Suleiman the Magnificent 1520-1566

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Read Books, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 352 pages
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SULEIMAN M MAGNIFICENT Suleiman the Magnificent in From an engraving made in Constantinople by Melchior Lorichs cf. p. 294 PREFACE I MUST BEGIN by telling my readers that this book is only partially my own. The inspiration to undertake it and a portion of the material it contains were derived from an unfinished life of Suleiman the Magnificent which was written by my beloved friend, the late Archibald Gary Coolidge in 1901-02. He and I discussed it constantly dur ing the next five years, and I frequently urged him to com plete and publish it but other things intervened, and when he died in 1928 the manuscript was deposited in the Har vard Archives just as he had left it twenty-six years be fore. There, some twenty months ago, I found it, with the words For R. B. Merriman written in his secretarys hand on the fly leaf and this I took as a summons to put it in shape for publication. My first intention was to leave as much as possible of his work untouched, write the three chapters which had been left undone, and edit the book under his name but this plan did not prove practicable. So instead I have rewritten it ab initio, and made a number of changes in the original form. I hasten, however, to add that a considerable portion of Chapter I and scattering paragraphs and sentences in Chapters II-VI and IX-XI have been taken, with some revision, from Professor Coolidges manuscript. Chapters VII, VIII, and XII are wholly my own. No apology is offered for the fact that the following pages are chiefly a story of diplomacy and campaigns. Mili tary considerations invariably came first in the Ottoman mind, and Suleiman was primarily a conqueror. Professor Coolidges unfinished manuscript is even moreof what has Preface trumpet history than is this book, but I arri glad to take this opportunity to testify to my un shak4n, - dief in the doctrine which he constantly preached namely that a knowledge of the narrative is the indis pensable foundation for everything else. Constitutional, economic, social, psychological, and all the other various aspects of history which have been successively labelled with capital letters, and have temporarily, each in turn, held the center of the stage in recent years, are perfectly meaningless without it. Moreover they are none of them really new, as their chief proponents would have us believe they have all been studied without their modern titles ever since the time of Herodotus. I trust that the publication of this life of one of the great est yet least known sovereigns of the sixteenth century will serve among other things to remind Harvard men all over the world of the immense debt which the University owes to Professor Coolidge. To one who, like myself, has stud ied and taught here for over half a century, that debt looms larger and larger as the years go by. Others have already written of his unfailing kindness, humor, and tact, of his boundless generosity and unselfishness. Here, however, I want especially to emphasize the greatness of his achieve ment in broadening the Universitys horizon. The Widener Library and the collections which he gave or obtained for it are perhaps the most conspicuous monument to his suc cess in this respect but the Corporation records and the University Catalogues of the last fifty years tell a no less notable tale for the curriculum. When Professor Coolidge came back to Harvard in 1893, on ty undergraduate instructiongiven in modern history outside of the United States consisted of two general courses on Western Europe in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries the Scandinavian, Slavic, Ottoman, and Iberian worlds were left practically untouched the African, Asiatic, and Preface vii Latin-American ones wholly so. Two years later we find Professor Coolidge himself offering two half courses, to be given in alternate years, on the history of the Scan dinavian lands and on the Eastern Question, and in 1904 05 another on the Expansion of Europe since 1815...

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