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Early Modern Empires

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Discussion topics and Essay Questions

  • What were the characteristics of early modern empires?
  • How different were early modern empires?
  • What challenges did early modern empires pose to their metropoles?
  • What effect did early modern empires have on the colonised?
  • How did European empires compare to Asian empires?
  • What were the challenges facing rulers of early modern empires?
  • Which factors contributed to the rise and decline of empires?


**NOTE: Some eresources are accessible only on-campus or via off-campus proxies or the athens service**






Audio links

Secondary literature

Selected key texts

Further Reading

Early Modern Empires

  • P.F. Bang and D. Kolodziejczyk, Universal Empire: A Comparative Approach to Imperial Culture and Representation in Eurasian History (2012)
  • J. Burbank and F. Cooper, Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference (2010)
  • G. Casale, ‘The Islamic Empires of the Early Modern World’, in: J. Bentley, S. Subrahmanyam, and M.E. Wiesner-Hanks, eds., The Cambridge World History, Volume 6: The Construction of a Global World, 1400-1800 CE, Part 1: Foundations (2015)
  • S.F. Dale, The Muslim Empires of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals (2010)
  • J. Darwin, After Tamerlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empires, 1400-2000 (2007)
  • J. Duindam, T. Artan, and M. Kunt, eds, Royal Courts in Dynastic States and Empires: A Global Perspective (2011)
  • J.H. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America 1492-1830 (2007)
  • A. Kappeler, The Russian Empire: a Multiethnic History (2001)
  • C.H. Parker, Global Interactions in the Early Modern Age (2010)
  • D.E. Streusand, Islamic Gunpowder Empires: Ottomans, Safavids, Mughals (2011)
  • J.D. Tracy, ed., The Rise of Merchant Empires: Long-Distance Trade in the Early Modern World, 1350-1750 (1990)

The Habsburg/Holy Roman/Spanish Empires

The Mughal Empire

  • M. Alam, The Languages of Political Islam: India, 1200-1800 (2004)
  • M. Alam and S. Subrahmanyam, eds., The Mughal State 1526-1750 (1998)
  • M. Alam and S. Subrahmanyam, Writing the Mughal World: Studies on Culture and Politics (2012)
  • C.B. Asher, Architecture of Mughal India (1992)
  • C.B. Asher and C. Talbot, India Before Europe (2006)
  • M. Athar Ali, Mughal India: Studies in Polity, Ideas, Society, and Culture (2006)
  • M. Athar Ali, The Mughal Nobility under Aurangzeb (1968)
  • L. Balabanlilar, Imperial Identity in the Mughal Empire: Memory and Dynastic Politics in Early Modern South and Central Asia (2012)
  • M. Bhargava, ed., The Decline of the Mughal Empire (2014)
  • S.P. Blake, Shahjahanabad: The Sovereign City in Mughal India, 1639-1739 (1990)
  • S. Chandra, State, Society, and Culture in Indian History (2012)
  • M. Cleveland Beach, Mughal and Rajput Painting (1992)
  • V. Dalmia and M.D. Faruqui, Religious Interactions in Mughal India (2014)
  • A. Das Gupta, The World of the Indian Ocean Merchant 1500-1800 (2004)
  • A. De la Garza, The Mughal Empire at War: Babur, Akbar and the Indian Military Revolution, 1500-1605 (2016)
  • R.M. Eaton, The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760 (1993)
  • M.D. Faruqui, Princes of the Mughal Empire, 1504-1719 (2012)
  • J. Flores, Unwanted Neighbours: The Mughals, the Portuguese, and Their Frontier Zones (2018)
  • J. Gommans, Mughal Warfare: Indian Frontiers and High Roads to Empire, 1500-1700 (2002)
  • J. Gommans, The Indian Frontier: Horse and Warband in the Making of Empires (2017)
  • I. Habib, The Agrarian System of Mughal India, 1556-1707, 3rd ed. (2014)
  • F. Hasan, State and Locality in Mughal India: Power Relations in Western India, c. 1572-1730 (2004)
  • E. Koch, Mughal Architecture: An Outline of its History and Development, 1526-1858 (1991)
  • R. Lal, Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World (2005)
  • P. Malekandathil, The Mughals, the Portuguese, and the Indian Ocean: Changing Imageries of Maritime India (2013)
  • P.J. Marshall, ed., The Eighteenth Century in Indian History: Evolution or Revolution? (2003)
  • A.A. Moin, The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam (2014)
  • S. Moosvi, The Economy of the Mughal Empire, c. 1595: A Statistical Study (2015)
  • O. Prakash, Bullion for Goods: European and Indian Merchants in the Indian Ocean Trade, 1500-1800 (2004)
  • O. Prakash, European Commercial Enterprise in Pre-Colonial India (1998)
  • J.F. Richards, The Mughal Empire (1993)
  • A. Schimmel, The Empire of the Great Mughals: History, Art and Culture (2004)
  • D.E. Streusand, The Formation of the Mughal Empire (1989)
  • S. Stronge, Made for Mughal Emperors: Royal Treasures from Hindustan (2010)
  • S. Subrahmanyam, Mughals and Franks: Explorations in Connected History (2005)
  • A. Truschke, Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India’s Most Controversial King (2017)
  • A. Truschke, Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court (2016)

The Ottoman Empire

Online resources:

  • R. A. Abou-el-Haj, Formation of the Modern State: The Ottoman Empire, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2005).
  • G. Agoston, 'Information, ideology and limits of imperial policy: Ottoman grand strategy in the context of Ottoman-Habsburg rivalry', in The Early Modern Ottomans: Remapping the Empire, ed. Virginia Aksan and Daniel Goffman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 75-103.
  • G. Agoston, 'Ottoman Warfare, 1453-1826', in European Warfare, 1453-1815, ed. Jeremy Black (London: St. Martin’s Press, 1999), pp. 118-44.
  • G. Agoston, Guns for the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).
  • V. Aksan and D. Goffman (eds.), The Early Modern Ottomans: Remapping the Empire (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007). (various useful articles)
  • V. Aksan, 'Ottoman War and Warfare, 1453-1812', in War in the Early Modern World, ed. Jeremy Black (London: UCL Press, 1999), pp. 147-75. V. Aksan, Ottoman Wars 1700-1870: An Empire Besieged (Harlow: Pearson, 2007).
  • K. Barkey, Empire of Difference: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008)
  • A. Cirakman, From the "Terror of the World" to the "Sick Man of Europe": European Images of Ottoman Empire and Society from the Sixteenth Century to the Nineteenth Century (2002)
  • S. Faroqhi, The Ottoman Empire: A Short History (Princeton: Markus Wiener, 2008).
  • C. Finkel, Osman’s Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire (London: John Murray, 2006).
  • S. Fischer-Galati, Ottoman Imperialism and German Protestantism, 1521-55 (1959)
  • J.-P. Ghobrial, The Whispers of Cities: Information Flows in Istanbul, London and Paris in the Age of William Trumbull (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • D. Goffman, The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe (2000) (ebook)
  • M. Greene, A Shared World: Christians and Muslims in the Early Modern Mediterranean (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).
  • A.C. Hess, ‘The Ottoman conquest of Egypt (1517) and the sixteenth-century world war’, International Journal of Middle East Studies 4 (1973)
  • H. Inalcik and D. Quataert (eds.), An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).
  • C. Imber, The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1600. The Structure of Power (2002)
  • H. Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age 1300-1600 (1973)
  • G. Karman and L. Kuncevic (eds.), The European Tributary States of the Ottoman Empire in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Leiden: Brill, 2013).
  • M. Kunt & C. Woodhead, Süleyman the Magnificent and His Age (1995)
  • I. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).
  • M. Mazower, The Balkans: From the End of Byzantium to the Present Day (London: Phoenix, 2000).
  • R. Murphey, ‘Süleyman I and the conquest of Hungary’, Journal of Early Modern History 5 (2001)
  • L. Peirce, The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).
  • L. Peirce, 'Changing Perceptions of the Ottoman Empire: The Early Centuries', Mediterranean Historical Review 19 (2004), 6-28.
  • D. Quataert, The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922, second ed. (Cambridge University Press, 2005)
  • A. Stiles, The Ottoman Empire 1450-1700 (1989)
  • B. Tezcan, The Second Ottoman Empire: Political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
  • A. Wheatcroft, The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe (2009)
  • C. Woodhead, ‘Consolidating the Empire: New Views on Ottoman History 1453-1839’, English Historical Review 123 (2008) (review article)
  • C. Woodhead, ed., The Ottoman World (Abingdon: Routledge, 2012)

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