capital. Given the Russian conquest of the Crimea during the early 1770s these people certainly must count as refugees. But in addition they were a political force as they were able to forge alliances with Istanbul janissaries and low-level men of religion, with the aim of preventing the sultan from acquiescing to Crimean “independence”. However there also was significant opposition to this policy: a vocal section of the Ottoman elite believed that the sultan would gain nothing and risk much by continuing the war. A representative of this latter group, the scholarly diplomat Ahmed Resmi in caustic terms expressed his opinion that the Tatar exiles had no understanding of the military situation, were mainly interested in enjoying the sultan’s bounty as long as possible and in short, should not be listened to31.

Men of high degree: some borderline cases

  • 32 Kretschmayr 1896; Szakály 1995; Papo & Papo, 2002. I am grateful to Géza Dávid and Maria Pia Pedan (...)

34Following Ottoman notions of precedence, after discussing Muslim refugees we will now turn to the non-Muslims who took refuge in the sultans’lands. It would be tempting to include here Alvise (Ludovico) Gritti, the well-known illegitimate son of the Venetian bailo and later doge Andrea Gritti. But so much about Alvise Gritti is doubtful, and that includes his qualifications to be considered a supplicant and refugee in Istanbul. As Alvise seems to have had a mother who was an Istanbul Christian and thus a subject of the sultan, at the Ottoman court he was probably regarded as a zimmi or non-Muslim subject. Yet we may assume that his father Andrea Gritti did not see the matter in this light; and when the Ottomans and the Venetians were at war, he made every effort to induce his son to join him in Venice32. From a Venetian viewpoint, Alvise Gritti was doubtless a subject of the Signoria, and thus his decision to stay in Istanbul could be interpreted as treason. Or else people who were more sympathetic to Alvise’s aspirations might have regarded his story as one more example of a man thwarted by his own society who ‘sought refuge at the sultan’ s threshold’.

35Alvise Gritti himself may well have taken a similar view; but to the frustration of his biographers, he apparently has not left personal statements of any kind. In all likelihood Gritti saw no great prospects for himself in Venice, where his illegitimacy would have precluded membership in the aristocracy and thus a political career for himself and his descendants. He thus preferred to play the Ottoman card. However this did not work out so well either, although the son of the Doge (beyoğli in Turkish) could count on the support of the grand vizier Makbul ve Maktul İbrahim Paşa. Sad to say Ottoman documents on this affair have not so far been located; after all by the time the first surviving chancery registers were compiled, Gritti was already dead. Towards the end of his life, when he had been appointed viceroy of Hungary and thus was the principal adjunct to King John Zapolya, the son of the Doge seems to have hoped to become a fully fledged king of Hungary under Ottoman suzerainty. But when Gritti showed up in Transylvania without much official Ottoman support, he was soon killed by local noblemen before the town of Mediash, along with his young sons (September 1534).

  • 33 Barta 1990, 243-251.

36After the defeat and death of King Louis II of Hungary before Mohacz (1526) two candidates competed for the Hungarian throne, namely Ferdinand I of Habsburg (1503-1564) and John Zapolya33. The latter came from a noble family of modest means that had been elevated to high status by King Mathias Corvinus; Zapolya’s father had developed his connections with those Hungarian magnates who wanted one of their own number, rather than a foreign ruler, to be elected king. King Louis also had borne the crown of Bohemia and thus counted as a “foreign” dynast; with his death most of the magnates and all of the petty nobility felt that now a local aristocrat should be placed on the throne. Zapolya managed to get himself elected with Ottoman support, but was under constant pressure from the Habsburgs. Thus Gritti’s principal competitor could also be considered a borderline case, somewhere between a “real” asylum-seeker and a minor prince aiming for an Ottoman alliance. What is more Zapolya’s moves were reasonably successful, and after his death his widow Isabella, a Polish princess, also invoked Ottoman aid, albeit with a less positive outcome for herself and her son.

37Zapolya thus was elected in the fall of 1526 and duly crowned with the crown of St. Stephen. His counter-candidate Ferdinand for the time being had few adherents, even though these people did elect their candidate king as well. However, when Ferdinand set out with an important army to conquer “his” realm several important adherents of Zapolya changed sides. Presumably they were concerned about the possibility of being caught between the armies of Sultan Süleyman on the one hand, and those of Ferdinand, who in the meanwhile had become king of Bohemia, on the other. One of these noblemen even brought Ferdinand the crown of St. Stephen; the Habsburg ruler thus gained further legitimacy as a result of his coronation.

38A major defeat then obliged Zapolya to take refuge in Poland, from where he decided to ask for the support of Süleyman the Magnificent. While he did not go to Istanbul in person, in 1527-28 his envoy, a Polish diplomat, arrived at the Ottoman court as a much-publicized supplicant on behalf of his exiled prince. We may thus see Zapolya as an asylum seeker per procurationem. His envoy received the sultan’s assurance that whatever difficulties might ensue, Süleyman would not abandon his ally. This promise, and thus Ottoman backing, was what gained John Zapolya a large part of the kingdom of Hungary, which he continued to rule until his death in 1540.

39However a son was born to Zapolya shortly after his demise; the latter was proclaimed by some noblemen as the new Hungarian king. In the resulting confusion, Hungary came to be divided into three parts: two of them were directly ruled by the sultan and the Habsburgs respectively, although Ferdinand paid tribute to the sultan for “royal” Hungary. In addition there was Transylvania, where a prince also owing tribute to the Ottomans was installed as voyvoda.

40Throughout his life Zapolya had maneuvered between the Habsburgs and Sultan Süleyman, even signing a secret treaty with the former; as to the authorities in Istanbul, they must have known that the allegiance of the Hungarian magnates, and particularly that of King John himself, was tenuous at best. But Ottoman policymakers of the sixteenth century tended to assume that if “unbelievers” had to be recognized as rulers, then in the central European context local princes were a better choice than outside potentates, especially if the latter were members of the Habsburg house or else aligned with it. In the Hungarian context the Ottomans thus agreed with one of the two major parties among the local aristocracy.

  • 34 Beydilli 1974, passim; Kołodziejczyk 2000, 123. Given the dubious reliability of Zapolya as an Ott (...)

41From the sultan’s viewpoint it was considered even better if the nobleman to be elected king possessed lands close to the border, for then he might be inclined to accept Istanbul’s demands rather than exposing his own lands to severe raiding. Thus in the 1570s when there was some “international” discussion of a candidate for the Polish throne, the Ottoman authorities stated that in principle they would prefer a native (in this particular instance “Piast”) prince. Only if no local nobleman could gain sufficient support were they willing to accept an outsider, who under no circumstances was to possess any Habsburg allegiances. These were the circumstances that led first to the election as king of Poland of the Valois prince Henri, heir presumptive to the throne of France, and shortly afterwards to the enthronement of Stephen Báthory34.

Men of high degree: supplicants and refugees from Christian Europe

  • 35 Köpeczi 1976, 18-37; Barta 1990, 372-375.
  • 36 Gökbilgin, 1976, 1-17, see p. 4 views him as a refugee who was grateful for the asylum given to hi (...)

42If Gritti and Zapolya were borderline cases, who might be considered asylumseekers only if we adopt a rather wide definition of this term, there were other major political figures that physically appeared in front of the sultan or grand vizier in order to seek protection and asylum. One of them was Ferenc II Rákóczy, descended from a princely family that for much of the seventeenth century had governed Transylvania35. Habsburg policies, especially the emperor’s conclusion of the peace of Vasvar (1664), which was quite advantageous to the Ottomans in spite of their recent defeat on the river Raab, had resulted in a good deal of disillusionment among Hungarian noblemen. These people felt that the government in Vienna was sacrificing their interests in order to pursue the struggle against Louis XIV of France in far-away Alsace. An anti-Habsburg uprising resulted in full-scale war, led by the Hungarian nobleman Imre Thököly, Ferenc II Rákóczy’s stepfather. For a while Thököly was aided by the Ottomans, who appointed him king of Orta Macar, a small territory situated in Habsburg Hungary. However when Ottoman-Habsburg peace negotiations were initiated in the 1690s, the Ottomans ceased to support Thököly and after 1699 refused to allow him back into Transylvania. Whether Thököly was detained in the Ottoman Empire or found refuge there remains a point of debate among present-day historians; in any event, he died in Izmit in 170536.

43Thököly’s political aims were not however forgotten, and from a base in Poland, where he had fled after the failure of a first uprising, in 1703 his stepson Rákóczy rose once again against Leopold I. Shortly afterwards Ferenc Rákóczy was elected prince of Transylvania (1704-1711) by the local estates, who by this time were thoroughly discontented by the Habsburg military occupation and fiscal exploitation of the principality, and last but not least by Vienna’s ecclesiastical policies. Rákóczy attempted to make use of the opportunities that the war of the Spanish Succession (1700-1713/4) seemed to provide, by mobilizing French diplomatic and military support in favor of a restored Transylvanian principality. In Rákóczy’s project this state was to be linked to Hungary, also to be re-established, by sharing one and the same prince. Since support for this undertaking was expected largely from Holland and England, Transylvania was to project a Protestant identity even though Rákóczy himself was a Catholic. However Rákóczy’s army was much weaker than that of the Habsburgs, English and Dutch mediation proved to be ineffective and by the peace of Sathmar (1711) Transylvania permanently lost its quality as a separate state and became a Habsburg domain.

  • 37 Kelemen 1978.

44This meant that Rákóczy was forced into exile once more, and he spent several years at the court in Versailles and elsewhere in France. However when the Ottomans and Habsburgs were once again at war in 1717, he accepted an invitation from Sultan Ahmed III (r. 1703-1703) to take an active role in this conflict, and traveled to the sultan’s territory for this purpose. But as peace was signed already in 1718, no political activity remained that the deposed prince could have undertaken. His presence was no longer considered desirable in France either, and the Habsburg side wished to keep him far away from Transylvania. In consequence Rákóczy remained in the Ottoman Empire, and a residence was assigned to him in the small town of Tekirdağ, in the immediate vicinity of Istanbul. Here Rákóczy lived together with a small suite, which has become famous due to the presence of Kelemen Mikes, one of the luminaries of Hungarian literary prose37.

  • 38 Gökbilgin 1976. Unfortunately this article contains no footnotes and little other documentation, s (...)

45Differently from the personages previously discussed, Rákóczy has left quite a ‘paper trail’ in Ottoman archives38. Some of the surviving documents relate to the years when the prince was still fighting in Transylvania and thus do not concern us here. But there are also texts related to the mission of the Ottoman official who traveled all the way to Marseilles in order to bring the exiled Rákóczy to Edirne, where the court happened to sojourn at that time. Later Ottoman documents show that the sultan was aware of the prince’s contacts to the new Bourbon king of Spain, and some texts also discuss plans being made for a campaign against the Austrians in Transylvania in which Rákóczy expected to play a prominent role. After all this possibility was the reason why the Ottoman authorities had gone to considerable trouble and expense in order to bring the prince – whom the sultan considered a king (kral) – to Ottoman territory. But when it became apparent that the Ottomans were in no position to continue the war against the Habsburgs, further Ottoman official documents also recorded the practical arrangements made for the residence of Rákóczy and his suite, and also for the stay on Ottoman territory of several other generals to whom it seemed expedient to grant asylum, but who also were to be kept well away from the frontiers. As to some of Thököly’s former soldiers, they were to be established on the crownlands of Petrofça where there were many abandoned villages that they might undertake to farm.

46It is relevant to our investigation that in 1720, when Rákóczy was finally settled in Tekirdağ, a sultanic command explicitly stated that the ‘aforementioned king’ was a guest of the sultan and should be treated with the appropriate respect. Moreover the letters on the European situation that the exiled prince sent to Istanbul while still in Europe were read with interest by the sultan, particularly the recommendation to maintain good relations with France. Later on, the Hungarian group isolated in Tekirdağ must have lost its value as a source of information on European affairs. But long after the deposition of Sultan Ahmed III in 1730 and Rákóczy’s own death in 1735, the Ottoman authorities were still paying pensions to those members of the prince’s suite who continued to reside on the sultans’ territory.

  • 39 Kurat 1943.

47Prince Ferenc Rákóczy was not considered a king, or even an exiled king, among European rulers. But in the early eighteenth century, the Ottoman court did host a king recognized as such by his fellow European monarchs, namely Charles XII of Sweden39. After losing the battle of Poltava (1709) against Tsar Peter I, and a short while later having the remainder of his army capitulate, this ruler arrived on Ottoman territory as a fugitive, with a small force of Swedes, Cossacks, Poles and Vlachs. In his original letter to the Ottoman court the Swedish king only asked to stay on Ottoman territory, neutral at this particular time, for a short period of recuperation. He was assigned a residence near the town of Bender. But in reality the Swedish king – who in spite of being in flight, continued to be viewed as a reigning monarch in his own country – did hope to involve the Ottomans in his war against the Tsar, a concern that in the long run, did little to endear him to his hosts.

  • 40 Kurat 1943, 642-643.
  • 41 Duchhardt 1997, 248.

48For Ottoman priorities at this time were rather different: Ahmed III and his viziers wanted to solve all outstanding problems with Russia and Poland as rapidly as possible, so as to concentrate all energies upon the re-conquest of the Peloponnesus, occupied by the Venetians since 168640. This meant that the government in Istanbul wanted Charles XII to leave Ottoman territory as soon as possible. However in spite of Ottoman intentions, a short Russo-Ottoman war did in fact intervene in 1710-1711, in which the armies of Peter the Great narrowly escaped annihilation and the Tsar obtained a peace that given this situation, was inexplicably advantageous41. But the Swedish king showed no inclination to do return home, and instead insisted on being accompanied by what was to have been a full-scale Ottoman army.

49To escape from this impasse in 1713 the Ottoman government probably instigated violence by janissaries stationed in and near Bender, who burnt down the residence where Charles was staying. Following this event, known as the kalabalık (crowd [action]) in Ottoman sources, the king was forcibly removed from Bender to the vicinity of Edirne.

  • 42 Kurat 1943, 645-646.
  • 43 Kurat 1943, 643.

50In his letter of protest to Ahmed III, Charles XII claimed to believe that all this had happened without the sultan’s knowledge. But Akdes Nimet Kurat in his large-scale monograph on Charles XII and the Ottomans has suggested that Ahmed III himself was behind the whole affair. But if so, this did not prevent the latter from punishing certain high officials when the kalabalık caused a considerable uproar among European diplomats in Istanbul; perhaps the sultan wanted to get rid of these office-holders in any event, and he thus managed to kill two birds with one stone42. It is interesting to note that the forcible removal of Charles XII from Bender was mentioned with disapproval by the chronicler Şemdanizade Süleyman efendi who criticized the use of violence against a guest43. Once he had been taken away from Bender and brought to the Ottoman center, the political options of Charles XII were drastically curtailed, although he continued his contacts with European rulers, including the King of Prussia. The Russo-Ottoman and Polish-Ottoman peace treaties of 1714 finally made it clear that Ahmed III was not going to intervene any further in the affairs of eastern Europe; and in the autumn of that year, after a five-year long stay, Charles XII returned to Sweden. During his stay he had first been treated as a state guest and later rather more like a prisoner, albeit of honored status.

  • 44 Nouzille 1984, 148-170.
  • 45 Stoye 1994, passim.

51Certainly the Marquis de Bonneval, or Humbaracı Ahmed Paşa according to the identity he assumed in the Ottoman world was not of royal or near-royal status, although he was remotely connected to the French ruling house44. But the offices he had obtained in the service of both the French king and the Habsburg emperor justify our treating him here as a “man of high degree”. His actions can be regarded as those of a nobleman who claimed for himself, in case of serious differences with his “natural overlord”, the right to take service with any sovereign that offered him satisfactory conditions of employment. This attitude was receding at the turn of the eighteenth century, but was still quite widespread, as apparent from the life histories of Prince Eugene of Savoy or Count Luigi Fernando Marsigli45.

52As a general, De Bonneval entered the service of the emperor Leopold I in 1706. This move occurred after a vehement dispute with high-level French officers on account of the way in which De Bonneval had used certain funds collected while serving the king of France in northern Italy. Having acquitted himself with distinction on the Italian front and in the Southern Netherlands during the remaining years of the War of the Spanish Succession, this recent acquisition of Leopold’s was promoted and even made a member of the Imperial War Council. De Bonneval also participated in the battle of Peterwardein/Varadin, in which Prince Eugene of Savoy won a major success against the Ottomans (1716); his much admired service on this occasion netted him an amnesty from the regent Philip of Orleans, who ruled for the recently enthroned boy-king Louis XV. However at this point De Bonneval who had been given a high position in the now Austrian Southern Netherlands started a dispute with Prince Eugene, which in 1724 resulted in the loss of all his offices, and even in a condemnation to death that was commuted by Leopold’s successor the emperor Charles VI only after quite some hesitation.

  • 46 Preto 1999, 332, 352-353.
  • 47 “Humbaracı Ahmed Paşa” in İslam Ansiklopedisi (Istanbul: Diyanet İşleri, 1998) by Abdülkadir Özcan

53These events were instrumental in De Bonneval’s offer to take service with Ahmed III; following a stay in Venice, in 1729 he appeared in Sarajevo along with a small suite, suggesting to the Ottoman authorities that he should continue where Ferenc Rákóczy had been obliged to leave off, in other words start an anti-Habsburg uprising in Hungary or Transylvania. His projects also seemed threatening enough to Venice that he was there condemned in absentia, and it seemed likely that the Venetian secret services would ensure his assassination; in addition the emperor and Prince Eugene also authorized the Habsburg ambassador in Istanbul to arrange for a political murder. Against his Venetian and Habsburg enemies, De Bonneval hoped to gain official Ottoman support by converting to Islam46. Thereupon he was given a military position, commanding the corps of bombardiers (humbaracı) when Topal Osman Paşa became grand vizier in 1731 and started to prepare for a new war against the Habsburgs. While Humbaracı Ahmed Paşa thus had a significant military career in the Ottoman service, his political influence was much less than he himself wished or imagined. That he maintained close contact with Ferenc Rákóczy in Tekirdağ, and unsuccessfully tried to make the latter’s son into the prince of a resuscitated principality of Erdel/Transylvania is only a footnote to our story47. An investigation into the Ottoman archival documents concerning this affair, which probably slumber in one of the great registers of the period, remains a desideratum.


54Admittedly in historical as in other investigations there is the danger of finding what one has set out to find, and this is especially true if the documentation is full of gaps. But in spite of my probable bias in favor of expediency, contingency and political advantage, as opposed to strict adherence to legal rules and principles, there does seem to be considerable justification for stressing the role of these three factors in the treatment of various foreign refugees by the sultans’court and administration. As to moral principles followed in the treatment of these various newcomers, respect towards foreign guests was occasionally adduced, especially by eighteenth-century nonofficial personages such as Şemdanizade.

55But in practice the very broad range of possible treatments surely indicates that it was expediency, rather than principles, that played the determining role. Even though the Ottoman authorities’motives were not often spelt out, we can conclude that the novel skills and contacts that certain individuals or groups could bring to the Empire were a point in their favor. In the case of commoners the need to populate recently acquired territories was probably a serious consideration as well. Presumably these latter concerns were dominant when it came to admitting the Spanish Morisco refugees, just as they seem to have played a role when the decision was made to allow the immigration of Sephardic Jews. As to the treatment accorded members of foreign elites, in spite of their high status back home, the Indian exiles in Mecca seem to have concerned the Ottoman administration minimally if at all, while the doings of Rákóczy or Charles XII were accorded substantial interest. And where Alkās Mīrzā was concerned, the Ottoman governing circles completely lost interest in him as soon as it became clear that he could not secure the Empire further conquests in Iran.

  • 48 Rozen 2002, passim.

56Ottoman governing circles were well aware of the fact that they were ruling a world empire, and this is reflected in their inclination to accept entrants from both eastern and western realms. While this observation seems trivial from an Ottoman point of view, it is still worth stressing in our own context. After all for a long time, the Empire’s ability to attract qualified ‘renegades’ was an important feature in European/American historiography concerning the Ottoman world, just as the cosmopolitan character of the Ottoman ruling class often enough came to be a thorn in the side of Turkish nationalists. It remains unclear, at least to me, whether Muslim refugees were given particular preference as immigrants. As long as we do not have the kind of detailed studies of Morisco settlement in the Ottoman lands that we possess with respect to the Jews, this question will be difficult to answer48.

57As we have seen, problems pertaining to the reception of fugitives and asylum seekers were accorded much more attention by the sultan’s officials from about 1720 onwards. In part this was due to the realization by Ahmed III and his entourage that victories in the field were no longer to be relied upon, and that diplomatic contacts therefore had become much more necessary for the preservation of the Empire than had been true in the past. This applied to relations with European kings as well as to those with the shahs of Iran, even though the Sāfawids in the early eighteenth century were on the verge of collapse; after all a unitary state was soon re-established in Iran by Nādir Shah.

58In addition the half century between the peace of Pasarofça/Passarowitz (1718) and the beginning of the Russo-Ottoman war of 1768-1774 was a period of re-organization in many walks of life, including the bureaucracy, and the institution of quite a few new offices also meant that many more documents were produced. As a result it is much easier to say something about eighteenth-century official behavior toward foreign sojourners appealing to the sultans’protection than about their counterparts living in earlier centuries. As a result this paper is much less balanced than I, and doubtless my readers as well, would have liked it to be.



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1 A note on transliteration: the names of figures from the Ottoman world have been rendered in modern Turkish spelling. For the names of Muslims from outside the Ottoman world, The Encyclopedia of Islam 2nd edition has provided a model: however those signs not available in the script known as Times New Roman have been omitted.

2 Temimi 1989; Harvey 2005, 322-368.

3 Dominguez Ortiz & Vincent 1978, 17-35.

4 Dominguez Ortiz & Vincent 1978, 225-246; Harvey 2005, 336-340; on Moriscos transiting through Venetian territories, see Pedani Fabris 1994, 176-178.

5 This is the conclusion I would draw from the documents analyzed in Temimi 1989, although the author himself makes much of the solidarity expressed therein.

6 Bartl 1974.

7 Dominguez Ortiz & Vincent 1978, 240-241.

8 Valensi 1969.

9 Fleischer 1986, 154-159.

10 Fleischer 1986, 155-157.

11 Rostagno 1983; Bennassar 1989; Preto 1999; Ricci 2002, 77-94.

12 Price Zimmermann 1995, 86, 118, 200ff. has provided a very suggestive account of how bishops were made in Italy during the first half of the sixteenth century.

13 Salzmann 1992.

14 Gonzalez Raymond 1992, 108-117.

15 Pedani Fabris 2000.

16 Fleischer 1986, 201-213.

17 “Ibrâhîm Müteferrika” by Niyazi Berkes, in Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd edition, vol. III: 996-998.

18 For a discussion of the religious and quasi-religious beliefs of Tommaso Campanella, and of his supposed contacts to the Ottoman world, see Scaraffia 1993, 138ff.

19 Farooqi 1986, 187, 228.

20 “Kāmrān” by H. Beveridge, in Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd edition, vol. IV: 523.

21 Farooqi 1986, 217.

22 Abū’l-Fadl, reprint 1977, vol. III, 571-573.

23 Farooqi 1986, 218 and 243.

24 Abbas Rizvi 1965, 386-389.

25 In a similar vein we do not know what the Ottoman central administration thought of the attempts of the Meccan Şerifs to adopt the pose of a sovereign ruler when corresponding with the Moghul court, as this issue was not discussed in official documents either.

26 On the political aims of Shah Tahmāsp see Turan 1961, 143-157.

27 “Alqās Mīrzā” in Encyclopedia Iranica, by Cornell Fleischer, vol. 1, fasc. 9: 907-909.

28 Pedani Fabris 1996, 73.

29 Fisher 1978, 58-93.

30 Fisher 1970, 151.

31 Aksan 1995, 120, 160-161, 171, 174.

32 Kretschmayr 1896; Szakály 1995; Papo & Papo, 2002. I am grateful to Géza Dávid and Maria Pia Pedani Fabris, without whose help I would not have been able to find the latter two publications.

33 Barta 1990, 243-251.

34 Beydilli 1974, passim; Kołodziejczyk 2000, 123. Given the dubious reliability of Zapolya as an Ottoman ally, it is not easy to explain why the sultan preferred to maintain Transylvania as an independent principality while transforming central Hungary into a regular border province. As a hypothesis one might suggest that the direct administration of all of Hungary appeared as far too expensive. After all the various border provinces on Hungarian territory were given only a skeleton administrative structure, presumably for financial reasons. In addition Transylvania was a country in which five different varieties of Christianity were represented, and the Ottoman authorities probably knew very well that the non-Catholic nobles and townsmen of Transylvania would resist a Habsburg occupation. If in fact they made such an assumption, it turned out to be correct in the long run, for the attempt of the officials serving Rudolf II to enforce the Counterreformation in Transylvania during the Long War (1593-1606) was a complete failure; compare Arens 2001.

35 Köpeczi 1976, 18-37; Barta 1990, 372-375.

36 Gökbilgin, 1976, 1-17, see p. 4 views him as a refugee who was grateful for the asylum given to him. Barta 1990, 374 says that the Ottomans did not permit Thököly to return to Hungary.

37 Kelemen 1978.

38 Gökbilgin 1976. Unfortunately this article contains no footnotes and little other documentation, so that tracking down the materials cited will not be an easy job.

39 Kurat 1943.

40 Kurat 1943, 642-643.

41 Duchhardt 1997, 248.

42 Kurat 1943, 645-646.

43 Kurat 1943, 643.

44 Nouzille 1984, 148-170.

45 Stoye 1994, passim.

46 Preto 1999, 332, 352-353.

47 “Humbaracı Ahmed Paşa” in İslam Ansiklopedisi (Istanbul: Diyanet İşleri, 1998) by Abdülkadir Özcan.

48 Rozen 2002, passim.


Institut für Geschichte und Kultur des Nahen Orients sowie für Turkologie, München

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