The Ottoman "Wild" West

The Balkan Frontier in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries

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Nikolay Antov
  • Cambridge, England: 
    Cambridge University Press
    , December
     342 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Rijad Dautović forthcoming.


In the late fifteenth century, the north-eastern Balkans were under-populated and under-institutionalized. Yet, by the end of the following century, the regions of Deliorman and Gerlovo were home to one of the largest Muslim populations in southeast Europe. Nikolay Antov sheds fresh light on the mechanics of Islamization along the Ottoman frontier, and presents an instructive case study of the 'indigenization' of Islam – the process through which Islam, in its diverse doctrinal and socio-cultural manifestations, became part of a distinct regional landscape. Simultaneously, Antov uses a wide array of administrative, narrative-literary, and legal sources, exploring the perspectives of both the imperial center and regional actors in urban, rural, and nomadic settings, to trace the transformation of the Ottoman polity from a frontier principality into a centralized empire. Contributing to the further understanding of Balkan Islam, state formation and empire building, this unique text will appeal to those studying Ottoman, Balkan, and Islamic world history.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Nikolay Antov is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Arkansas. His research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Research Institute in Turkey. It focuses on the history of Islam and Muslim communities in the Balkans, the historical development of heterodox Muslim dervish groups in the Ottoman Empire and the wider Islamic world, conversion to Islam, and the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims.

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