The Ottoman Empire : The Great Courses: Ancient History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Kenneth W. Harl
  • Series: The Great Courses: Ancient History
  • 18 hrs and 43 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

By understanding the dramatic story of the Ottoman Empire - from its early years as a collection of raiders and conquerors to its undeniable power in the 15th and 16th centuries to its catastrophic collapse in the wreckage of the First World War - one can better grasp the current complexities of the Middle East.
Over the course of these 36 enlightening lectures, investigate over 600 years of history that covers the nature of Ottoman identity, the achievements of the Sultan's court, and stories of confrontation and cooperation with the West.
Befitting a story of such epic scope and grandeur, every lecture is a treasure trove of historical insights into the people, events, themes, and locales responsible for shaping the story of this often-overlooked empire. You'll cover everything from Rumi, the whirling dervishes, and the importance of the sultan's grand viziers to the wars of Sultan Suleiman I, the shadowy politics of the Committee of Union and Progress, and the birth of the Turkish Republic under Kemal Atatürk.
Welcome to a fascinating story of the triumph and tragedy, war and peace, intellectual progress and civil insurrection of a great empire that, for all its glory and grandeur, has left an important legacy that will shape the future of the Balkan nation-states, the Turkish Republic, and the Arab world - and those of us in the West as well.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Surprisingly biased

I enjoyed every other series Professor Harl has made, but this one was sub-par. I found myself wondering why he was really hitting hard on the positive stuff about the Ottomans and downplaying the negative, when what I'd admired about his other lectures was the relatively unbiased approach. They weren't apologies but they weren't condemnations either, it was simply history. This series really felt like an op ed piece at times, and Harl often exhibits doublethink (ex: denies that the Armenian genocide occurred because it doesn't fit the UN definition of genocide, but then dismisses the German govt's acknowledgement of the genocide since he "doesn't think politics should play a role in deciding what actually happened"). Once he said he has a Turkish wife though, it started to make sense. There's still some good information in the course, if you don't mind that he glosses over some of the more gruesome aspects of Ottoman society, like how the Janissaries were kidnapped and forcibly circumcized, or the fact that he never really explains that whole silk cord thing or any of the cultural background in which such practices emerged.

That being said, I don't think this course is worth purchasing, you could get all this information on wikipedia and you wouldn't be missing out on any thing really. The most interesting part of the narrative is whenever Europeans enter the scene and Harl has plenty of other quality courses on those subjects, like The Era of the Crusades, World of Byzantium, and Great Ancient Civilizations of Asia Minor.
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- Nick

A+ Course by an A+ Professor

Harl is one the greatest professors with the Great Courses. I enjoyed every second of this largely unexplored area of world history.
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- Justin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-26-2017
  • Publisher: The Great Courses