Volume 3 of The Cambridge History of Turkey traces the history of the later Ottoman Empire from the death of Mehmed III in 1603 to the proclamation of the tanzimat, the administrative reconstruction of the Ottoman state, in 1839. This was a period of relative stability when trade between the empire and Europe flourished and, wartime apart, merchants and pilgrims travelled in relative security. However, despite the emphasis on the sultan's role as defender of the faithful and of social order, tensions did exist between the ruling elite in Istanbul and their provincial subjects. This theme is central to the volume. Other sections focus on religious and political groups, women, trade, rural life and, importantly, music, art and architecture. The history emphasises the political, cultural and artistic accomplishments of the Ottomans in the post-classical period, thus challenging traditional notions that this was a period of stagnation.
Suraiya N. Faroqhi is Professor at the Ludwig Maximilians Universitat in Munich, Federal Republic of Germany. Her most recent publications include Subjects of the Sultans, Culture and Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire (2000), and The Ottoman Empire and the World Around It (2004).