Institute for South-Eastern European Research, The Romanian Academy
From the fourteenth century, legal texts known as capitulations created the general framework for the relations between the Ottoman Empire and the Christian states. While their importance can hardly be overstated, sometimes capitulations were in practice amended through a series of Ottoman decrees termed ‘imperial signs’, which further legislated interactions between the Ottomans and foreign Christians. It is these lesser known yet vitally important documents that I propose to study during my fellowship at New Europe College. Starting from the original Ottoman documents as much as possible and drawing a comparison with the capitulations, my research will clarify a series of key aspects of the ‘imperial signs’: how and when they were issued, how they were structured, and what topics they covered. I will focus on the Venetian case in the seventeenth century, where indeed new affairs seem to be regulated through the ‘imperial signs’, while the capitulations remained virtually unchanged.