Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire

by Mehrdad Kia


A stereotypical view held by Europeans about their Ottoman counterparts characterized them as a violent, backward, and uncivilized people who were oddly both obsessed with sex and disinterested in fun pastimes. In actuality, European travelers discovered that Ottoman men were typically monogamous and afraid of their wives, and that Ottoman culture involved obsessive cleanliness and an enjoyment of wine.

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Cover image for Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire

August 2011


Pages 294
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics World History/Culture

This book provides a general overview of the daily life in a vast empire which contained numerous ethnic, linguistic, and religious communities.

The Ottoman Empire was an Islamic imperial monarchy that existed for over 600 years. At the height of its power in the 16th and 17th centuries, it encompassed three continents and served as the core of global interactions between the east and the west. And while the Empire was defeated after World War I and dissolved in 1920, the far-reaching effects and influences of the Ottoman Empire are still clearly visible in today's world cultures.

Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire allows readers to gain critical insight into the pluralistic social and cultural history of an empire that ruled a vast region extending from Budapest in Hungary to Mecca in Arabia. Each chapter presents an in-depth analysis of a particular aspect of daily life in the Ottoman Empire.


  • The extensive bibliography provides rich and diverse sources of further reading
  • An index provides quick reference to the individuals and places mentioned in the text


  • Documents the social and cultural history of an Islamic society which has long been misunderstood in the western world
  • Written in language accessible to a general readership
  • Connects the disparate histories of southeastern Europe with those of the Muslim Middle East and North Africa
  • Presents fascinating parallels between the customs, arts, and even culinary traditions of religiously diverse societies
Series Description

Daily Life

What was life really like for ordinary people in other cultures throughout history? How did they raise their children? What did they do for fun? From sexual mores in ancient Egypt to resistance music in modern Latin America, and from the fashion sense of the Mongols to the importance of film in modern India, the world comes alive in the indispensable hands-on volumes of this award-winning series. A truly interdisciplinary resource, the Daily Life series covers arts; religion; food; literature; language; romance; rites of passage and coming of age; marriage customs; social and government structure; sickness and cures; warfare; sports and games; holidays; festivals; and more. With direct ties to the curriculum and supported by the most current research, these authoritative volumes are organized in an accessible narrative chapter format, and supplemented with photos, maps, and other ready-reference materials, Daily Life volumes are ideal sources for general readers and students of world history, United States history, social studies, anthropology, religion, literature, arts, and more.

Each volume provides:
• An exploration of complex eras in history on a level accessible to students and general readers
• Authoritative coverage stemming from the most current scholarship and recent discoveries
• A focus on social rather than political history in key curricular areas, providing an in-depth understanding of the nuts and bolts of daily life
• Interactive, exciting details such as recipes, sheet music, rules for games, song lyrics, and more
Author Info

Mehrdad Kia is associate provost for International Programs and the director of the Central and Southwest Asia program at The University of Montana, Missoula, MT.

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