Contemporary Ottoman Views of Catherine the Great

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This article is the first to examine views of the Russian empress Catherine the Great (r. 1762–96) in the contemporary eighteenth-century Ottoman Empire. Drawing on Turkish chronicles, embassy reports, and captivity narratives, it reveals extreme hostility but also a fascination with Catherine, whom the sources depict variously as a foreign interloper, usurper, regicide, and trial sent by God. Rather than simple misogyny, the article argues that this vilification stemmed in large part from an Ottoman rejection of Catherine’s legitimacy as well as from their close personal identification of her with the two empires’ geopolitical struggles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-100
Number of pages17
JournalJournal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Issue number1
Early online date22 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2019


  • Catherine the Great
  • Islam
  • Ottoman empire
  • Russian empire
  • chronicles
  • female rulers
  • travel narratives


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