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LEC The Seminar in Ottoman and Turkish Studies presents Victor Ostapchuk

February 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

The Seminar in Ottoman and Turkish Studies presents

Speaker: Victor Ostapchuk, University of Toronto

Title: Ottoman Timariot Cavalry in its Seventeenth-Century Twilight: A Resilient or “Zombie” Institution?

Time & place: Thurs., 15 February 2018, 5-7 pm, 2098 Sidney Smith Hall, Natalie Zemon Davis Room,100 St. George St.

Abstract: It has long been received wisdom that the Ottoman institution of the timar (“fief/benefice/prebend”)—which gave a virtual caste of cavalry and other servants of the state the right to tax peasant agriculture in exchange for military or other service—was a linchpin of that state’s organization. Moreover, the timar is widely considered as crucial for the successful workings of the empire during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as, for example, the kapıkulı (“slave of the Porte”) military-administrative institution. The argument continues that the timar institution essentially became defunct by the seventeenth century, thanks to the adoption of viable gunpowder weaponry, inflationary pressures in Ottoman currency, and corruption. This seminar will offer a fresh look at these commonplaces in light of the problem of the survival of mountains of documents and defters—today mostly unseen or ignored—that suggest an institution that did not lose its vigour in the post-classical age and will consider the question, “Who are the ‘zombies,‘ Ottoman timariots or Ottomanist historians?“

Seminar in Ottoman and Turkish Studies is supported by the departments of History and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, and the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies


February 15, 2018
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


The Seminar in Ottoman and Turkish Studies


Natalie Zemon Davis Seminar Room – Faculty of Arts & Sciences Building – (Sidney Smith, Rm. 2098)
100 St. George St.
Toronto, ON M5S 2E5 Canada
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