Murat Iyigun on Luther and Suleyman

Murat Iyigun has an interesting paper forthcoming in the Quarterly Journal of Economics:

Luther and Suleyman

Various historical accounts have suggested that the Ottomans’ rise helped the Protestant Reform movement as well as its offshoots, such as Zwinglianism, Anabaptism, and Calvinism, survive their infancy and mature. Utilizing a comprehensive dataset on violent confrontations for the interval between 1401 and 1700, I show that the incidence of military engagements between the Protestant Reformers and the Counter-Reformation forces between the 1520s and 1650s depended negatively on Ottomans’ military activities in Europe. Furthermore, I document that the impact of the Ottomans on Europe went beyond suppressing ecclesiastical conflicts only: at the turn of the 16th century, Ottoman conquests lowered the number of all newly-initiated conflicts among the Europeans roughly by 25 percent, while they dampened all longer-running feuds by more than 15 percent. The Ottomans’ military activities influenced the length of intra-European feuds too, with each Ottoman-European military engagement shortening the duration of intra-European conflicts by more than 50 percent. Thus, while the Protestant Reformation might have benefitted from – and perhaps even capitalized on – the Ottoman advances in Europe, the latter seems to have played some role in reducing conflicts within Europe more generally.

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