Skip to main content

Research Seminar: Ottoman Raiders (akıncı) in Europe: holy Warriors, terrible Turks, Plunderers, auxiliary Troops, opportunist Volunteers, or Slave-hunters? Making Sense of the Ottoman Conquest and Slave Society

Kiprovska lecture
Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 12:40 pm – 1:30 pm

Research on the Ottoman raiders (akıncıs) is highly controversial due to the disciplinary limitations that Ottomanists, Byzantinists, Balkan, or European historians face. Specialists in different fields rely primarily on sources they are familiar with and rarely resort to others outside their immediate expertise. These constraints result in a vastly polarized portrayal of the raiders: focusing primarily on the perception, rather than military actions, of the akıncıs, some view them as a symbol of the “Turkish danger,” while others, centering on the akıncıs’ organizational peculiarities as a distinct corps in the Ottoman military system, adopt a structuralist approach and present an equally distorted view. In this talk, I will focus on the actions of the raiders as described by contemporary writers and will advance the idea that the raiders and their leaders were an essential part of the Ottoman expansion and a vital link in the Ottoman slave-based economy. Changing the perspective by putting the raiders in the center, rather than in the periphery, of the Ottoman expansion, I will argue, could prove crucial for better understanding both the Ottoman conquest process and the social and economic matrix of the Ottoman world.

Join Zoom Meeting…

Meeting ID: 987 6750 8252
Passcode: 566205

CEMS Research Seminars are informal, lunchtime gatherings at which CEMS members present their current or recent research in a friendly, low-stakes environment. The presentations are brief (15-20mins) and ample time is left for discussion. The idea is to become more familiar with one another's research and encourage conversations within CEMS. In this way, we hope to strengthen the internal community and benefit from the excellent scholarship in which our colleagues are engaged.