History ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-12-2017


This thesis is a comparative analysis of Emperor Charles V and Sultan Süleyman I. Both men were archetypes of their age and perfectly demonstrated the perceived struggle between the East and West, Christianity and Islam. These two were the first generation of sovereigns of the early modern period, and throughout their time as monarchs each sought to counteract and dominate the other by utilizing rhetoric, titulature, propaganda, regalia, and iconography.

The texts and images used throughout serve as the best representatives of the Sultan’s and Emperor’s theatrical conflict. The first chapter focuses on the evolution of the perception of the Turk in the beginning of the sixteenth century. The second examines the relationship between Charles, Süleyman, and their advisers while analyzing both ruler’s sovereign claims. The final chapter analyzes the importance of religion in helping Charles and Süleyman exert their power and authority, and their conflict with heretics.

Studying Charles V and Süleyman I in a comparative aspect is useful because both rulers were excellent examples of the changes happening at the beginning of the early modern period. These sovereigns reveal the aspirations and beliefs of their cultures, faiths, and nations, because on their perceived world stage they thought of themselves as ultimate representatives in the struggle between the East and West. Although these two men, their advisers, and subsequent scholars have emphasized differences, their interactions with one another and their similarities are what is most striking in this study.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Patricia Risso

Second Committee Member

Charlie Steen

Third Committee Member

Sarah Davis-Secord




Early Modern Europe, Ottoman Empire, Comparative Analysis, Charles V, Suleyman I

Document Type


Included in

History Commons