The Aesthetics of War

Ottoman Martial Iconography under German Influence

  • Edhem Eldem Professor of History in the Department of Humanities and Social Sci- ences at Boğaziçi University and International Chair of Turkish and Ottoman History at Collège de France.
Keywords: Ottoman history, World War I, war medals, Ottoman medals and decorations, state symbolism, propaganda, military iconography

Abstract

War has always been a catalyst for innovation in the Ottoman Empire, even in the un- likely field of iconography. World War I was such an episode, further exacerbated by the alliance with Germany, a major producer of wartime propaganda. This contribution retraces the development of state symbolism in the Ottoman Empire throughout the nineteenth century, especially with respect to medals and decorations, before focusing on the production of images and symbols during World War I. Particular attention is given to one specific case – that of the Ottoman War Medal, dubbed the “Iron Crescent” by the Germans, the creative design of which still remains unexplained and undocu- mented despite its truly iconic nature.

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Author Biography

Edhem Eldem, Professor of History in the Department of Humanities and Social Sci- ences at Boğaziçi University and International Chair of Turkish and Ottoman History at Collège de France.

Edhem ELDEM is a professor at the Department of History of Boğaziçi University and holds the International Chair of Turkish and Ottoman History at the Collège de France. He has taught at Berkeley, Harvard, Columbia, EHESS, EPHE, ENS, and was a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. His fields of interest include the Levant trade, funerary epigraphy, Istanbul, the Ottoman Bank, the history of archaeology in the Ottoman lands, Ottoman first-person narratives, and Ottoman photography.

Among his publications are: French Trade in Istanbul in the Eighteenth Century (1999); A History of the Ottoman Bank (1999); The Ottoman City between East and West: Aleppo, Izmir and Istanbul (1999, with D. Goffman and B. Masters); Pride and Privilege. A History of Ottoman Orders, Medals and Decorations (2004); Consuming the Orient (2007); Scramble for the Past: A Story of Archaeology in the Ottoman Empire (2011, with Zainab Bahrani and Zeynep Çelik); Camera Ottomana. Photography and Modernity in the Ottoman Empire (2015, with Zeynep Çelik); L’Empire ottoman et la Turquie face à l’Occident (2018).

Published
2021-02-16
How to Cite
Eldem, E. (2021). The Aesthetics of War: Ottoman Martial Iconography under German Influence. Archiv orientální, 88(3), 567–591. https://doi.org/10.47979/aror.j.88.3.569-593