Distinguish Academics from Seven Different Countries Talked Over Suleiman the Lawgiver and His Age

The Second International Süleymaniye Symposium was held on September 26-27, 2019 at the Imaret building in Süleymaniye Campus. The symposium aimed at better understanding Suleyman the Magnificent, who ordered the imperial architect Mimar Sinan to build the Süleymaniye Campus, and his era from different aspects. During the symposium, 28 distinguished academicians and experts from 7 different countries presented their papers under the title “Suleiman the Lawgiver and His Age”.

“We are planning to establish two libraries at Süleymaniye Campus”

President of Ibn Haldun University (IHU) Professor Recep Şentürk, who made the opening speech of the symposium, stated that he is proud of IHU that retrieved the scientific activities of the historical places such as the Süleymaniye Campus. Reminding that Süleymaniye madrasas were the highest-ranked centers of science in the Ottoman era and a center of attraction for scholars from many different points of the world, Professor Şentürk said that activities aims at raising Süleymaniye to this level would be continued increasingly. Professor Şentürk said that the madrasas were entrusted to our university and this trust is a great responsibility. He added that two specialized and references libraries will be established in the Süleymaniye Campus of Ibn Haldun University. “In the first of these two libraries all manuscripts, written in the world languages, related to Suleiman the Magnificent, Ebussuud Efendi and Mimar Sinan will be collected, the other one will be dedicated to revive the works of the late famous Hadith scholar Mustafa Al-A’zami” said Professor Şentürk.

“Süleymaniye Madrasa will be a reference center for the Lawgiver age from now on”

The first of the greeting speeches of the symposium was delivered by the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of IHU Necmeddin Bilal Erdoğan. Erdoğan thanked the organizing committee of the symposium and stated that most of the historical madrasas today serve unfortunately far from their primary missions and expressed pride in holding such a meeting in Süleymaniye madrasas. Reminding that the symposium is related to the age of Suleiman the Magnificent, Erdoğan added “considering that with the symposiums which will continue in the coming years, this means that Süleymaniye madrasas will be a reference center for that age.”

“There is no place for stagnation in our perception of civilization”

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Professor İrfan Gündüz thanked the organizers of the symposium and stated that the Süleymaniye Complex and Sultan Suleiman the Lawgiver age will continue to be discussed from different perspectives. Recalling that there is no place for stagnation in Muslims’ perception of civilization, Gündüz stated that this perception can be traced in many works and names starts from the Lawgiver to Karahisarî, from Mimar Sinan to Yahya Kemal.

At the opening of the symposium, Professor Halil Berktay and Professor Suraiya Faroqhi, faculty members of History Department at Ibn Haldun University (IHU), gave the welcoming speeches. In his speech, Berktay compared Kanuni ‘Lawgiver’ with his contemporaries in the Western World who are Emperor Karl V, Ferdinand I, King Francois I and II. Henri, King of England Henry VIII. Berktay especially mentioned the Kanuni’s good relations with the French ruler François I. Professor Faroqhi explained the Ottoman dynasty and social life in the Kanuni era, the Mughal dynasty and social life of the contemporary Mughal ruler Akbar Shah and his son Jihangir with historical examples and miniatures of those periods and geographies.

At the opening of the symposium, a book promotion event was organized and Suraiya Faroqhi’s new book, The Ottoman and Mughal Empires was introduced.

“The first original biographical works was written in the age of Kanuni”

Professor Halil Berktay moderated the first session of the II. International Suleymaniye Symposium, entitled Historiography. Professor Rhoads Murphey from Birmingham University (UK), Abdülkadir Özcan from Fatih Sultan Mehmet Foundation University (Turkey), Juliette Dumas from Aix-Marseille University (France) and Ertuğrul Ökten from Istanbul 29 Mayıs University (Turkey), participated with their articles in the session. In his seminar titled, “Historiography of the Kanuni Age and Diversification of Resource Types”, Özcan said that history was made first and then it was written.

Speaking that the sources such as menâkıbnâme and destanlar ‘epics’ are used through a serious criticism filter in the modern historiography, the speaker stated that the shortage of resources related to that period was especially prominent in the official documents and said the following: “The period of Murat II can be called a period of awakening of Turkish national culture. We can say that historiography, as with other subjects, has been institutionalized with the conquest of Istanbul. The golden age of Ottoman historiography was in the period of Bayezid II, giving special importance to the writing of the padişah ‘sultan’, he gave ‘Kemalpaşazâde’ and ‘İdris-i Bitlisî’ the task of writing history.”

Özcan added that among the prominent historians of the Kanuni age is Matrakçı Nasuha, and underlined that Ottoman historians were either from ‘ilmiyye’ or bureaucrats. He also added that many expeditions were penned for each expedition of the Kanuni. Özcan pointed out that during the age of Kanuni, the first original biographical works such as ‘Ulema’ biographies were written.

Ertuğrul Ökten, in his paper titled “Seeking for Methods in The Ulama Studies: A Look at The Age of Kanuni”, said that although the Kanuni age was an age in which cultural and intellectual activity was developed, it was seen that there was no significant leap in the writing activity in the age in question. Ertuğrul Ökten, in his paper titled ları Seeking Methods in Ulama Studies: A Look at the Legal Period, söyl said that although the legal period was a period in which cultural and intellectual activity was developed, it was seen that there was no significant leap in the period in question. In addition, while the other speaker of the session, Rhoads Murphey, discussed the driving force behind the Ottoman historiography at the first years of the reign of the Kanuni, Juliette Dumas gave various information about the Suleiman’s family in the Ottoman chronicles.

Relations of Ottoman Empire with World States

The topic of the 2nd session, chaired by Professor Suraiya Faroqhi, was Global History. At the session, Andrew Peacock from Andrews University (UK) talked about “Firaki’s Seadetname and Ottoman imperial ambitions in the early reign of Suleyman”, Najaf Haider from Jawaharlal Nehru University (India), discussed the “Deep Monetisation and Ottoman-Mughal Commercial Exchange in the Sixteenth Century”, Taymiya R. Zaman from the University of San Francisco (USA) reviewed the relations of the Ottomans with Spain and the Western world.

In his speech, Haider stated that in conjunction with the conquests an important Ottoman domination area formed in the Indian trade route, the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf and Aleppo stood out as a very intensive commercial activity centers. Haider, who mentioned that Indian merchants settled at Aleppo, Venetians shifted their factories from Damascus to Aleppo to obtain Indian merchandise and Iranian silk, indicated that Basra-Aleppo caravans consisted of five to six thousand Indian, Arab, Iranian, Armenian and Turkish merchants carrying goods arriving from Hurmuz, accompanied by Ottoman soldiers.

“After 1524, the Caliphate became a title that encompassed the world”

At the 3rd session, chaired by Abdülkadir Özcan, the political history during the age of Kanuni was discussed. During the session, Feridun Emecen from 23 Mayıs University gave a seminar entitled, “Sultan Suleyman and Caliphate: 1524”. In his seminar, mentioning some of the historical narratives about the abdication of the last caliph of the Abbasid dynasty Al-Mutawakkil III to Sultan Selim, Feridun Emecen raised a question over whether Sultan Yavuz wanted, similar to the Mamelukes age, to take the Abbasid caliph under his aegis. Conveying that the titles used in the caliphate were a manifestation of a certain political tradition, Emecen said that the action of Yavuz was also a manifestation of this tradition. Citing the convention of the Ulema council on June 5, 1524, Long after the conquest of Egypt, Emecen pointed out that the actual works and official correspondences written on Sultan Suleiman and the caliphate after this date have increased and the caliphate became a title that encompassed the world.

Symposium ended with Edirne trip

The II. International Süleymaniye Symposium ended with the Edirne Tour which was organized under the guidance of Professor Suraiya Faroqhi. The tour was attended by academicians who were invited from Turkey and abroad.

All papers presented at the symposium are planned to be published in the following period.


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