Ashoka (English: ; IAST: Aśoka, Brāhmi: 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓, Asoka), sometimes Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. The grandson of the founder of the Maurya Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka promoted the spread of Buddhism. Considered by many to be one of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka expanded Chandragupta's empire to reign over a realm stretching from present-day Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh in the east. It covered the entire Indian subcontinent except for parts of present-day Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. The empire's capital was Pataliputra (in Magadha, present-day Patna), with provincial capitals at Taxila and Ujjain.
Ashoka waged a destructive war against the state of Kalinga (modern Odisha), which he conquered in about 260 BCE. In about 263 BCE, he converted to Buddhism after witnessing the mass deaths of the Kalinga War, which he had waged out of a desire for conquest and which reportedly directly resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and 150,000 deportations. He is remembered for the Ashoka pillars and edicts, for sending Buddhist monks to Sri Lanka and Central Asia, and for establishing monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha.Beyond the Edicts of Ashoka, biographical information about him relies on legends written centuries later, such as the 2nd-century CE Ashokavadana ("Narrative of Ashoka", a part of the Divyavadana), and in the Sri Lankan text Mahavamsa ("Great Chronicle"). The emblem of the modern Republic of India is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka. His Sanskrit name "Aśoka" means "painless, without sorrow" (the a privativum and śoka, "pain, distress"). In his edicts, he is referred to as Devānāmpriya (Pali Devānaṃpiya or "the Beloved of the Gods"), and Priyadarśin (Pali Piyadasī or "He who regards everyone with affection"). His fondness for his name's connection to the Saraca asoca tree, or "Ashoka tree", is also referenced in the Ashokavadana. In The Outline of History, H.G. Wells wrote, "Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, their majesties and graciousnesses and serenities and royal highnesses and the like, the name of Ashoka shines, and shines, almost alone, a star."Constantine the Great and Christianity
During the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (AD 306–337), Christianity began to transition to the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Historians remain uncertain about Constantine's reasons for favoring Christianity, and theologians and historians have often argued about which form of early Christianity he subscribed to. There is no consensus among scholars as to whether he adopted his mother Helena's Christianity in his youth, or, as claimed by Eusebius of Caesarea, encouraged her to convert to the faith he had adopted himself.
Constantine ruled the Roman Empire as sole emperor for the remainder of his reign. Some scholars allege that his main objective was to gain unanimous approval and submission to his authority from all classes, and therefore chose Christianity to conduct his political propaganda, believing that it was the most appropriate religion that could fit with the Imperial cult (see also Sol Invictus). Regardless, under Constantine's rule Christianity expanded throughout the Empire, launching the era of Christian Church's dominance under the Constantinian dynasty. Whether Constantine sincerely converted to Christianity or remained loyal to Paganism is still a matter of debate among historians (see also Constantine's Religious policy). His formal conversion in 312 is almost universally acknowledged among historians, despite that he was baptized only on his deathbed by the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia in 337; the real reasons behind it remain unknown and are debated too. According to Hans Pohlsander, Professor Emeritus of History at the University at Albany, SUNY, Constantine's conversion was just another instrument of realpolitik in his hands meant to serve his political interest in keeping the Empire united under his control:
The prevailing spirit of Constantine's government was one of conservatorism. His conversion to and support of Christianity produced fewer innovations than one might have expected; indeed they served an entirely conservative end, the preservation and continuation of the Empire.
Constantine's decision to cease the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire was a turning point for early Christianity, sometimes referred to as the Triumph of the Church, the Peace of the Church or the Constantinian shift. In 313, Constantine and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan decriminalizing Christian worship. The emperor became a great patron of the Church and set a precedent for the position of the Christian emperor within the Church and the notion of orthodoxy, Christendom, ecumenical councils, and the state church of the Roman Empire declared by edict in 380. He is revered as a saint and isapostolos in the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church, and various Eastern Catholic Churches for his example as a "Christian monarch."Decian persecution
The Decian persecution resulted from an edict issued in 250 by the Emperor Decius ordering everyone in the Roman Empire (except for Jews, who were exempted) to perform a sacrifice to the Roman gods and the well-being of the Emperor. The edict ordered that the sacrifices be performed in the presence of a Roman magistrate, and a signed and witnessed certificate be issued to that effect. It was the first time that Christians had faced legislation forcing them to choose between their religious beliefs and death, although there is no evidence that Decius' edict was specifically intended to target Christians. The edict appears to have been designed more as an Empire-wide loyalty oath. Nevertheless, a number of Christians were put to death for refusing to perform the sacrifices, many others apostatized and performed the ceremonies, and others went into hiding. The effects were long-lasting and caused tension between Christians who had performed the sacrifices or fled and those who had not, and left bitter memories of persecution.Diet of Worms
The Diet of Worms 1521 (German: Reichstag zu Worms [ˈʁaɪçstaːk tsuː ˈvɔɐms]) was an imperial diet (assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire called by King Charles V. It was held at the Heylshof Garden in Worms, then an Imperial Free City of the Empire. An imperial diet was a formal deliberative assembly of the whole Empire. This one is most memorable for the Edict of Worms (Wormser Edikt), which addressed Martin Luther and the effects of the Protestant Reformation.
It was conducted from 28 January to 25 May 1521, with the Emperor Charles V presiding.Other imperial diets took place at Worms in the years 829, 926, 1076, 1122, 1495, and 1545, but unless plainly qualified, the term "Diet of Worms" usually refers to the assembly of 1521.Diocletianic Persecution
The Diocletianic or Great Persecution was the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. In 303, the Emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius issued a series of edicts rescinding Christians' legal rights and demanding that they comply with traditional religious practices. Later edicts targeted the clergy and demanded universal sacrifice, ordering all inhabitants to sacrifice to the gods. The persecution varied in intensity across the empire—weakest in Gaul and Britain, where only the first edict was applied, and strongest in the Eastern provinces. Persecutory laws were nullified by different emperors (Galerius with the Edict of Serdica in 311) at different times, but Constantine and Licinius's Edict of Milan (313) has traditionally marked the end of the persecution.
Christians had always been subject to local discrimination in the empire, but early emperors were reluctant to issue general laws against the sect. It was not until the 250s, under the reigns of Decius and Valerian, that such laws were passed. Under this legislation, Christians were compelled to sacrifice to Roman gods or face imprisonment and execution. After Gallienus's accession in 260, these laws went into abeyance. Diocletian's assumption of power in 284 did not mark an immediate reversal of imperial inattention to Christianity, but it did herald a gradual shift in official attitudes toward religious minorities. In the first fifteen years of his rule, Diocletian purged the army of Christians, condemned Manicheans to death, and surrounded himself with public opponents of Christianity. Diocletian's preference for activist government, combined with his self-image as a restorer of past Roman glory, foreboded the most pervasive persecution in Roman history. In the winter of 302, Galerius urged Diocletian to begin a general persecution of the Christians. Diocletian was wary, and asked the oracle of Apollo for guidance. The oracle's reply was read as an endorsement of Galerius's position, and a general persecution was called on February 24, 303.
Persecutory policies varied in intensity across the empire. Where Galerius and Diocletian were avid persecutors, Constantius was unenthusiastic. Later persecutory edicts, including the calls for universal sacrifice, were not applied in his domain. His son, Constantine, on taking the imperial office in 306, restored Christians to full legal equality and returned property that had been confiscated during the persecution. In Italy in 306, the usurper Maxentius ousted Maximian's successor Severus, promising full religious toleration. Galerius ended the persecution in the East in 311, but it was resumed in Egypt, Palestine, and Asia Minor by his successor, Maximinus. Constantine and Licinius, Severus's successor, signed the Edict of Milan in 313, which offered a more comprehensive acceptance of Christianity than Galerius's edict had provided. Licinius ousted Maximinus in 313, bringing an end to persecution in the East.
The persecution failed to check the rise of the Church. By 324, Constantine was sole ruler of the empire, and Christianity had become his favored religion. Although the persecution resulted in death, torture, imprisonment, or dislocation for many Christians, the majority of the empire's Christians avoided punishment. The persecution did, however, cause many churches to split between those who had complied with imperial authority (the traditores), and those who had remained "pure". Certain schisms, like those of the Donatists in North Africa and the Meletians in Egypt, persisted long after the persecutions. The Donatists would not be reconciled to the Church until after 411. Some historians consider that, in the centuries that followed the persecutory era, Christians created a "cult of the martyrs", and exaggerated its barbarity. Such Christian accounts were criticized during the Enlightenment and afterwards, most notably by Edward Gibbon. Modern historians, such as G. E. M. de Ste. Croix, have attempted to determine whether Christian sources exaggerated the scope of the Diocletianic persecution.Edict of Expulsion
The Edict of Expulsion was a royal decree issued by King Edward I of England on 18 July 1290, expelling all Jews from the Kingdom of England. The expulsion edict remained in force for the rest of the Middle Ages. The edict was not an isolated incident, but the culmination of over 200 years of increased persecution. The edict was overturned during the Protectorate more than 350 years later, when Oliver Cromwell permitted Jews to return to England in 1657. King Edward I advised Sheriffs of all Counties he wanted all Jews expelled by no later than All Saints' Day (1st November) of the year the decree was issued.Edict of Fontainebleau
The Edict of Fontainebleau (22 October 1685) was an edict issued by Louis XIV of France, also known as the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The Edict of Nantes (1598) had granted the Huguenots the right to practice their religion without persecution from the state. Though Protestants had lost their independence in places of refuge under Richelieu on account of their supposed insubordination, they continued to live in comparative security and political contentment. From the outset, religious toleration in France had been a royal, rather than a popular policy. The lack of universal adherence to his religion did not sit well with Louis XIV's vision of perfected autocracy: "Bending all else to his will, Louis XIV resented the presence of heretics among his subjects."Edict of Milan
The Edict of Milan (Latin: Edictum Mediolanense) was the February 313 AD agreement to treat Christians benevolently within the Roman Empire. Western Roman Emperor Constantine I and Emperor Licinius, who controlled the Balkans, met in Mediolanum (modern-day Milan) and, among other things, agreed to change policies towards Christians following the Edict of Toleration issued by Emperor Galerius two years earlier in Serdica. The Edict of Milan gave Christianity a legal status, but did not make Christianity the State church of the Roman Empire; this took place under Emperor Theodosius I in 380 AD with the Edict of Thessalonica.
The document is found in Lactantius' De Mortibus Persecutorum and in Eusebius of Caesarea's History of the Church with marked divergences between the two. Whether or not there was a formal 'Edict of Milan' is debated by some.The version found in Lactantius is not in the form of an edict. It is a letter from Licinius to the governors of the provinces in the Eastern Empire he had just conquered by defeating Maximinus later in the same year and issued in Nicomedia.Edict of Nantes
The Edict of Nantes (French: édit de Nantes), signed in April 1598 by King Henry IV of France, granted the Calvinist Protestants of France (also known as Huguenots) substantial rights in the nation, which was still considered essentially Catholic at the time. In the edict, Henry aimed primarily to promote civil unity. The edict separated civil from religious unity, treated some Protestants for the first time as more than mere schismatics and heretics, and opened a path for secularism and tolerance. In offering general freedom of conscience to individuals, the edict offered many specific concessions to the Protestants, such as amnesty and the reinstatement of their civil rights, including the right to work in any field or for the state and to bring grievances directly to the king. It marked the end of the religious wars that had afflicted France during the second half of the 16th century.
The Edict of St. Germain, promulgated 36 years before by Catherine de Médici, had granted limited tolerance to Huguenots but was overtaken by events, as it was not formally registered until after the Massacre of Vassy on 1 March 1562, which triggered the first of the French Wars of Religion.
The later Edict of Fontainebleau, which revoked the Edict of Nantes in October 1685, was promulgated by Louis XIV, the grandson of Henry IV. It drove an exodus of Protestants and increased the hostility of Protestant nations bordering France.Edict of Thessalonica
The Edict of Thessalonica (also known as Cunctos populos), issued on 27 February AD 380 by three reigning Roman Emperors, made Nicene Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire.Edict of Torda
The Edict of Torda (Hungarian: tordai ediktum) was a decree that authorized local communities to freely elect their preachers in the "eastern Hungarian Kingdom" of John Sigismund Zápolya. The delegates of the Three Nations of Transylvania – the Hungarian nobles, Transylvanian Saxons, and Székelys – adopted it at the request of the monarch's Antitrinitarian court preacher, Ferenc Dávid, in Torda (now Turda in Romania) on 28 January 1568. Though it did not acknowledge an individual's right to religious freedom, in sanctioning the existence of a radical Christian religion in a European state, the decree was an unprecedented act of religious tolerance.
The Catholic and Orthodox Churches had already coexisted in the southern and eastern territories of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary for centuries. However, ideas that the Catholic Church regarded as heresy were not tolerated: the Hungarian Hussites were expelled from the country in the 1430s and the Diet of Hungary passed a decree that ordered the persecution of the Lutherans in 1523. The latter decree was in practice ignored during the civil war that followed the Ottoman victory against the Hungarian army in the Battle of Mohács in 1526. After the Ottomans occupied the central regions of the medieval kingdom in 1541, they allowed the infant John Sigismund to rule the lands to the east of the river Tisza under the regency of his mother, Isabella Jagiellon. In the early 1540s the Diets acknowledged the right of the Three Nations to freely regulate their internal affairs. The Saxons regarded religion as an internal affair and ordered the introduction of Lutheran Reformation in their settlements in 1544–1545. The Diet sanctioned the coexistence of the Catholic and Lutheran denominations only in 1557.
John Sigismund started to rule personally after his mother died in 1559. He was interested in religious affairs and organized a series of debates between the representatives of the different Protestant theologies. He converted from Catholicism to Lutheranism in 1562, and from Lutheranism to Calvinism in 1564. His court physician, Giorgio Biandrata, and Ferenc Dávid jointly persuaded him to also allow the public discussion of the dogma of Trinity. He accepted Dávid and Biandrata's Antitrinitarian views in 1567. The Edict of Torda was adopted at the following Diet. It stated that "faith is a gift of God" and prohibited the persecution of individuals on religious grounds. In practice, the edict only sanctioned the existence of four "received" denominations – the Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, and Unitarian Churches. Further religious innovations were prohibited during the reign of John Sigismund's successor, Stephen Báthory, but religious tolerance remained a distinguishing feature of the Principality of Transylvania (the successor state of John Sigismund's realm) in Early Modern Europe.Edicts of Ashoka
The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of more than thirty inscriptions on the pillars as well as boulders and cave walls, made by Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire during his reign, from 268 BCE to 232 BCE. Ashoka used the expression Dhaṃma Lipi (Prakrit in the Brahmi script: 𑀥𑀁𑀫𑀮𑀺𑀧𑀺, "Inscriptions of the Dharma") to describe his own Edicts. These inscriptions were dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and provide the first tangible evidence of Buddhism. The edicts describe in detail Ashoka's view about dhamma, an earnest attempt to solve some of the problems that a complex society faced. According to the edicts, the extent of Buddhist proselytism during this period reached as far as the Mediterranean, and many Buddhist monuments were created.
These inscriptions proclaim Ashoka's adherence to the Buddhist philosophy which, as in Hinduism, is called dharma, "Law". The inscriptions show his efforts to develop the Buddhist dharma throughout his kingdom. Although Buddhism as well as Gautama Buddha are mentioned, the edicts focus on social and moral precepts rather than specific religious practices or the philosophical dimension of Buddhism. These were located in public places and were meant for people to read.
In these inscriptions, Ashoka refers to himself as "Beloved of the Gods" (Devanampiya). The identification of Devanampiya with Ashoka was confirmed by an inscription discovered in 1915 by C. Beadon, a British gold-mining engineer, at Maski, a village in Raichur district of Karnataka. Another minor rock edict, found at the village Gujarra in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh, also used the name of Ashoka together with his titles: "Devanampiya Piyadasi Asokaraja". The inscriptions found in the central and eastern part of India were written in Magadhi Prakrit using the Brahmi script, while Prakrit using the Kharoshthi script, Greek and Aramaic were used in the northwest. These edicts were deciphered by British archaeologist and historian James Prinsep.The inscriptions revolve around a few recurring themes: Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism, the description of his efforts to spread Buddhism, his moral and religious precepts, and his social and animal welfare program.The edicts were based on Ashoka's ideas on administration and behaviour of people towards one another and religion.French Wars of Religion
The French Wars of Religion were a prolonged period of war and popular unrest between Roman Catholics and Huguenots (Reformed/Calvinist Protestants) in the Kingdom of France between 1562 and 1598. It is estimated that three million people perished in this period from violence, famine, or disease in what is considered the second deadliest religious war in European history (surpassed only by the Thirty Years' War, which took eight million lives).Much of the conflict took place during the long regency of Queen Catherine de' Medici, widow of Henry II of France, for her minor sons. It also involved a dynastic power struggle between powerful noble families in the line for succession to the French throne: the wealthy, ambitious, and fervently Roman Catholic ducal House of Guise (a cadet branch of the House of Lorraine, who claimed descent from Charlemagne) and their ally Anne de Montmorency, Constable of France (i.e., commander in chief of the French armed forces) versus the less wealthy House of Condé (a branch of the House of Bourbon), princes of the blood in the line of succession to the throne who were sympathetic to Calvinism. Foreign allies provided financing and other assistance to both sides, with Habsburg Spain and the Duchy of Savoy supporting the Guises, and England supporting the Protestant side led by the Condés and by the Protestant Jeanne d'Albret, wife of Antoine de Bourbon, King of Navarre, and her son, Henry of Navarre.
Moderates, primarily associated with the French Valois monarchy and its advisers, tried to balance the situation and avoid open bloodshed. This group (pejoratively known as Politiques) put their hopes in the ability of a strong centralized government to maintain order and harmony. In contrast to the previous hardline policies of Henri II and his father Francis I, they began introducing gradual concessions to Huguenots. A most notable moderate, at least initially, was the queen mother, Catherine de' Medici. Catherine, however, later hardened her stance and, at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572, sided with the Guises. This pivotal historical event involved a complete breakdown of state control resulting in series of riots and massacres in which Catholic mobs killed between 5,000 and 30,000 Protestants over a period of weeks throughout the entire kingdom.
At the conclusion of the conflict in 1598, the Protestant Henry of Navarre, heir to the French throne, converted to Catholicism and was crowned Henry IV of France. He issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted Huguenots substantial rights and freedoms though this did not end Catholic hostility towards them or towards him, personally. The wars of religion threatened the authority of the monarchy, already fragile under the rule of Catherine's three sons and the last Valois kings: Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III. This changed under the reign of their Bourbon successor Henry IV. The edict of Nantes was revoked later in 1685 with the Edict of Fontainebleau by Louis XIV of France. Henry IV's wise governance and selection of able administrators did leave a legacy of a strong centralized government, stability, and economic prosperity that has gained him the reputation as France's best and most beloved monarch, earning him the designation "Good King Henry".Huguenots
Huguenots (; French: les huguenots [yɡ(ə)no]) are an ethnoreligious group of French Protestants.
The term has its origin in early 16th century France. It was frequently used in reference to those of the Reformed Church of France from the time of the Protestant Reformation. Huguenots were French Protestants who held to the Reformed tradition of Protestantism. By contrast, the Protestant populations of eastern France, in Alsace, Moselle, and Montbéliard were mainly ethnic German Lutherans.
In his Encyclopedia of Protestantism, Hans Hillerbrand said that, on the eve of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572, the Huguenot community included as much as 10% of the French population. By 1600 it had declined to 7–8%, and was reduced further after the return of severe persecution in 1685 under Louis XIV's Edict of Fontainebleau.
The Huguenots were believed to be concentrated among the population in the southern and western parts of the Kingdom of France. As Huguenots gained influence and more openly displayed their faith, Catholic hostility grew. A series of religious conflicts followed, known as the French Wars of Religion, fought intermittently from 1562 to 1598. The Huguenots were led by Jeanne d'Albret, her son, the future Henry IV (who would later convert to Catholicism in order to become king), and the princes of Condé. The wars ended with the Edict of Nantes, which granted the Huguenots substantial religious, political and military autonomy.
Huguenot rebellions in the 1620s resulted in the abolition of their political and military privileges. They retained the religious provisions of the Edict of Nantes until the rule of Louis XIV, who gradually increased persecution of Protestantism until he issued the Edict of Fontainebleau (1685). This ended legal recognition of Protestantism in France and the Huguenots were forced either to convert to Catholicism (possibly as Nicodemites) or flee as refugees; they were subject to violent dragonnades. Louis XIV claimed that the French Huguenot population was reduced from about 800,000 to 900,000 adherents to just 1,000 to 1,500. He exaggerated the decline, but the dragonnades were devastating for the French Protestant community.
The remaining Huguenots faced continued persecution under Louis XV. By the time of Louis XV's death in 1774, Calvinism had been nearly eliminated from France. Persecution of Protestants officially ended with the Edict of Versailles, signed by Louis XVI in 1787. Two years later, with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, Protestants gained equal rights as citizens.Major Rock Edicts
The Major Rock Edicts of Indian Emperor Ashoka refer to 14 separate major Edicts of Ashoka which are significantly detailed and represent some of the earliest dated rock inscriptions of any Indian monarch. For a full English translation of the Edicts: . These edicts are preceded chronologically by the Minor Rock Edicts.Maski
Maski is a town and an archaeological site in the Raichur district of the state of Karnataka, India. It lies on the bank of the Maski river which is a tributary of the Tungabhadra. Maski derives its name from Mahasangha or Masangi . The site came into prominence with the discovery of a minor rock edict of Emperor Ashoka by C. Beadon in 1915. It was the first edict of Emperor Ashoka that contained the name Ashoka in it instead of the earlier edicts that referred him as Devanampiye piyadasi. This edict was important to conclude that many edicts found earlier in the Indian sub-continent in the name of Devanampiye piyadasi, all belonged to Emperor Ashoka. The edict is etched on a rock-face of Durgada-gudda, one of the gneissic outcrops that are present in the site.
Maski is also the place on the Raichur Doab which was also under the hegemony of the imperial Chola empire and it was here that Rajendra Chola I defeated Jayasimha II, the Western Chalukya ruler in battle in 1019-1020 AD.Moulins, Allier
Moulins (French: [mu.lɛ̃]; Occitan: Molins) is a commune in central France, capital of the Allier department. It is located on the Allier River.
Among its many tourist attractions are the Maison Mantin, the Anne de Beaujeu Museum and The National Center of Costume and Scenography.Sacred Edict of the Kangxi Emperor
In 1670, when the Kangxi Emperor was sixteen years old, he issued the Sacred Edict 聖諭 (Sheng Yu), consisting of sixteen maxims, each seven characters long, to instruct the average citizen in the basic principles of Confucian orthodoxy. They were to be publicly posted in every town and village, then read aloud two times each month. Since they were written in terse formal classical Chinese, a local scholar was required explicate them using the local dialect of the spoken language. This practice continued into the 20th century.In 1724, the second year of his reign, the Yongzheng Emperor issued the Shengyu guangxun (聖諭廣訓 Amplified instructions on the Sacred Edict) in 10,000 characters. Evidently worried that the seven character lines of his father’s maxims could not be understood by local people, the Yongzheng Emperor's Amplified Instructions explains "Our text attempts to be clear and precise; our words, for the most part, are direct and simple." The prose is relatively easy to understand for those with a beginning understanding of the literary language. The Amplified Instructions was also published in a Manchu translation and then in a combined Chinese, Manchu, Mongol version.Tanzimat
The Tanzimât (Turkish: [tanziˈmaːt]; Ottoman Turkish: تنظيمات, translit. Tanẓīmāt, lit. 'reorganization', see Nizam) was a period of reform in the Ottoman Empire that began in 1839 and ended with the First Constitutional Era in 1876.The Tanzimat era began with the purpose, not of radical transformation, but of modernization, desiring to consolidate the social and political foundations of the Ottoman Empire. It was characterised by various attempts to modernise the Ottoman Empire and to secure its territorial integrity against internal nationalist movements and external aggressive powers. The reforms encouraged Ottomanism among the diverse ethnic groups of the Empire and attempted to stem the tide of nationalist movements within the Ottoman Empire.
The reforms sought to emancipate the empire's non-Muslim subjects and more thoroughly integrate non-Turks into Ottoman society by enhancing their civil liberties and granting them equality throughout the empire. In the midst of being forced to recognize the supremacy of Western power, the Ottoman elite intellectuals attempted to bring reconciliation between the West and the East within the framework of Islam.Many changes were made to improve civil liberties, but many Muslims saw them as foreign influence on the world of Islam. That perception complicated reformist efforts made by the state.During the Tanzimat period, the government's series of constitutional reforms led to a fairly modern conscripted army, banking system reforms, the decriminalization of homosexuality, the replacement of religious law with secular law and guilds with modern factories. The Ottoman Ministry of Post was established in Constantinople on 23 October 1840.