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June 30, 2007



...not only the croissant but also the famous Viennese Coffee is a product of Ottoman invasion; ie. Turkish coffee to boot!
I've lived and worked for more than a decade in Vienna and can vouch for it.
If you love, for example, Serbian barbecue food culture...it all comes from Ottoman period. The famous barbecues of the Balkan is orignally Turkish. And it goes on...
What's more interesting today is the curious "racial" implication of recent French outcry against Turkey's EU membership.

Barkley  Rosser

Turkey also served as a bridge to transfer certain things from Persia into Europe, including clothing and forks. An arguably less positive one that was also transferred, although it originated in China and came through Persia to Turkey, was bureaucracy.


Bureaucracy gets a bad rap, but be honest: with what would you replace it?

Every Austrian child hears the croissant story. It may well be true.


I wonder if peaceful multiculturalism and religious tolerance of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the discussed period had its origins in the Ottoman threat too? After all we Polish were at the frontier of the conflict which for us was happening mostly in todays Ukraine.


Franco Cardini has long been saying that. Now he has numbers on his side, too!

Justin Rietz

If my history serves me correctly (I will of course defer to Dani on Turkish history), the Balkans lived under Turkish control for about 500 years. Originally, the locals preferred the Turks over the northern Europeans – on their way south to Constantinople, the crusaders had a bad habit of pillaging Balkan villages and repeating this as they retreated back home.

However, towards the end of Turkish rule (I believe the Turks were driven out of Bulgaria by the Russians in 1878 or so), conditions had substantially deteriorated. Many Christian churches had been forced underground (in some cases quite literarily), heavy taxes were levied to support the ailing Turkish government, and enforcement was violent. This left a lasting, bad taste in the collective mouth of southeastern Europeans, though this doesn’t account for the current unfriendliness of the western European governments.


Well maybe it is just a legend, but it sounds too good to reject outright ...

That's in the Polish textbooks too. There's some poem where it's also mentioned. Supposedly the guy who baked the first croissants was Franciszek Jerzy Kulczycki (Francis George etc.), who also opened the first cafe in Vienna. Here's his English wiki, which doesn't mention the croissants (the Polish wiki does):


Ottomans were so tolerant, Muslim appologists would like you to believe, that they exterminated 30% of Armenians in 18 and 19 centuries. Georgians were also killed by the hundreds thousands.

Grant Religion of Pedophile coffee, tea, sword designs, some military tactics.

Progressive, they are not.


"According to Iyigun, it is thanks to the military threat posed by the Ottomans that the Protestant Reform movement and its offshoots were able to grow and mature without getting crushed by the Catholic establishment."

I´m willing to believe that it had some influence. But...
I suspect that Catholic (establishment) France siding with Protestants in the Netherlands and Germany to weaken Catholic Habsburg Spain and Austria influenced events too during these centuries.

It´s entirely believable that any additional threat by the Ottoman Empire did "distract" Catholic Austria and Spain sometimes.

However, look at the 30 Year War in Germany. The early successes of Catholic armies (Tilly, Wallenstein) strengthening the position of the Catholic Habsburg Emperor not only alarmed Protestant Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands. Or Catholic France.

It also alarmed German Catholic nobles who feared that the Emperor might become too strong. While they liked the idea of crushing Protestantism and gaining some additional territories for themselves :), they also feared a really powerful Emperor. Because such an Emperor would have been able to disregard their "privileges" too.

Simply put, I think it´s a mistake to speak of any unified "Catholic establishment" in Europe. Catholic France and the Catholic Habsburg "countries" weren´t exactly following the same game book. :)

@Barkley Rosser:

"An arguably less positive one that was also transferred, although it originated in China and came through Persia to Turkey, was bureaucracy."

The Roman / Byzantine Empire didn´t have a bureaucracy?


Weird argument you are making here. Europeans have benefited from the croissant and not killing each other by repelling the Turks at the gates. So perhaps Turkey's EU membership will have the same effect: European nations putting their differences aside and uniting to make sure they keep Turkey out of the club.

Joking aside, I believe that a reformed Turkey has much to offer to the EU - and it's a shame that attaining political maturity is taking so long. I would happily forego croissants if that meant Turkey could at last become a European nation, with everything this entails.


This needs some further editing. I only got as far as the second footnote, and it implies that the Albigensian Crusade was separate from the suppression of the Cathars (they were the same thing) and says that the Fourth Crusade was aimed at the Cathars (in fact, it was aimed at the Holy Land but sidetracked to Constantinople, where it set up a Latin kingdom in the East for a few generations). The Fourth Crusade took place earlier than 1210.


Marshall, you're being nitpicky to the max. And if you can then I can too. The footnote says "Albigensian AND Waldesian" - strictly speaking the Albigensian Crusade was only against Cathars (Albigensians). But there was general repression going on against both groups during this period, as well as the more radical wings of the Franciscans. Unlike the Cathars, I don't believe the Waldesians had any powerful nobles as supporters/members (like the Count of Toulouse). Anyway, so the footnote is not wrong on THAT aspect.

However saying that "Cathars practiced a different version of Christianity" is a bit of a stretch. I mean, the Catholic Church thought so, and there were some sects for whom it was sort of true... but it's sort of like saying that Muslims practice a different version of Christianity.

And whether you call it 4th I guess how you count'em and date'em. But his date, 1209 is right I believe. I think the sacking of Constantinople and the Alibensian Crusade were roughly contemporenous.

Daniel Nexon

1) I'm surprised that this is *news*. The Ottoman threat repeatedly precluded Charles V from forcing the issue with Protestants in Germany, delaying the outbreak of fullblown conflict until the War of Schmalkald. I mean, its nice that he ran some stats on a data set, but I'm not sure the paper teaches us *anything* not already known.

2) The paper raises some counterfactual problems that probably rest on the fact that these conflicts aren't, in fact, independent observations. One could argue that the Ottoman threat prevented decisive action in the 1519-1546 period and thus led to more destructive wars (Schmalkald, Thirty Years, etc.) later. This doesn't necessarily undermine the institutional argument, but that's a longer story.

Barkley Rosser


Not a civil service one. That was a Chinese invention, although it is possible that the Byzantines had gotten this from the Chinese at a late stage through Persia.

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