By Carter Vaughn Findley
From the author’s preface: elegant Porte--there has to be few phrases extra redolent, even this day, of the fascination that the Islamic center East has lengthy exercised over Western imaginations. but there should also be few Western minds that now be aware of what this time period refers to, or why it has any declare to cognizance. One present-day heart East specialist admits to having lengthy interpreted the expression as a connection with Istambul’s the best option usual harbor. This person will not be particular and will possibly declare to be quite good expert. while the chic Porte nonetheless existed, Westerners who frolicked in Istanbul knew the time period as a designation for the Ottoman executive, yet few knew why the identify used to be used, or what point of the Ottoman executive it safely specific. What used to be the genuine elegant Porte? used to be it a company? A construction? not more, actually, than a door or gateway? What approximately it used to be very important adequate to reason the identify to be remembered? in a single feel, the aim of this e-book is to respond to those questions. after all, it is going to additionally do even more and may, within the strategy, flow fast onto a aircraft really various from the exoticism simply invoked. For to review the bureaucratic advanced effectively referred to as the elegant Porte, and to research its evolution and that of the physique of fellows who staffed it, is to discover an issue of great importance for the improvement of the executive associations of the Ottoman Empire, the Islamic lands ordinarily, and in a few senses the total non-Westerrn international.
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Extra resources for Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire: The Sublime Porte, 1789-1922
28 The couplet quoted as the epigraph of this chapter alludes to one element of this schematization. There were other links between rulers and subjects, as well. The Ruling Class One of these consisted of the mechanisms through which people entered the ruling class. More important for present purposes, there was another, subtle kind of interplay between the two "classes" recognized in the official picture of Ottoman society. This appears in certain models of social organization that originated outside the imperial "center," but found replication in ruling and subject classes alike.
Within the limits traced by factors such as rank, favor, seniority, custom, and law, they enjoyed a discretionary power, derived irrlplicitly or explicitly from that of the sultan, and comparable to his on a reduced scale. One of the clearest signs of their elite status, and one of the clearest differences between them and the officials of most modern states, was the idea that One. Introduction they served the sultan, from whom their power derived, and only secondarily served his subjects. The elitism of the ruling class was, however, not without serious qualifications related to the patrimonial character of the state.
The model of the autonomous confessional community thus never totally disappeared. Still, the egalitarian reforms made a substantial difference, beginning with the Reform Decree of 1856, which triggered a marked growth in the number of non-Muslims in official service. Indeed, as surely had to be the case if the reforms were to be- One. Introduction come meaningful anywhere, it was precisely within governmental institutions that the ideals of equality and Ottomanism produced the most appreciable changes.