The Aesthetics of War
Ottoman Martial Iconography under German Influence
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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