At the end of the twentieth century people spoke as if the Balkans
had plagued Europe for ever. But two hundred years earlier, the
Balkans did not exist. It was not the Balkans but the 'Rumeli' that
the Ottomans ruled, the formerly Roman lands they had conquered
from Byzantium, together with their Christian inhabitants. In this
original account of the region Mark Mazower dispels current Western
cliches and replaces stereotypes with a vivid account of how
mountains, empires and religions have shaped its inhabitants'
lives. As a bridge between Europe and Asia it has been exposed to a
constant incursion of nomadic peoples across the centuries.
Mazower's narrative ranges broadly both in time and in space,
treating the former Turkish domains in Europe as part of a common
if complex historical inheritance.