A Vast Encampment
Uninterrupted conquest was the law of life of Turkish society; the sultans emerged into the light of recorded history as leaders of a ghazi horde. Even when the empire had acquired a metropolis and was governed through a formal and elaborate administrative system, it remained almost continuously at war, a vast encampment rather than a state in the European sense. Until the advent of a succession of luxurious and fainéant rulers in the later sixteenth century [C.E.], sultans were active field commanders, usually quitting Istanbul with the army each spring and campaigning throughout the summer.