School papers, Essays, Dissertations/Paper editing help.

Advertisement


Question
Hi Dan,

I was wondering if you wouldn't mind looking over the following history paper and proof reading it, letting me know how it flows.

My writing can use all the help it can get. If you are unable to look it over, that is totally fine. Thanks so much.



The Ottoman and Venetian empires have very different stories to tell; yet both are connected one to the other.  Rising to power in distinctive ways, they were different from the other but related in certain areas.  The Ottomans and Venetians both shared similarities that led to their eventual declines.  The Venetian Empire rose to power as a maritime commercial and naval industry, controlling much of the trade taking place in the Mediterranean Sea at the height of their empire in (WHAT CENTURY).  The Ottomans to the east rose to power as a small Turkish tribe fighting for Islam.  Growing by acquiring land and becoming a great empire after conquering Constantinople in 1453.  Each one has an interconnected story throughout their individual rising to power and building of their empires.  Thou the Venetian empire was quite a bit older then the Ottamans, the question of this paper will not be about their rising to power, but will be about their respective declines and what led to them.  Many historians assign the decline of both empires at the end of the 16th century, is this true?  Were they in anyway related to each others demise?

So many factors can attribute to an empire failing.  Both the Ottoman and Venetian states had similar and diverse reasons to their declines.  The Ottomans were initially successful because they sought to spread Islam and gain new lands for expansion and settlement, starting as Ghazi warriors for Islam under the leadership of Osman I.  The Venetians on the other hand strived off trade and commercialism sailing in the Mediterranean profiting off the Far East spice and silk trade.  The Venetians were not as interested in procuring lands but establishing trade and maintaining peace.  When the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453 the whole Mediterranean area would be changed forever.

VENICE:  Almost immediately after the fall of Constantinople the Venetian empire started to decline, this decline would take many years, but with the Ottomans now controlling key ports and entrances to the Balkins and to the Far East, Venice’s time as the power of the Mediterranean was coming to a close.  The Ottoman presence in the Mediterranean threatened Venetian trade and commercial enterprises; their prized industries, making it harder and costing them more to continue this legacy they were known for.  Often fighting wars with the Ottoman Empire, these led to Venice’s decline because they drained Venetian resources, manpower and reduced its territorial size.  Making Venice poorer, weaker, and unable to defend herself against external aggressors, such as the Ottomans.  Being in a war mode for Venice meant that they were not in a commercial trade mode; these conflicts were key in keeping Venice from its true desire; commercial trade.   
Yet there were other factors that led to the decline of the Venetian empire apart from the Ottomans, especially the discovery of new trade routes for reaching the Far East.  At the height of the Venetian empire it controlled most all of the trade that took place in the Mediterranean, allowing Venice to be able to charge prices for goods at whatever cost they saw fit.  As more European nations explored outside the Mediterranean waters and headed across the Atlantic Ocean in search of other routes to the Indies, more commercial enterprises were pouring into the market, causing competition for the Venetian and challenging the control over European trade.  In 1497, the Portuguese explorer Vasco Di Gama sailed around the horn of Africa and reached India, thus establishing another trade route that declined Venetian power of Eastern trade.  This direct access to India for the Portuguese meant they could get their spices directly from India and no longer had to go through Venetian merchants.  This new sea route destroyed Venice’s monopoly of the lucrative spice trade and greatly reduced the profits, which Venetian traders had earned for centuries, hence aiding to the decline of the empire. It was during this time that the “Mediterranean no longer occupied a central position in the events that would mould Europe’s future.”   Now that the Mediterranean was no longer the major trade route, Venice began to look at other ways to stop the decline of their empire.
  As Venice’s maritime success slowed down, it began to look at mainland territories. Surrounded in the east by the Ottomans and to the west and north by the Hapsburg, Venice looked to mainland Italy for conquest.  We know that Venice at its prime was a maritime force, however the actual land of Venice was quite small and did not have nearly the amount of population that other empires had.  Thus in time of war or land expansion that it sought, Venice depended on mercenary army’s to go to war for them.  These mercenaries were not always loyal to Venice, often fighting for whoever paid best.  The overdependence on the mercenaries drained the Venetian economy of funds necessary for other resources, leading to even more decline.
The declining maritime empire had turned into a bureaucratic nobility who cared more about securing their own wealth and rule then for the good interest of the empire.  I believe that this nobility, much like certain classes of the Ottomans, aided in the decline of the empire.  In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Venetians made the patrician class, a closed group; meaning that no new families were allowed to join unless in extreme circumstances.    As Venice’s empire grew, the nobility class did not; the patrician class of Venice controlled the government and usually served the highest posts in the Navy.  Since this nobility did not grow any more leadership of the republic began to fail and corruption began to set in.  This corruption added to the inefficiency of the state due to the appointment of inept leaders who served only their personal interests and did not make decisions for the benefit of Venice.

lands and islands it had acquired for their specific needs.  Cyprus and Crete were two very significant Islands for the Venetians.  Cyprus was lost in 1571 and Crete in 1669.  When both these islands eventually fell to the Ottomans, the Venetians were then restricted to the little land they held
Surrounded in the east by the Ottomans and to the west and north by the Hapsburg, Venice looked to mainland Italy for conquest.

Ottomans:  The decline of the Ottoman Empire happened in the late 16th century.   Different from the Venetians who sought commercial trade, the Ottomans started as holy warriors, seeking to expand Islam to the world.  This idea and propaganda worked as long as the empire was growing, but as it became harder to expand the empire began to decline.  It was not just the lack of expansion that hurt the Turks in the 16th century, it was during the 16th century that they started to have weak sultans, and the government rule was being stretched to much. One historically recognized reason for its initial decline was the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.  The Holy League, a coalition of European catholic maritime states brought together by the Pope to stop the Ottoman expansion into the Western Europe.  The defeat suffered here by the Ottomans was very significant because it marked the end of major expansion into the West and because they had not lost a major sea battle since the 15th century.   It was this significant sea battle “that settled the old struggle that had broken out between Muslims and Christians after the fall of the Roman Empire.”   The Turkish drive across the Mediterranean and into Europe came to a stop after this loss, even thou it rebuilt its navy within six months after their defeat , the decline had begun.  Europe no longer feared the Turks as it had before, knowing now that the Ottomans could be defeated; Europe and the Ottomans now both focused their attention internally to deal with more local economic, political, and social problems.  The Islamic goal of expansion came to a halt after the Battle of Lepanto, “their tide of victories and conquests soon ceased, and the empire entered a long period of steady decline.”
  
  The decline of the Ottoman Empire actually started a few years before the Battle of Lepanto though, the defeat just solidified this already happening decline.  At the peak of the Ottoman state it had always relied on their Sultan to lead them and to govern them wisely.  To become sultan, the sons of the previous Sultan would fight each other until only one was standing; this son would then become the Sultan.   The Ottoman state was ruled as an absolute monarchy, with the sultan at the apex of authority.  The height of the empire came when Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent ruled in the 16th century.  It was during his reign that the Ottoman state expanded to cover the Balkins, Hungary, and reach the gates of Vienna.   Up until the end of his reign in 1566, the Ottomans had enjoyed relatively strong and successful Sultans who bettered the empire.  It was after Suleiman reign that a long line of incompetent sultans starting with his son, Selim II “the Drunkard”, who assisted in this decline.  “Selim II reigned for only eight years, but he set the precedent for Ottoman rule for the next two centuries and the great Empire, the great Caliphate that stood as a lion before the advancing mercantile and military expansion against Europe, slowly crumbled under European pressure.”   No longer were sultans forced to kill their own brothers for rule, but they became less severe and weaker in maintaining the rigorous standards that had led to the empires success.   Sultans were merely figureheads to the ever-growing power of individual Lords and the harem. This lack of centralized power and leadership due to the weaker sultans led to the empires decline.
     Much like the venetians, struggles for power began at the end of the 16th century among various elements of the bureaucracy, particularly the grand vizier, the harem, and the Janissaries.   This led to constant shifting of power within the government, which is believed to be a key reason to the decline of the empire.

The decline of the Ottomans also had several other factors aside from the Battle of Lepanto and the weak sultans.  The Ottoman state much like the Venetians suffered from the discovery of the new world and spice trade routes around Africa.  Much like the Venetians, Ottomans now had competition in trade, due to the new competition from the new world and the Far East.  It was during this time that the “Mediterranean no longer occupied a central position in the events that would mould Europe’s future.” (Hess article)

Answer
Ben,

This is a far larger piece than I can edit at no charge. But I did take a quick glance and noted a couple of systematic things.

1. Your use of the semicolon is inappropriate in the 1st sentence. Use a comma.

2. You do not seem to have mastered commas at all. I'll take a couple of examples:

<<Almost immediately after the fall of Constantinople the Venetian empire started to decline, this decline would take many years, but with the Ottomans now controlling key ports and entrances to the Balkins and to the Far East, Venice’s time as the power of the Mediterranean was coming to a close.>>

Here, you start off with a comma splice. If you don't know what that is, learn -- look it up and don't do it any more. Rewrite this sentence thus.

<< Almost immediately after the fall of Constantinople the Venetian empire started to decline. This decline would take many years, but with the Ottomans now controlling key ports and entrances to the Balkins and to the Far East, Venice’s time as the power of the Mediterranean was coming to a close.>>

<<The decline of the Ottoman Empire actually started a few years before the Battle of Lepanto though, the defeat just solidified this already happening decline.  At the peak of the Ottoman state it had always relied on their Sultan to lead them and to govern them wisely.>>

In the first sentence, the comma is in the wrong place. Put it after Lepanto. In the second sentence, just go ahead and use the real noun instead of adding an unneeded pronoun. Rewrite as follows.

<<The decline of the Ottoman Empire actually started a few years before the Battle of Lepanto, though the defeat intensified the trend.  At its peak, the Ottoman state had always relied on their Sultan to lead and govern them wisely.>>

In writing, less is usually more. Hope this helps.  

School papers, Essays, Dissertations

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Dan Smith

Expertise

I have been a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years, taught speech and English composition at the university level, and have developed speech and English composition courses and seminars for businesses. I am experienced in editing a wide variety of materials, especially business, scientific, and other academic papers. I am familiar with all the major style guides.

Experience

I have edited any number of graduate papers and other technical materials in such advanced fields as civil and electrical engineering and semiconductor fabrication. I have extensive experience in working with non-native English speakers.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.