Muslim Empires

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:History

Document 1

 The Commentary of Father Monserrate, SJ, on His Journey to the Court of Akbar, Tr. Translated by J. S Hoyland (London: Oxford University Press1922), pp 196-202, 207, 213-14, 219. “Suleiman the Lawgiver and Ottoman Military Power: The Report of a European Diplomat” Peter Stearns et al. The Rise of The West and World Reaction: The Ottoman Middle East” (New York: Harper and Row, 1988) pp. From Forster, Edward Seymour. The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq. Oxford University Press 1968), pp 58-59, 65-66, 109-14, 145-47. Introduction The topic for this research paper is The Muslim Empire. I chose the topic because I am interested to learn how the Muslim empires were established in the 16th century and how they interacted with the other religions within the empire. The paper will focus on the reign of Akbar of the Mughal Empire and the reign of Suleiman of the Ottoman Empire. Akbar’s India. This article is an account of Father Monserrate S. J a Portuguese Jesuit Missionary. He wrote his account of the Mughal ruler and his empire during 1580’s. The title of the original article is ‘Commentary on his Journey to the court of Akbar. ’ Monserrate kept a comprehensive record of his mission in India1. The article was written for the Catholic audience and taken to St. Paul’s Cathedral Library in Kolkata where it was found few years after the missionaries had left India (Banerjee and Hoyland 2007 pp58). This article has become one of the first primary sources for the research of early Jesuit missions and Akbar and the Mughal Empire Monserrate first idea, is the depiction of the king as a perfect person for the position using a vivid description.

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” (65) The king kept a huge entourage around him including bodyguards and nobles who moved around with him during different periods of the year3. His palaces were more magnificent than that of the any other built by Indian kings. It is clear that Monserrate was captivated by what encountered in India and while he tried to deliver the picture to his audience he used a comparison from Europe. Then, Monserrate revealed that Akbar was illiterate even though he kept around him learned men. Nonetheless, Akbar had a perfect memory, good judgment and acquired a lot of information on numerous subjects by listening to the discussion to make up for his illiteracy. Busbecq further describes the campaign of Turks into Persia, the manner in which rations are used, and the significance of the soldier’s well-being.

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He notes on the respect of Suleiman and his willingness to assist the soldiers when necessary by helping to provide the medical assistance for the ill and injured soldiers. Suleiman is the most memorable emperor in the Turkish history. He is legendary and his rule saw the largest expansion of the Turkish power5. His commitment to his religion, his leniency with other religions, his generosity, and charity, earned him the respect of his enemies and loyalty of his subjects. The second similarity is that, it is during the reign of both emperors that the kingdoms were at their best performance in terms of economic growth in Mughal Empire and military prowess in Ottoman Empire. “…the new empire got to its highest point under Akbar… this reign was probably the most riches in the history of India” (Akbar’s India 63).

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“…the Ottoman empire was the most powerful states in the world during the 16th century particularly during the reign of Suleiman the lawgiver6” (Ottoman Empire Middle East 73). The difference in the two accounts is that Akbar was a selfish emperor who acquired wealth for mostly himself but Suleiman was a generous man and cared for his subjects. “the king dwelt in the palace that was magnificently built…” (65) “the subject lived in crooked, ill-planned building purposely built without windows because of the filth on the street” (Akbar’s India 66).

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