Bulgarian histories about the janissaries during the Revival period Cover Image
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Български истории за еничарите през Възраждането
Bulgarian histories about the janissaries during the Revival period

Author(s): Nadezhda Aleksandrova
Subject(s): History, Language and Literature Studies, Cultural history, Studies of Literature, History of ideas
Published by: Институт за литература - БАН
Keywords: Bulgarian history; Ottoman empire; purity-decline paradigm; janissaries

Summary/Abstract: The article encompasses a number of historical narratives that are written in Bulgarian between the 1760s and 1870s, and which deal with the notion of the janissaries. The study is based on sources of different kinds - Bulgarian history manuscripts, textbooks in Bulgarian history, textbooks in Ottoman history, articles and academic studies on the subject, and a number of introductions and endnotes to fictional texts, which also contain a claim of being veritable historiographical sources. The analysis displays two main versions of the stories about the janissaries. The first follows „the paradigm purity-decline“ (Kafadar 1991). The second projects synonymy over the notions of the janissaries, kircali, dağali and other criminals who formed gangs and attacked the population. Thus, the period between the 18th and the beginning of the 19th c. was given the name „the time of turmoil“ (Rakovski 1860). The two versions of the histories of the janissaries are an outcome of the synergic effect of three factors that interplay on the scene of the Bulgarian historiography in the above-mentioned period. These are: the European historiographical sources, regarded as very prestigious; the official Ottoman policy of reforms, built on the idea of the change from an old retrograde order to a new progressive one; and last but not least, the process of formation national consciousness of the Bulgarians who undertook this image of ‘the evil janissaries’ in their own efforts to build a sense of a common historical past.

  • Issue Year: LIX/2016
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 87-112
  • Page Count: 26
  • Language: Bulgarian