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It also necessitates dispensing with the notion that those imaginings can be neatly divided spatially along a definitive border between the Ottoman Empire and Europe. I use these quasi-geographic terms because they are both familiar and conventional, but they were not the terms employed, for example, in sixteenth-century maps. Ottoman land borders were imagined, in early modern Europe, to be broad, porous, and impermanent.

As we shall see, there were border-marking enterprises in the early modern era aimed at ascertaining exactly what was and was not Ottoman land. But those enterprises did not mark Ottomans off from "Europe. Territory was also divided on the bases of ideology, the allegiance of notables, the extent of governments' protective reach, material culture, the circulation of goods, ethnolinguistic affinity, access to security and food, clan and patronage ties, religio-judicial districting, and local patterns of migration and pilgrimage.

The "edge" of Europe in early modern imagery ranged from Austria to some point east of Constantinople. Early modern mappings Polities, tribes, cities, individuals, even creatures, mark what is theirs, or what they are willing to defend as theirs. Early modern entities such as the Ottoman Empire are no exception. The Ottomans' designation for a border was had pi.

Had was similar to the Italian confine, which suggested limit, borderland, margin, or edge. Treaties could be called hududname and border zones serhad a frontier area, march, or garrisoned area.

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Very little of the extensive literature on borders and boundary lands focuses on the Ottomans. He points out that, "Mapping frontiers is about mechanisms as well as consent. The "mapping cultures," as Black p. For an enlightening discussion of the nodon of serhad in the context of OttomanEuropean frontiers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, see Rossitsa Gradeva, "War and Peace along the Danube: VicLin at the End of the Seventeenth Century," in Kate Fleet ed.

They were, however, employed by boundary commissions empowered to set physical and documentary markers on where Ottoman space ended and the space of its neighbors o r rivals began. The borders between Ottoman and Venetian territory, for example, were much disputed. In , the Venetian provveditore commissioner Bartolomeo Minio reported that an agent of the Ottoman Porte had arrived in Nauplion NE Peloponnesus to assign boundaries to the area. Minio's dispatches mention that both the Ottoman emin deputy and the local notables drew up their own maps of the disputed territories.

Then his commission marked off territory based on physical and social features such as coasts, mountains, wells, fortresses, and monasteries. Territoiy was described primarily in terms of castles and the agricultural lands attached to them. In the Ottoman government proposed to mark certain boundaries between its territory and that of Poland and Lithuania.

The demarcation was apparently never carried out. In a joint commission of Ottomans and This is important information since there are very few Ottoman maps of any kind extant for this era and Minio's dispatch suggests that it may have been common practice for such border maps to be drawn.

I: Dispacci from Nauplion. V Rome: Herder, On a smaller scale, Ottomans employed title deeds called sintrname line or border documents to define the limits of property. See Gilles Veinstein, "L'occupation ottomane d'Ocakov et le probleme de la frontiere lituanotatare ," in Passe turco-tatar, present sovietique: etudes offertes a Alexandre Bennigsen Louvain: Editions Peeters, , pp. Veinstein calls this the first such episode of proposed demarcation. Hrushevsky, p. Despite the use of such physical markers to divide territory and fix the limits of sovereign privilege, there is no simple line around the Ottoman Empire that divides it from "Europe" or "Christendom.

Lines suggest defensible territory; they presume states, that is, entities which feel the pressure of the border-marking imperative. Certainly European publics, mapmakers, and artists imagined spaces that were "Christian" or "Turkish. German woodcuts of the era often group the Turks and Latin Christians together as sharing the same "side. Rather, space is counted in souls and in the human terrain over which preachers can exert I am not aware of such border markers on the Ottoman-Safavid frontier where fortresses and the allegiance of beys were the primary measure of territorial sovereignty, but that does not mean they did not exist.

In the Habsburgs established a border commission, including the infamous Count Marsigli, which mapped out part of the Ottoman-Habsburg frontier. Martin's Press, For a discussion of the crafting of divisions of cultural, military, and political space in another geographic context, see Thomas Barfield, The Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China Oxford: Blackwell, , a work which since its publication has formed a core of contention in the discussion of frontiers. Figure I. This woodcut shows the Turks persecuting Christians in the foreground and the pope, accompanied by demons, pursuing the poor, in the midground.

Courtesy of the Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg. Such "maps" of fidelity and infidelity envision no clear line between the "Ottoman Empire'5 and "Europe" Fig 1. Indeed, they may imagine Ottoman space simply as historically Christian space in need of redemption. Such was particularly the case with the "Holy Land" Terra Sancta , Jerusalem and its environs, which was firmly in Ottoman. This territory, often depicted as the center of the world in medieval European maps, could be mapped simultaneously as the "Holy Land," and as Ottoman sovereign space.

In narrative accounts, Kritovoulos, the Greek-Ottoman chronicler of Mehmed IVs conquest of Constantinople, embodies the dilemmas of mapping the Ottoman Empire and Europe into two distinct regions. Kritovoulos was a Greek who became a subordinate of the sultan, the Ottoman governor of the isle of Imbros in the Aegean, and the author of an Ottoman history written in Greek.

He was thus emblematic of the blurred boundaries between Christian Europe and the Muslim empire, which included both land and sea frontiers. Kritovoulos employs "classical" or Ptolemaic designations for regions, seas, and peoples; he compares the fall of Constantinople to the conquests of Troy and Babylon, and he describes the sultan as claiming sovereignty4over the "continents of Europe and Asia.

Ottomans on the map Narrative and cartographic conventions changed significantly from to , but the terms by which Kritovoulos imagined Ottoman space remained remarkably enduring in maps and literature. Maps were histories, meant to facilitate travel including pilgrimage and the imagining of travel. They were conquest plans and celebrations of conquest. They were versions of reality not necessarily meant to be taken literally. Maps employed Ptolemy's world divisions, invoked the territorial designations and heroes of classical Greece and Rome, and emphasized cities, fortresses, and ports as markers of space.

The same was true of contemporary. Kritovoulos, Histoiy of Mehmed the Conqueror, trans. Charles T. See also pp. Harley and David Woodward eds. Gastaldi The Venetian mapmaker Giacomo Gastaldi stands as a model of sixteenthcentury conceptions of Ottoman space. In Gastaldi completed a new edition of Ptolemy, which included a set of modern maps of Asia. They are comprised mostly of what J. But such designations are infrequent. For the most part, the viewer of these maps sees only physical features, regions, areas, and cities Fig.

Occasionally, there is some reference to the exigencies of travel or to pilgrimage sites. Thus, for example, on Gastaldi's map of Egypt and Arabia, in the lands around Mecca, one notes two separate captions: "Here, Muhammad is buried'5 and "This is a place full of serpents and assassins55 Fig. While I do not find that my typology of narratives and images of Otcoman space exactly matches that which Rubies proposes for example, pp. Robert W. Gastaldi included the twenty-six maps of the Ptolemy canon plus thirty-four modern maps. Newberry Library, Novacco 4F Figure 1.

Novacco 4F Courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago. Newberry Library Novacco 4F N o t e the two small boxed legends in the Hijaz along the west coast of Arabia. These are aimed at travelers or, more likely, armchair travelers. T h e larger legend box notes "place full of serpents and assassins"; the smaller, north of Mecca, points out "Here, M u h a m m a d is buried. The main legend on Gastaldi's map of the "second part of Asia," the territory from Syria to India, describes the lands included in terms of rivers, seas, provinces, and sometimes reigns. The legend on Gastaldi's map of the "second part of Asia," for example, describes territory in terms of rivers, seas, provinces, and, occasionally, reigns.

Gastaldi notes that his map shows: all the "steps" of the ships that go and come with the spices of the city of Calicut, and at the same time, all the places on land that have been named up to the present, where'go and come the caravans of their khan, and Dalacca, the country of Prester John, and also [those of] Aden and Hormuz and the Basra castle on the river. Territory is thus represented as inextricably linked to points of interest, religious imagination, and commerce. Here one sees the preoccupation with city nodes and the circuits of trade found in the world-systems scheme of Abu-Lughod; here one also finds things not included in Abu-Lughod's model: sacred space usually in the form of religious edifices and military campaigns.

Gastaldi's maps make no mention of the Ottoman Empire; there is no projection of Ottoman sovereignty. Rather, the Ottomans are suggested only by allusion, iconographically, when Gastaldi places crescents on the sails of galleys in the Black and Mediterranean seas. City views Beyond Gastaldi's regional maps with their socially empty space, sixteenthcentury European workshops issued two other pertinent sometimes overlapping categories of map: city views and visions of the Ottoman military.


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Such maps cover much smaller swathes of territory and, unlike the regional maps of Gastaldi and his imitators, they specifically name and depict the Ottomans. But they are not concerned with drawing borders, they often do not specify territorial contexts, and they frequently collapse time to place classical events in the same space as contemporary ones.

Sixteenth-century Italian mapmakers produced city views in great abundance. Some showed cities floating in undesignated time and collapsed space. Others might be considered as news maps: dated pictorial images of contemporary events of specific interest to the map-consuming public. While certain views of cities set in Ottoman territory repeated the tendency found in regional maps to omit reference to the Ottomans entirely, others identified cities as the stage on which land- and sea-based struggles between the Ottomans and their rivals were fought out.

These news maps proposed to present to the public a "true image" of Ottoman advances or of the. Prester John was the mythic Christian Icing believed from medieval times to be located in various places from Central Asia to Ethiopia. The vision of the fortified port as territorial divider is exemplified by a map showing an attack on the Gulf of Artha on the western coast of Greece Fig. The frontier here is a broad one, comprising the hinterland of the fortress and the surrounding seascape, including the gulf and its islands.

Enduring and evolving features of early modern mapping of Ottoman terrain Toward the end of the sixteenth century European maps began increasingly to depict borders in ways that earlier maps had not; confini borders 33 Newberry Library, Novacco 2F Newberry Library, Novacco 2F 22, no date. A similar engraving, Newberry Library, Novacco 4F , c. Newberry Library Novacco 2F T h e map presumably depicts the batde of Prevesa in which the Ottoman commander Khairiiddin Barbarossa took on a Christian coalition led by Andrea Doria.

The legend notes that this is the place in Greece where "at present one finds the navy of Barbarossa and that of the Christians. Seventeenthcentury mapping typically employed regional outlines and the labeling of sovereign space. The designations "Turkey in Europe" and "Turkey in Asia" were increasingly used to label the two parts as Europeans perceived them of Ottoman space. By the eighteenth century, the state had become the standard by which lands were divided and demarcated.

Nonetheless, the practices of employing classical geographic terminology, of failing to name the Ottoman sovereign entity, and of drawing socially empty space endured alongside the more "modern" or "scientific" marking of territory. The "Tabula Nova Geographica Natolia et Asiae Minoris," for example, composed "most accurately" by Giacomo Cantelli around and reproduced in Belgium, combines the colored regional or provincial borders of "Turquie en Europe" with the socially empty space and geographic markers of Gastaldi's maps.

Allain Manesson-Mallet's borderless map of Anatolia, c. A troop of seven mounted and rather unthreatening Ottomans identifiable by their turbans and horsetails tug along with a bristling array of banners and cannon surround the map's large legend, marked simply "Natolie.

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North Africa was a separate category. These designations survived until the empire was dismembered in World War I. The recycling of old map plates was one reason for continuity in mapping conventions, but the persistence of old representational forms and names was the result of intellectual and cultural as well as technical concerns. Walker Collection, Maps M X a , no. Kitj Figure 1. Walker Maps MX a, , no. Other seventeenth-century maps purposefully oudined and labeled the "empire of the Turk. Conversely, to the east, a dotted line seems to divide Ottoman turf from that of another sovereign entity, "The Empire of Persia.

Its iconography and text thus proclaim, as did the sultan himself, a Turkish empire that stretched across three continents. Still, the equivocal cartographic message on the nature and scope of Ottoman sovereignty persisted into the eighteenth century, as seen in a map c. The legend is distinctive. It is set in a rectangle against an image of a port city presumably a rather fanciful Istanbul with ships in the harbor and buildings and minarets on shore. The entire device, with its smiling janissary musketeer on one side and Ottoman and European merchants on the other, suggests that "Turquie.

This multiple labeling is common in many maps of the period. On the Sanson family in French mapmaking, see R. Walker Collection, Maps M X a, , no. The reader is advised that this map is based on "new observations by the members of the Royal Academy of Sciences. It depicts Ottomans but mentions them in its text only by regional allusion. The empire's lands are a source of profit, marked by provinces, rivers, and mountains, but not by sovereign states. Figures 1. Walker Maps M X a, 15x, no. Travelers and envoys Maps were the counterparts of narratives, particularly travel narratives.

In many cases, the legends of maps cited travelers as authorities for the crafting of physical and social space. Though mapmakers increasingly applied scientific principles of measurement throughout the period under discussion, the "eyewitness" account remained a critical element in early modern mapping. Europeans journeying to the Ottoman Empire mapped its space in language directed at their sovereigns, their associates, or a broader literate audience. Some aimed to provide military intelligence, others principally to entertain. Their observations were more or less precise, some crafted primarily from a combination of history, imagination, and expectation.

Trade or diplomacy ordinarily motivated sixteenth-century travelers, while eighteenth-century travelers might visit the sultan's lands for purposes of education, pilgrimage, or adventure. Their tales suggest the varying modes by which Ottoman territory could be envisioned. Bernardo, in his Relazioni of , asked this rhetorical question about the Ottoman Empire: Who is he See Stephane Yerasimos, Les voyageurs dans I'Empire ottoman XlVe-XVIe siecles : bibliographie, itineraires et inventaire des lieux habites Ankara: Imprimerie de la Societe Turque d'Histoire, , which contains an elaborate list of travel accounts along with routes of travel.

Also interesting are: Gerald Maclean ed. Eugenio Alberi ed. All translations, unless otherwise noted, are mine. Bernardo thus neatly expressed for his contemporaries the dilemma with which we are now faced. What words were there to articulate the territorial scope of the Ottoman conquests? The envoy chose a vision for the Venetian government that shaped the Ottoman Empire in terms of miles, kingdoms, provinces, cities, seas, continents, and the projection of power made manifest, like lightning, in the form of military and political expansion.

That power ended either at the sea the termini of Aden, at the furthest limits confini of land that Hungary or Tartary could defend, or, more ambiguously, at Tabriz, a city point in a large and contested frontier between the Ottomans and Safavids. Another sixteenth-century Venetian bailo, Marino Cavalli, writing in , had described the length and breadth of the Ottoman kingdom in the same terms, but included a different dimension, that of peoples, their faiths, and their level of contentment with Ottoman rule: [In this empire of the sultan] more than two thirds of the country is inhabited by Christian Greeks, Bulgars, Slavs, and Albanians in Europe, and Armenians in Asia, all discontented with the Turks because of extortion, rape, violence, and unjust administration.

Their neighbors [vicini], who are Arabs, Persians, Georgians, Mingrellians, Circassians, Russians, Moldavians, Hungarians, Germans and Your Serenity [Venice], are likewise discontented with the Turks because, in truth, this their neighbor who shares a border with them [confinare] is always attacking, always robbing, and making excuses as it is wont to do. In this narrative, the critical factors for mapping the Ottomans are sovereignty, religion, ethnicity, and whether or not borders are sources of conflict.

The envoy draws lines of sympathy between Venetians and Persians because they share a bad neighbor, "the Turks. Alberi, Relazioni, series 3, vol. Cavalli also distinguishes among the Arab peoples under Ottoman rule. Most he calls "Moors," but he seems to reserve the term "Arab" for the desert dwellers or Bedouin, some of whom are distinguished further as bandit groups. European travelers, such as Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, Habsburg ambassador to the Ottoman Porte, who remained in the empire from to , becoming well acquainted with Ottoman affairs.

Busbecq journeyed overland to Istanbul, commenting on mountain passes, stopping places, cities, fortresses, and the safety of boat travel down the Danube. His narrative highlighted both "classical" history and local culture. He might comment on why the Muslims saved papers with God's name written upon them, or describe the women's dress in Bulgaria, its "clumsy and ridiculous embroidery," and its "towering head-dresses.

Thus he compared the carriage of the Bulgarian women in their headdresses to that of Clytemnestra and Hecuba, and he subjected Roman and Byzantine ruins to extensive commentary. Territory he divided into those lands that the Ottomans had seized and those that they might seize. Belgrade was a dividing line, the first place where Busbecq found merchants offering "ancient Roman coins. Money acts as a charm to sooth their otherwise intractable minds. Were it not for this expedient, their country would be as inaccessible to foreigners as those lands which are supposed to be condemned to perpetual solitude by excessive heat or cold.

In the lands beyond the frontier, money becomes a substitute for familiarity. Busbecq's ethnocentric rhetoric reveals cultural categories of marking 47 Edward Forster Oxford: Clarendon Press, , pp. For a travel narrative preoccupied with descriptions of women and their dress, see De Nicolay, Nauigations, pp. Lands are accessible or inaccessible; and it is not Ottoman armies but lack of resources that keep travelers out of the lands ruled by "Turks.

John Morritt was an Englishman who journeyed from Vienna to Istanbul in Eloquent and enthusiastic, he was representative of a certain type of affluent, educated English traveler who crafted the Ottoman Empire in letters written to his family. He too wanted to convey what being in Ottoman territory meant for the traveler; he repeated many of the tropes of sixteenthcentury narratives, including complaints about bedding and the obligatory description of women's dress.

Writing "from a small inn between Temesvar and Hermanstadt" Morritt told his family: Their language here changes from Hungarian to Wallach. Farther on they talk Greek and Turkish, so between Vienna and Constantinople the language changes six times, viz. Transylvania is certainly a fine, and might be a fertile province, but being a frontier, one exposed to the Turks, is not cultivated as it might be, and the Turks have hardly any commerce with them.

Although Morritt, unlike Cavalli, had little conception of Ottoman commercial affairs, his language reveals the ways in which he counted territory. Space is marked by mountains, states like Austria , cities, languages, religions, and peoples like "Turks". Frontiers are those spaces where agricultural activity is impeded by "exposure" to threatening people.

Later in the narrative Morritt wrote of the empire in terms of dominion over specific provinces, avenues of travel, and cultural conventions: You will see by your map that very soon afterwards we left Transylvania, and entered the Turkish dominions. Wallachia, which is the first province belonging to the Porte, is under the immediate government of the Prince of Wallachia, and is entirely Christian, no Turk, by the treaty of alliance, being allowed the exercise of his religion or to bring his wives.

Our road to Bucharest was through the towns The editor of his missives tells us that Morritt was "a good scholar, well-read in Greek and Latin literature. Morritt, The Letters of John B. Marindin London: John Murray, , pp. O n leaving Transylvania we bid adieu to our beds, tables and chairs, the Wallachians, who are Greek Christians, as well as the Turks, never sitting on a raised seat, and always sleeping on carpets in their clothes.

The adventuresome Englishman assumes his correspondents have maps readily to hand and will consult them as they read his letters. This element of his narrative seems to be a characteristic of the eighteenth century. In terms of the political division of space, Morritt designates Wallachia as "belonging" to the Ottoman government. Yet its treaty rights protect its status as an entirely Christian place. For Morritt, a Turk is, by definition, a Muslim.

But Islam provides no conclusive regional boundary. When it comes to cultural affinities the delineators employed by Lewis and Wigen to draw the lines separating world regions , we see that Morritt emphasizes the shared culture of Wallachia and Turkey, of Greek Christians and Turks. Where the "Orient" begins and ends is also a question in Morritt's letters. As he proceeds towards Istanbul he crafts the journey, much like sixteenth-century travelers, in terms of how many days' ride it is between one city and another.

But he also deals with space in terms of oriental imaginings and tourist logistics. Since we left Hermanstadt we have been traveling in a Greek country, and the whole scene is so new, so extraordinary that we are afraid we are dreaming out of the "Arabian Nights Entertainments.

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We ride the whole way, and are accompanied by two janissaries, who have the care of us. We pay them here for everything a great price, to be sure but they procure us eating, homes and everything we want the whole way without our taking any trouble or having an interpreter. We hope to be at Constantinople in about nine days; in a carriage it is about fifteen, and very bad road. There is, we are told, no danger, as merchandise and other things go every day. The interesting elements in this narrative are the transition to Ottoman space and the location of the "Orient.

The Arabian Nights Entertainments were first translated from Arabic into French in twelve volumes by Antoine Galland, beginning in and shortly aftenvards translated into English; they then circulated widely in Europe. See Arabian Nights Entertainments, ed. This is an eloquent example, among many in early modern narratives and images, of the difficulty involved in placing, or even locating, a discrete East or West.

Morritt couples pragmatism with fantasy as he discusses his travel arrangements. The space between Bucharest and Istanbul is not so much Christian or Muslim, European or Ottoman; rather it is characterized as safe and commercial. Morritt was also attached to classical designations, though not obsessively so. He often added names from Greek history and mythology to the contemporary names of places he passed through, but these were always additions rather than replacements.

For example: "The next day we arrived in the plain on the banks of a broad torrent now called the Maritza. Although he expected them to be familiar with classical designations, and he traveled in Anatolia expressly to see ancient sites, the classical frame did not dominate his narrative. Indeed, in that regard, Morritt's narrative is much like eighteenth-century maps. It presumed a literate, map-using public with a historical memory. The early modern period produced a vast array of travel accounts depicting the Ottoman realm.

As suggested here, these accounts vary according to the knowledge, task, and personality of the authors, literary conventions, and the demands of audiences both formal and informal. Nonetheless, we can see that the logistics of travel and war, and the Morritt, Letters, p. Many maps of the era were generated to depict the newly crafted boundaries between the Ottoman, Russian, and Habsburg empires.

See also Norman Itzkowitz and Max Mote ed. When he takes a trip from Istanbul to the Asian side he notes that the place they visited was called "Giant Mountain" locally, but "it is marked in the ancient maps" as the "Bed of Hercules. Narrators might be fearful of the Ottomans, ignorant of them, or little concerned with the current occupants of "the first part of Asia.

Religion at times played a prominent role and at times did not. Travel accounts were sometimes socially overflowing rather than socially empty. They detailed individuals, government officials, housing, family relations, costume, food, wonders, crimes, modes of transport, shrines, illnesses, lusts, pleasure, and despair. While their icons for marking space paralleled those found in contemporary maps, the difference was in the details.

We possess from the Ottomans a greatly unexplored mass of archival material, a set of narrative sources that have not been fully exploited, various rhetorical pronouncements of sovereignty, and numerous legal and diplomatic delineations of the scope of territory and power. We also have intriguing visualizations of space as expressed in architecture, miniatures, and the decorative arts.

That means that we cannot match Ottoman cartographic selfrepresentation with cartographic representation of Ottoman space deriving from societies outside the empire. HOC, vol. II, book 1, is the best up-to-date treatment of Ottoman cartography. See also Thomas D. II, pp.

Evliya elebi briefly notes the presence of eight ateliers of mapmakers in seventeenth-century Istanbul, but he neither names the shops nor gives details of their patrons and production. What I propose to present here is a selection of Ottoman articulations of space, to suggest the ways in which the Ottomans imagined themselves and their spatial contexts and to ponder the ways in which that self-mapping does and does not correspond to ways in which historians and early modern European contemporaries have mapped the Ottomans.

He was the "Lord of the two seas and two continents" and the "Refuge of the World" alempenah , both titles designating space, but more than that designating expansive power and authority. This letter describes the sultan as master of the world cihandar , ruler of the well-protected lands, a lord whose name is read in the hutbe Friday prayer sermon in the Holy Places and in all the mosques of the believers, and inscribed on the coins issued by numerous mints. The sultan's domain is characterized as having administrative units and officers of varying rank, but the boundedness of his territories is not a critical factor in this projection of sovereign power.

Muntzer in der Erinnerungskultur. Das Beispiel bildende Kunst. Muhlhausen: Thomas-Muntzer-Gesellschaft, Veroffentlichungen Bauernkrieg zwischen Harz und Thuringer Wald. Thomas Muntzer in einer Bildergeschichte. Eine kulturhistorische Dokumentation. Muhlhausen: Thomas Miintzer Gesellschaft Veroffentlichungen Wolgast, Eike. Der gemeine Mann bei Thomas Muntzer--und danach.

Muhlhausen: Thomas Muntzer Gesellschaft Veroffentlichungen 7. Thomas Muntzer is one of the few personalities in the early modern period to attract attention far beyond academic historians and theologians. His example was brandished as a dread warning against radicalism well into the seventeenth century and beyond, and by no means only in German or Lutheran circles. Equally striking has been his popularity among social and political historians, not least Marxist theorists, historians, and philosophers such as Ernst Bloch. His Sermon to the Princes recently appeared in Verso's paperback series on revolutions.

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. Read preview. Fenton Greenwood Press, Read preview Overview. Fischel; Susan M. Ortmann Praeger, For Schmitt God is needed to legitimate the political sovereign, but this need is, according to Blumenberg, no more than need for an analogy.

In other words, Blumenberg reads Schmitt backwards: The structure of modern political theory, beginning with Hobbes, suggests a theological background that can be invoked to legitimize its existence and its structure. This reading allows for a connection between the old theological and the new secular construct, but it is not perceived as a deduction or a substantive continuation, or as a loss of substance.

Theological terminology becomes a vehicle for the explication of the political, and as such it is useful and legitimate, but it is not the process of secularization that Schmitt wants to claim. As Blumenberg acknowledges, Schmitt did not concede the use of legitimacy in the context of his study. Instead, he spoke of the legality of the modern age, thereby suggesting a lack of legitimacy.

This critique of modernity is of course a central element of Schmitt's work, as much as Blumenberg affirms the justification of modernity in historical terms. He does this by pointing to specific historically conditioned functions of reason in early modernity. Reason accepts the challenge created by the absolutism of late scholastic theology; namely the complete dependence of humans on the will of an unknowable God. It is therefore not the autonomy of reason that is the problem but its interpretation as the unruly and illegitimate child of theology. There is no indication that Schmitt ever accepted Blumenberg's interpretation of his political theology, although the exchange of letters continued.

For Schmitt, in particular in the later years, political theology was not a question of metaphors but a question of religious commitment. He remained convinced that history after the first coming of Christ moved towards the second coming of the Redeemer. In this eschatological view the figure of the Katechon mentioned in Paul's letter to the Thessalonians plays an increasingly important role for Schmitt 2. The Katechon is the person or power who holds back the coming of the Antichrist at the end of history Metzger , Grossheutschi While a strictly eschatological orientation that of the early Church devalued history, the work of the Katechon gives meaning to history.

By establishing a political order in the secular realm they postpone the arrival of the Antichrist. One might say that the significance of legal theory depends on this model, for pure eschatology would make it superfluous. At the same time, theology and law cannot be separated. Where we have three persons natural or metaphysical the political becomes possible. It is precisely the distinction between friend and enemy that makes the political and the theological sphere compatible Meier , f.

Meier points to the struggle between Christ and Antichrist as the ultimate political constellation. But, as we have seen, it is the concept of the divided God, the tension between father and sun that provides the theological model. It is therefore not only the rebellion of Satan that demonstrates the metaphysical character of the political but also the Schmittean concept of the trinity ultimately turned against Peterson. Schmitt's unrelenting insistence on the evil of man in metaphysical rather than moral terms and the loneliness and depravity of the world in general should be read as indicators for his proximity to Gnostic thought.

Still, the question that has to be answered is the compatibility of Schmittean theory and Gnostic thought as well as the place that Gnosis has in Schmitt's writings. The fact that Schmitt considered himself a Roman Catholic would not exclude Gnostic affinities because these were already present in the early Church. Still, it is not sufficient simply to point to the moment of deviation from orthodox Catholic dogma, for instance Schmitt's emphasis on evil, his interpretation of Christ as a promethean rebel figure, and his emphasis on the role of the Katechon which is minor in the dogma , to demonstrate Gnostic structures; it is the de-emphasis on the Christian belief in redemption through Christ and the belief in the permanent conflict between good and evil as an irresolvable dualism that highlights the deep affinity.

The lonely and contingent individual, desperate in its need for redemption because of its own contamination with evil, represents the Gnostic version of the Christian constellation. Gott das ganz Andere? Gott ist das ganz Identische; Gott ist Ich. The knowledge of the God within, the Gnostic version, stands outside the Christian dogma. Even the typical Gnostic constellation is modified in this statement, insofar the Gnostic system saw God the redeemer as the complete Other that Schmitt denies. However, this dualism places the emphasis on the radically sinful nature of man and therefore the need for redemption.

Moreover—and here Schmitt is closer to Calvin than Catholic orthodoxy—he underlines the divide between those who are chosen and those who are not G If the world, as Schmitt claims, is fundamentally depraved and lost, there are two possible responses: either one strives for redemption or one tries to give order to the chaotic world through the law. As Jacob Taubes suggests, this is Schmitt's perspective as legal theorist Manemann , Any order is better than chaos.

The Katechon counters the utopian drive, the confidence to fundamentally change the world as a secularized form of the eschatological constellation of the New Testament. For Schmitt's political theology this counter force is of crucial importance. It defines the state as an interim formation between the first and the second coming of Christ.

The state itself does not have sacramental power; it cannot by itself carry out or even bring closer the redemption promised by Christ. The fact that Schmitt sometimes insists that his own discourse is exclusively juridical and, on other occasions, claims a theological role for himself may be related to this dual history and its dialectic.

The full and ultimate meaning of the worldly order can be grasped only from a theological perspective, but this does not mean that it is a mere extension of Heilsgeschichte. Especially in a Gnostic version, as Schmitt puts it in Politische Theologie II , the divide between God the redeemer Heilsgeschichte and God the creator of an evil world secular history and the state , i. This assumption throws light on the specific character of Schmitt's political theology: Its political perspective is not Christ the redeemer but the opposition of imperfect creation and redemption.

Yet even this definition of the complexio oppositorum is not the final word. By splitting the figure of Christ into a promethean rebellion and an e pimethean obedient part Groh , Schmitt forcefully undercuts all utopian aspects of the political. In this context, Schmitt's reference to Dostoevsky is revealing. The true aim of the Catholic Church is to neutralize the impact of Christ the redeemer, to block the anarchist tendencies inherent in Christianity without openly showing the anti-Christian commitment of the Church G Establishing order in the world is more important than Jesus the redeemer.

It is telling that Schmitt cannot find a fundamental distinction between the ecclesia militans of the counter-Reformation and Hobbes's modern sovereign. For both sides the constitution of political and social order is the foremost goal. This raises a fundamental question: What does Schmitt mean when he reasserts the viability of political theology in ? As we have seen, only in Political Theology II do the radical theological implications of his position come into full view. There is significantly more involved than the analogy between theological and legal concepts.

Against Blumenberg, who suggests that one should understand Schmitt's theory metaphorically, Schmitt underscores the reality of the theological aspect both in historical and metaphysical terms. Modernity has not emancipated itself from the grasp of a theological past. The conciliatory tone of his letters to Blumenberg can only mask the radical disagreements when it comes to the interpretation of secularization. For Schmitt secularization did not change the fundamental structure of the world; it made it only less visible. His claim against Peterson that political theology does not dissolve itself because of a particular Christian dogma here the structure of the concept of Trinity is not only meant as a specific historical argument.

Instead, Schmitt maintains the relevance of theology for political thought in much more general terms. However, his own reflections were focused on Christianity and indirectly on Judaism. To put it differently, for Schmitt political theology always had a strategic and polemical function and reflected deeply held personal convictions.

Schmitt insists on the concept of the sovereign God as the ultimate ground of the political and thereby rejects the possibility of a purely immanent approach through philosophical reason, a position that sets limits to his dialogue with Blumenberg, for whom political theology in the Christian tradition is a strictly historical moment whose present relevance only philosophical reflection can adequately explore.

The renewed interest in the link between religion and politics, partly inspired by the revival of religion after the exhaustion of secular ideologies and partly imposed on the West by radical Islamic fundamentalism, has also increased the interest in Carl Schmitt's version of political theology. At the same time, this recent discussion has demonstrated the limits of a debate within the parameters of Schmittean thought.

Even Heinrich Meier's suggestion that a monotheistic religious structure would be needed to develop a political theology turned out to be too narrow, for the connection between religion and political institutions in the older kingdom of Egypt can be interpreted in terms of a political theology. Of course, with his reconstruction of this constellation in Herrschaft und Heil Assmann does not mean to revitalize ancient forms of political theology. In contrast to Schmitt he understands his project as descriptive rather than prescriptive betreibend Assmann , When he characterizes Schmitt's Politische Theologie as polemical and strategic, he also defines Schmitt's self-understanding.

Although Schmitt avoids the term, his project is normative. However, one has to realize that Schmitt's discourse cannot easily be defined within the opposition descriptive vs. After he preferred to downplay or deny the performative moment because it reflected his involvement in the NS-regime. The private political implications of his theological position are not spelled out in concrete terms. In this respect Politische Theologie II , although highly polemical with regard to the fundamental theological issues, remains aloof and refrains from any direct political intervention.

This ambiguity has confused Schmitt's readers. They were not always certain how to interpret his statements. Are they serious polemical claims or merely historical and conceptual descriptions? More recently, there has been a growing consensus among Schmitt's critics that both the theological and the political claims have to be taken seriously. If there had been any doubt, his polemical response to Peterson and Blumenberg confirms this reading. Carl Schmitt presents himself as a political theologian who invokes scripture and dogma although heretically to assert his political position.

Consequently, it would depend on the social and political context whether the theological invocation turns into political decisions or not. These decisions, however, as we have to remind ourselves, are framed by the fundamental divide between friend and enemy. As a political theologian Schmitt remains an enigmatic and ambiguous figure, capable of shifting positions and contradictory claims. It seems that only in his later years, particularly in his Politische Theologie II , did he engage in a sustained theological discussion, which was imposed on him by his adversaries Peterson and Blumenberg.

In defense of the position he outlined in he now looks carefully at scripture and Christian dogma as well as the theological discussion surrounding them. A specific theological position, which is distinct from that of the Roman Catholic Church, becomes discernable. In addition, Gnostic ideas seem to influence his understanding of the New Testament and, by extension, his truly pessimistic interpretation of world history — an interpretation that the Church could hardly endorse.

However, this neutrality of the Church, its willingness to form alliances with progressive and reactionary governments, contains, as Schmitt shows much later in his discussion of Bishop Eusebius in Politische Theologie II , the ultimate claim that, supported by its theological dogma, the Church was called upon and empowered by God to rule over the world, either directly or indirectly.

While the medieval Church could still maintain this position, the Christian schism in the 16 th century turned this position into an intractable political problem, namely the spread of civil war caused by the rivalry and hostiliry of competing Christian churches. Under these conditions, Schmitt argues, modern legal theorists looked for a lasting solution to the religions conflict by separating the state from the churches and turning it into a neutral arbiter who resolves the threat of civil war.

The early Schmitt clearly sides with the jurists and Hobbes and in Der Begriff des Politschen favors a secularized concept of the political. Even in Der Nomos der Erde of , the political is still seen as a post-religious sphere structured by legal terms and norms to which the Europeans agreed in order to contain war. The late Schmitt, however, returns to the radical question posed decades before. But now, forced by his opponents, he uses a theological discourse based on the New Testament and the history of Christian dogma to find a theologically grounded answer. This twofold answer is ambiguous and ultimately contradictory: On the one hand, Schmitt affirms the historical claim of the Church to be the final arbiter not only in spiritual but also in secular questions including political issues.

On the other hand, closer to Gnosticism he posits the unredeemable nature of the secular world, which can be sustained only by a Katechon, a power, that arrests or slows down history and thereby prevents the second coming of Christ. In either case, however, the concept of secularization is taken back. Theology has returned to the center. Among other things, he shared the fate of being removed from his teaching position after because of his close links to the NS-regime.

Because of his activities as a consultant to the Third Reich, also in matters concerning the organization of the Catholic Church, he was temporarily suspended by the Church but later reinstated under pressure from the regime. From until he taught at the University of Bonn where he also served as the dean of the Theological Faculty. After the war the Church kept its distance from Barion; he was as isolated as Schmitt.

Both were highly critical of the later development of the Church and opposed the outcome of Vatican II. In his late publications Barion became a severe critic of the new theology, a position that was shared by Schmitt. See Marschler While Schmitt and Barion agree on the negative consequences of political Catholicism within the structure of a pluralistic liberal state, they disagree about the appropriate involvement of the Catholic Church in political issues.

According to Barion, the church was theologically not legitimized to exert political power Marschler , This means that Barion, although he was by no means convinced by Peterson's arguments which he explains in a letter to Schmitt dated December 8, , shares the latter's fundamental negative verdict against a Catholic political theology. Barion's criticism of Peterson, however, makes clear that their agreement on the fundamental issue is motivated by very different concerns. In political terms, at least in , Barion favored National Socialism and like Schmitt the concept of the total state , in historical terms; he thinks that Peterson misreads the history of the church and especially the role of Augustine.

Based on Georg Koepgen's book Die Gnosis des Christentums , Barion argues that the theological legitimacy of political theology did depend on the incarnation of Christ. Notwithstanding his own strong hostility towards Peterson, whom he accuses of incompetence, Barion opposes Schmitt by insisting on the exceptional role of the Church as being situated outside the political sphere. The Church cannot participate in the political sphere.

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For Barion the Church has to remain indifferent to the specific nature of the political regime. The Church is supposed to stay away from political discourse.

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Barion was quite aware that his essay did not support the position of his friend. See Marschler , f. See BW f. Taubes's description of the Schmitt-Blumenberg controversy suggests that he either did not fully understand or he misrepresented Blumenberg's approach. See Taubes, Die politische Theologie des Paulus , ed. Aleida and Jan Assmann, Munich , p. The affinity to certain forms of Protestant theology has to be kept in mind.