The Ottoman Empire

From magnificent rise to tragic collapse to stunning rebirth, explore the grand story of the Ottoman Empire in these 36 lectures delivered by a master classical historian.
The Ottoman Empire is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 113.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course! I originally took this course through Amazon Prime Video and absolutely loved it. I credit this course (and a few others), for making the switch over to the Great Courses Plus. The course is fast paced and I found myself having to back-track on several occasions but it was well worth it. I particularly enjoyed Prefessor Harl's off-hand comments and frank approach to the subject matter. I look forward to checking out Professor Harl's other courses.
Date published: 2021-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course These 36 lectures gave me a much better understanding of the Ottoman Empire than I had These 36 lectures gave me a much better understanding of the Ottoman Empire than I had gotten in my previous formal education. Dr. Harl presented these courses in a very scholarly and objective way, especially in discussing the Armenian deportations of 1915, which has been so controversial. I liked how he tied the past with the present to help me better understand how and why the current social and political situation came about.
Date published: 2021-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent This was a very interesting course and I learned a lot. Prof. Harl shows vast knowledge of the subject and explains clearly the subject.
Date published: 2021-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Presenter has a deep knowledge of the subject. HIs presentation is not optimal, but doesn't detract from the depth of knowledge and context that he demonstrates. Recommended.
Date published: 2021-05-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Professor makes no attempt to link East and West I have taken more than 100 Great Courses and consider myself to be a very happy customer of most courses. As a student of history and religion I had high hopes for this course too but did not make it past the 4th lecture. I have no doubt that the professor has a wide breadth of knowledge about the subject, but the professor needs to recognize that his students come from a Western frame of reference, with almost no knowledge of this part of the world, which he does not do. When I came to the 11th century, I assumed I would hear something about the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western churches and about the Sack of Constantinople. I did not and was very disappointed. I did not continue watching.
Date published: 2021-05-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Content is fascinating, delivery is inadequate Like many a TGC customer, I own many courses, among which are a number that feature Kenneth Harl as instructor. In all of these courses, Dr. Harl evinces a passion for his subject matter and wide breadth of factual knowledge. Like Professor Harl, I too am married to a Turk, and have long had a desire to dig deeper into an appreciation of Ottoman history. This is quite a challenge to do in the Great Course, however, due to Dr. Harl's delivery. Like the fast talking legalese we often hear at the end of radio commercials, Dr. Harl cannot stop himself from telling us everything he knows as fast as he can, making no distinction between what is germane and what is peripheral. One is immediately, and continually, overwhelmed with facts and more facts. If you do not already have a knowledge of medieval Near Eastern history, you are quickly lost, trying to create a context in your own mind for what you are hearing. Turkish terms, Arabic terms, names of tribal leaders, references to other civilizations--all presented in rapid-fire succession with little explanation or context. Like other courses presented by Dr. Harl, I have found that only through repeated listenings to each lecture can I get at what he is trying to say. Which, in the case of the Ottomans, is quite substantial and interesting. But one has to wade through extremely tall grass to finally arrive at such an appreciation.
Date published: 2021-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I recommend every course by Prof Harl. It is stunning how knowledge just flows from Ph.D. Harl. Always presented within the classically liberal disinterested instruction method. The Great Courses sustaining his legacy may be the team's highest purpose. I admit to falling to a subtle superficial dismissal of the Ottoman Empire. Indeed, it seems the whole world including modern Turks have trouble acknowledging not only the contributions but the legacy of Ottoman Civilization. In this regard, Ph.D. Harl's summation of Ottoman significance alone makes this a must for serious students. Undeniable significance to modern Europe and the Middle East. Yet, it does seem we put the Ottomans in the closet of history. Nothing can be taken away from the accomplishments of Ataturk. Saving the homeland and likely creating a new Turk identity. But Ataturk was in a great rush forced by unfathomable odds towards an existential crisis. So perhaps now is the time to open that closet and review centuries of Enlightened skillful administration. Not just curious examination. But rather examining ideas and policies of beneficent 'Right Rule'. With thoughts towards Ibn Rushd and the Virtue/Liberty state. But even if you are just curious about the Ottomans? As with any course, Ph.D. Harl is the place to begin. A firm foundation from which the quality of future 'scholarship' can be discerned.
Date published: 2021-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Yet another tour-de-force by Prof. Harl. I learned so many interesting new facts that are not taught in more traditional European history classes. Also, the time he took to review the early 20th century and the tumult of that period was time well spent. I highly recommend this course. Outstanding!
Date published: 2021-04-06
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Overview

Join Professor Kenneth W. Harl for The Ottoman Empire: 36 enlightening lectures that investigate the nature of Ottoman identity, the achievements and oddities of the sultan's court, and stories of confrontation and cooperation with the West.

About

Kenneth W. Harl
Kenneth W. Harl

We will be looking largely at archeological evidence and analysis done by anthropologists because we are operating largely in a world without writing.

INSTITUTION

Tulane University
Dr. Kenneth W. Harl is Professor of Classical and Byzantine History at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he teaches courses in Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader history. He earned his B.A. from Trinity College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University. Recognized as an outstanding lecturer, Professor Harl has received numerous teaching awards at Tulane, including the coveted Sheldon H. Hackney Award. He has earned Tulane's annual Student Body Award for Excellence in Teaching nine times and is the recipient of Baylor University's nationwide Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teachers. In 2007, he was the Lewis P. Jones Visiting Professor in History at Wofford College. An expert on classical Anatolia, he has taken students with him into the field on excursions and to assist in excavations of Hellenistic and Roman sites in Turkey. Professor Harl has also published a wide variety of articles and books, including his current work on coins unearthed in an excavation of Gordion, Turkey, and a new book on Rome and her Iranian foes. A fellow and trustee of the American Numismatic Society, Professor Harl is well known for his studies of ancient coinage. He is the author of Civic Coins and Civic Politics in the Roman East, A.D. 180-275 and Coinage in the Roman Economy, 300 B.C. to A.D. 700.

By This Professor

The Ottoman Empire

Trailer

Sublime Porte: Visions of the Ottoman Empire

01: Sublime Porte: Visions of the Ottoman Empire

How should one consider the vast history of the Ottoman Empire? Professor Harl sets the stage for the lectures to come with a consideration of key themes in the empire's journey from "Sublime Porte" to "Sick Man of Europe" - as well as the distorting images of Orientalism....

32 min
Seljuk Turks in Asia Minor

02: Seljuk Turks in Asia Minor

Ottoman sultans traced their origins to the Oghuz Turks of the Central Eurasian steppes, whose nomadic ways of life were transformed by Islam. Follow along as the subsequent Seljuk Turks evolve from raiders to conquerors - and spark conflict with Western Europe's religious pilgrims....

30 min
The Islamization of Asia Minor

03: The Islamization of Asia Minor

First, learn how the Seljuk sultans created an Islamic Turkish Anatolia, which would become the heartland of future Ottoman sultans. Then, explore Seljuk developments in architecture, decorative art, and religion - including domed mosques, medresses (religious schools), and "whirling dervishes."...

30 min
Ottoman Sultans of Bursa

04: Ottoman Sultans of Bursa

Meet the sultans who transformed the Ottoman sultanate into an imperial state. Among these: Orhan, who made Bursa the state's capital; Murad I and Bayezid I, who incorporated Asia Minor into the Ottoman state; and "the Thunderbolt," who forged an empire of tributaries in the Balkans and Anatolia....

31 min
Defeat and Recovery, 1402-1451

05: Defeat and Recovery, 1402-1451

The defeat of Sultan Bayezid by Tamerlane at the Battle of Angora revealed the fragile nature of the nascent Ottoman sultanate. Focus on the empire's recovery under Mehmed I Çelebi and Murad II, who made the empire into a bureaucratic monarchy and defeated the Hungarians at the Battle of Varna....

31 min
Mehmet the Conqueror, 1451-1481

06: Mehmet the Conqueror, 1451-1481

Mehmet the Conqueror made the Ottoman sultanate a leading Muslim power by 1481. In this lecture, investigate his remarkable rule, which included the conquest of Constantinople, the remodeling of the Hagia Sophia as a mosque, and the construction of the grand, walled mini-city of Topkap?....

31 min
Selim the Grim and the Conquest of Cairo

07: Selim the Grim and the Conquest of Cairo

In 1512, Selim emerged victorious from the ashes of a civil war and executed all challenges to his rule (earning him the sobriquet "the Grim"). Go inside Selim's military campaigns against Iran, Syria, and Egypt, which helped make the Ottoman Empire virtually synonymous with the "house of Islam."...

31 min
Suleiman the Magnificent, 1520-1566

08: Suleiman the Magnificent, 1520-1566

Suleiman the Magnificent presided over the zenith of the Ottoman Empire. You'll learn how, during his 46-year reign, he expanded civil bureaucracy, waged a naval war in the Mediterranean against Habsburg Spain, and also altered the imperial succession - sowing what some historians consider the seeds of the empire's downfall....

32 min
Sultans in Topkap?, 1566-1648

09: Sultans in Topkap?, 1566-1648

Turn now to a period of decline, most notable for the emergence of the harem as a powerful political institution. Meet sultans including Murad III, a patron of the arts (especially miniaturist painting) and Ahmet I, an ineffective 13-year-old who presided over the "Sultanate of Women."...

32 min
The Sultan-Caliph and His Servants

10: The Sultan-Caliph and His Servants

Ottoman sultans played two roles: as sultan/warrior and as the caliph of Sunni Islam. Here, unpack the role of the sultan in the Ottoman Empire, including his relationship with the ulema (religious experts), his central administration (called "the Porte"), and with his viziers....

31 min
Timariots, Peasants, and Pastoralists

11: Timariots, Peasants, and Pastoralists

Between 1500 and 1800, the Ottoman Empire spread across more than 1 million square miles - but economic activity varied from region to region. Discover how groups like pastoralists and the Muslim gentry (timariots) played their own critical roles in the drama and resiliency of the rural Ottoman economy....

31 min
Trade, Money, and Cities

12: Trade, Money, and Cities

Trade was vital to the Ottoman Empire - as well as a cause for its decline from "Porte" to "Sick Man of Europe." Trace some of the empire's most prominent trade routes, including the iconic Silk Road, as well as the British penetration of Ottoman markets in 1838....

31 min
Arabs under the Ottoman Caliph

13: Arabs under the Ottoman Caliph

For 300 years, Ottoman Sultans ruled the majority of Arabs. How did "the Porte" successfully administer the diverse Arab provinces under its control? How did "the Porte" respect Islamic traditions? Why were the Arabs so loyal to the empire up until the early 19th century?...

31 min
Christians and Jews under the Porte

14: Christians and Jews under the Porte

Under the Ottomans, Christian and Jewish subjects were classified as dhimmi ("people of the book") and were afford legal protection and the right to practice their faith. Explore daily life in some of the Christian and Jewish communities (millet) scattered across the empire....

31 min
Sunni Islam and Ottoman Civilization

15: Sunni Islam and Ottoman Civilization

Go deeper inside the details of Ottoman civilization. Among the topics you'll explore are the transformation of Turkish into a new literary language; the importance of calligraphy and miniaturist painting; intellectual developments in history and geography; and, finally, the cultural influence of the Sufis....

31 min
Ottoman Constantinople

16: Ottoman Constantinople

What was Constantinople like under Ottoman control? Professor Harl shows how the empire became a veritable paradise among Muslim cities, with markets and mosque complexes, social activities and public spaces, and the grandeur of Topkap?, which you'll see through the eyes of French Ambassadors sent in 1536....

33 min
The Sultan at War: The Ottoman Army

17: The Sultan at War: The Ottoman Army

Sultans between the reigns of Murad II and Mehmet IV commanded one of the finest armies in Eurasia. Discover how the Ottoman imperial army matched Europe's best, how money was raised to meet the rising costs of war, why the Ottoman army suffered decisive defeats, and more....

31 min
Sultan and Shah: Challenge of Safavid Iran

18: Sultan and Shah: Challenge of Safavid Iran

The Ottoman Sultan and the Safavid Shah clashed frequently over strategic lands between the two civilizations. First, learn why Safavid Iran was the religious and ideological rival of "the Porte." Then, examine five major wars the Ottomans waged against their rivals between 1514 and 1722....

31 min
Sultan and Emperor: War in the West

19: Sultan and Emperor: War in the West

Visit the empire's northern border in Europe to explore its military clashes with the West. Why was fighting in Central Europe so indecisive? Why did the Long-Turkish War prove so embarrassing for three sultans? How did "the Porte" come to ease tensions with the Habsburgs after 1605?...

31 min
Sultan and Venice: War in the Mediterranean

20: Sultan and Venice: War in the Mediterranean

Learn why Ottoman success at sea in the 1500s stemmed from Suleiman's strategic vision and the skills of his admirals. Along the way, you'll investigate Suleiman's war against Venice, the Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and battles with another European naval power: Portugal....

32 min
Koprulu Viziers and Imperial Revival

21: Koprulu Viziers and Imperial Revival

Professor Harl reveals how a dynasty of Grand Viziers and bureaucrats rescued the Ottoman Empire from factions and court intrigue, then guided the empire through various crises between 1683 and 1699, helping to end the ruinous war against Venice, as well as end political instability within the House of Osman....

31 min
The Empire at Bay, 1699-1798

22: The Empire at Bay, 1699-1798

In this lecture, learn why the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz is a turning point in Ottoman history - another that marked the empire's steady decline into the "Sick Man of Europe." Central to this lecture: the Ottoman military's engagement with a powerful new Christian foe: Catherine the Great....

32 min
Napoleon Invades Ottoman Egypt

23: Napoleon Invades Ottoman Egypt

France's occupation of Egypt from 1798 to 1801 compromised the restoration of Ottoman rule in the country. And, as you'll learn, Napoleon's invasion also marked the first instance of the Muslim Middle East's encounter with modernity and political reforms based on the principles of the French Revolution....

31 min
Crisis: Muhammad Ali and Balkan Nationalists

24: Crisis: Muhammad Ali and Balkan Nationalists

Learn how Muhammad Ali exploited the confusion in Egypt after Napoleon's departure and, in 35 years, became the first successful Muslim ruler to transform Egypt into the literary and intellectual center of the Arabic-speaking world. Also, consider several Serbian and Greek revolts that rocked the Ottoman Empire....

31 min
Tanzimat and Modernization, 1839-1876

25: Tanzimat and Modernization, 1839-1876

First, examine how the reforms of professional ministers led by Mustafa Re?id Pa?a ushered in a massive reorganization (Tanzimat) of both the Ottoman State and Ottoman society. Then, consider how Tanzimat widened divisions within Ottoman society and failed to make the empire a member of the Concert of Europe....

31 min
Defeat and Retreat: The Sick Man of Europe

26: Defeat and Retreat: The Sick Man of Europe

How did the Crimean War vindicate the reformers of Tanzimat? Why was the Treaty of Paris a strategic victory for "the Porte"-that came at a high price? What impact did the empire's catastrophic defeat during the Russo-Turkish War have on its future with the Concert of Europe?...

34 min
The Sultan Returns: Abdul Hamid II, 1876-1908

27: The Sultan Returns: Abdul Hamid II, 1876-1908

On December 23, 1876, Sultan Abdül Hamid II proclaimed the first Ottoman constitution. Eleven months later, it was suspended, along with its Parliament. Go inside this period of continued reform, which tied "the Porte" to an alliance with Germany and ultimately led to Sultan Hamid II's downfall....

32 min
Constitutional Reform, 1908-1913

28: Constitutional Reform, 1908-1913

Turn now to the Second Constitutional Period, which raised hopes for imperial recovery and reform but ended with the domination of power by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). Thus emerged a shadow government that became an unintended dress rehearsal for future one-party dictatorships....

32 min
War in Libya and the Balkans, 1911-1913

29: War in Libya and the Balkans, 1911-1913

Discover why the Ottoman government was ill-prepared for both the Italo-Turkish War and the First Balkan War. Experience its stunning defeat by the improbable alliance of Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria. Learn why the Treaty of Constantinople almost assured the outbreak of another Balkan war....

33 min
The Road to World War I

30: The Road to World War I

Using recent research (based on Russian and Ottoman archives), learn why the Ottoman Empire entered the First World War. What role did the defeats of 1911-1913 play in the road to war? Why did Ottoman ministers negotiate favorable terms with Germany in exchange for entrance into the war?...

31 min
The Empire at Total War, 1914-1916

31: The Empire at Total War, 1914-1916

Though it entered the First World War enthusiastically, the Ottoman Empire was not prepared for total war. In this lecture, focus on the empire's offensives against the Russian Caucasus Army and the Suez Canal, as well as its struggle against an impending British invasion in the Dardanelles....

31 min
Ottoman Collapse, 1916-1918

32: Ottoman Collapse, 1916-1918

By 1916, the Ottoman Empire was fighting for its very survival. Professor Harl reveals the impact of the Russian Revolution on the war, the steady deterioration of the empire over the course of the fighting, and the army's ultimate collapse, which came suddenly and unexpectedly, in late 1918....

32 min
Mustafa Kemal, Ataturk

33: Mustafa Kemal, Ataturk

Meet the "father of the Turks": Mustafa Kemal. By following his life and career, you'll come away from this fascinating lecture with a well-rounded understanding of how he came to play such a decisive role in the modernization of Turkish civilization and the creation of the Turkish Republic....

32 min
Casualties of War and Ethnic Cleansing

34: Casualties of War and Ethnic Cleansing

The best estimate is that a total of 800,000 Armenians died between 1915 and 1921. In this powerful lecture, examine why the destruction of the Armenian community has come to be seen as the first in a series of similar events that would wreak havoc on the 20th century....

32 min
The Emergence of the Turkish Republic

35: The Emergence of the Turkish Republic

Under Mustafa Kemal, Islamic tradition was seen as an obstacle to joining European civilization. How did Kemal and the Turkish Parliament approach the daunting task of transforming the imperial heartland into the Turkish Republic? How are Turks today wrestling with their Ottoman legacy?...

32 min
Nation-States, Islam, and the Ottoman Legacy

36: Nation-States, Islam, and the Ottoman Legacy

Conclude with an insightful look at how the legacy of the Ottoman Empire still influences the Middle East - and will continue to do so in the future. Each of the empire's successor states, you'll learn, has its own perceptions of this legacy, and its own lessons learned from history....

32 min