Overview for Chapter I: Challenges conventional historiography by showing how this Ottoman sultan has been inaccurately and unfairly characterized as insane. The chapter’s focus is on politics in the Topkapı Palace as members of the harem, the Janissaries, and Ibrahim’s mother, Kösem Mahpeyker, vie for power. The chapter also investigates changing depictions of mental illness, Venice’s Stato da mar, the influence of the Knights Hospitaller, and the disastrous effects of the Cretan War between the Ottomans and Venice.
1. What determines insanity or madness? Does this definition change for different cultures and periods of time?
2. What is your interpretation of Kösem and Turhan? If they were two men vying for power how would they be viewed differently?
3. Was Ibrahim right to go to war with Venice?
1. Design a palace with both inclusive and exclusive areas and make it clear who is allowed where.
This article offers a detailed analysis of the circumcision celebration for Sultan Ahmed III (r. 1703–30), based on newly-discovered documents. See: Sinem Erdoğan Işkorkutan, “Chasing Documents at the Ottoman Archive: An Imperial Circumcision Festival Under Scrutiny,” The Medieval History Journal, 22(1), April 28, 2019, 156-181, https://doi.org/10.1177/0971945819841528
Map for Chapter I: This map by the author is in the print edition of the book and shows important places in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Map for Chapter I: This map by the author is in the print edition of the book and shows Crete and surrounding islands with a focus on places that with important during the Cretan War.
Map for Chapter I: This map by the author is in the print edition of the book and shows the Dardanelles and the Bosporus, including the areas mentioned in the chapter.
This is the Tughra of Sultan Ibrahim I. Tughras are calligraphic signatures and appeared on important documents. Photograph by the author, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Istanbul, June 2012.
In the center of this picture is the grave of Sultan Ibrahim I in the baptistry of Hagia Sophia. To the left is the tomb of his uncle, Mustafa I, who also had the nickname "the Mad." Photograph by the author, June 2012.
“The Kislar Aghassi, Chief of the Black Eunuchs of the Sultan,” oil painting by Jean Baptiste Vanmour, 1700-1737, courtesy of Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, SK-A-2019.