History Bootcamp II Assignment: Source Analysis
So you've now read the standard textbook treatmentof the Ottoman Empire, a primary source of a letter from Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq to the Holy Roman Emperor around 1555-1562, and a virtual walking tour of the Suleymaine Mosque.
We're starting with the Ottoman Empire because it runs roughly the
period of our course. As the textbook timeline shows, Mehmed II
establishes the Ottoman Empire as Regional power in the 1400s and the
Empire doesn't dissolve until World War I, when our course ends.
In addition to fitting the dates of our course, the Ottoman Empire
architecture, painting, poetry, and diplomatic papers.
In complete sentences, please answer the questions below. Your answers
should be in the form of short paragraphs, not bullet points. The
questions are designed to help you think about how we will use primary
and secondary sources in this course. Insert space as you require.
Type your answers and save a txt file. Upload to the History Bootcamp II Assignment Submission Folder on D2L.
- Which source would you use as the basis for a novel? What are the
advantages and disadvantages of using your source over the other two for
Do you believe Ghiselin de Busbecq when he wrote that:
The Sultan pays no regard to any pretensions on the score of wealth
or rank, nor does he take into consideration recommendations or
popularity, he considers each case on its own merits, and examines
carefully into the character, ability, and disposition of the man whose
promotion is in question. It is by merit that men rise in the service, a
system which ensures that posts should only be assigned to the
Why do you believe him or why might you doubt the accuracy of his
report? What other motivations might he have for praising a system that
rewards merit rather than birth?
- One of hardest skills in history is finding arguments when the past
is presented as if there were only one interpretation. Chose either the
walking tour source or the textbook source and write down, here, one
argument, or interpretation of historical facts you found. Why do you
think your quoted sentence is an historical argument (also called an
interpretation or thesis).
For example, the authors of the textbook wrote “During his reign
Istanbul became the most culturally innovative city in the world, thanks
mainly to the great works of the famous Turkish architect Sinan
(1491–1588).” That's a pretty bold claim given that Leonardo da Vinci is
busy during the same period in Italy and France and Ming Chinese
porcelein artists produced their most delicate and famous works ever for
emperor Zhenghua. The textbook authors offer this argument as fact, but
I think there's an argument, or thesis, being offered.
Which of the three sources gives us, as historians, the best
information about the Ottoman Empire? Explain your choice.
Chose three pieces of information, one from each source, briefly list
those pieces of information, and using those three pieces of
information, explain why economic activity was more imporant than
religious activity in the Ottoman Empire. (I'm not asking you to agree,
only to create an argument using sources).