Complete Human From Hellenism, Complete State From Rome Complete Human and Complete State From Ottoman

Ahmet Dinç, Zafer Celik, Bahattin Altay


First age period handed down two very valuable legacies to the world of Western civilization. These were the notion of ‘complete human' remaining from Hellas, and ‘complete state' remaining from Rome. In other words, unity arose in some part of European community in two ways: with the unity of civilization, which was the work of Greeks; and with the unity of government and state, which was the work of Romans.[2] The Greeks, being the first great philosophers and scholars in Europe, tried to reach truth and wisdom. They were quite in advance in the field of science, particularly in Mathematics. The human virtues and how to develop possibilities of people were primary contributions to Europeans. Greeks were also pioneers in lessons of wisdom, the importance of reason and critical thinking. These legacies were inherited and popularized by Romans. Their conquest of Gaul, Iberian Peninsula, Great Britain, West Germany and countries between Greece and Hungary and spreading one language in all the western part of the empire expanded this inheritance. In 212 Emperor Caracalla made a decision on each free person living within its borders to have status and privileges for Citizen of Rome. 'It was the first and unique example of citizenship happening upon in European territory.'[3]

On the other hand, the political, social and economic environment of 13th century Anatolia has remarkably led the emergence of Ottoman Empire. Rise of Ottoman dynasty of tribe Kayı and of which foundations were laid in Battle of Manzikert in 1071, seemed to have completed the process of Turkization and Islamization by the end of 13. Century Against Seljuks who were stuck in Central Anatolia acknowledging Ilkhanids’ authority.[4]  After Murad II’s death and his son Mehmed’s accession, the Ottoman Empire become known as ‘an empire’ rather being expressed with the word: 'state'. The term ‘empire’ gained a meaning other than its recent European definition for Ottomans. The term was used to refer to its ethnic and social structure, international policy it pursued, central government and the Sultanate system all conceptualized with ‘Sublime Ottoman State’, contrary to any meaning to ‘imperialist’ or ‘exploitative’.[5]

In Ottoman logic structure, value was added to both human and to state notion. We called both human and state in Ottoman due to their fulfilled standing positions. Our work was done within this logic structure. A vast literature review was conducted. We researched university libraries in different cities in Turkey primarily in Istanbul. We also researched works not only from Turkish economics historians but also from western scholars. Through inductive reasoning we concluded that humanism found its notion in Hellenism, state in Rome and we found that both nurtured in Ottoman.

It is found that the main difference of The Ottoman Empire from the West was the mentality attributed to human – state notions and their interaction. The ideas such as individualism, benefit that existed in West were replaced with altruism in Ottoman. Instead of living, there was an idea of sustentation. It was seen that this idea had culture, social structure, religion and national thought of The Ottoman Empire in it. It was found that the idea of state protects its people like a shepherd and ensures prosperity and people should obey the shepherd. It was also seen that The Ottoman Empire not only valued human beings but also attached importance to the state in its logic structure.

In cotemporary economic books, economy is described as “... the struggle of supplying the unlimited wants with unlimited resources” or how our teachers defined “when we do not pedal we fall down, just like that when we do not consume, this system fails.” When looking at supply and demand notion of Greek Epicureans, their main idea withstood in limiting of human demands for happiness. Because it was our desires not unlimited needs. On the other Romans, who had gigantic lands and their lives, depended on acquiring to fight, rule and wealth, and were unescapably prone to collapse. So the question arises was the main cause of collapse result of the lack of self-sufficient economic resource allocation? As findings show that Ottoman Economic System was on supply-side not on demand-side, in which production was as much as in the foreground as necessity. The idea of wanting abundance of goods and services in the country, people not suffering from famine and expensiveness predominated than the idea of economic growth in modern macroeconomics, overproduction and export. Developmentalist approach brought by the Enlightenment mentality did not place in the structure of classic Ottoman mind. Change is considered as corruption, traditionalism, which determined the structure of Ottoman mind, predominated. Thanks to flexible and pragmatic, humane, social administration, Ottoman Empire sustained its existence for many years. As an indication of changes in economy politics, it has been observed that, Ottoman adopted in XVIII century western technology, also in XIX century western mentality.

[1] Assoc. Prof. Canik Basari University,

  Assis. Prof. Canik Basari University,

  Ph D, Turgut Özal University,

[2] Seignobos,Charles (çev. Yalçın, Hüseyin) Avrupa Kavimlerinin Mukayeseli Tarihi, B Kanaat kitabevi, 1939, İstanbul, sayfa 33

[3] Goff, Jacques Le, (çev. Tümertekin, Alp) Avrupa Tarihi, Yapı Kredi yayınları, 1997, s.24-25

[4] Ekmeleddin, İhsanoğlu, Feridun Emecen, Kemal Beydilli, vd. Osmanlı Devleti Tarihi, cilt 1, İstanbul, 1999, Feza gazetecilik A.Ş, s.5-7

[5] Ekmeleddin, İhsanoğlu, a.g.e. s.22


Hellenism, Human, Rome, State, Ottoman

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