4196381_Cultures_in_Conflict - Authors Last Name 1[Authors...

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Author’s Last Name 1 [Author’s Name] [Professor’s Name] [Course title] [Date] Cultures in Conflict For nearly half a millennium the Ottomans ruled an empire as diverse as any in history. Remarkably, this poly-ethnic and multi-religious society worked. Muslims, Christians, and Jews worshipped and studied side by side, enriching their distinct cultures. The legal traditions and practices of each community, particularly in matters of personal status -- that is, death, marriage, and inheritance -- were respected and enforced through the empire. Scores of languages and literatures employing a bewildering variety of scripts flourished. Opportunities for advancement and prosperity were open in varying degrees to all the empire's subjects. During their heyday the Ottomans created a society which allowed a great degree of communal autonomy while maintaining a fiscally sound and militarily strong central government. In the nineteenth century the Jews, like the Christians and the Muslims, went through a phase of conflict -- the struggle between reformers and conservatives. Among the Muslims, the Greeks, and the Armenians, the reformers won. Among the Jews, they lost. For this the Jews paid a price. Compared with their Christian neighbors they fell steadily behind. The Jews had cast their lot, not surprisingly, with the reactionary forces among the Turks. The destruction in 1826 of the Janissary Corps, the old military order, with which the Jews had important links, was a heavy blow. The rise of Russia and the growth of Russian influence were also not very helpful to Jews in the Ottoman Empire. Later in the century there was a certain upswing in the entrepôt trade of Salonica with its ties to the West, but despite improved
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Author’s Last Name 2 education, which was fostered most notably by the Alliance Israélite Universelle, the effort came too late. They were caught in the circumstances which led to the end of the Ottoman Empire and the transformation of the entire region. Language has barely been mentioned in this discussion of the major communities of the Ottoman Empire. In view of the role that language has played in determining national identity in the West, its relative lack of importance in the Ottoman context is significant. Greeks, Armenians, Jews, as well as Copts and non-Orthodox Christians in Arab lands each had a distinctive liturgical language. However, the language of ritual was not necessarily the language of the street or the home. While the hierarchy of the Greek Or thodox church was both ethnically and linguistically Greek, the parish clergy and flock was a polyglot mass speaking almost as many languages as were spoken in the empire itself. In the Balkans there were speakers of Slavic
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4196381_Cultures_in_Conflict - Authors Last Name 1[Authors...

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