Ebubekir Ratib Efendi as an Ottoman envoy of knowledge between the east and the west
Somel, S. Akşin
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The reports of the Ottoman ambassadors about the European states would give us crucial clues for understanding the difference between the world views of the Ottoman Empire and of the European states. Ottoman ambassadors' view of European culture, in general, shaped the picture of Europe in the eyes of the Ottomans. In this respect, Ratib Efendi's ambassadorial report, Viyana Sefaretnamesi (1792), will be analyzed in terms of understanding how an Ottoman ambassador perceived the Habsburg Empire and Europe in the aftermath of the French Revolution. Ratib Efendi's lengthy work, approximately 500 pages, implies the Ottomans' willingness to understand the state of affairs in Europe. In this study, firstly we will explain Ratib Efendi (1749-1799)'s life and his works. His life story would shed light on the intra-elite conflict in the Ottoman bureaucracy. It seems that Ratib Efendi's observations on the military academies of the Habsburg Empire affected the educational policy of the New Order in the reign of Selim III (1789-1907). Hence, we will elaborate on the military academies in the Habsburg Empire as expressed by Ratib Efendi. We will also analyze his views on the decline of the Ottoman Empire. It will be point out that his views had crucial similarities with the ideas explained in the decline treatises. Also, his views on the European politics will be examined in order to understand the limits of an Ottoman ambassador's knowledge about the politics of Europe.