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Products for grant FA-58438-15

Ottoman Public Ceremonies, 1520-1566
Ibrahim Sahin, Indiana University, Bloomington

Grant details:

“From Pomp and Circumstance to Sheer Fun: Entertainments at an Ottoman Circumcision Ceremony (1530)” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “From Pomp and Circumstance to Sheer Fun: Entertainments at an Ottoman Circumcision Ceremony (1530)”
Author: Kaya Sahin
Abstract: In the summer of 1530, the empire’s elite and the inhabitants of Constantinople gathered at the Hippodrome for the circumcision of Sultan Süleyman’s sons Mehmed, Mustafa, and Selim. The celebrations, which lasted for twenty days, included a wide array of activities that extended from the highly formal (such as the ritual kissing of the sultan’s hand by the members of the elite) to the carnivalesque (such as the plunder of large quantities of food by the commoners under the eyes of the sultan). The organizers of the event, who were the close collaborators of the sultan, sought to offer different types of entertainment that were tailored to the identities and expectations of various participants. Testimonies by contemporary Ottoman and Venetian observers provide information about these different entertainments, as well as the participants’ reactions. The provision of entertainment was a kind of gift on the part of the sultan; at the same time, entertainment was construed as a group activity, through which several individuals and communities contributed to the celebrations. Particular forms of entertainment were seen as befitting specific groups; for instance, there was a class element, which manifested itself in the stark difference between refined and popular entertainments. Laughter, however, often transgressed these boundaries and brought together Ottoman and Venetian, bureaucrat and diplomat, and ship captain and merchant in their reactions to sundry spectacles. In my presentation, I will discuss the social and cultural scale across which different types of entertainment were constructed, adopted, and received/interpreted.
Date: 06/30/2016
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: The conference program can be downloaded from this link.
Conference Name: The Ottomans and Entertainment