In the Lion’s Den: Orthodox Christians under Ottoman Rule, 1400-1550
Neil Paradise (University of North Florida)
University of North Florida, Paper 67, 2005 History Paper Prize Winner, January 1 (2006)
The Ottoman Empire’s conquest of the Balkans and subsequent administration left a perplexing religious legacy. The Islamic Ottoman presence lasted almost five centuries, yet Christianity remained the overwhelming religion of choice in the area. The Ottoman treatment of subject Christians has been long debated, with characterizations ranging from a cosmopolitan haven of freedom to a brutal rule of forced conversion. However, the real picture appears far more complex than these generalizations – the Ottoman relationship with Orthodox Christianity in the Balkans changed over time, depending in part on religious tenets but also largely on the realities and varying situations facing the Ottoman state over time.