How does one define empire? What are the characteristics of a successful empire? These two questions arise foremost after reading John Darwin’s monumental masterpiece After Tamerlane. In nine succinct chapters with informative titles, Darwin encompassed 600 years of global history, supported by illustrations and maps and for those interested, suggestions for further reading.
The 18th century is still the least popular among Ottoman historians. Recently, with the influential counter-narrative of Ottoman decline and the coining of a new term—the 'Second Ottoman Empire'—by Baki Tezcan, our understanding of periodization in Ottoman history has changed. It is now recognized that there was no golden age followed by centuries of decline.