Cover image for Historical dictionary of the Ottoman Empire
Historical dictionary of the Ottoman Empire
Somel, Selçuk Akşin.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
cv, 399 pages : maps ; 23 cm.
Chronology -- Ottoman sultans -- Grand viziers -- Introduction -- The dictionary.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DR436 .S66 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



In Western languages the Ottoman Empire from the earliest ties onward was called Turkey, a term which the Ottomans never used for themselves. This dictionary is an in-depth treatise covering the political, social and economic history of the Ottoman Empire.

Author Notes

Selcuk Aksin Somel is Assistant Professor of Ottoman History in the Department of History at Bilkent University in Ankara. He is a corresponding member of the Turkish Historical Association, member of the Foundation of Economic and Social History of Turkey, and of the Middle East Studies Association of North America.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

In this updated and expanded edition of his 2003 work, Somel (Ottoman history, Bilkent Univ., Turkey) charts the rise and decline of the Ottoman Empire. He opens with a chronology of events from 1040 to 1924 and a 30-plus-page introduction highlighting major happenings. The alphabetically arranged entries that follow cover historical, political, and cultural events and people in a readable manner. Finally, Somel offers a bibliography divided into subject areas such as "Foreign Relations and War," "Ottoman Classical Period," "Religion," and "Cultural Life," recognizing many sources published since the release of the first edition. These include Stephen Turnbull's The Ottoman Empire 1326-1699 (Routledge, 2003), which Somel recommends as a useful tool for English-speaking high school students, and Jason Goodwin's Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire (Holt, 1999), which he suggests as "an easy start." The exhaustive bibliography includes a listing of sources in French, German, and Turkish, so scholars and readers at all levels and backgrounds should find something of interest. VERDICT While the entries are brief, this volume provides adequate explanation and coverage of each subtopic. Libraries that serve advanced high school students as well as larger public and academic collections should consider it.-David Alperstein, Queens Borough P.L., Jamaica, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Over its long history, the Ottoman Empire passed from being the great threat on Europe's borders (15th-17th centuries) to being the "Sick Man of Europe" (19th century). Previously no reference guide existed for Ottoman history in English, although Scarecrow published Metin Heper's Historical Dictionary of Turkey (1994). Somel's dictionary attempts to fill the need for a reference source covering the Ottoman Empire. It focuses heavily on politics, but culture is not ignored entirely. Somel provides "Note on Writing Style and Transcriptions," maps of the expansion and contraction of the empire, a detailed chronology, an introduction, the dictionary proper, and a selected bibliography. Dictionary entries under ^D,A, C, and _ follow A, C, and S respectively. Entries often are very brief, to the point of failing to mention the Turkish defeat at the Battle of Navarino except under the larger heading "Russo-Ottoman War of 1828-1829." The absence of an alphabetical index makes it difficult to find topics that lack main entries, like the 1565 attack on Malta. Entries for Ottoman art and architecture do not offer illustrations, but lists of Ottoman sultans and grand viziers are provided at the end of the chronology. A useful but hardly comprehensive guide. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Research collections. T. M. Izbicki Johns Hopkins University