- Nov 7, 2012There is a dearth of information on Hungary-Slovakia during the 1600's, and of life under the Ottomans. However, a short and painless review of a book is online that will pass on information that will be fresh to most of us.
...will take most readers into terra incognita--Ottoman Hungary during the seventeenth century. While some attention has been paid to the governance and society of early modern Ottoman Hungary, research has tended to focus on the military and diplomatic history of this region
Historians have come to different conclusions about the social and economic consequences of Ottoman rule and about the extent, if any, of depopulation in Ottoman Hungary.
The results are set out in chapters focusing on representations of Ottoman Hungary in both Christian and Ottoman travel writing, on the changing pattern of religious life, on the administration of towns, and on taxation and the developing social structure of Ottoman Hungary.
Western writers who traveled through Ottoman Hungary portrayed a land suffering from decay and decline.
This negative view was balanced by some commentary about the quality of construction of baths in Buda and other towns, with travelers showing some understanding of the ritual and social significance of these baths for Muslims. Edward Brown, an Englishman traveling through Hungary in 1669, also commented on the impressive bridges used to transport goods and troops across the region. Brown described the impressive "bridge of boats over the Danube" at Buda and the bridges across fenland and the river Drava
Reformed and anti-Trinitarian preaching made progress in Ottoman Hungary and we have some surviving evidence about the religious life of these communities.
This is in part because the border between Ottoman and Christian Hungary seems to have been rather porous in the realm of religious life.
The book itself is in German, but the English language review is posted at
Markus Koller. Eine Gesellschaft im Wandel: Die osmanische Herrschaft in Ungarn im 17. Jahrhundert (1606-1683). Stuttgart: Steiner, 2010. 226 pp. $58.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-3-515-09663-8.
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