Institutions within Ottoman Administration

There were many scientific and related institutions in the Ottoman administration responsible for various activities. These show that scientific endeavour proceeded with considerable sponsorship from the Ottoman government.

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The Ottomans preserved the primary characteristics of Islamic civilization in their administrative and scientific institutions as they also did in governmental, social and cultural areas. Three of the six Ottoman state scientific institutions dealt with here are in the area of astronomy and the other three have to do with medicine. Of the scientific institutions within the Ottoman state apparatus, those dealing with medicine are separated into mainly three:: the Office of Chief Physician (hakimbahsilik), the hospitals and the Süleymâniye Medical Madrasa.

All three institutions came into being at different times. The hospitals, which were institutions concerned with public health, were the first to be established. An Office of Chief Physician was established at the Palace for this purpose. The Süleymâniye Medical Madrasa was opened at a later period to train physicians and was put under the administrative aegis of the Office of Chief Physician. The scientific institutions, which we shall examine(see full article) in the field of astronomy, are the chief astronomer's office, the muvakkithânes and the Istanbul Observatory.

Though one can find original works and those in translation in the fields of astronomy and astrology from the early period on, the first calendar works were only begun during the time of Sultan Murâd II. The establishment of the chief astronomer's office, an institution which emerged to administer the growing number of Muvakkithanes set up in the Ottoman Empire and especially in Istanbul following the conquest and to manage astronomical and astrological activities at the palace, most probably took place during the reign of Bâyezîd II.

 The short-lived Istanbul Observatory later established alongside the Muvakkithanes was also under the administrative control of the Chief Astronomer's Office. In contrast to the sultan astronomers of earlier Islamic states, the Chief Astronomer's Office continued to function with a rather large staff and broad responsibilities as a well-organized institution engaged in its particular activities until the late period.

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