Imagined, Embodied, and Actual Turks in the Early Modern Europe

Bent Holm / Mikael Bøgh Rasmussen (eds.), Vienna: Hollitzer Verlag 2020 (Ottomania 10), ca. 560 pp., 17 x 24 cm, English, hardcover with dust jacket

ISBN 978-3-99012-124-5 (hbk) € 85,00
ISBN 978-3-99012-126-9 (epub) € 84,99
ISBN 978-3-99012-125-2 (pdf) € 84,99

The confrontation between European countries and the expanding Ottoman Empire in the early modern era has played a major role in numerous fields of history. In much modern historiography, however, its role tends to be minor, even though the image of the ‘Turk’ constituted a significant point of reference in a variety of interrelations, cultural, political and commercial. But more than just one image was in play, and the image was constantly challenged by encounters with actual Turks. The image was also imbued with filters of European self-imagining, as observers partly saw or depicted themselves in it. Similar filters are found even in historiographical approaches of recent time. In short, the image flickers.
The aim of this book is to investigate the era's European-Ottoman interrelations from three angles.One deals with the actual circumstances: how did Europeans meet the Turks in pragmatic and diplomatic connections? Another concerns imagery: how were the Turks imagined and depicted in literature and art? The third examines performativity: how were the Turks inserted into plays, operas and ceremonies? The crucial point, however, is that there is no clear distinction between these dimensions - they overlap and interfere. A specific motif did not necessarily mean one thing only and was not inherently one-dimensial. Its interpretation was a function of its contexts, several of which could be active simultaneously. European attitudes and interpretations, dependent upon actual and strategic circumstances, were not coherent either.

This book confronts mental, visual and embodied images with historical positions and conditions. The focus, therefore, is on the dynamic interactive processes of experience, embodiment and imagination in context. Bringing together Turkish and European scholars, it applies a number of reserach strategies used by historians to the history of art, literature, music and theatre.


Table of Contents


Bent Holm & Mikael Bøgh Rasmussen

Kaleidoscopic reflections



Part I: The Actual Turks


Mogens Pelt, Copenhagen

The Ottoman Empire and Europe: the Making and un-Making of a Muslim-Orthodox Partnership


Kate Fleet, Cambridge

The absence of the Ottoman Empire in European historiography


Maria Pia Pedani, Venice

The Legations of the Most Serene Republic to the Sultan and the Fascination of Ottoman Culture


Pál Ács, Budapest

Claiming possession through depiction. Hungarian humanist envoys in the Ottoman Empire


Robert Born, Leipzig

The Turks in East Central Europe with a focus on Hungary, the Romanian Principalities and Poland



Part II: The Imagined Turks


Aslı Çırakman, Ankara

The image of the Turks in the European / anglophone intellectual discourse


Günsel Renda, Istanbul

Changing Images and Cultural Encounters. Europe and the Ottoman Empire


Pia Schwarz Lausten, Copenhagen

The image of the Turks in Menavino, Spandugino, Cambini and Giovio: Historical reality or literary topos?


Anne Duprat, Paris

Variations in oriental motifs in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European literature


Marcus Keller, Chicago

Thinking through the Turk: Islam and the Ottoman Empire as Paradigms in Renaissance France


Charlotte Colding Smith, Wolfenbüttel

Shifting Identities Over Time: Images of the Turk in Sixteenth-Century German Biblical Illustrations


Mikael Bøgh Rasmussen, Copenhagen

The truthful image(s) of the Turk(s)



Part III: The Embodied Turk


Dirk van Waelderen, Leuven

"Celebrating the Orient": the Ottoman Turks in prints and public festivities of the Habsburg Netherlands


Bent Holm, Copenhagen

Turks in royal rituality. Apocalyptic historiography in performative practice


Suna Suner, Vienna

Der türkische Gesandte samt sein Gefolge: Theatre and Ottoman Diplomacy to Vienna in the Eighteenth Century



Bent Holm & Mikael Bøgh Rasmussen

Prismatic reflections




Illustration list

Authors' Biographies



© Hollitzer Wissenschaftsverlag