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The Ottomans

The Ottomans: Europe’s Muslim Emperors

Sun Oct 6, 9-10pm, BBC2

By Claire Winter
Episode one
Right now in Turkey there is – according to journalist Rageh Omaar – an epic series on the Ottoman empire dominating television screens. This series depicts battlefields and harems, glamour and action in the extreme. By contrast, this documentary – the first of three – is a bit more subdued. Omaar attempts to deconstruct this view of the powerful dynasty as a conquering force, taking a step back to ask: how did this sprawling empire affect society in the ensuing conflict of Muslim/Christian beliefs?

And – most interestingly – how does this relate to current global events? With opinions from clergymen and scholars alike, this certainly can’t be accused of being narrow minded.The content meanders a touch, but the ambition is laudable. Those looking for more action should, perhaps, catch that popular Turkish drama – but if you have patience for a more contemplative series, this may just prove a rewarding and relevant little treasure.

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