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The Story of Turkey by Stanley Lane-Poole
Putnam's Sons, New York | 1893 | Before the invention of ISBN | 374 pages | Non-OCR'd PDF (+ .RTF separately included) | 7.1 MB

Writing in 1888, during the final decades of the Ottoman Empire, Stanley Lane-Poole, historian and Egyptologist, assisted by E. J. W. Gibb and Arthur Gilman, attempts in this volume to draw the main outlines of Turkish history, beginning with the foundation of the empire, in bold strokes, and thus try to leave a connected impression on the reader's mind. (Presented in PDF as preserved in its original print format; scanned, that is.)


The history of Turkey has yet to be written. The standard authority is Von Hammer's Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches, of which there is a French translation, and from which many books have been com-piled in many languages. In English, Von Hammer found an able condenser in Sir Edward Creasy, whose History of the Ottoman Turks is the best concise work we possess on the subject. Von Hammer, however, is not always accurate, despite his laborious research, and he is generally dull. A Turkish scholar, possessed of a sense of literary form, who would take the Austrian's facts, collate them with the native annalists and historiographers, and present them with all the advantages of skilful arrangement and charm of style, would render a real service to historical literature.

The present volume, however, makes no pretensions to fill the gap. All that is here attempted is to draw the main outlines of Turkish history in bold strokes, and thus try to leave a connected impression on the reader's mind. In so small a compass it is impossible to be detailed. Those who desire more than can here be given should turn to Sir E. Creasy, or to the Vte. A. de la Jonquiere's Histoire de l’Empire Ottoman, in Duruy's series ; and thence, if still ambitious, to Von Hammer. In these pages clearness and brevity have been the main considerations ; and, while striving to escape the charge of prolixity, I have carefully avoided the sin of moralizing. Many instructive morals have been drawn from the past and present state of Turkey ; but these appear to depend so much for their point and application upon the political bias of the writer that, on the whole, they are best omitted. We have all heard about the “sick man” and the “armed camp” but, if we are Conservatives, we palliate the disease, and call the encampment an innocent review ; if we are Radicals, we send for the undertaker for the one, and call for the expulsion of the other, that it may no longer menace the peace of Europe. Between these extremes, the reader may take his choice.

The naval history of Turkey, a subject of peculiar interest, has been barely touched upon here, because it is so closely interwoven with the exploits of the Barbary buccaneers, that it will be more satisfactorily traced in the Story of the Corsairs, which. I am writing for the same series. Another subject which has been omitted is the history of Egypt under Turkish rule for this belongs to the special volume on Modern Egypt, now in preparation.

I owe special thanks to Mr. E. J. W. Gibb, not only for the chapters on “Ottoman Literature,” “Stambol,” and “Ottoman Administration,” for which he is almost entirely responsible, but also for many suggestions and additions in other parts of the book, the whole of which has had the advantage of his revision. Mr. Oilman has also contributed to a part of the subject which was less familiar to Mr. Gibb and myself ; and I am indebted for valuable assistance to Mr. H. H. Howorth, M.P., and to Mr. W. R. Morfill, whose advice has been followed in the systematic spelling of Russian names.

Stanley Lane-Poole.

Birling, Sussex,

January 17, 1888.


A sample page


I. The King's Front. 1250-1326

II. Across the Hellespont. 1326-1380

III. Kosovo and Nicopolis. 1380-1402

IV. Timur The Tartar. 1402

V. Mohammed the Restorer. 1402-1421

VI. Murad II and Hunyady. 1421-1451

VII. The Fall of Constantinople. 1451-1481

VIII. Prince Jem. 1481-1512

IX. The Conquest of Egypt. 1512-1520

X. Suleyman The Magnificent. 1520-1566

XI. The Downward Road. 1566- 1640

XII. The Rule of the Vezirs. 1640-1757

XIII. The Rise of Russia. 1696- 1812

XIV. Stambol

XV. Ottoman Literature

XVI. The Ottoman Administration

XVII. The Sick Man. 1812- 1880

Index 367

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