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By Rifa'at Abou-El-Haj

Rifa'at 'Ali Abou-El-Haj reevaluates the verified ancient view of the Ottoman Empire as an japanese despotic countryside in decline and as a substitute analyzes it as a contemporary country resembling modern states in Europe and Asia.

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Extra info for Formation of the Modern State: The Ottoman Empire Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries

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Yet Turks living as pastoral nomads commonly preferred a stateless or politically decentralized existence and tended to resist state domination for all they were worth, as nomads commonly have done. Scholars often approach this seeming paradox by looking for factors, both internal to the nomadic society or external, that caused or facilitated empire building in specific cases. Instead of thinking in terms of the presence or absence of states, it may make more sense to see here two alternate modes of politics, which defined key questions and sought to answer them on two different scales.

84a. ”33 The first phase of the transition from micropolity to macropolity, the crisis provoked by Chinese invasion, had precipitated the second phase, militarization, and that would lead in turn to the third phase, centralization. Centralization amounted to a revolution, an abrupt shift from a decentralized, relatively egalitarian pattern to a centralized, hierarchical one that accentuated differences among “senior” and “junior” clans and concentrated power at the top. 36 As yet, the extent of centralization was more limited than in either China or later Turko-Mongol empires.

However, what is known, via Chinese sources, of the Xiongnu kingly language leaves this point open to doubt. By the end of the Xiongnu period, however, the Altaic peoples would be the ones most identified with the equestrian culture earlier developed among the Indo-European peoples of Inner Asia. Furthermore, the earliest clearly Turkic peoples appeared on the peripheries of the late Xiongnu Empire. Peoples associated with it also spread far to the west, if, as often thought, what Europeans called the Huns were an extension of the Xiongnu.

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