Ottoman Empire 1450-1750
Created by: Jalisa Griggs
The Ottoman Empire consisted of four social classes. Men of the pen: highly educated; scientists, lawyers, judges and doctors. Men of the sword: military personnel. Men of negotiation: merchants, artisans and tax collectors. Men of husbandry: farmers and herders.In the Ottoman Empire your place in hierarchy was based on your skills (merit), although it did help to know people of higher power. If you were the Sultan, your place in the hierarchy was based on birth. Slavery also played a part in determining your social class. Some slaves were raised to become government officials, others were bought, captured, or born into slavery. Citizens of the Ottoman Empire had the right to practice their own religion freely as long as you paid taxes and obeyed the Ottoman law.
From the birth of the Ottoman state under Osman Gazi through its period of unrivaled power in the mid-1500s, the center of the Ottoman Empire was always the sultan. The Ottoman Empire was a dynastic one, so when a sultan died, his son would become the new sultan. These early sultans all took great pride in their jobs and had a central role in the direction of the empire. Sultans oversaw governmental meetings, hired and fired officials, and personally led military campaigns to the edges of the empire. With the rise of incompetent officials in the central Ottoman government, a process of decentralization began. Local governments gained more autonomy and showed less respect for the government in Istanbul. On a practical level, this meant less tax revenue sent to the central government, which meant a weaker government and military in general. All this occurring during the rise of the empires of Europe such as England, France, Russia, and Austria.