Apology and comments

First, the apology: the first round of document analysis assignments is taking me longer than I expected to get done. I’ll have them Friday, for sure, though, so you’ll get them back before you have to start the next one, on Columbus.

I’m noticing — and this is part of what’s taking me so long — some patterns, though. Here are some suggestions and thoughts that should get you started thinking about the next one:

  • The “content” section isn’t just summary: you can (and should, if you can) discuss the tone and style of the piece, reliability, whether the author is being up front about goals and honest about the situation, etc.
  • The “historical use” section isn’t just “what I learned from this document” though that can be a good starting place. It’s more about what bigger questions — and I can’t emphasize that enough: “questions” — can be asked which this document helps to answer.

I’ll add to this list as I notice more patterns, things that might have been unclear on the first round.

More comments:

  • The Author section is boring, sometimes. But that doesn’t mean that you should copy, i.e. plagiarize, what’s in the document introduction. It can be used as “setup” for the context and content sections.
  • The Context section, which is where you should be talking about the geographic and historical environment, will usually benefit from attention to the textbook in addition to the document introduction.

The average and median grades for the document assignments was a C.

Samples: Here are three samples of the document assignment, and one from the pop quiz (since you do have a test coming up next week, as well!). They aren’t ‘perfect’ but they are very good answers: complete, careful, thoughtful. Notice that the pop quiz answer on Martin Luther and the first document analysis are actually fairly short: you don’t have to be long-winded if you get right to the point. Note also that the other two document analysis answers are longer, in fact longer than average for what was handed in: to be complete, to cover the issues and get a lot done and done well, sometimes takes extra time, energy and space.

Martin Luther
He was a German theologian during the early half of the 1500s. He wished to reform the Catholic Church but before he did that, he began with his own life. Martin Luther was not happy with the Church, the way they took money for people to help their family out of purgatory, the way they discouraged reading the Bible & that in Church, the Bible was written and spoken only in Latin. He lead a group that translated the Bible from Latin to a common language. He pushed for this Bible to be available to people & read in Church, causing the Great Schism.
Document Analysis 1

The Author: Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, an Austrian Diplomat sent to council with the Ottoman Sultan Suleyman to deter another possible Ottoman attack on Vienna.

Context: A political stalemate dominates the Mediterranean region in the mid 16th Century. The Ambitious Ottoman Empire is at its empirical climax, anxious and ready to expand its borders. The next target in the Ottoman Crosshairs is Southwestern Europe, namely Austria. With one siege attempt on Vienna, thwarted the Austrians seek a less forthright manner in which to engage their foes. Their diplomatic venue comes in the way of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, the diplomat assigned to The Ottoman Empire. Busbecq’s letter to Vienna Reveal much about the Sultan Suleyman, as well as the underlying culture with which he is dealing, the latter of which will ultimately govern the relations of the two nations.

Content: Busbecq’s Letter to Vienna conveys a number of perceived short comings of Austrian culture, priorities, and military discipline. He contrasts sharply the merit based, self-determined hierarchy of the Turks with that of birth right and pre-determined destiny, the prevailing vital theory of Austrian society. His observations of Ottoman military refinement troubled him. He witnessed that among the military personnel, to each was awarded rank and position according to his display of valor and merit. Prestige then was earned, not inherent. As he observed it, this made for more determined, motivated, and professional soldiers willing to endure all hardships for their cause. This stood in stark contrast to the military forces of this country. In Austria, enable by a social philosophy that values one’s relatives over one’s actions, coupled with a general disregard for resource management and lackadaisical, indifferent soldiers and officers, he reasoned would ultimately be Austria’s undoing.

Response: In stating the scathing differences between the offensive, conquest minded Turks and the complaiciant, apathetic Austrians, Busbecq appeared to be driving a spike into the idle minds of the Austrian populace, martial and civilian alike. He leaves the letter with an implied conclusion: that save a hasty philosophical revolution, Austrians were due to suffer a fate similar to that of Turkey’s former conquests, the felling of their country to a foe of greater will, ability, and culture as implied by his tone when lauding his would be foes. This respect for Turkish values begs whether or not Busbecq desired the uptake of Ottoman values for not only for survival, but also for their civilized prosperity.

Historical Relevance: This letter provides a glimpse into two much contrasted cultures at a crossroads, and offers an understanding of cultural and political motivation and response at said crossroad. The timeless offerings of such observation however are also of significant value to cultural historians.

Suleyman the Lawgiver

Authorship: The author of Suleyman the Lawgiver is an Austrian ambassador. His name is Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq. He is from Busbecq and he was sent to speak with the Suleyman to try and stop another attack on Venice. He uses his speaking to do this, not force.

Context: The Suleyman has conquered every civilization that he has tried taking. He is on a push right now to expand the Ottoman Empire. Before attempting Venice, Suleyman expanded into Africa taking Egypt, took most of the land on the southern border of the Mediterranean Sea, and started making pushes into Europe. Obviously, this paper is written after Ghiselin tries to talk Suleyman out of attacking Venice. It seems he would not need to do this because, shortly after, the Persians attack the Ottoman Empire back in the Middle East and Suleyman is told to come back to Turkey immediately.

Content: The author analyzes the empire just in the short time he has speaking with the Suleyman. He describes the Suleyman as not being lawful. A man cannot be about the law if someone speaks to you about conquering their city and you brush them off because you are going to conquer it just because you can. He says that most of their soldiers and people directly around the Suleyman, do not inherit their jobs from their parents or family name. Instead, they are the ones best fit for that individual duty. Ample training and the best weapons money can buy are all attributes of the Ottoman Empire. When the Suleyman goes to war he brings with him a large amount of supplies strapped to camels. Only image the sight you would see if you witnessed 40,000 camels walking by en route to war. The Ottoman Empire is united, very well supplied, confident, experience in arms, has won many times in battle, and, mostly, discipline. For lack of discipline seems to be why Ghiselin thinks his city might be next to get conquered.

Response: This writing could be a journal entry or this could have been a letter. If it was a journal entry, it was probably not intended for anyone specific. Although, since he is an ambassador, more than likely, this was a letter sent to Busbecq reporting how this meeting with the Suleyman went. This had to be troubling news for Busbecq’s leaders. The letter is pretty much saying that Suleyman is going to conquer no matter what and that he has no regard for Busbecq. He can see from just a short period of time that their armies are in trouble. Busbecq is probably thinking this is the end of our independent rule. Unintended audiences would be furious to read this about the Lawgiver. His name says one thing but he does another. This would cause other cities to start preparing for an inevitable fight with the Ottoman Empire.

Historical Use: It is interesting because Ghiselin describes the Ottoman Empire’s way of conquering as never heard of before. They actually let qualified men do the work that they are qualified for rather than just putting anyone in a position because they inherited the job. It is, also, interesting that shortly after this letter; the Persians attack the Ottomans in the Middle East. Also, because the Ottoman Empire had not conquered some big cities, their naval was never really any good because other cities had better naval fleets and would just end theirs. This had to be a turning point in war for spreading your empire out as far as it can reach can cause it to be brought down by attacks. Instead, keeping your empire broad, but strong will allow you to succeed.

Believability: I do believe this article. This is a person who went into the dragon’s lair and faced this conqueror face to face. It would be different if someone from the Suleyman’s own empire wrote this about him, but instead, a person that is getting conquered wrote it. It, also, seems like an update letter letting someone know of how his meetings are going. The “well, well” in the beginning of the letter had to be bad news for Busbecq.

“Suleyman the Lawgiver”
by Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq

Authorship: Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq was an Austrian ambassador to Sultan Suleyman at Istanbul in the mid 16th Century. Busbecq was sent to Istanbul to prevent another attack on the city of Vienna by the Ottoman Empire by using his political skills.

Context: The Turkish Empire is at war with the Persian Empire, an ongoing battle that sees little rest. This document is in response to an attack on the city of Vienna, in hopes of finding a peaceful solution because the city cannot withstand much more in the ways of an assault from the Turks.

Content: Busbecq speaks of the grandeur of Turkish society and soldiery. He speaks very highly of their society, of their ability to see that ancestry means nothing when it comes to fighting in a battle, but rather the self-discipline of the man fighting. Also, he says, the Christian nations are sloppy, lazy, lack discipline, and drink & eat constantly of ever waining stocks when they should hold reserves for any return homeward across barren lands ravaged by war. He warns the Christian nations against fighting such a foe in open battle because the inevitable result is crushing defeat.

Response: The intended audience is the Christian nations that see the Turkish Empire on the fields of battle and through political endeavors. I believe that those people would have seen their weaknesses in military traditions and tried ever more vigilantly to use their political connections to resolve conflicts with the Islamic Empires in the future, shying away from the battlefield. Had the Sultan or someone of his court seen this document, I believe he would have stuck much harder and more fervently than ever before into the soft underbelly of the Christian nations, expanding his Empire’s reaches even further than they already spanned.

Historical Use: I believe that this document shows a lot about society during the 16th Century. It show the drastic differences in people’s beliefs about how a societal structure should work. On one hand the traditions of many people was that the life that your ancestors lived dictates how you should live, what traits and abilities you should learn. On the other hand the Turks saw the reality that some people are naturally gifted in certain areas and that they should be able to cultivate those talents. This answers a lot of how the Turkish Empire was able to conquer so many people and expand their empire to the vast size that it finally grew to.