Dating a milit
Benjamin Braude has argued that before the period of 19th-century reforms, the word millet in the sense of religious community denoted the Muslim religious community or the Christians outside of the Ottoman empire.
At the same time, non-Muslims were subject to several forms of discrimination and excluded from the Ottoman ruling elite.
Later, the perception of the millet concept was altered in the 19th century by the rise of nationalism within the Ottoman Empire.
After the decline of the Assyrian Church of the East in the 14th century the principal non-Muslim religious communities in the Ottoman empire were the Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Armenian and Syrian Orthodox.
Rather, non-Muslims were simply given a significant degree of autonomy within their own community, without an overarching structure for the 'millet' as a whole.
The notion of distinct millets corresponding to different religious communities within the empire would not emerge until the eighteenth century.