A Virtuous Grand Vizier: Politics and Patronage in the Ottoman Empire during the Grand Vizierate of Fazıl Ahmed Pasha (1661-1676)
Calisir, Muhammed Fatih
This dissertation offers a contextual examination of the political and intellectual history of the Ottoman Empire in the 1660s and 1670s through the lens of the biography of Fazıl Ahmed Pasha (d. 1676, 1661-1676 in office), the second grand vizier from the famous Köprülü family. It stresses that the Ottoman Empire saw a period of revival and reform in the 1660s and 1670s when the ruling elite found ways and means to respond to new political, social, economic, and intellectual challenges. Fazıl Ahmed Pasha, an ex-müderris (professor), a calligrapher, a bibliophile, and a leading patron of arts and sciences, had a dynamic vision, not just in his political and military designs but also in his patronage of various scientific and cultural projects. His administration, military leadership, and patronage of intellectual activities helped him to earn the epithet of “Fazıl” (fāḍıl in Arabic) or virtuous during his lifetime. Based on extensive primary sources, this dissertation provides a new perspective to challenge and revise traditional views of the period, which tend to characterize it as a time of stagnation, decline, and inward-looking conservatism in Ottoman history.
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