The Ottoman empire as a multilingual, multicultural and multi-ethnic state attracted the attention of European writers, particularly travellers, from the sixteenth century onwards. The personal interests of such writers necessarily varied – from initial analyses of impressive Ottoman institutions such as the janissaries, in order to explain Ottoman success on the battlefield, to discussion towards the end of the empire of the reasons for its downfall. Non-Muslim Ottoman subjects also received a fair amount of attention, the common theme being ways of survival under the unpredictable Ottoman yoke. In contrast, modern historical research which addresses the issue of coexistence of Muslims and non-Muslims in the empire has found this to be mostly peaceful and generally devoid of the social tensions experienced in Europe in the early modern period.