Diplomacy with the Ottomans seems not to be working for Grantville and the USE because the Ottomans don't seem to want to talk. ” Almost a year and a half, from the spring of 1632 onward, of patient and carefully drafted letters, friendly overtures carried to Istanbul by a dozen or more hands, had dropped into a black hole for all the good they seemed to have done.” In fact, we are told that ” . . . anyone claiming to be an up-timer would automatically be put to death if found anywhere within the Ottoman Empire.”

This hardly seems fair. After all, what have the up-timers done to the Ottomans? Aren't they freely sharing their twentieth century knowledge with all who are interested, bringing wonderful advances in technology and an enlightened political system that includes religious freedom wherever their influence extends?

The fact is Sultan Murad IV and his advisers would not have banned up-timers without believing they had good reason to do so. As it happens, the actions described above are a big part of those reasons. The activities of the up-timers look very suspicious to Ottoman eyes, and it does not help that the up-timers have allied themselves with the enemies of those who the Ottomans consider to be their best friends in Europe. To understand this, we must consider what information the Ottomans have about Grantville and what their interpretations of this information are likely to be.

What information the Ottomans have about the up-timers will depend, in part, on where they got their information. So the first questions that must be answered are where the information about Grantville comes from and what is it likely to include.

The first source will have been the letters sent from Grantville. So what happened to all those letters? Most probably they were all collected in a file either under the control of the clerk in charge of the European-German records, given where Grantville appeared, or in the files relating to the Swedes, given the initial alliances Grantville made. It is unlikely that any were delivered directly to Murad IV himself—this simply wasn't done with materials from unknown non-Muslim foreigners. If a sufficiently important messenger carried one of the letters, it is possible that the Grand Vizier, Tabaniyassi Mehmed Pasha, might have accepted it. Mehmed Pasha was fairly well informed about events in Europe—and he felt (as Murad IV seems also to have felt) that the interests of the Empire were best served by avoiding entanglements in European affairs and letting the Christians knock themselves out while the Safavids were dealt with. Those under him tended to have similar ideas—the Persians were seen as the main enemy—although there were factions that felt advantage should be taken if and when a European target of opportunity appeared.

Grantville would not have appeared to be a target of opportunity. The initial impression would have been that some local German ruler had decided to attempt to set up a private kingdom, and was hoping for an Ottoman connection to give the Habsburgs pause before they smashed him. Supporting some would-be princeling would have held no attraction at all for the Ottomans. It would also not have been anything worth mentioning to the sultan except possibly in passing, as an example of how the Thirty Years’ War was fragmenting Europe.

Then, too, it is important to recognize that the Ottomans in general, and Murad in particular, were somewhat preoccupied in 1632 and 1633 with issues closer to home than Grantville. In 1632, the sultan would certainly have been more interested in ensuring that he had control over Constantinople than in what was happening in Germany. In 1633, Murad was still securing control over the wider Empire. When he did have attention to spare, it would have gone to the struggle with the Persians. All in all, it seems likely that no serious notice would have been taken prior to mid-1633.

When notice was finally taken, it would have been clear that Grantville was no small matter of a rebellious lord, but rather a major player in a radically changed power structure in Europe. This would have worried the Ottomans, since their expectation would have been that, should one side or the other gain victory in the internecine structures that had been occupying the Christians, the Europeans would then unite and attack them, and the last thing they wanted was a second war on top of the war they already had with the Persians. Further, as will be shown below, the initial letters from Grantville will not have made a good impression.

At some point as information about the up-timers came in, those responsible for the security of the Empire would have concluded that a threat existed. The conclusion may have been reached at a low level first, as the clerks responsible for dealing with correspondence from abroad noticed the increase in the apparent importance of Grantville. Or it may have occurred at a higher level—one can imagine the French ambassador securing an audience with the Grand Vizier to seek an alliance against this new threat. Whether the alert came from above or below, it would have eventually reached an official with the responsibility to bring the potential threat to the attention of the sultan so that action could be taken.

Sultan es-Selatin Murad Oglu Ahmed (known to us as Sultan Murad IV of the Ottoman Empire) wielded absolute power. Nevertheless, both as a matter of religious duty and practicality, Sultan Murad will have consulted with his government before acting.

While such consultations could be as simple as the divan-i hümayun (Imperial Council, hereafter just divan) meeting, making a decision, and sending recommendations to the sultan for his approval, this is unlikely to be how it happened. Murad was actually very engaged with his government and, while it was always clear that the final decision was his, surprisingly willing to listen to others before the decision was made. Given the complexities and ramifications of the appearance of the up-timers, while the divan may have sent a recommendation to the sultan, it was most likely to request that he convene a meshveret (consultative meeting), which brought in a wider group and provided a military council-style three-step forum in which to deal with complex problems.

The first step of a meshveret entails bringing in experts to explain the problems and possible responses. The experts in this case would have included the scribes responsible for European relations, possibly some foreigners (including ambassadors) with direct experience or information from their homelands of the people from Grantville, and a selection of the learned men of the ulema.

Once the experts had spoken, the sultan would invite the officials of his government to offer their opinions. This would be done in a strict order of precedence, with the lowest ranking speaking first. After all who wished to speak had done so, the sultan would speak, giving his views and issuing any commands he felt appropriate to the situation, leaving the implementation of his orders to the affected officials or to the divan. The meshveret ended when the sultan spoke, giving him the last, and indisputable, word on the subject.

The resources available to the Ottomans to learn about things happening in the middle of Europe did not, popular opinion to the contrary notwithstanding, include a network of Ottoman intelligence officers. Instead they relied on the reports of merchants, intelligence provided by their tributary state the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik), and information provided to them by the foreign diplomats who resided in Constantinople. Because of the perceived need for rapidly producing an assessment, merchant reports would not have been a major part of the picture since they were obtained only irregularly and took time to compile. The Ottomans would have asked the Ragusans for what they had, and summoned the diplomats to tell what they knew.

The Republic of Ragusa had an intelligence network which was in many ways the equal of that of up-time countries. The Ragusans had developed their intelligence capabilities for the purpose of survival—Ragusa was an essentially merchant state with neither the ability to field large armies or significant natural defenses located in a region over which major powers contended. They used the intelligence that they gained as bargaining chips to maintain their independence. Decisions about what intelligence was shared were made by the Ragusan Senate.

Because decisions about intelligence sharing were made with an eye toward what was best for Ragusa, a certain bias was introduced into what intelligence was shared. To put it simply, the Ragusans preferred to provide information to the Ottomans that was selected to conform to what the Ragusans thought the Ottomans expected. As they would have been unsure of the reception it would receive, their comprehensive report on Grantville would, by policy, not have been the first. The information that shaped the initial Ottoman opinion of Grantville would perforce come from the European missions in Constantinople.

The European diplomatic community in Constantinople at this time consisted of four ambassadors, the resident representative of the Holy Roman Empire, and various temporary missions. The four ambassadors were, in order of seniority, the Venetian Baillio, the French ambassador, The English ambassador, and the Dutch ambassador.

Of those who might present a favorable, or at least neutral, view of Grantville, Ottoman relations with Venice may be regarded as comparable to those between the United States and the Soviet Union during the period of détente. The Dutch, while ably represented by Cornelis Haga, are newcomers.

Those who might present a negative view of Grantville are in rather better positions. The resident representative of the Holy Roman Empire, Johann Rudolf Schmid, labors under the handicap that relations between the Habsburg Emperor and the Ottomans tend to be strained. But he seems to have been a remarkably capable and well-connected individual. The English representative, Sir Peter Wyche, was at least competent, reasonably well-liked by the Ottomans, and absolutely loyal to Charles I.

And then there are the French. The French had an extraordinarily close relationship with the Ottomans. Indeed, it was so close that many believed that a French princess must have figured in the lineage of the Ottoman sultans. This was fortunate for the French because their ambassadors in this period left something to be desired. We may well learn that Richelieu sent a special embassy to Constantinople relatively early on to explain the up-timer threat to the Ottomans. But, whether the information was provided by the existing ambassador or a special emissary, there is no question that the French view will have had a large impact on Ottoman perceptions of Grantville.

The Ottomans' first impressions of Grantville would thus come from the letters sent by Grantville and from the information presented by diplomats who were at best neutral and more often hostile to Grantville. So what impressions would have been created?

The letters would have been examined carefully—after all, they would be certain to represent the most positive image of this new power. While none of these letters have been published, they would presumably have included an offer of friendly relations and the explanation that Grantville had been somehow transported back more than three hundred years in the future. The offer of friendly relations would presumably have included offers of access to whatever the up-timers knew about what the years to come held for the Ottomans as well as offers to allow the Ottomans to share in the advanced technological knowledge of the up-timers.

In Europe, such actions meant that Grantville found allies in leaders who, either out of necessity or enlightenment, accepted the idea that Grantville is from a reasonable future and were receptive in varying degrees to its principles, policies, and knowledge. To a larger degree than anyone in Grantville may understand, this acceptance rested on having some common world views. In the Ottoman Empire, the situation is going to be rather different. The up-timers will probably not appreciate how their explanation of their presence and their offers will have alarmed and outraged the Ottomans.

The claim that Grantville is from the future, and thus that its people know what is to come, sounds perilously like a claim to being an entire city of prophets. Every Muslim knows that Muhammad is the last prophet, and so the first reaction of the Ottoman in the street to the description of the up-timer's origin is likely to be that it is clearly a lie, and a blasphemous lie at that. The fact of this claim would have justified Sultan Murad's order to execute up-timers to the average citizen of the Empire. Indeed, given the prominence of the fundamentalist Kadizadeli movement, there might have been a risk of riots if he had not given such an order.

Among the men of the ulema, the words of the up-timers will have been parsed more carefully, and it will have been recognized that the up-timers themselves are not claiming to be prophets. At the same time their claim of having been translated to the seventeenth-century present from the twentieth-century future will be examined very carefully.

The first question will be “Is this true?”—was the Ring of Fire (hereafter RoF) a real event or is it simply some sort of fantastic lie maintained for unfathomable reasons? Arguing for the truth of the matter will be the amazing mechanisms and advanced skills of the up-timers, along with the fact that some of these mechanisms can be duplicated and the skills taught—this means that they are not simple illusions. The possibility that it is a very elaborate deception perpetrated by Shaitan will not be ruled out absolutely, but they will probably accept that Grantville does come from the future, at least as a working hypothesis. This however will simply have led to more questions.

Accepting the realty of the RoF means that you have to explain how it happened and why. Was it the work of man, of Allah, or of Shaitan? The ulema will have been looking at everything that they could find out to decide the answers, and what they learn will not have looked good for Grantville.

First of all, in the city of Grantville as it appeared, there were Christian Churches aplenty, and a diverse population of various sorts of Christians and even Jews and believers in certain other odd ideas (including atheists!), and not one single Muslim! Yet it would be obvious to any seventeenth-century Ottoman Muslim that, while there might be a very few Christians and Jews still hanging on to their misguided beliefs almost four centuries in the future, the vast majority of the world's population in the twentieth century would be Muslim (and likely citizens of the Ottoman Empire as well).

Then there is the issue of the changes that Grantville brings. There is a hadith that says:

“Beware of matters newly begun, for every matter newly begun is innovation, every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in hell.”

It is not correct to say that innovations (or bid'a, singular bid'at) are outlawed—in fact, in the seventeenth century the majority of Islamic jurists would require that an innovation be demonstrated to be bad to forbid it, rather than requiring that it be shown to be good to allow it. But, while Murad IV himself seems to have been rather open-minded towards inventions, particularly practical or entertaining ones, the pious, and particularly the ultrapious, who have significant influence over popular opinion in this period, tend to be very suspicious of innovations. And Grantville, which is demonstrably and suspiciously non-Islamic, is spreading innovations by the hundreds, and doing so actively.

In the ordinary course of things, an innovation would be examined in a somewhat leisurely manner to determine, based on its benefits or the harm it did (or the lack of either benefit or harm), where it falls in the five categories of actions (obligatory, recommended, permissible, offensive, and unlawful). The sheer volume of changes introduced by Grantville makes this considered method of evaluation impossible. This would be viewed in and of itself as evidence of malign intent—while some or even a majority of these innovations might be harmless or even good, it could well be that the good innovations are there to help mask the evil ones.

Then there is the issue of politics. The ideal of representative democracy promoted by Grantville is revolutionary in Europe. In the Ottoman Empire it will be seen as Satanic. The Reformation and the counter-Reformation have undercut the idea that kings rule by divine right in Europe. There has been no comparable movement in the Islamic countries. The idea that men, rather than God, should choose those who rule is simply not going to fly. From the point of view of even the most moderate Muslims in the seventeenth century, this will seem to be nothing more or less than an attempt to place men above God.

In short, all the things the up-timers think of as their good points would be viewed in a very different way by the Ottomans. To this general bad impression produced by their own words and actions will be added the views of the foreign diplomats. Needless to say, given who the Ottomans will be asking, this information will be unlikely to change the negative first impression. The foreign diplomats from countries hostile to the up-timers will not have to work very hard to make things look even worse. The diplomats may simply present the information about the Empire's future that their agents find in the Grantville library.

To begin with, there is no detailed popular history of Murad IV's reign in the English language comparable to those available for the Thirty Years’ War. While there are popular histories of the Ottoman Empire, the breadth of their coverage tends to mean that Murad's reign is summarized in a few pages—the information available is likely less than reliable and can most likely be summarized as “came to power as a child, was bloodthirsty and a drunk, killed his brothers except crazy Ibrahim, recaptured Erivan but lost it, recaptured Baghdad, died of cirrhosis and a morbid fear of an eclipse.”, This sort of description is unlikely to produce warm feelings of good fellowship in the sultan or his advisors. This lack of detailed up-time information about the current state of the Ottoman Empire may also be interpreted as evidence that Allah is shielding his people from the evil up-timers.

What Grantville will have had in significant quantities on the Ottomans was information about the end of the empire, especially its final collapse (the sick man of Europe, chapters in books about World War I), as well as information on its successor states. This won't help much either, especially if presented by, say, a French emissary in a context aimed at preventing Ottoman cooperation with up-timers. It may safely be assumed that the reaction to the information that the “Christian powers” split up the empire and that they subsequently established a state controlled by Jews within its former borders will not be received well. The Ottoman reaction to the descriptions that will be given of American support for Israel against the Arab Muslim coalitions and its direct attack on a Muslim nation in the first Gulf War can only be imagined. The descriptions that would be given by the hostile diplomats of the disruptions caused by new technology, and of the effects of the political activities of Grantville and the Committees of Correspondence will also assure the Ottomans that their initial negative views of these were correct.

In summary, a careful review of the information available from all sources will have led the Ottomans conclude that the up-timers are both hostile and dangerous. Given all this, the Ottoman reaction of excluding up-timers can be seen to be a reasonable and responsible response to the need to protect their citizens from the potentially malign influences of the inhabitants of Grantville. Further it is the most practical action that can be taken given the constraints imposed by the war with Persia. While some of the advisors will doubtless have expressed the opinion that the best thing to do would be to destroy the infidels immediately, the practical need to pursue the Persian war will have led most to recommend a holding action.

There will have been other recommendations, of course. The expansion of the USE will be seen as threatening. In part this is because any unification of the “Christian” nations is going to be perceived as threatening—calls for the reconquest of the Holy Land are a part of European politics during this period, and unification is going to be perceived as a first step. Further, it is likely that the USE's actions (including those of the seditious Committees of Correspondence) will appear to the Ottomans to be directed against the common assumptions underlying autocratic rule in both Europe and the empire and in particular against their special European partner, France. This will lead the sultan's advisors to recommend that the pace of the war against the Persians be increased so that it can be concluded before the USE will be ready to launch an attack and draw the empire into a two-front war.

In particular, the events in Europe will have convinced the Ottomans that they must adopt the new military technologies. The structure of the Ottoman Empire means that this can be done. Murad can “fast track” things he sees as necessary, even if there are objections, using his authority as sultan. And there is an already established mechanism that will allow an indirect import of the innovations—the taife-i efrenciyan, or corps of foreign experts. The friendship with the French may be particularly helpful here. Since the French are adapting up-time military technology, it will be possible to adopt the French adaptations with much less upset than would be provoked by taking things directly from Grantville.,

However, despite the need to innovate, there will be political problems, especially given Murad's use of the Kadizadelis to ensure popular support for his regime. Among other things, Kadizadeli doctrine included a firm opposition to all bid'a, including innovations other groups regarded as good, or at least acceptable. For instance, when Türk Ahmed (a Kadizadeli preacher) was asked whether he proposed to get rid of spoons since their use in eating had become popular after the time of the Prophet he answered “Let the people eat with their hands. This is not zifir [a game]. Let the people eat with their hands.” On the other hand, it seems likely that the Kadizadeli doctrine that requires obedience to the sultan would also, at least to an extent, tend to temper opposition to anything the sultan wanted to import, especially given the probability that technology transfer will primarily be indirect. Getting something from, say, a French expert who accepts pay from the sultan would be a different matter from approaching the infidels directly.

The Ottomans will also be trying to gather more information about the up-timers. In particular, it will be necessary to resolve the question of whether the RoF was the work of Allah or an action of Shaitan (in accordance with the will of Allah). The appearance of Grantville, with its absence of Muslims, could be a warning sent by Allah—a demonstration of the consequences of Muslims having strayed from the proper path. This may well be a popular opinion in the upper circles of government, since Murad's reforms are justified in part as a return to the old correct ways and such an interpretation could be used to further support the need for reform. However, with its multiplicity of innovations, many promising to ease life, and implication that the future does not belong to Islam, it could also be a temptation sent by Shaitan. This will be a popular interpretation among the more conservative lower echelons of the ulema, and especially the fundamentalists such as the Kadizadelis.

From the perspective of the average citizen, these positions need not be distinguished since, whether warning or demonic temptation, the proper response of a Muslim is clearly to reject what is coming from Grantville and hew to the traditions of Islam. At higher levels, however, total rejection will be problematic. If it is a warning, the “histories” from Grantville should be studied by pious and learned men to allow the identification of pitfalls to avoid. And if it is a temptation, the innovations must nevertheless be studied least they give undue advantages to the forces of the unbelievers.

Related to the problem of the RoF is the problem of the nature of the up-timers themselves. Are they supernatural or human? If supernatural, are they mala'ikah (angels) or evil jinn? If human, are they conmen (a possibility that will have been largely eliminated as the reality of the event was confirmed), human servants of Shaitan (evil men), or simply men (misguided, of course, given that they are not Muslim)?

The possibility that the up-timers are mala'ikah would have been relatively easy to reject. Angels would not deny the Prophet, but the up-timers do not follow Islam. However, jinn can have the seeming of men. The issue of whether or not the up-timers are jinn may have been settled in 1634 when some were invited to a reception for a “Turkish delegation” in Venice. Since the invitation would have only been extended with the permission of the Ottoman diplomats, it seems probable that at least one reason for it was to allow the emissaries to test the up-timers to determine their nature. Indeed, as this delegation is not included in von Hammer's listing of Ottoman missions to Venice, and as it clearly involves more than a simple messenger, this event seems to be a change produced by the Ring of Fire. It thus seems likely that the Ottomans will have decided by 1635 at the latest that the up-timers are human.

The question of what kind of human—innocent or evil—is more complex and it is unlikely to be decided without actual contact. This issue is also of much greater, or at least more personal, interest to the up-timers. If someone from Grantville is captured by an Ottoman who believes that up-timers are just people who have been sent by Allah to provide a warning to pious Muslims, the up-timer might not be executed out of hand, since in this case the possibility exists that the individual may be salvageable. At a minimum, execution might be stayed long enough to invite the captive to make the profession of faith to allow him to die a Muslim. Ottoman officials, especially those on the borders, were also prone to following their own interests, and an official who felt that he was dealing with “just a man” might be inclined to ignore orders and see what he could learn. The possibility also exists that the Ottomans might try to acquire up-timers clandestinely for study, either directly or through surrogates.

Of course, it should be recognized that the interest is not totally one way. The USE has at least some interest in the empire. But the Ottomans may well be trying to ensure that the information flow is one way (to them). As a result, projects aimed at adapting up-time technology may well go unnoticed by Grantville and its allies. The Ottoman Empire is large enough to hide a good many things, and the intelligence that reaches Europe is largely limited to what can be learned in Constantinople and a few other trading centers. Nor is the Ottoman Empire a major intelligence target for the intelligence service of the USE. In part, this is probably due to the fact that there are more pressing needs closer to home. It may also reflect a (probably unconscious) attitude of up-timers that the Empire is not a serious threat, an attitude that would likely be transmitted to their down-time allies. However, the USE seems largely to be relying on Don Francisco Nasi's relations for intelligence on the Ottomans. Given that the Ottomans certainly know about Nasi's function, and that they also certainly know who his relatives are, the USE could be in for a surprise one day.

But for the time being there is peace. The Ottoman authorities have elected to study these possibly demonic visitors at a distance while trying to protect their citizens from the up-timers' (at least potentially) malign influence. The Ottoman embargo will prevent the rapid diffusion of up-time knowledge within Ottoman society, and thus prevent the (primarily liberalizing) social effects the knowledge has had in Europe. Even the things the sultan brings in will likely be kept largely out of sight, both to avoid exciting the fundamentalists and for reasons of security. But whatever the ultimate conclusions of the scholars, there is no question that the Ottoman Empire is going to have to deal directly with up-timers at some point. As the USE expands, it will inevitably bump up against the Ottoman Empire. What happens then will depend on what each side thinks about the other, and it seems likely that both sides have a most unclear picture of the other. The eventual encounter promises to be interesting.


In Eric Flint and Andrew Dennis, 1634:The Galileo Affair, Baen Books, 2004.

In Karen Bergstralh, “The Treasure Hunters,” Grantville Gazette 11, Baen Books.

Tabaniyassi is a nickname—it means flat-footed.

Sort of absolute power, anyway. He actually had to work with a mare’s nest of competing factions. Including his military, where the janissaries and the cavalrymen of the alti bölük, the six standing cavalry units, had shown they had no qualms about meddling in politics as recently as 1632, when they had threatened to depose Murad. Murad, however, was very good at politics, knowing when to use the carrot of added pay or promotion to a lucrative position as well as when to use the stick of exile or execution.

Murad was also restrained to some degree by the need to conform to the Sheriat (holy law). Any order he gave could be rendered invalid if not approved by the Åžeyh-ül-Islâm, who acted as the chief juriconsult of the Empire. However, Murad seems to have had few problems with getting such approval (his execution of Åžeyh-ül-Islâm Ahizade in 1633—the first execution of a Åžeyh-ül-Islâm in history—had nothing to do with problems getting decrees approved by Ahizade).

Unlike both his immediate predecessors and successors, Murad actually attended at least some meetings of the divan. He also seems to have been very careful to keep aware of what was going on in his government.

The men of the ulema are the recognized religious scholars of the Empire. From their ranks were drawn the preachers of the mosques, the teachers for the schools, and the judges. The Ottoman state regularized their activities through the institution of the Ä°lmiye, which controlled appointments to and salaries for various positions. The Åžeyh-ül-Islâm was the most important, or at least prominent, member of the ulema.

It is also possible that the Ottomans might have asked Gustavus Adolphus what he knew about Grantville. In 1631 Gustavus II Adolphus had sent an envoy, Paul Strassburg, to the Ottoman Empire to discuss the possibility of Ottoman assistance against the Habsburgs (or the Poles). What he wanted was less than what he seems to have received, which was a promise by the Ottomans that the prince of Siebenbürgen (Transylvania) could make war against the Habsburgs if he wanted to, and the Ottomans would have troops ready to exploit any opportunities. Mehmed Pasha seems to have had some quiet contacts with the Swedes dating back at least to Paul Strassburg's mission, and he might have queried them about Grantville. However, this would have taken a relatively long time due simply to the mechanics of travel in this period and any information that came from the Swedes would have been suspect because of their alliance with Grantville.

The practice of making collective decisions, along with very short terms for certain offices (t he rector, who acted as the head of state, served for only a month at a time) was quite useful in dealing with the Ottomans, since they didn't know exactly who to punish if a decision they didn't like was made.

Travel time between Ragusa and Constantinople was about two weeks. When they got the request the Ragusans would have responded by sending a message assuring the Grand Vizier that they were working on it and a separate message to the Ragusan representative in Constantinople asking what was going on. They would also have begun preparing reports for the Ottomans based on various assumptions about what would be best for Ragusa. Once a response was received from their man in Constantinople—which would have been at least six weeks after the original request was dispatched—the Ragusans would have sent the appropriate report to Constantinople. So at least two months would have elapsed from Ottoman request to Ragusan response (and the Ragusans could have added some additional delays if needed).

More specifically, this opinion-shaping information will be that provided at the time of the meshveret, which will be an unusual opportunity for direct input by the foreigners into Ottoman decision making. Once a course has been decided on, any latter changes in the opinions of the Europeans will have at best an effect on the tactics, but not the strategy, of the Empire. There is an inertia inherent in this process. In particular, if an originally negative view were to change into something more positive, this would most likely be viewed as evidence of the pernicious influence of the up-timers rather than an indication of an original misinterpretation.

Indeed, the Venetians were pursuing a policy, similar to the détente of the Cold War, which they called bilancia (balance) in this period. They had not reached the stage of “Trust but verify.”

Schmid was by birth a Swiss Lutheran, but he seems to have given unswerving loyalty to the Catholic Habsburgs, perhaps owing to the fact that they were responsible for ransoming him from the Ottomans after twenty years as a slave, for at least part of which he acted as a dragoman for the Ottomans. His period as a dragoman may also explain his extraordinary success in intelligence operations against the Ottomans. The archives containing Schmid's reports are the richest single source of information on Ottoman diplomacy of this period in Europe.

Sir Peter had been appointed by Charles I contrary to tradition over the objections of the Levant Company, which paid the ambassadors salary in exchange for his acting as their factor in Constantinople.

This was a myth. But it was a widely believed myth, since most people could imagine no other way to explain the close relationship between Catholic France and the Muslim Ottoman Empire.

Philippe de Harlay, Comte de Césy, who was ambassador from 1620 to 1631 and again from 1634 to 1639, enjoyed amicable relations with Ottoman officials but managed in his first term as ambassador to run up debts so large that they had imperiled French trade with the Ottoman Empire. Henri de Gournay, Comte de Marcheville, sent to replace Césy and defuse the debt crisis, set the tenor for his term as ambassador when he ordered the ship bearing him to Constantinople to fire its cannons at the flagship of the Kapudan Pasha (commander of the Ottoman Navy) when the latter called on him to dip his colors to show respect for the sultan. After a series of incidents, Marcheville was deported abruptly in 1634 and Césy was recalled (by the Ottomans, he did not receive official confirmation from France until 1635). Reflecting their special relationship with France, the Ottomans took some pains to clarify that it was Marcheville the person, and not the ambassador of the king of France, that had been expelled.

Koran Sura 33:40 states that Muhammad is the Khatim-an-Nabiyyin (Seal of the Prophets). The majority of Islamic commentators have accepted that this means he is the last of the prophets. Anyone claiming to be a prophet after Muhammad is automatically an infidel.

The Kadizadelis took their name from the fundamentalist Kadizade (son of a judge) Mehmed Efendi, who was a very popular preacher. Although the son of a kadi, he was highly critical of the religious establishment, following the traditionalist teachings of Mehmed of Birgi. Despite this, he had moved steadily up in the ranks of the ulema until he was appointed to preach in Constantinople's Ayasofya mosque (the former Church of Divine Wisdom, or Hagia Sophia). He used his position to attack innovation and those of the ulema who did not share his views, including the Åžeyh-ül-Islâm. He had also acquired his own followers, including a group of members of the ulema who became known as fakÄ­s.

Murad IV used Kadizade's ability to mobilize the populace to support certain of his policies, notably the closing of the coffeehouses. Kadizade seems to have been willing to support Murad in part because Kadizadeli doctrine held that “obedience to the ruler at all levels of rule is equal to obedience to God and His Prophet” and also in the hopes of gaining more influence for his goal of reforming the religious hierarchy (Sheik Mehmed seems to have made several efforts to gain influence—for instance, he wrote a treatise on horses for presentation to Sultan Osman II because of the latter's reputation as a horseman). However, Murad resisted Kadizade’s efforts, preferring to use him rather than to be used by him. Indeed, Murad went out of his way to reassure the followers of other (Muslim) traditions that their rights would not be abridged.

Kadizade Mehmed fell ill at Konia while traveling to join the Ottoman army led by Murad against the Persian forces at Revan. He returned to Constantinople and died on October 9, 1635, after which the popularity of the Kadizadelis entered something of a decline. Of course, the butterfly effect means that his death is far from certain in the 1632 timeline.

In short, the information about the current Ottoman leadership that Grantville can offer is inadequate to downright wrong as well as insulting.

One possible exception to the lack of detailed information has to do with Fahkr al-Din—Grantville has a lot of former soldiers and sons of soldiers, and there is a reasonable possibility that one of these may have been involved in one of the American expeditions to Lebanon (1958, 1982-1984). If so, the brief history lecture that was received would have mentioned Fahkr al-Din, since he is regarded as the first to attempt to unite the various religious groups in Lebanon. The information was limited, but invariably included the facts of his capture and execution by the Ottomans. This information is probably not widely known—it probably isn't in the library. However, it is not unreasonable that someone in Grantville might provide it to the Italians (the Tuscans may wish to mount a rescue mission—of course, it would also be reasonable for Grantville to do something, if someone realizes it in time—having an ally who could exert control over a large part of Syria might be useful—although such an action, officially sanctioned or not, would also reinforce the negative view of Grantville held by the Ottomans). And, while it is unlikely, nothing in the existing canon rules out the possibility that someone in Grantville was a scholar of Ottoman history who had a bunch of copies of dissertations about the period.

While Jews within the Empire were (like Christians) considered “people of the book” eligible for protected status as zimmis, this status was always conditional on the zimmis' voluntary acceptance of their status as second class citizens. Further, while Jews in Constantinople were generally well treated (especially in comparison with their European counterparts in many cases), the Ottoman Empire was not free from anti-Semitic attitudes. While Murad himself seems to have held the relatively benign position that zimmis of whatever persuasion were fine as long as they kept to their place, there is ample evidence (in the writings of Evliya Çelebi, for instance) of prejudice against Jews.

Should any of the hostile powers have learned that the up-timers are apparently in the habit of referring to Sultan Murad as Murad the Mad, this will give them a bit of icing for the cake. It is unclear where this sobriquet originated, but it may have come from a popular history that was released up-time shortly before the Ring of Fire. (No serious historian believes that Murad was insane, although he did enjoy his wine.) Whatever its source, if Murad hears about it he may well become “the Mad” in the sense of angry.

“The Mad” was not an appellation that was used by his contemporaries. The common descriptors appended to his name after the events of 1632 by contemporaries intending to be less than complimentary were “the Cruel” or “the Bloody.” The Venetian assessment of him was that he was an unparalleled tyrant. This harsh assessment was predicated in large part on his willingness to execute Ottoman government functionaries (including some who had been special friends of the Venetians) for corruption, incompetence, or due to a belief they were plotting against him. His fear of plots is, of course, understandable in light of the events of 1632, although Murad's habit of preemptive action certainly resulted in some unnecessary, and politically problematic, executions. At the same time, the common people of the empire welcomed his actions, as the officials who had oppressed them under previous sultans began, from fear, to attend strictly to their duties. Papasynadinos, a Greek Orthodox chronicler who had no reason to praise a Muslim ruler, noted that Murad acted against anyone who was abusing the people whether “ . . . they were vezirs or pashas, muftis or kadiaskers, kadis or beys, agas or agas of the janissaries, odabashis [janissary officers] or zorbabashis [leaders of a bandit band].”

Murad ordered the closing of the coffeehouses (using the pretext—which held some truth—that they constituted a fire hazard) because he believed they were centers for sedition and plots. It is difficult to imagine him viewing the Freedom Arches with anything approaching equanimity.

The Persian War has forced other compromises on the Ottomans. The renewal of the Treaty of Zsitvatorok, which kept the peace between the Austrian Habsburgs and the Ottomans, was not welcomed by the Ottomans, as can be seen from the observation of the English Ambassador Sir Thomas Roe in a letter of January 1629 (the date of the letter is December 28, 1628, but this is the old calendar) in which he observes that “All the ministers of the Grand Signor know and confess their dishonor and disadvantage by this peace, to which they were constrayned to yield by the Asian war . . . ”

The French had a habit of representing their enemies, real and potential, as also enemies of the Ottomans, at least when speaking to the Ottomans. While in our timeline the French were primarily promoting an alliance against the Spanish, it is likely that, particularly in the early period, they will have presented a particularly negative view of Grantville to the Ottomans with an eye to securing their aid if needed. There was always a certain amount of cynicism in the French actions—with regard to the efforts to form a French-Ottoman alliance against the Spanish, Louis XIII is supposed to have explained to his confessor that “I should like the Turk to be in Madrid, so as to force the Spaniards to make peace with me; and afterwards I would join the Spaniards to make war upon the Turk.”

While it might seem to outsiders that the logical thing for the Muslim Ottomans and the Muslim Persians to do would be to unite against the possible Christian threat, this is not likely to happen. To begin with, neither the Sunni Ottomans nor the Shi'ite Persians regard the other as Muslim. Indeed, both sides pursued alliances with Christians to aid them with their war. Further, the emotions raised in the Ottoman public by the Persian desecration of Sunni shrines after their capture of Baghdad means that Murad must recover Baghdad to retain his legitimacy as a ruler, while Safi has no motive to surrender it. Not to mention that Shah Safi has his own issues of legitimacy.

The legitimacy of sultanic orders, when they are questioned, is decided by the Åžeyh-ül-Islâm. The sultan appoints the Åžeyh-ül-Islâm, and the sultan can depose (or, as Murad did, execute) a Åžeyh-ül-Islâm. If Sultan Murad decides something is needed, it is likely that any decision about whether it is allowable will go in his favor.

While efrenci strictly speaking refers to the French, it was used as a sort of catch-all for foreign at this point in time. There were foreign technical experts employed throughout the government and military in Murad's day. Treasury records show that, in 1629, there were forty-four foreigners directly employed by the palace, for instance. Of course, given how things seem to be going in mid-1630's France, it is certainly possible that the Ottomans may soon be able to find a glut of French “up-timer specialists” desirous of employment.

While the French will be an important conduit, especially in the early period, they will not be the only route for technology transfer. There will be two factors affecting this.

The first is that, as time passes, informal sources will proliferate. For instance, the story “A Pirate's Ken” (Iver P. Cooper, Grantville Gazette 15) tells us that Murad Reis of the “Sallee Rovers” has sent a son to Grantville. The Ottomans will be able to count on at least some intelligence from this quarter.

The second is that the Ottomans will not wish to rely solely on the French, who have their own interests. In addition to other nations and the informal sources, the Ottomans will wish to establish a conduit that is under their control. The most likely candidate for this will be their regular supplier of intelligence, the tributary state of Ragusa. Ragusa offers several advantages to the Ottomans in terms of arranging for covert technology transfer. As a Christian state, its buyers will not attract the attention that an Ottoman delegation would, and shipments to Ragusa will not generate the concerns that shipments to the Empire would. Ragusa also routinely shopped for military technology that would give it the edge a tiny state with big enemies (e.g., Venice) needed, and its interest in up-time weapons would be seen as natural. Indeed, tiny Ragusa may even be the beneficiary of sympathy from up-timers, who traditionally root for the underdog.

It is also important to realize that the Ottomans will not be attempting to acquire large quantities of weapons (although they will certainly happily accept any offered). The Ottomans have a large network of military industries. This means they will wish to acquire the knowledge (perhaps in the form of experts) to produce them, with a sufficient quantity of weapons to serve as patterns for their artisans to reproduce.

Indeed, one can imagine that they might pay for technology with finished products. For instance, the French “Cardinal” rifles will be of obvious interest to the Ottomans, since they will not be subject to the reliability problems that kept the Janissaries using matchlocks in preference to flintlocks. The Ottomans might offer to produce the weapons and cartridges for the French in significant quantities while still being able to produce enough to start arming their troops. (And, of course, using the French pattern weapons would probably lead USE intelligence analysts, accustomed to discounting Ottoman technical capabilities, to regard reports of Ottoman troops armed with rifles as arising from a few gifts sent by the French.)

Jinn are not necessarily evil—they can choose to follow Allah just as people can. However, arguments similar to those that rule out the possibility that the up-timers are mala'ikah would rule out the possibility that they are pious Jinn.

There are some relatively simple ways to deal with evil Jinn in Islam. Simply reciting the Koran will help. Ibn Mas`ud offers a formula given to the Prophet by Gabriel in his presence which causes jinn to disappear “as a flame is extinguished”: “I seek refuge in the incomparable Glory of Allah that can not be violated by the righteous or the cunning from the evil of what goes into the earth and all that comes out thereof; all that comes down from the sky and all that ascends thereto and from the evil of night visitants except for good ones. You are the Most Merciful!” Reciting the call to prayer is also supposed to provide protection.

A list of Ottoman diplomatic missions to Venice in the 1630's may be found on page 334 of volume 9 of von Hammer's Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches.

This attitude is displayed in things like the simplistic and incorrect characterization of Murad IV as Murad the Mad. It is most probably the result of the teaching of history in the US, which deals only briefly with the Ottoman Empire, usually in the context of its final collapse, and the fact that the most recent experience of Grantville's inhabitants with the region is in the context of the enormously one-sided first Gulf War in which victory was declared over an Ottoman successor state after ground-based military operations lasting only 100 hours. As a result of their experience, it is probable most Americans will have a tendency to presume that the down-time Ottoman Empire will suffer from similar systematic weaknesses. These opinions in turn may well feed into European down-timer prejudices. This may well lead to serious problems. While there are problems in the empire, they not quite those of its up-time successors. The Ottoman Empire in the seventeenth century is very different from what it had become in the twentieth century.

It must be noted that there is a remote possibility that an alliance could be forged between the USE and the Ottoman Empire. For instance, the hostility of the Spanish Habsburgs may eventually require a response by the USE. If the Ottomans see an opportunity to recover al-Andalus, they might well be interested in an alliance, especially if the pretense could be maintained that the alliance was with the down-timers. Identifying other areas where there might be a convergence of interests is left as an exercise for the reader.


Selected Sources

Berridge, G. R. Notes on the origins of the diplomatic corps: Constantinople in the 1620s. The Hague: Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’, 2004. Clingendael Discussion Papers in Politics, No. 92.

Dankoff, Robert. An Ottoman Mentality: The World of Evliya Çelebi. Ottoman Empire and its Heritage, V. 31. Leiden: Brill, 2004.

Dedijer, Stevan. Ragusa Intelligence & Security (RIS)—A Model for the 21st Century?. National Security and the Future 2000;1(3-4):127-141.

Hamilton, Alastair. ‘To Divest the East of all its Manuscripts and all its Rarities’. The Unfortunate Embassy of Henri Gournay de Marcheville. In Hamilton A., van den Boogert M. H., Westerweel B., eds. The Republic of Letters and the Levant. Boston: Brill; 2005: 123-150.

Hammer-Purgstall, Joseph von. Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches Schlussrede und Übersichten I – X. 9. Pest: Hartleben, 1833.

Isom-Verhaaren, Christine. Royal French Women in the Ottoman Sultans’ Harem: The Political Uses of Fabricated Accounts from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-first Century. Journal of World History 2006; 17(2): 159-196.

Meienberger, Peter. Johann Rudolf Schmid zum Schwarzenhorn als kaiserlicher Resident in Konstantinopel 1629-1643. Berne, Switzerland: Herbert Lang & Cie AG, 1973.

Murphey, Rhoads. The Ottoman Attitude Towards the Adoption of Western Technology: the role of the efrenci technicians in civil and military applications. In P. Dumont & J.-P.Bacque-Grammont (eds.), Contributions à l’histoire economique et sociale de l’empire Ottoman, 1983, Louvain: Editions Peeters: 287-298.

Pallis, Alexander. In the Days of the Janissaries. Old Turkish Life as Depicted in the “Travel-Book” of Evliyá Cheleb’. London: Hutchinson & Co. Ltd., 1951.

Vaughan, Dorothy M. Europe and the Turk: A Pattern of Alliances 1350-1700. New York: AMS Press Inc, 1976.

Zilfi, Madeline C. The Kadizadelis: Discordant Revivalism in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 1986; 45(4): 251-269.

Zilfi, Madeline C. The Politics of Piety: The Ottoman Ulema in the Postclassical Age (1600-1800). Studies in Middle Eastern history, no. 8. Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica, 1988.

Zubčević, I. Communication and Sources of Information in the Diplomacy of the Dubrovnik Republic. In: Berković S (ed.). Diplomacy of the Republic of Dubrovnik. Diplomatic Academy Year-Book 3. Zagreb: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, Diplomatic Academy; 1998. pp. 245-255.