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Sir Paul Rycaut: The Present State of the Ottoman Empire, Sixth Edition (1686)

Sir Paul Rycaut (1629–1700) was a diplomat, poet, translator and administrator. His Present State of the Ottoman Empire was the most important and influential work on its topic produced by an Englishman in the seventeenth century, and it served as a reference point for others writing on the same subject for nearly two hundred years. Rycaut’s book was considered the most informative and accurate text on its subject, and was widely-read in Europe as well as in England. It contains extensive discussions of Ottoman government, religion, and military matters, and may also be read as a subtext suggesting a middle road between absolutism and constitutional monarchy.

This critical edition of Rycaut’s important work includes a full introduction, which discusses at length the historical background to the text, its reception at the time in which it was written and a discussion of its influence, as well as an extensive bibliography. This is the first modern edition of the work, and should be useful for general scholars of the period, specialists, and students alike.

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John Anthony Butler

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