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Hey I just stumbled into A great blog, this is my kind of place.
See you soon, Brian


Thanks Brian. You are most welcome here!


I am so glad to know all that--it puts everything in a different light.


I was astonished when I found out what the context of the discussions was.


Thank you, Gail. Context is everything.


shukran, gail.

Eric Blair

The behavior of the Sultan and the Qadi is easily explainable within the context of their fuedal relationship. At that point, being the Byzantine Emperor was akin to being a very minor princeling, and for the Sultan, the Emperor could say what he wanted as long as he did his service competently. The Emperor knew he was effectively powerless, and so did they, not to mention that the conversation would have been effectively limited to whoever was present, (and probably not in the presence of the Sultan).

The Sultan was perfectly agreeable to settling things by violence. Review the history of the Ottoman Empire, particularly the politics within the palace. Murdering all your brothers to secure the sultanate isn't exactly dignified discourse.


The power politics of the era were brutal everywhere. They didn't "debate" things like power-sharing and succession, etc. The point I was making was that Islam could at that time be criticized without a hysterical or irrational response. I did point out Manuel's vassallage. His feudal relationship to the Sultan makes his ability to criticize Islam all the more interesting since he could so easily have been quashed.


Also whether the sultan was present in the room or not isn't the point. He was present in the campaign and would have been fully aware of what was going on. I think your notion of vassallage is somewhat crudely overdrawn. An emperor could be a vassal to a sultan but still be an emperor and treated as one within the context of social relationships if not power politics. To do anything less would have been to dilute the nature of authority all up and down the feudal line.

Bravo Romeo Delta


In respect to any potential regret you might feel over the post, don't despair. The process of debate and engagement is messy and will, from time to time, be populated by a few who go haring off into the distance with what they want your words to mean.

In passing, I am not entirely comfortable with the contention that this episode marks a relative high point for Islam, insofar as the fact that Manuel wasn't killed speaks more to the fact that Islam was busy expanding by the sword through external conquest. Today, the process of violent conquest has simply been replaced by violent suppression. So, I'm not certain that it was better, only different.


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