Silk, Spirals and Law: the Rise of Female Power at the Dawn of the Ottoman Early Modern Era

Senior Project submitted to The Division of Social Studies of Bard College by David (Kit) Martin

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York 2008


To the women who make my life: Hannah Byrns-Enoch Francesca Carendi Bethany Dettmore Shiva Fekri Alienor Littaye Lauren McClure Deborah Martin Lindsay Martin Stephanie Martin Maya Madzharova Shoshi Roberts Yi-Yi Pitts Hannah Sheehan Cynthia Seeliger Ani Toncheva Clara Wellons

Anastassia Etropolski

And Tabetha Ewing, who egged me on through this paper


Table of Contents
Introduction…………………………………………..1 Chapter 1
Islamic and Sultanic Law: Context for Women’s Status……………......6

Chapter 2
Gendered Visual Space……………………………………..22

Chapter 3
The Sultanas’ Imperial Isolation……………………………….55

Conclusion………………………………………….79 Notes…………………………...…………………...89 Bibliography…………………...………………….101 Ottoman Illuminations Figure 1……………………………………………..33 Figure 1.2…………………………………………...34 Figure 2……………………………………………..37 Figure 3……………………………………………..46 Figure 4……………………………………………..51


The Ottoman emperor Süleyman the Magnificent fell in love with Hürrem Sultan in 1520. Between then and her death in 1558, she became the second most central member of the Ottoman dynasty. As the queen of Süleyman the Magnificent, she served an unprecedented role in the Ottoman Empire. She was the legal wife of the Sultan, the mother of the heir to the throne, Selim II, and consequently wielded a great deal of influence. Previously, Ottoman sultans only married foreign princess, who never birthed Ottoman heirs. Instead, all heirs were born by consorts. In 1536, Süleyman married his consort Hürrem. As a result, she became the first legal wife of an Ottoman Sultan to bear an heir, thus uniting the ceremonial role of wife with the reproductive role of consort in one body. In the middle of Süleyman’s reign he moved the imperial harem to the new palace, or Topkapi Palace, in Istanbul. The move placed the imperial women’s quarter in the center of the Ottoman Empire’s nexus of power. In the Ottoman social conception, power spiraled on a horizontal plane, twirling in from the exterior to the center. Given this understanding, the move of the harem was probably a conscious decision on the part of the Ottoman sovereign to grant the women’s quarter more political agency. Because, as discussed in chapter 2, the Ottoman’s understood that the people closest to the throne were the most powerful people. When taking account of this conception, any move towards the throne would have been seen as an empowering change. This shift of the harem to the center of the

2 nexus followed the trend in Süleyman’s court towards greater centralization of administration, and, thus, the move of the imperial women to the new palace was a conscious effort to enfranchise the women of the imperial harem. Sultana Hürrem was a Circassion woman, brought to the Ottoman court as a concubine, and most likely joined Süleyman’s harem shortly before he became sultan in 1520. She beat out her rival, Gülbahar, by maneuvering dynastic politics. Then she had Gülbahar’s son Mustafa, the Janissaries’1 favorite, executed. Thereby, she made her oldest son, Selim II, the heir apparent. After the precedent Hürrem set, and the movement of the imperial harem into the center of the Ottoman administration, the next valide Sultans, Queen mothers, ruled, in what is known as the reign of women. Over the next one hundred and fifty years these five women governed, while keeping their sons in place only as ceremonial heads of state to appease social decorum. Hürrem’s meteoric rise to power, however, was checked by the novelty of her role. There had never before been a woman with so much power in the Ottoman Empire. The ulema (Islamic legal scholars respected by a community as sources of guidance) and public opinion checked her power, accusing her of witchcraft because she redefined the traditional limits to her power as a woman. She was not a man, she was not a vizier, she was not the sultan, and therefore her central role in dynastic politics was seen as a threat to what had come before. In other words, it was social invention without precedent, and therefore not beyond reproach by questioning her piety as a Muslim. By creating a new role in the imperial structure, she was going against tradition. This shift in the imperial

3 women’s role happened against the background of social upheaval, Ottoman conceptions of power and legally constructed social limitations based in shari’a and Roman law. As I will attempt to show in Chapter 1, in the Ottoman Empire, undue change that contravened accepted religious observance was discouraged by structuring society to make it almost impossible. This trend can be seen in the legal position of women. Women were held in the shari’a (Islamic jurisprudence) as inherently and irresistibly desirable. If a man was left alone with a woman, it was seen as both natural and unavoidable that they would have intercourse. Such undue mixing was seen to destroy the character of family, and the honor of all involved. Therefore, contact between sexually active parties was forbidden in Ottoman and shari’a law. As I will endeavor to demonstrate, however, the condemnation of the act was locally, not imperially, implemented. By viewing the gender separation as a locally enacted practice, prescribed from imperial edicts and Islamic norms, it takes into account the heterogeneous culture of the empire while still addressing the uniformity of the law. As a result, the Ottoman Empire was largely separated along gender lines through local enacting of super structural religious ideals. As we will explore in Chapter 2, the social norm of maintaining appropriate order bifurcated Ottoman society on gender lines. The separation can be seen in the portrayal of women in the Ottoman court paintings. This separation, however, was not the norm, but the ideal. As such, the highest social classes were the most gender separated, with lower classes displaying all manner of lesser

4 forms of both agreement and resistance to the ideal form put forward by public examples, like the Ottoman administration, or the champions of the social norms, the religious scholars of the ulema. As discussed in Chapter 3, the elite class of the Ottoman Empire was largely constructed. What I mean by that is, most of the ministers, Janissaries, consorts, and ambassadors of the empire were captured by Ottomans, brought to the imperial capital for sale, and trained from early age to serve the Ottoman Administration. As a result, the imperial harems, both male and female, were net importers of bodies.2 These institutions purchased boys and girls and trained the empire’s future administrators in Topkapi Palace. When this constructed elite, rigidly trained to serve the Osman house, came into contact with the drastic social upheaval caused by the “Price Revolution” of the long sixteenth century they acted as a loyal servant should. They served the empire loyally. As a result, the women’s quarter of the imperial harem–indoctrinated with the values of service to the Empire–undertook to stabilize the Ottoman treasury by conducting a commodity exchange with the English. At the close of the sixteenth century, the Ottomans struck a deal that bartered Ottoman silk for English woolens. The advantage of this arrangement was two fold: first, in the depreciating silver market of the sixteenth century, commodities kept their value in comparison to inflation. Second, due to the inflorescence of international finance at this time, finance was not always apparent to contemporaries, as a result, the Ottoman administration preferred to do business without taking loans. By the deal, the women of the imperial harem maintain their coffers through general economic

5 decline, and thus overtook the traditionally influential elements of the Ottoman administration–namely, the patriarchy. After the imperial harem was moved into the Sultan’s residence, thereby positioning it as the closest organ of state to the Sultan, its power grew. The head of the Harem, the queen mother, had unprecedented access to the sultan, and also wielded control over who could speak to him. This power to connect, however, was constantly checked by the gender separation, imposed by the societies’ ideals. Given the Ottoman’s understanding of power, this relocation of the imperial harem to the inner section cannot have been accidental. The Ottoman’s view of power understood the most inner element of the political order, the imperial home and residence, as the center of power. Further, the people who had contact with this most inner portion of the vortex of power, were the most prominent members of the elite milieu, who were grafted into the Ottoman Empire as purchased children reared to be completely loyal to the Ottoman’s methods. Thus, the move of the imperial harem, which trained future imperial administers, must have been seen as vital in centralizing the Ottoman state apparatus. The move resulted in the ascension of imperial women to the most powerful position in the empire that ruled the Mediterranean for two centuries. This shift positioned the women as the leaders of the empire through the social upheaval of the introduction into the early modern era.


Chapter 1 Islamic and Sultanic Law: Context for Women’s Legal Status

Ottoman law after the time of Mehmed the Conqueror (1432 –1481 was formed by the interaction of Sultanic law, kanun (imperial edict), and the shari’a (Islamic law). The introduction of a secular law was not new in Islamic society. Since the second caliph ‘Umar (r. 634 – 644), Muslim rulers had fought for the right to legislate on issues not covered by the religious law. The word kanun, from the Greek (kanon, measuring line, rule), was borrowed into Arabic. In the seventh-century, Arabian tribes invaded the old Roman province of Syria under Rashidun Caliphate and inherited its tax register’s terminology. Seven hundred years later, when twenty-one year old Mehmed II conquered Constantinople in 1453, a Muslim ruler took the legislative power to set his opinion into law on issues besides the tax code. The arrangement was unprecedented in Islamic history. Consequently, the interpretive dialectic between the two forms of law provided a flexibility in the Ottoman legal system not seen in previous Muslim dynasties. In this chapter the two forms of law will be presented, the position of women generally will be explored, and the normative effect on the position of the

7 female harem will be posited. The structure of the law constructed an alternative world for the imperial women who administered the Empire. This flexibility allowed women in the Ottoman Empire a greater degree of personal control than previous Muslim law codes had. Before we explore that change in more depth, we will turn to more extensive examination of the histories of both the religious and the imperial law.

Shari’a The Shari’a is a code shared among all Muslim communities. It was formed by the aggregate of Muslim legal scholars’ opinions regarding the sacred texts of Islam: the Qur’an and the Sunna. In the early centuries of Islam (630-900) scholars proposed ijtihad (independently reasoned interpretations of the religious texts). These texts, the Qur’an and the hadith (sayings of the prophet) are known together as nass. From the interpretation of the nass Mujtahidun (Muslim jurists) created a vast array of legal standards that could be applied in a great varied of situations not covered in the nass. These understandings were varied and at times contradictory. These oppositions formed the basis of the disagreement between the four schools of Islamic law: the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali schools. The independent reasoning, however, was stopped in the tenth century in what Schacht called the closing of the gate.3 With this theological shift, driven by a narrowing of the interpretation of the nass, further invention in the law code was discouraged.4 The practice of independent reasoning, it has been shown, were never completely shut.5 This withstanding, an ossification of the law increasingly

8 distanced the law from the everyday practice of the people of dar al-Islam (the house of Islam). This distance is evinced by the creation of a number of customary laws (ürf), which the heterogeneous Muslim communities applied. Customary laws were created in every region in which Muslims lived. These customary laws were applied to differing degrees by Muslims to shape a kaleidoscope of Islams. This tension between practice and religious orthodoxy was mitigated by the crucial role of a mufti (jurisconsult). An important aspect of the shari’a is the independent interpretive role of a mufti’s fatwa (plural fatawa). A mufti was a man who had, in the minds of the community of Muslims, studied enough to interpret the nass in order to either address issues not specifically covered, or provide opinions to less educated Muslims. This role served as a link between divine law and the everyday experience of the community of believers in the local situations in which they lived. In the Hanafi school of law, which the Ottoman Empire followed, a mufti’s judgment was admissible in court. Though fatawa were predominately used to give guidance Muslim’s in their religious observance, it has been shown that fatawa were entered into sijills (court records) as precedents to sway judicial opinion in the Ottoman Empire.6 Consequently, a fatwa is a remarkable source for understanding a Muslim community that it comes from. They are very short documents, often only a page, and answer questions pertinent to the society they are issued from within. Messick showed in his work in Yemen, that a mufti is a living connection between the shari’a and the Muslim community.7 By “the first

9 quarter of the sixteenth century, [the mufti] had a small basket hung from his window in which everyone could place his question. On his moving a string, it is said, the mufti pulled up the basket, wrote his reply on the same paper and sent it down the basket.”8 The people who sought these rulings may have used the advice, for example, as expert testimony in court, or otherwise interpreted and enacted the interpretation of the shari’a that a fatwa represented. This interpretive effect has been elaborated by a number of scholars. The mufti thereby kept the society within an orbit around the standards of the shari’a. Even from earliest times though there was a discrepancy between the shari’a and its implementation. For instance, Muslim communities often mitigated the harsh punishments for moral transgressions culled from the nass.

Kanun In the wake of his conquest of Istanbul, Sultanic law began in the Ottoman Empire at the end of the fifteenth century under Mehmed II (1444-1446 and 14511481). The kanun were issued to address the dichotomy between ‘urf (customary law) and shari’a. Writing in Egypt just after the Ottoman conquest of 1517 David ben Zimra, a Jewish rabbi outlines the problem: …They have two kinds of justice, the one shar’i and the other ‘urf. The shar’i justice is entrusted to the chief cadi who decides [according to] the religious law… and the governor is charged with carrying out [his] sentences. The ‘urf justice, [on the other hand,] which is [based on] a kind of temporary regulation [hora’ ath sha’ah], is entrusted to the governor of the province.9

10 This split was neither new, nor isolated to Egypt. As early as the ‘Abbassid period the word kanun implied the meaning “legal prescriptions independent of the shari’a laid down by the sultan by virtue of his authority.”10 The need for ruler’s interpretation arose because the shari’a only covered a limited number of crimes with usually overly severe punishment.11 With the ending of individual legal interpretation of the sunna12, however, the sultan, and Muslim communities in general, lost the ability to legislate new interpretations of the religious law to accommodate novel problems. The cessation led Muslim communities to develop ‘urf (customary law) exterior to the shari’a to guide their everyday life. This discrepancy between shari’a and ‘urf became untenable with Mehmed’s conquest of Constantinople. The capture made the Muslim house of Osman the rulers of a multi-creed worldwide empire. The empire had to negotiate the intermixing of an array of cultures and people. In other words, the expansion of the population in the Ottoman Empire, especially beyond the Orthodox Sunni Muslim community of Anatolia into the Christian Balkans, cosmopolitan Constantinople, and later Shi’a Persia and the ancient Egyptian state, created a need for a law which addressed the issues arising from integration of Osman house’s new multi-creed empire. This new law had to mitigate conflicts between communities, and so the organically grown customary ‘urfs of each creed and region could not expand to regulate between their unrelated traditions. Showing definite influences of Ibn Khaldun, a seventeenth century historian Hezarfenn Hüseyn notes that implementing every statute exactly as it is in writing is impossible. Thus adaptation is necessary. “[E]very age has its ‘örf and every ‘örf

11 its requirements”. According to the saying, “He who does not know the ‘örf of his contemporaries is an ignorant person”. And so, “the desire to adapt the ‘örf of these days to that of the past is a false and stupid idea which is born of ignorance.”13 The integration of the communities of the Balkans, Anatolia and Constantinople caused a collision of a great number of local customs. The process to incorporate them while unifying them created the need for unified law. Most importantly this codification addressed the new issues arising from the growth of the empire. Consequently, after Mehmed’s establishment of the Sultanic law, the kanunname were successively revised by his subsequent Sultans, as the empire expanded.14 As Mehmet himself is attributed to have written at the end of his second kunun, “This far has the state been ordered. Let my sons who follow me strive for improvement.”15 Indicating that he attempted to clarify the position of the state in relation to the best of his abilities, but that this process should continue. Like the empire it derived from, the word kanun had a multi-cultural trajectory. The word derives from Greek. Kanun was borrowed into Arabic from the Greek substratum after the Rushidun caliphate’s conquest of the southern reaches of the Eastern Roman Empire in the seventh-century.16 Before Islam, ‘kanon’ was the Greek word for bright line, or rule. The word later transferred to the church in the form of religious ‘canon’ and became synonymous with Christian doctrine. In the first centuries of Islam, the semantic meaning of the Greek kanon (rule, line) partially transferred. This understanding is in sharp contrast to Halil Inalcik: “These Concepts and forms are entirely Turco-Islamic

12 and not, as has sometimes been thought, Byzantine.”17 For in Arabic kanun only maintained its meaning in regards to the tax code. In the first centuries, kanun was a term used to refer to both the assessment of the value of land, and the subsequent amount a timar (tax farm) owed to the governor. “In those provinces– –never the entire Muslim world––where many lands were assessed by the procedure of kanun, this word came to mean a kind of fiscal cadaster.”18 This meaning persisted throughout the ‘Abbasid period, and in Egypt as well under Fatimid rule.19 In the Ottoman Empire, kanun continued to mean tax code, and the subsequent tax was recorded in the provincial defter (tax register or notebook) until the Osmanlis occupied Istanbul. In addition, in the Ottoman Empire ‘kanon’ came to mean the body of rules governing a guild.20 And as mentioned above, after Mehmet II became the ruler of the previous Byzantine lands and moved his seat to Constantinople kanun took on the Turkish meaning of an additional set of laws set down by the sultan that could refer to matters of faith and or secular legislation. As we saw, the ‘Abbassid rulers had the ability to set law on secular matters, but only through the use of istihsan (juristic preference, or a reinterpretation of religious texts to address contemporary problems). In the Ottoman Empire this link between the divine will and the everyday was often served by a mufti––two of which sat in the Sultan’s divan (royal council). But there was an important shift in meaning. The difference then between earlier Muslim communities interpretation of the shari’a and the Ottoman’s was that Ottoman sultans could set religious and secular degrees independently of religion, whereas earlier rulers had to justify their legislation through a figh (religiously

13 derived understanding). Thus, the origin of kanun cannot be said to be purely Turco-Islamic, as it had no bearing in the Islamic legal system until the Ottomans subsumed the legal substratum of Byzantium. Thus, this additional non-secular role of Ottoman kanun had a precedent in Roman law: after Constantine, the emperor of Constantinople also became the highest official in both the Byzantine state and the Orthodox Church. Thus, this right of the Sultan arose from the precedent of Christian Roman Emperors, the previous rulers of Constantinople. The Ottoman kanun sought to redress two interrelated legal issues. As the Empire incorporated more people and cultures, and sought to encourage their cooperation, the ‘urf of these disparate communities clashed. The preface of the kanunname of Egypt (1525) states, “disputes and feuds can no longer be decided by the swords of the tongue [tig-I zeban] of the guardians of the holy law [i.e. the cadis], but require the tongue of the sword [zeban-i tig] of those empowered to inflict heavy punishment [i.e. the non-shari’a judges].”21 Thus, the Ottoman administers sought to administer the law more stringently as it addressed the conflicts between a newly united empire. The objective of enforcement of imperial law to mitigate between feuding parties due to the integration of the Mumluk state in Egypt, however, had a corollary: increased enforcement caused abuse of power. Thus, the law also sought to protect the people from the tyranny of local officials and timar holders. A marginal note in the Egyptian kanunname succinctly states that one of the objectives of the kanun was “to protect the common people against the oppression of the authorities.”22 These authorities were the officials the Ottomans had either left in, or placed in, positions of power.

14 So the two objectives of the Kanun were to enact the law, exterior to the shari’a judges, more stringently, but to simultaneously make sure this enforcement did not oppress the people. In practice, these objectives were implemented heterogeneously. In the Ottoman Empire, the kanunname were not seen as a code to be followed exactly, but instead a set of guidelines set down by the Sultan that his provincial administrators followed in order to maintain justice. In each sancak (administrative district) there were two copies of the kanun. “[T]he defter containing the sancak kanunname was written in only two copies per sancak: one for the defthane, a department attached to the central government in Istanbul, the other for use of the beglerbegi sancak.” The defthane was the department in each sanjak responsible for recording tax revenue, and the beglerbegi sanjak was the provincial governor. Obviously, both these departments had poignant need to appear to enact the sultan’s will. Interestingly though, there was a sizable disparity between the sultan’s edicts and the provincial enactment of them.23 These books were guidelines referred to during a court case, meaning they served as a source of guidance that a judge sought to imitate, rather than a bright line that was enacted. In other words, the judiciary had a great deal of interpretive leeway, in terms of the law, when seeing cases and enacting judgments. This leeway Samerdjan argues, caused a general softening of the codified punishments of the shari’a making it more local: “This hesitation [to implement the Islamic principals of justice] may in part be owing to the diversification of the empire and the necessity to negotiate between customs and traditions of the heterogeneous

15 empire and the legal principles of shari’a.”24 The Ottoman legal code was not monolithic, nor was the shari’a a unified code, instead both were interpretive sets of guidelines that a qadis or a mufti referred to when creating rulings. Creating a discretionary divide among the provinces of the Ottoman domains.25

Legal Status of Women in the Ottoman Empire The separation of men and women demonstrated in the shari’a was continued in the kanun. The diversity of the interpretation did not eliminate a general separation of men and women, which the code reinforced. Elyse Semerdjian suggests that fetawa and kanunname both supported a gender separation between men and women, by implying that their mixing was inherently dangerous, because it must lead to intercourse. Consequently, the primary position of the ulema held that the separation between genders was necessary to maintain social order. Semerdjian demonstrates that fetawa of the mid sixteenth century perpetuates this separation.26 Additionally, she implies that on account of the overlap of kanunname with the shari’a, it also reinforced this gender separation. During the reign of Süleyman I, Ebu’su’ud, the sheyülislam, issued a number of fetawa that demonstrate women’s legal position in regards to sexual crime in Ottoman society, and the rights and limitations afforded to them. In general, they point to a distain for punishment carried out by the Ottoman Empire and a preference for autonomous local enforcement. So, though the Ottoman law

16 proposed harsh punishments for transgression, it relied heavily on communities to maintain these standards, exterior to judicial proceedings. Fatawa were general in nature. In them an ‘any-man’ Zeyd would be inserted. His actions would be used to measure the rules against. By measuring what sort of questions were asked of a mufti general trends of interest in the Ottoman Empire can be discerned. From the considerable concern with sexual crime in many fatawa, a concern for the sexual purity of women can be seen. The following fetwa demonstrates that a man should be punished up to death (by stoning) for transgressing social limits: Question: If Zeyd without being married to Hind takes her by force, what should happen to Zeyd? Answer: If he is a muhsan [a married Muslim], he will be killed.27 This punishment arises from the Hanafi fiqh. It demonstrates an abhorrence for transgressing the limits of marriage, and demands death for those who do. But it only holds if Zeyd was married. Additionally, there was a discrepancy between the sentence implied by the law, and its enactment. The law demanded violent and often times lethal punishment; the punishments, however, were rarely recorded in the court records. This could be explained by the discrepancy between the guidelines set down by kanun and shari’a and their enactment. This discrepancy tended towards a shift away from the brutal punishments proscribed by the shari’a of classical Islamic jurisprudence. This shift tended to go from capital punishment for sex crimes to capital reimbursement, in terms of gold paid to the victim. Uriel Heyd in his review of Ottoman law argued that Abu Yusuf’s jurisprudence (d.798), a student of Abu

17 Hanifah (d.767), inspired and drove this trend through the centuries. This trend created a leniency in the Hanafi school’s practice. One important result of the shift was that administrators were given a choice of punishment and thereby could “inflict discretionary punishment by taking money”, instead of taking lives or limbs. This interpretive trend gave offenders lighter punishment than the shari’a literally demanded. Tucker argues that this gap was judicially driven by the concept of shubha (judicial doubt), which provided a way for offenders to avoid capital punishment for zina (unlawful intercourse), by putting the burden of proof unto the women.28 In other words, unless it could be proven that the attacker knew he was not suppose to rape a women, he could not be held responsible. Additionally, even if his attack was proven, the court could shift his sentence from a capital crime to a small fine. Al-Marginani (d. 1196), of the Hanafi school, created this legal recourse by arguing: The person who has carnal conjunction does not incur punishment, provided he declares––‘I conceived that this woman was lawful to me’;––but if he should acknowledge his consciousness that the woman was unlawful to him, he incurs punishments.”29 If he was under the impression that the girl was his to have intercourse with then his guilt is cleansed. This arose from the fact that access to women was often a matter of her purchase in the form of bride price. This resulted in ownership being the primary concern in zina crimes.30 This left a gaping hole in women’s protection when she was socially intermixing with men. For, when a man could abscond responsibility for rape by declaring his innocence; his punishment (even if enacted) was a mere pittance; and when he was left as arbiter

18 of his relationship with the girl, than the deterrent to commit zina was not in the legal code. But given the overwhelming concern that the fatawa pay to zina crime, there must have been different way to enforce the unlawful intercourse between the sexes, for one normally, does not ask a question (thousands of times in hundreds of different legal compendiums), unless one has a question. The separation between genders was reinforced by the laws’ dearth of enforcement of post coital punishment for rape and other zina crimes. In other words, the law (both imperial and religious) set a strong standard that it expected citizens to follow, but did not enforce this proscription. Instead, it relied on the populace to voluntarily enact the gender separation in the religious norms. This method can be seen in the case of another zina crime, abduction. According to the kanun of Selim I, if a man abducted a young woman, he was to be castrated (siyasat icin zekeri kesile), which literally means “his manhood should be cut.” Süleyman’s kanun added to the statute: “if the woman or girl is willing and runs away from her house, her vulva shall be branded (onlara farcalarni daglilar).”31 Semerdjian argues that there are no examples of these punishments ever having been carried out in the Ottoman court records.32 Additionally, mixing was not seen as an issue for the urban courts, but more “a matter for the village.” Thus, the separation of the genders was encouraged by the court to be dealt with at home: “In this respect, the kanunname is addressing the empire’s desire to discourage women from eloping, in attempts to maintain civil order by prescribing severe punishments for those women who marry without parental consent.”33 The law under Süleyman set forward a clear guideline based on the religious canon, which

19 the society at large was to enact through their everyday actions under the religious guidance of a mufti, who served as a local living link to the divine law of the shari’a. In this order, women and men tended to be separated, because interaction between them was seen to pose an eminent threat to the women’s chastity, because the man was not consider responsible for his erotic urges. The commonly held belief rested on an assumption: “men and women will have sexual relations if given the opportunity” but the relation is not equal, the power to inspire sex falls on the women who is seen to have “a sexual power over a man, which renders him helpless and facilitates permanent desire between the sexes.”34 One result of this social norm is the covering of women away from the eyes’ of unattached men. This situation was not all encompassing, that is, there was a vast number of exceptions, but the general trend of the law leaned toward a situation were the law outlined standards, that were in turn enacted through local interpretations.

The Role of the Law in Creating Ottoman Female Administrators In the Ottoman Empire there was a socially enforced legal structure that separated men and women. This arose from the social limits of shari’a law, as translated by the four schools, including the Hanafi school. In the Hanafi school there were seven, instead of four, legitimate sources to base legal judgment on. The first four sources were the same for all Islamic law schools: the Qur’an, the, sunna, the ijtihad (independently reasoned opinions) of the earlier jurists and

20 qiyas (analogy)––whereby you could apply a similar situation to an alternative problem.35 In addition to these four sources the Hanafi school added more. Abu Yusef of the hanafi school argued for the need for sadda al zarayi, and ‘urf. Sadda al-zaray means “prevention before something happens”. The idea is, rather than punishing after the fact, to construct situations so that the law is never transgressed. The harem is a perfect example of the enactment of this principal. The logic of the reasoning is unmistakable, if men and women cannot meet, they cannot transgress God’s will. In the context of the rise to power of women in the Ottoman empire of the sixteenth century, the separation contributed to the formation of an alternative female power structure within the walls of the Topkapi palace. This structure, in many ways mirrored the institutions of the patriarchy: training young grafted members of the Osman house, deploying the majority of them to provincial posts, serving as a vital arena in which power was brokered.36 But given the social understanding of men’s power over women the female harem served another role: the solidarity of female power served to check the shari’a’s inclination towards a master’s complete power over female members of his house. Madeline Zilfi in her ruminations on slavery in the Ottoman Empire Women and Slavery in the Ottoman Empire, posits an important legal difference between female and males slaves: “in legal theory and in most social practice, the male slave also maintained a degree of sovereignty over his reproductive organs, especially with respect to forced sodomy. In contrast, the sexual body of the female slave, whatever her price, ethnicity, color, or calling, was at her owner’s disposal.”37 Men often were

21 protected from undue sexual approaches from their masters, due to the derision the shari’a had for homosexuality. Whereas, a women had little legal recourse if a master wanted to have sex with her. This important insight lacks an important consideration. Though legally women had little ground to stand on if they were alone with their master, such a situation was almost impossible. The isolating effect of the court’s bifurcating tendencies–which was mirrored to a great extent in noble houses, and probably imperfectly emulated in the communities governed by Ottoman hegemony– created a situation where unless court protocols enabled the union the partners would never meet. In other words, the western conception of the domestic sphere, as a site of a master’s complete authority, did not exist in the Ottoman politics. Because, the separation of the matriarchy from the patriarchy created a restraining limit. This understanding coincides with one of Inalcik’s assertions: “Palace intrigues, and especially those of the vâlide sultan– the reigning sultan’s mother– came to play an important part in the destiny of the sultanate.”38 Effectively, the limit reduced the potential unions between the members of each hierarchy to a mere dozen or so. In this situation, the master, or any other male, would have been confined by social pressure when enacting his right to sexual access to his possessions. Thus, the society as a whole was framed around making sure inappropriate unions could not take place. The framework taken to its logical end, led to a rift between the genders.


Chapter 2 Gendered Visual Space
“T he p eace o f two worlds depe nds o n two thi ngs o nly, cou rtes y to frie nds a nd fla tte ry to foes ." Ad mi ra l A li Reis o f the Su ez Flee t, i n the Mirror o f W orlds . In the Ottoman court miniature-painting, women rarely appear. This absence from the record poses a singular difficulty in the examination of women in the Ottoman court: their appearance is always behind a ‘screen’: a veil, a wall, or carriage. When one recalls that between 1560 and 1680, the valide sultana, the Sultans’ mothers, held the most powerful position in the Ottoman court–which in turn, was the most powerful empire in the Mediterranean and European world–the isolated depiction of women is made more baffling. The absence of women from the artist’s eye, even though they exercised a great deal of influence is intriguing, for it points to a number of possibilities, whose exploration reveal the Ottoman’s worldview. This examination will begin with considering whether the visual record we have creates an unfair representation of the Ottoman worldview. Then, I will draw attention to the Byzantine Christian origins of Ottoman court painting. After establishing the history of the style, and then establishing the Ottoman art’s veracity as a historical object of study, rather than a constructed Orientalist

23 artifact, I will refocus on the Ottoman ideal of gender separation in order to show the context of female representation in Ottoman art. The caveat that this ideal was not representative of the majority’s lived experience, but only a pattern of life that the population emulated in order to gain access to the halls of Topkapi Palace, will be explored. From there, I will proceed to examine four Ottoman manuscript illuminations, which display the patriarchy––the male-dominated imperial administration––and examine the need for the re-invocation of its practices when its standards were threatened. Then, I will display the effects of this protection: when it removed women from the public eye, it created an alternative power structure, for them an alternative world, from which to act.

The Ottoman Painting: a historical object, not a construct Women of the Muslim world have been depicted as disempowered and under represented, exemplified in the nineteenth-century depictions of them by Geromé39, or Ingrés.40 In these images, women of the Middle East are suppressed, hyper sexualized and dominated by men. This domination was used as a polemic tool that justified colonial occupation: because women were being ‘oppressed’ by Oriental men, then Europeans could destroy the oppressors and save the women.41 With this mantra of assistance, the white man’s burden justified the subjugation of much of the world by European powers. This bias has to some degree carried into the presentation of the art of the Ottoman Empire. There is the possibility, however, that the bias against women is not in the Ottoman record, but instead in the reproduction and selection of

24 ‘representative’ pieces of Ottoman art. This raises an issue: sexism and orientalism bias the historical record. Those who structured the canon of Islamic art carry social norms, as do all people raised in societies, that predispose them to create records that reinforce their own expectations of the world they live in. In other words, images of women may have been omitted in western selection of representative pieces, unless they depicted women who conformed to the western editors’ expectations of the role of ‘Women’ in the Muslim, or Ottoman society. These expectations historically indicate a sentiment that Middle Eastern women are contained, powerless, and under educated.42 Moreover, this same issue of reproducing subjective understanding is at the heart of the visual arts. For instance, a painting, at the very least projects the subjective and internal view of the artist onto canvas or paper, and so records his expectations from within the society in which he lives. An artist’s internal views, therefore, are formed by the artist’s interactions with, and participation in the society that reared him. Thus, art can be examined to demonstrate the ideal of the culture from which it is issued, because an artist and his work are examples of the effect of that culture’s ideology formation. Consequently, women’s absence from the record indexes Ottomans’ portrayal of the world, and thus the society that created those expectations. Unfortunately, the danger that an editorial bias created a paucity of the portrayal of women, due to the limited scope of this project, cannot be fully eliminated, but its recognition serves as a warning of the perils of attempting an interpretation cross culturally and historically.

25 A collision of cultures formed the ideal world revealed in the Ottoman visual record. Ottoman miniature painting arose from traditions of Christian monastic evangelistaries at the end of the fourteenth-century. Muslim manuscript painting arose only after the Turks took up permanent residence in Anatolia.43 These works shared a great deal in common with earlier Christian works. “There was a reason for this: artists who illustrated manuscripts did not come from the same social milieus as those who decorated buildings.” In fact, “The workshops illustrating manuscripts in the earlier years could only be those that were also turning out evangelistaries…” Those workshops were attached to monasteries and often belonged to Christians.44 The Seljuks, in Eastern Anatolia, focused on manuscript illumination, and to a great extent serve as the first example of Islamic manuscript illumination.45 But after their demise in the fourteenth century, we find few examples of Turkish book illustration until the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.46 Thus it is fair to say, the monasteries of Anatolia, to a great extend, held the art of manuscript illumination within their walls. The Seljuks employed these workshops while they dominated Anatolia. Then in the thirteenth century, a protracted civil war fueled by westward migration of Turcoman tribes and internal Byzantine feudal contests47 impinged upon the civil sphere’s largesse. Consequently, with the demise of civil order of Anatolia, art finance dried up between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. With the Ottomans ascension to the throne of the Caesars,48 however, the artistic output of The Queen of Cities, and its Anatolian and Balkan hinterland––previously employed in the creation of Christian holy books, long relegated to dusty monastery shelves in the

26 context of Byzantine decline––was converted to the production and illumination of the deeds of the Prophet and the history of Ottoman court. The visual record of the Ottoman court, as far as my survey is complete, shows a world visually dominated by males. If this study is an accurate representation of the record, then it portrays the ideal that members of the Ottoman court ascribed to when governing. This is important for it presents the elite’s worldview. This view would have been the ideal that they made recourse to, in order to continue and create their administration. Of course, individual resistance to this ideal was possible, but establishing the standard view, enables a comparison between the ideal and the lived experience that historical secondary sources attempt to portray. There was a difference between the Ottoman administration’s visual expectation and popular participation in its creation. For one, women played an active role in the streets of the Ottoman domains. Huda Lufti’s work in Cairo has shown that the separation between the religious standard and the lived experience of Muslim women diverged from legal norm.49 Many women found ways to avoid and negotiate the experience of living within the legally created gender separation that the society at large imposed.50 They earned a living, raised a family, lived alternative lifestyles, and walked about the streets uncovered. Additionally, Haim Gerber demonstrated the participation of women in Bursa’s economic sector.51 Likewise in Ankara province in the 1550s, a woman was a timar owner, administering it similar in the ways her male compatriots would.52 Women throughout the Ottoman world lived in the open, but always with a sidelong

27 glance at the norms. In other words, they may have transgressed the norms, but they knew them. As discussed in the first chapter, these standards were maintained through the kanun and the shari’a. The gender separation in the Muslim community was as heterogeneous in its implementations as the two forms of law were in theirs. Given the great diversity in cultural and traditions within the Ottoman Empire, and the degrees of latitude the law gave to a mufti or a qadis in interpreting the law into local contexts, it is expected that women would, like other members of society, be more bound by the local social customs than the decrees of the religious or imperial elite of the Ottoman Empire. This social heterodoxy withstanding, the customs and traditions of a local community were not in a hermetically sealed container. As will be more extensively covered in chapter three, to a great degree the expectations of a community were created by interactions with nearby and more capital-rich Ottoman communities. As Pierre Bourdieu outlined, capital can be a social or cultural as well as a monetary commodity.53 When this capital is present, a community’s standards and expectations influence the standards of adjacent communities much more than demography alone would imply. Because communities spend capital to constantly recreate their own expectations, capitalrich communities such as the Othman house encouraged neighbors to abide by Ottoman expectations. Thus, as the Ottoman Empire’s ideal world––displayed in the magnificently detailed court miniature paintings––demonstrates a visual world of men that frame the lives of women, this expectation was transmitted to the less

28 influential communities of the Empire. On the one hand, this ideal can only be said to project the expectations of the elite. On the other hand, the elite ran the empire by the elite’s expectations. Thereby, the elite constructed the expectations of Ottoman subjects. Therefore, the visual record displays the social constraints that the religious law put on the imagination of the artists, and therefore by induction, the limits placed on the society in general. Consequently, because the female was ideally visually absent from the Ottoman world, in which court painters worked, when artists recorded their subjective reality on canvas, women– –who, as has been shown, existed in their every day life–were covered up, contextualized with men, or, most frequently, completely ignored. The fact, indexes this was the ideal of the elite specifically and the social norm of the wider society who generally attempted to incorporate into the Ottoman Empire. This ideal served as a model which Ottoman subjects sought to imitate. The expectation of the elite influenced the ideals of heterogeneous communities throughout the empire by controlling the ideal that members strove to incorporate through emulation. The typical Ottoman subject, however, lacked access to etiquette of the Ottoman system. Their heterodox beliefs, colloquial dialects, lack of social acumen, and narrow geographic world view created a cultural dichotomy between subjects and the administrators who trained in the imperial palaces and ran the empire. This standardized etiquette functioned as a channeling method: at first populations would be excluded by the specific practice, but over time came to imitate it, and thus incorporate themselves into the expectations of the empire. The Ottoman court controlled access to all high-level posts within the empire,

29 regardless of whether the post was commercial, legal, religious, administrative, or entrepreneurial. Michael Meeker argues that the administration was divided from the populace while unified in itself by the exercise of sovereign power. “Reinforced by bureaucratic policies and procedures, the exercise of sovereign power through interpersonal association bound the official class together even as it divided them from ordinary townsmen and villagers.”54 Additionally, recurrent demonstrations of poetic accomplishments in the Ottoman servants’ writings evince the fact that a good servant was a cultured servant.55 Bowing to the dynasty’s cultural standards and expectations is a demonstrated way of acquiring and maintaining a position within a power structure.56 In the Ottoman Empire social stratification was maintained through a control of access to the refined forms of conduct. Thus, a lack of access to the artistic forms severed a person’s ability to imitate proper etiquette, thereby, maintaining a social stratification. The ideal world of dynastic arts then served as a model to emulate and thereby a means to participate with the ruling class of the Empire. The visual ideal of Ottoman art removed women as active agents in the world exterior to the palace walls. Ottoman art examined with the intent to discover the role of women leaves the viewer with the impression that women were always within buildings. On the other hand, men were often outside. This contrast between covered and uncovered seems to be a reoccurring theme in the Ottoman’s visual record. Even when men are inside, such as in depictions of imperial deliberation in Topkapi Palace, the roofs are removed and they are contained on a horizontal plane. The walls contain them on the four horizontal

30 axes, but as the viewer we can see them in a wider context beyond the palace walls, because the roofs are removed. Whereas, images of women rarely depicted a natural landscape setting. Even when the image is situated outside, a strictly defined interior space contains the woman. For instance, in an image of a circumcision festival––wherein men freely intermingle with each other––the only woman in the image can be seen through a small window of a carriage in complete hijab. This sort of containment is indicative of the depiction of women within strictly bound positions. Thus, visually, men were placed in a wider context than women. The depiction of men as able to move of their own accord, reveals that the artist expected their individual agency. This is as if to say to men, “though you are inside now you will soon leave this place and go elsewhere.” On the other hand, women remain stationary or are moved by masculine will atop the legs of a horse. This suggests a status quo maintained by lack of female internal initiative. Without internally derived motivation, she has little possibility of changing this state. Thus, the creation of these images as representations of an artist’s subjective internal reality, a reality fashioned by his upbringing under the ideal of Ottoman law and religious norms, indexes that the artists who made them invoked the belief that men and women should separate, and men should have control of the situations when they intermingled. Thereby, the art reinforces the social isolation and domination of women. To summarize, in popular Western discourse, Muslim women are recorded as disempowered. This depiction was used to colonize Islamic nations. The codification of Ottoman art has been colored by the polemical colonial feminism.

31 Reproducing the art of the ‘other’ leaves it dangerously open to editorial bias. As a result, Orientalism taints the record. Ottoman art, like its modern compilation, arose from a collision of cultures. The manuscript miniature–which arose in Christian monasteries’ illuminations–was appropriated by a Muslim court to depict their objects of veneration: the successes in combat, the scenes of the court, and the life of al-nabi (the prophet). This form reinforces the legal ideal, which we explored in chapter one. Importantly, this is the form that the elite tried to enact through empire building. Establishing this ideal provides a foundation to compare to lived experience. As we saw, there was a good deal of discrepancy between the ideal form and popular enactment. This withstanding, the empire’s subjects’ values rotated around the axis of this ideal form. At the pivot point, the imperial palace, this ideal had the most sway. Consequently, the rules of intermingling were most stringently applied here. As we look into four pieces of Ottoman art in the next section, the motion between zones of control show the primary sites of political discourse.

Windows Into the Sixteenth-Century Four works from the sixteenth-century demonstrate conception of politics projected by the Osmanlis. These works show the subjective reality of their creators. Thus, the demonstration of these conceptions placed in context will demonstrate that for Ottoman artists the separation of men and women was expected. In fact, it was an honorific role, as our third painting will show, analogous to the isolated position of the Prophet Muhammad. To highlight the

32 ideal role of women, a contrast between male and female representations will be drawn in several mid-sixteenth century court artists’ work. The first painting by Nakkash Osman, the preeminent painter of Süleyman’s court,57 depicts the Ottoman army entering Revan, 1597. The image demonstrates the Ottoman’s conception of power in general and patriarchal, non-Sultantic power specifically. The second image Sultan Süleyman Kannuni Receiving The Prince of Erdel in His Tent, 1568,58 contains eight Transylvanian nobles removing their hats meet Süleyman II. The third painting of Muhammad performing the first ritual ablution with Khadija’s assistance is from Syeri Nebi by Darir. In his book Darir depicts the life of the prophet. This image shows Khadija waiting on Muhammad and, strikingly, both are veiled.59 In contrast to the first two images, it depicts a formalized ideal exchange between a man and a woman. The last painting is an intimate scene between a prince and his consort within the palace walls. She sits unveiled, with all the viewers eyes able to see her.60 These four images each depict a crucial projection of the values of the court. Notably, among the images I surveyed, there is not a single image of women without males in the Ottoman canon. This suggests that in the view of the artists women took on meaning in the company of men. This suggestion has to be examined to see its affect on the reality of women inside the imperial walls, as I will in the next chapter. Ottoman Troops Enter Revan The arresting element of the Ferhad’s entry is the number of figures. The soldiers churn forward in one large mass without beginning or end. In fact, the


Figure 1. Entry of Ottoman troops into Revan under the command of Ferhad Pasha in the “Shahinshahnâma”, 1006/1597 Topkapi Palace Library, B. 200m fol. 101b. Classical School Nkkash Osman in Güner, Sami (1976), p. 107.

34 figures enter from the right and literally spill off the edge of the frame on the left. For Ottoman’s the West’s dichotomy between public and private life did not apply.61 Instead, the interior of a social arrangement of people was viewed as the most important. This image is striking in this context, as it depicts a vortex of vortexes where the “inner” most one is the most powerful character in the picture. Thus, the Ottoman hierarchy is schematically displayed by the image. At the top right of the frame is Ferhad’s vizeriat and descending from top to bottom are a number of finely depicted officers on horse back surrounded by spirals of their subordinates. Notably, this painting viewed as a depiction of the Ottoman patriarchy moving together demonstrates the order of the Ottoman patriarchy, in the absence of royalty, and makes no use of a vertical organization of rank but instead only a number of interlocking spirals and arabesques. In this picture, the men are divided into spirals and arabesques ready to receive orders from the center of the vortexes. At the top of the image is an arabesque that ties the large cohort surrounding Ferhad Pasha and his viziers in the top right to the smaller captioned group in the top left. Just below the highest

35 portion of the frame is an infantry commander in finely embroidered robes on horseback. Spiraling out from him is his cadre. Below this is another arabesque which binds the cavalry together, the contours of the arabesque are dictated by the demonstrative gold shields placed just left of center in both halves of the artistic flourish. Finally, below the cavalry, the largest spiral issues from the eyes of a handsome man on horseback. Importantly, however, his position at the center of the largest vortex does not mark him as the most prominent officer. This demonstrates that it is not only the size of ones command that is important, but its position in relation to the center. Moreover, this is confirmed by his proximity to the camels, which carry logistical supplies, which mark him as a staff officer. The unusual part of this image is the spiral organization of the military hierarchy. The display of the interior as the locus of power for Ottomans has been shown in a number of scholars’ work. Alexandra Papadopoulo argues in her monolithic Islam and Muslim Art that Islamic art is structured around the flow of spirals.62 Likewise, Bernard Lewis has argued that in Islamic society, in contrast to the west, when one gains power one moves “inward” instead of “upward.”63 Further, in the Ottoman context, Walter Andrews argued that syntax of Ottoman poetry outlines the importance of the interior to the Ottomans conception of spatial and social organization.64 Each of these authors point to an understanding: the closer one moves towards the center of a spiral, the closer one moves to the center of power. Nakkasha Osman plays with this conception of power to give his image perspective. Osman’s vortexes give the image form like Ottoman hierarchy gave

36 their society form. As seen in figure 1.2, the size of staff officer’s lowest spiral balances the image’s forms and gives the image perspective: the largest spiral is balanced by the smaller one in the middle of the frame; likewise, the cavalry’s larger arabesque is balanced by the viziers’ diminutive one at the top. The decreasing size of the shapes––like two lines disappearing off a horizon––creates perspective. The collapse of the image toward the viziers positions Ferhad as the most interior object in the frame. This would seem to suggest a hierarchy upwards toward the vizier. This interpretation, though, would be a projection of western understanding of hierarchy around the metaphor of high and low. Instead, this depiction is only part of a much larger vortex. Two structural devices of the miniature suggest this interpretation: the two unfinished spirals and the missing horizon. There is no line at the top where the viewer can say the host is finished. Moreover, the spiral at the corner, the way the army spills off the left of the frame, and the infantry spiral without a commander all suggest that Osman has only depicted a small portion of a much larger army. In short, the composition does not depict the entire host. In other words, this massive host of Ottoman men extends off this frame to circle around the vizier towards all four compass points in a massive circle––placing him at the center of a whirlpool of interpersonal relationships. This spiral understanding of the social order of the men portrayed alleviates the surface chaos of the image. The names or positions of each one of the hundreds of men in the painting is beyond the scope of this analysis, which merely attempts to demonstrate that the ideal appearance of the Ottoman

37 patriarchy was spiral, with the center of the vortex being imagined as the center of power.

Figure 2. “Nuzhat al-ahbar dar-safari Szigetvar” Ahmad Feridun Pasha, 976/1568. Toplapi Palace Library, H. 1339, fol. 16b. Classical Period – in the style of Nakkasha Osman. In Güner, Sami (1976), p. 109.

38 Death of Süleyman This vortex had an isolating affect on those at the center. Power and separation from the common were synonymous in the Ottoman’s projections of power. Consequently, a growing entourage isolated the elite. Leslie Peirce in Imperial Haram posits that neither man nor women of rank would venture into the streets without accompaniment.65 Additionally, The sultan viewed imperial deliberations without being seen in Topkapi Palace.66 From this position, protected by ceremonial walls and preserved behind a mass of slaves and servants, the sultan could see without being seen. In Figure 2, we can see this mobile isolation depicted in the form of Süleyman’s campaign tent. Both his entourage and the visual barrier that walls provide have to come with him on his last campaign, which ended his life in Hungary. As he moved the tent continued to protect him from dangerous unwanted eyes. On Süleyman’s last campaign, however, he went to Szigetvár to fight the Hungarians, and died two nights before an Ottoman victory. This picture suggests his death was influenced by European spies viewing. In fact, the necessity of these visual barriers is highlighted; behind the sultan’s servants’ peering over the wall two young men observe the ceremony uninvited. Thus, this image serves as an example of why the court’s practices of visual constraint are necessary. If the Sultan is not protected from view those who see him will have power over him, suggesting a relation between their sight and his death. The fear of this usurpation is palpably demonstrated by the two spies behind the wall, they, unlike the rest of attendants and delegates, are outside the court’s view. Under the imperial tent, Süleyman I sits on his intricately detailed

39 throne staring ahead of him. The tent, made of what looks to be extensively embroidered expensive cloth hangs behind him. To his left are four beardless attendants, including his sword bearer, watching the foreign delegation. To his right four Ottoman officials standing in a row defering to Sûleyman. Under his gaze eight hatless men, their unique hats marking them as non-Muslim visitors haplessly look towards the Sultan. Just before him on a finely drawn blue rug is the prince of Edirne who looks up demurely. And behind the imperial wall, dismantling the finely defined visual counterpoint between the eyes of the other figures, are two mischievous young men. These men’s observance is exactly what the imperial isolation attempted to prevent. They are able to look in and disrupt the courts domination by their gaze. With this entry into the center of the Ottoman vortex of power the two men hijack the internal logical of the imperial court by examining its internal functioning. In addition to the social arrangement displayed, the image is split between decorative and narrative elements. The artist did not morph the decorative motifs to create a sense of perspective: the hexagons on the side of the Padashah’s throne are all the same shape and proportions, they do not decrease as they move “away” from the viewers eye. Likewise, the rug in the sky has two sets of parallel sides, thereby keeping intact the rectangle’s symmetry. Moreover, the star pattern on the rug beneath the men’s feet also is made of identically sized and shaped pieces. The floor tiles are isometric as well. In contrast, this symmetry is not notable in the bodies of the men. They show modeling, and shading, their faces are in profile and show certain personally identifying characteristics, the sultan

40 even has wrinkles under his moribund eyes. Additionally there are two other narrative elements that are nonhuman but still take form. The whole image is contextualized in the outside by tall repetitively decorated gray hills, which almost completely block-out the sky. They are molded to give form, and are different in proportion to one another. The second molded object is the tent. It is folded and bent, its embroidered pattern snaking around its edges, giving it form and perspective. By distinguishing between the perfectly formed patterned objects and the more organic objects, the decorative elements can be separated from the narrative elements. So on the one hand, the nineteen men who frame the sultan’s throne, the hills that give the frame context, and the tent which gives the sultan his imperial position all appear as narrative objects who could move. On the other hand, the decorative arrangements were artistic attempts at invariable patterns of isometric beauty.67 The fact that the sultan is under a tent in the countryside is part of the narrative of the work, and not simply decorative. This differentiation demonstrates that the artist is re-invoking the necessity of the sultan’s isolation. The two spies peering in show that the sultan’s visual isolation is a perpetually necessary practice that is constantly challenged by interlopers, and therefore continually re-invoked. The eyes of the two young men cross the painting. They are unobserved, but watch both parties. This is a threat to imperial power because it threatens the sultan’s control of sight, and thus his control of court protocol. Thus, the painting of the Emperor in the wilderness beneath his imperial tent

41 reinforces this ideal of royal isolation, as it conjures the death of a much beloved sultan. Western Scholars’ View of Ottoman Power Structures: from the outside in Ottoman power structures hid the most powerful members, behind masses of elegantly craft walls and beautifully arrange attendants. This fact is indexed by two important scholars of the Ottoman power. The first, Necipoglu, is a dedicated scholar of Ottoman architecture, and the manifestation of power that it represents. He outlines a visual schematic was apparent in Ottoman ceremony. The Second, Ogier de Busbecq, was Ferdinand the II’s ambassador to the Ottoman court in the sixteenth-century. As part of his mission he spent several years in Istanbul. While there, he was ‘confined’ to his apartment. This isolation was porous: his keepers, often times let him out if he wanted. This porous isolation seems to not have been Busbecq’s main complaint. Instead, he argues for a private space of his own. His complaint mirrors the modern human rights complaint that isolation hampers political expression, but this assertion does not take into account that the internal nodes in the network often had the greatest access to power. Necipolglu describes court ceremony in the Ottoman court as visually projection of Ottoman power. The Ottoman patriarchy, as depicted in the previous two works, was a unified force, exclusive of females, and contingent on spiral associations towards the center. This spiral isolated the center by surrounding it with walls and bodies. The interlocking nature of these spirals gives form to the whole and function to the individual within. By taking their role from the position in the larger image each member’s placement becomes a signifier of their

42 significance. In his tome Architecture Ceremonial, and Power, Necipoglu articulates this projections form well: Ceremonial served to create a visual diagram of this hierarchically organized military state that was immediately graspable at a glance. This diagram accentuated the omnipotence of the sultan together with the transformation of the centralized state into a bureaucracy and a great army at the personal service of the sultan The perpetuation of ceremonial communicated a message of timeless order and stability, bestowing permanence and legitimacy on an arbitrary social construct. Its power lay in constant repetition, enacted in an eery silence, as if time had been temporarily suspended by an endless recurrence. It froze time in eternal present and created the illusion of an order transcending mere human experience.68 This paradigm, however, surrounds the center of power behind walls of humans and bulwarks of stone and cloth. Inside his imperial tent, the sultan was as invisible as he was within the inner chamber of Topkapi Palace. Though he was protected, his isolated position was not guaranteed. As we with all defenses, there was the possibility that outsiders, like the two young men from The Prince of Edirne at Szigetvár, might infiltrate and disturb its order. In other words, like all small communities, Ottomans perceived that the surrounding communities could impinge on their affairs. Attendants feared such an intrusion. This fear is understandable within the frame work of the vortex of power: if an attendant’s position in regards to the sultan was a literal manifestation of personal power, interlopers only served to distance him from the source of power. Thus, attendants would continually re-invoke the practice, to maintain the static order and thereby maintain the status quo Necipoglu describes.

43 The view that the court was a male dominated arena of power was prevalent, but proffers the court’s self-representation, rather than the political realities. Necipoglu implies that women were hampered by their exclusion from the inner court. “[The court’s] ceremonial represented a male-dominated political order in which royal women, locked up in their harem, could participate only indirectly, through intermediaries.”69 This understanding is accurate, but leaves out an important reality. The scissions in the Ottoman Empire caused most interactions of the venerated elite to take place through intermediaries. For instance in 1554, Ogier de Busbecq was establishing the Hapsburg’s ambassadorial quarters in Istanbul, after being kept within the palace walls for several months, he mistook the Ottoman Pasha’s protection, as imprisonment: As I was tired of being confined in the same lodgings, I negotiated with my cavasse––a member of a class of officials, who, as I have remarked elsewhere, perform various duties amongst the Turks including the custody of ambassadors––in order that I might be allowed to rent a house at my own expense, as the other ambassadors usually did, where I might have a bit of a garden or a field in which I might breathe freer air… [The cavasse] was quite pleased that his master should be relived of the expense [of putting Busbecq up]. So I removed to a house, or rather block of buildings, which I had hired out of my own pocket, with a considerable space of land about it, where I contemplated making a garden and relieving the anxieties of my official labours cultivating it.70 Busbecq was requesting a private space. As he would have in Europe, he requested land to breath in, and the right to handle his own expenses. The demand amounts to a plea for a place were he could conduct his ‘private’ affairs in private. The request sought to create a personal space separate from oversight. This

44 request for personal space, was seen as preposterous on the part of the cavasse who oversaw his affairs:

When, however, my custodian discovered by experience that in a house which was open and free of access on all sides and surrounded by its own grounds it was impossible to maintain so close a watch upon me as in a caravanserai…which is furnished with barred windows on all sides and has only one approach, he changed his mind and arranged with the Pashas… that I should be again enclosed within the four walls of my former quarters.71 Busbecq implies that confinement and supervision restrict his ability to be at ease. In fact, this treatment was, probably, an attempt at honoring Busbecq by keeping him safe from unseemly sight. In this passage, Busbecq displays a need for open space, and a free range, which did not translate into the Ottoman culture of seclusion, where the most important sign of significance was containment. This cultural practice created in Ottoman society as many scissions as there were nodes of power. These divisions were uniform across the political landscape. As one moved in to power, one must move away from the periphery. For this reason, division of the court into small eddies and whirlpools was the norm in dynastic politics, and the separation between the male harem and female harem was only one of many of these units. The tendency is evinced by the structure of princely households, as smaller models of the bigger vortex.72 This reality, however, is not apparent from the ideal projected by the Othman dynasty. For the center of power was often the least visible element.

45 Gendered Space: the ideal and the everyday The following two images depict the ideal exchange between men and women. The first one, a purely ideal image, without any antecedent in reality, depicts Muhammad and Khadija, his first wife, performing the first ritual ablution. The ablution is necessary before prayer to be clean before God. This image plays on the theme of purity, and reveals the artist’s understanding of the ideal interchange between Muhammad and Khadija, and thus between husband and wife. The second painting is an image drawn from court life of the mid sixteenth century. It shows a beautiful young woman contemplating herself in a pond as her handsome husband looks down at her. Strikingly, both faces are uncovered. The context is inside without a hint of the eminent arrival of uncontrollable sexual tension. As this image was for public consumption, its production demonstrates that viewing the exchange between a lawful couple was not taboo.


Figure 3. From the “Nuzhat al-ahbar dar-safari Szigetvar” Ahmad Feridun Pasha,976/1568. Toplapi Palace Library, H. 1339, fol. 16b. Classical Period – in the style of Nakkasha Osman. In Güner, Sami (1976), p. 109.


Khadija and Muhammad Darir depicts the prophet Muhammad, covered in a veil and engulfed in flames. The flames mark him as sacred, much like a Christian halo, and facial covering maintains the hadith’s (collected sayings of the prophet) prohibition against viewing the face of the prophet or his wives. As he is the most sacred man in the Ottoman canon of prominent religious, and he had passed away nearly a thousand years before the creation of the image, this image is purely fantasy. The obvious recourse to the imaginary creates a rich site to discover the subjective reality of the artist Darir. In this image Khadija stands to one side, waiting on Muhammad to towel his hands. She has a holy flame leaping from her head as well, and her body is covered from head to toe in rich cloth. Only her hands are shown. The veil inserts constructed mystery into the image. The viewer cannot determine if the couple is watching Muhammad’s hands or staring into the others eyes. They are participating with each other exterior to viewers ability to translate their motives. For, though they can see through their veils, the viewer cannot. This structural separation between Khadija and Muhammad highlights the problem of viewing the bifurcated power eddies of the Ottoman court. The Ottomans constructed ceremonies in which form was prominent, and then, only with contextual clues, can the viewer attempt to unveil the actors’ motives. With this practice, the external viewer of Ottoman ceremony is left without the requisite knowledge to comprehend the power divisions that divide the image.

48 In Ottoman education, watching an action was the same as learning. Thus, visual access was access to education. The image’s text describes the action, but still leaves confusion as to the narrative intent of the image. At the top of the pane in Ottoman Turkish Khadija says: “O’ Prophet teach me ablution and prayer.” And in response the Prophet asks her to watch his ritual practice: “then Prophet Muhammad said bring me ibrik (a small water vessel used for ritual washing), a cup, and some water. Then the narrative in the image begins and we see Khadija, just having returned from outside with the requested elements. The bottom of the pane says “Khadija brought an ibrik and water to him. The prophet performed the ablution and prayer.” This implies that watching is learning, and doing is teaching. Her request for knowledge is understood as a request to see. The relationship between an ideal couple is depicted in the image, but the lack of internal clues creates a confusion as to the narrative intent. The presence of the outside, and a lack of eyes or motion towards it, creates an ambiguity into the characters’ motives. To begin with the essential elements of the image will be located. Papadopoulo argues that the overall simplicity of the narrative in Ottoman works created a “purely conceptual universe in which the concepts themselves were schematized rather than stylized.”73 As the decorative motifs could be stripped from the previous image they can be from this image as well. All parts of the image that lack perspective, and thus motion, serve as decorative patterns. When these are edited from the narrative, the viewer is left with three elements. These three elements provide a schematic to this narrative: Muhammad washing his hand, Khadija holding his towel, and the garden behind her. The

49 question is, in what order does the story move? The answer is less than apparent. When an arabesque is drawn through the image the three narrative elements can be loosely arranged, but including the garden in the spiral unbalances the curves. The angle of Khadija’s hands allows only for a direct relationship between Khadija’s hands and Muhammad’s face. The view of the garden cannot be included in arabesque or spiral with the two figures hands and faces unless this line between Khadija’s hands is followed. The archway above the garden door, and the hem of Khadija’s collar determine this spiral. But if it is followed, neither Khadija’s hands, nor her face are actually crossed. In addition, the arabesque that links the two figures with the garden leaves Muhammad with the larger spiral from his face running through his hands and the bowl around his head under Khadija’s face and then out the door. If this was the pattern it would imply that the towel she is holding had little narrative importance in the image. This is odd when her entire posture marks the towel as her primary reason to be in the image. The lack of complete clarity leaves room for interpretation of the action. Without internal knowledge of the story this image does not provide the requisite information to completely interpret its meaning. The obfuscation that the veil creates in this image is like the protection that the isolation of the Sultan provides from spies, it isolates information to protect him from giving away knowledge, that an outsider seeing internal functions of the court would presumably provide. The confusion in the image than provides a protection against undue attention from unwanted eyes.

50 Importantly, this image sets Muhammad as the most internal figure, and Khadija as closer to the exterior context of the garden. She is the one who is by the door, and therefore, she is the one who is serving. In other words, he is sacred and dominant because he is the most internal, and she is assisting because she is closer to the outside. In this image, Muhammad is being denied motion, and confined to the internal world. However, like Khadija he is covered. This image then shows the view of the internal as the position for the prophet, and so, like the prophet himself, the innermost is the most sacred. This understanding would have a great deal of currency in the Ottoman court, because it reinforces the benefit of being close to the center of power, and thereby re-invokes the civil-servant-viewer to persist in his service to the Ottoman Empire. An Uncovered Woman and Man The final image is an intimate picture of a couple in the courtyard of a palace painted in 1560. By the look of the structure in the background it appears to depict Topkapi Palace courtyard.74 Unlike the ideal image portrayed in figure 3, this is a candid view of two members of the court. Most surprisingly, the woman is uncovered. This image was made in order to be viewed by the court. And this fact shows that in 1560, viewing an uncovered woman in the context of the royal palace was not taboo for those in the imperial palace. Additionally, in contrast to the to earlier works of the patriarchy, the two characters are in no obvious relation to each other. Though the prince views her, and thus visually possesses the princess75, she also is regarding herself, and thereby possessing herself. They are

51 not oriented towards one another, and their faces are on the same level with one another.

Figure 4. Atil, Esin. The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1987), p. 77.

52 As a portrayal of the ideal image of the Ottoman court, the image is peculiar. It portrays a number of themes that almost no other work of the period does. First it is an interior view of the Ottoman courtyard. There is no sense of ceremony. Second, the man and women seem to be on a plane with one another. Third, if veil in the previous image obfuscated the characters motives, the uncovered faces lays bare their feelings and actions here: the man considering the women, the women considering herself, her sight indicating, self-reflection. His finger to his lips displays a sensitive concern with her worry. Moreover, this image is inside the palace walls, and thus depicts the center of the vortex of power. In fact, we are given complete information over the interaction between this couple. The fear of sharing information, so present in the previous two paintings, is absent here. The image serves as a concrete reminder of tenuous nature of the ideal that the Ottoman art projected. Though, the Islam in the Ottoman Empire proffered an ideal separation of men and women, and this ideal was inscribed in the Ottoman law, within their was individual negotiation and reflection. The independent coalitions are crucial to note, because otherwise a distorted view of the harem as a timeless institution with no connection to the political realities it engaged outside the palace walls is all but a foregone conclusion. In reality, as Peirce correctly points out, “The harem was by no means a political monolith. Coalitions cut across the division of inner and outer government, and factions composed of both men and women vied with each other.”76 Though, women and men were separated they were not completely isolated from each other. The boundaries

53 constructed by the ideological superstructure only permeated to a certain depth of reality. And, most importantly, only continued to have relevance through a constant re-invocation of their aims. Like the unearthing of layers of bedrock when two tectonic plates collide, the Ottoman Empire, though highly organized and very persuasive was not all encompassing. Underneath The Ottoman’s ideal was a milieu of stratified enactments of coalitions between factions.

The Ottoman patriarchy was a diverse organization with a unified purpose. It consisted of thousands of officials in hundreds of ranks, in tens of provinces. It preferred assimilation and proffered training to thousands of young men, by creating an ideal that the men emulated. Within this ideal, the exterior was the weakest point and the hidden center was the most sacred and powerful. Extending out from the center was the Sultanic will. The patriarchy was viewed as an extension of this will into the provinces, arching outwards in an increasing spiral. This spiral was not geographic, but instead constructed out of the bodies of men that surrounded the Sultan. The conception of the interior as the center of power had the corollary that those within the inner arches had the most power themselves. So, though Khadija looks submissive to Muhammad in figure 3, her position has to be considered in relation to all the attendants who were not able to speak or see al-nabi. The intricately interwoven nature of male and female interaction, and the lack of companionship as interlocutors in discussions in the courtyard of the palace creates and demonstrates a reality within the palace of cooperation between the bifurcated genders. This cooperation cannot be taken to

54 mean complete integration; there was a clear separation between the genders, motivated by dynastic reproductive politics, and an Islamic conception of propriety. This cooperation, however, gave rise to a marked increase in woman’s access and control of the networks of power.


Chapter 3
The Sultanas’ Imperial Isolation

The alternative world that Ottoman court politics made for women formed the basis for five women’s seizure of the leadership in the house of Osman for one hundred and thirty years. This world was run and staffed by an army of women. As an illustrative example, the discussion of a rare European’s visit to this world is insightful. In the 1550s, an anonymous Genoese noblewoman visited the court of Hürrem Sultan. She describes a concentric palace of women. This world was encased by eunuchs and maintained by women. This Genoese woman’s access is quite remarkable, for this is one of the few first hand accounts of the interior of the imperial harem. Thus, it shines light on the ceremony of the Sultana’s court. The woman herself is anonymous, but the Genoese were very active trading and banking partners with the Ottomans in the mid-sixteenth century. They provided crucial banking services, especially loans at interest, which were forbidden by Islamic law. They were based in Genoa, a city-state in northern Italy. They had, for a time, operated a number of flourishing trade colonies in the Black Sea, but due to prolonged conflict with their Venetian competitors, lost these posts. As such, an anonymous Genoese woman in Istanbul in the middle of the sixteenth-century would be expected to be a well-financed trader or banker’s

56 wife. The reason for her visit can only be guessed at, but on account of her tone, which hints at a sense of repetition to this visit, it would seem she was trying to present herself as a frequent consort of the sultana in the eyes of those who read her report. Her tone reveals her self-presentation as posturing, because her fake familiarity reveals a complete ignorance of the women’s court of the Ottoman harem. According to the Genoese woman, eunuchs guarded the gates of the palace of women. On entering through the front door, she disrobed her outer garments, and took refreshment. An elderly woman, accompanied by a number of “young girls,” met her inside the foyer. The noblewoman’s description depicts this as regular practice, as if she often had an audience with the Sultana. The routine tone indicates that she is portraying herself as a rightful part of this regal sphere. This tone notwithstanding, she still noted in observant detail the interior of the kiosk. The specificity of the depictions is so keen that it is unlikely that this visit was a regular practice for her. If she often visited the harem, then one would expect her description to be less exact. For instance, her description of her entry notes minute details. As she proceeds away from the gate and toward Hürrem’s chamber, she walks between two parallel lines of “bending slave girls.” After treading through the colonnade of female bodies, and up to the top of a staircase, she sees the Sultana. She passes into her presence in the same manner that Busbecq describes entering the sultan’s: two attendants holding her by the arms.77 The Genoese woman notes the luxury items of Hürrem’s attendants: “smoking pipes”, “blazing jewels” and “objects of value”. After settling in, the Sultana asks her questions

57 about her own country, and listens with attention to her replies. The visitor was surprised at the number of women who look and listen to her tale. They filled the room around her in order to look at and listen to her. After her personal narrative, the Sultana provided an elaborate floorshow of music and dancing women that the Genoese notes was “very delectable.” Then the Genoese woman notices the length of her stay, and of her own volition, she makes a motion to stand and go. This motion indicates a sense of awkwardness in the setting: she is not quite sure when to leave. The Sultana quickly claps her hands and calls two slaves to remove her from the room “in precisely the same manner in which I had entered it.”78 As she details the interior of the palace, the number of women is as surprising to her as the luxury of the place. This is interesting, because it implies she is not accustomed to seeing this many women consorting together. This is to be expected, because women in European courts would never have celebrated an alternative ‘women’s court.’ The attention to these details, and her ignorance of court protocol, demonstrated in her awkward departure, indicates that she had never been to the court before. As further evidence, her explanation describes Hürrem’s attendants as slave girls. In other words, she cannot consider the idea of a completely female court, full of female attendants. Her disbelief is an admission that she does not know the court nomenclature and indexes that within these walls she is a foreigner. Therefore, her description is accurate, but its overt implications are not. The description depicts a mass of female attendants, all in orderly rows that are arrayed around the palace under an elderly women’s guidance spiraling to

58 the center of power–Hürrem. The female centered hierarchy of the imperial harem was incomprehensible to this Genoese woman. This description indexes a crucial aspect of Ottoman dynastic politics: for one hundred and thirty years between 1530 and 1660, a pleiade of five female sovereigns ruled in conjunction with incrementally weakening male Sultans. Thus, focusing on the separate institution of women in the Ottoman Empire provides an opportunity to reclaim a history of an Empire’s identity that has largely been appropriated by claims of female mismanagement. As the divisions were reinforced daily, the affect of the division was separate worlds. Importantly, in the Ottoman Empire the separation may not have been equal, for the isolation had a material effect on those within. Though it created two worlds one fully staffed by women and the other by men79, it left women with a view confined within walls of bodies and brick. Thys-Senocak, an Ottoman Architectural historian, elegantly demonstrates seclusion’s effect on women of the Imperial Harem: their architectural projects were created with a vision of the world from within the harem. She argues that the isolation of the imperial harem can be seen in their subsequent projections of their internal expectations of architecture, as demonstrated by their tendency to recreate architectural forms familiar to them inside the palace walls: imitations of kiosks and sultanic quarters.80 The question then would be why did their isolation not detract from their power? Though the isolated lives of imperial women had material effect on their practice, Ottoman royal women were not disempowered. In fact, they wielded a

59 great deal of power in the Ottoman domains after the reign of Hürrem.81 Ideally, the divide between women and men in the Ottoman Empire was complete. They were to be visually unmixed because, as I attempted to demonstrate in the first chapter, if they mixed without proper roles having been established, unlawful and inappropriate partnerships would result. This separation, however, did not stop the royal women’s exercise of power. As Leslie Peirce points out, “a source of serious misunderstanding about the nature of Ottoman society, at least at the level of the elite––is the erroneous assumption that the seclusion of women precluded their exercise of any influence beyond the physical boundaries of the harem itself.”82 The imperial harem cannot be seen as an apolitical sphere. In other words, the application of the “private” domestic sphere does not apply when describing Ottoman political life.83 The assertion moves the debate to a discussion of the nature of women’s manifestation of power within the gender separation of the Ottoman Empire.84 In short, women were not allowed to play a visible role exterior to the boundaries of the palace in elite Ottoman society. The center of the nexus of imperial power, however, was not a disempowering location, and to a degree proffered a ‘high ground’ from which they could view society and enact their will onto it. In this chapter, the potential influence from this secluded center will be shown through an examination of an economic deal arranged in the midst of Ottoman economic decline. From their high ground, in competition with traditional elements of the Ottoman administration, the Ottoman female court implemented policy to maintain itself. In the late sixteenth-century, these older

60 factions lost ground as Ottoman inflation soared. Subsequently, the women’s quarter bartered silk; thereby, they created a source of revenue which was not bound to the depreciating currency. The international textile industry was separated from the general economy by the arrangement to trade silk for English woolens. The ad hoc deal increased the harem’s power due to a persistent growth in revenue. Unfortunately, as the local economies across the empire receded, dyes, thread and, eventually, raw silk also became more difficult to obtain. Thus, the female court cultivated the silk trade and maintained itself through the recession on the trade’s profits, but the market slowdown eventually dampened the quality of Ottoman silk, and thus the harem’s profits.

Behind the Silk Veil From their imperial isolation, five women maintained the ceremonial practice of the empire through traditional business practice. The assertion of a rise to power of the women’s quarter is supported by a general increase in the participation of the women’s harem in dynastic and foreign affairs. In this decline, a stratification of economic activities caused long distance trade and its movement of transnational capital to become far more profitable than the traditional mechanisms of capital growth: tax farming and the production of guilds. The women’s quarter grew in power in this period of general economic decline and consequent social upheaval, because they adapted to the long distance trade in textiles. Their upward trajectory is related to the silk industries barter, as opposed to monetary exchange, value in this period. That is, the harem’s source of income

61 was not attached to the depreciating silver in the same way that the empire’s finances generally were. This was on account of the harm’s deal to barter English woolens for Ottoman silk. Thus while the currency plummeted, the pre-modern economic barter system increased the harem’s share of state revenues through commodity exchange. The increase highlights the point that the transition to market capitalism, though in the long run financially profitable, did not clearly make sense while in the transition. In other words, relying on credit to finance market transactions was not seen as the obvious solution to a shortage of money to pay for rising prices. The economic decline lessened the Sultan’s hegemony. The explanations of the lessening of the Ottoman sovereigns’ suzerainty in the beginning of the sixteenth century have a number of explanations. Earlier scholars explained decline in influence as the result of the infighting of effeminate eunuchs and slave girls, which they argued castrated the power of the male Emperor.85 This interpretation is sexist, and consequently had a good deal of currency in Ottoman historiography for some centuries. As well as being unpalatable, the view fails to take into account that the steps to create the women’s influence were intentional. As discussed earlier, in Chapter 2, Süleyman’s relocation of the women’s quarters to the center of the vortex of power can only be seen as an intentional increase in their stake in the administration. The religious prescriptions also were at play, because women were seen as too persuasive the generally observant Ottoman population and the ulema, pushed for them to be hidden from the public view. When they acted publicly it was asking for reproach, because the society at large

62 was dominated by the view of women’s inferiority. Within the walls of the palace, however, they served the empire as they had been taught in the imperial harem. Thus, the relocation of the large and wealthy imperial harem followed Süleyman’s general trend of greater centralization. The assertion that the move was intentional is crucial for the record can only report agency after its moves are seen as political. The isolation of women, however, has created a dearth in the historical record as it pertains to the lives of Ottoman imperial women. When studying Ottoman women, the unrecorded facts are as important as the facts that are known. A biography should have a certain form that dictates a narrative arc throughout the subject’s life. Along the way, certain points form the basis on which the ‘life’ is defined. Contemporary Ottoman historians did not record these elements of Ottoman women’s lives.86 The important omissions include their formative years, their ties to their family, their everyday activity and the effect that their natal family had on their policy decisions. On account of the paucity of information, the nature of their character is difficult to uncover. Without these facts, their lives are historical shadows: we know they were there because we see the shade, but we do not know what they looked like. Regardless of the lack of detail to the sketch, it is important to attempt to distinguish their activity “for any such distinction would give them meaning of a sort.”87 Their definition in Ottoman terms was not dependent on where they originated, but on what they were as members of the Othman house.

63 On account of this fact, the qualities which made them valide sultans were transient values not learned in their hometowns on the periphery of the empire, but instead were passed between generations of members of the Ottoman’s harem institution. That is to say the tribal and factional affiliations of birth were not recorded. At least, these connections to natal family were frowned upon in the Ottoman court. At most, they were completely erased by their training in Topkapi Palace. This transient quality to their identities is like Heidegger’s Gestel: “The Gestel is then that which commands a furthering quality of human activity, i.e. that it be and be seen only as a movement from one thing to another.”88 The record makes the point clear that the motion between harem women was the salient aspect in the lives of queen mothers. As such, the motivating trends that wove through their lives and reigns will be followed to give definition to characters, that in the historical record have little distinction, and even less life. Without the attempt though the women who by all accounts ruled the empire appear, to speak colloquially, as the “night in which all cows are black.”89 That is, without clear definition from an undefined context. It is difficult to assign agency to individual characters in this paucity of sources. From this transient shadow, however, a greater acquisition of power by the matriarchy in comparison to the patriarchy, which had firmly held the reins of power in earlier centuries, is discernable. Most valid Sultans’ were of European descent, many of noble birth, and all taken from regions peripheral to the Ottoman Empire. They were brought up within the women’s quarters of the imperial palaces of the empire. The women of

64 the palace administered the training. It was a competitive system that taught lessons of good governance and loyalty to the house of Osman. The value of maintaining the state, instead of meeting individual’s needs was indoctrinated in each generation’s progenitors. In this system, the five valides should be seen as the most ideal representatives of the panicle of candidates, grafted into the dynasty and tended by the women of the imperial harem. They were picked as mates for the sultans, because they maintained the values that the institutions of the female palace proffered. Therefore, their lives become examples of the Ottoman government’s ideal, their successes are the result of thousands of women’s attempts, and their failures are demonstrations of the limits of the system they negotiated. In this context, the study of the thinly documented lives can show a great deal about the completely undocumented women who served around them.

Consequently, the administration by valide sultanas should be seen as a natural result of the chaos in the empire generally. Economic decline caused by a transition to the early modern period lessened many institutions influence due to socio-economic shifts. Trained in the imperial harem to maintain the prestige of the empire, the stable position of the Queen mother and her supporting cadre of women served the empire through a revolution of economic relations. Thereby, they continued the tradition of service to the empire that the grafted members of the Ottoman Empire–slaves bought in the market as children and raised as elite administrators–had provided for the previous two centuries. They were

65 completely loyal servants of the Empire. While the institutions of the Ottoman Empire went through drastic changes, the imperial harem of slave women worked to control the fiscal crisis by developing the silk trade.

Growth through Decline: A Silk Bulwark Given the wider economic situation, focusing on the comparative rise in power is necessary because the recession only amounted to a ‘decline’ in comparison to European nations. It would be fair to say that the Ottoman Empire largely maintained as before, while England, France, the Netherlands and especially Spain materially improved on account of their overseas initiatives. To examine this comparative depression earlier theories of decline will be examined. Their additions will be re-examined in light of new information: for example, the change lessened the hold of traditional feudal production in favor of transregional trade. From there the administrative fiat of the Ottoman’s acquisition of goods will be posited as a cause for their fiscal woes. The local resistance to the market situation will be addressed. The market reorientation towards interregional trade, instead of local production, will be shown to have caused a rise in market activity. Then, the context will be used to explain a trade deal between the English and the Ottomans that floated the female harem’s treasury as the economy generally receded. The Ottoman’s were the largest producer of silk at this time, they imported large amounts of raw silk from Persia, then processed it into high quality tapestries and garments which they then, after meeting their own needs, shipped East and West, and thereby netting substantial profit. With the deal to

66 barter silks for English woolens in the generally depreciating economy, the Ottoman administration governed by the sultanas stymied the fiscal crisis of the price revolution of the long sixteenth century. As noted above, the world that Ottoman rule strove to create was shaped by the view from within the palace walls. The harem saw the world as it had been constructed in the ideology of the past centuries. The past screened the view to the outside world, thus memoirs of earlier activity imbued sites with importance that in turn caused sites to take on significance. Though this internally constructed view filtered references, the screen covered an actual outside world, that these women actually saw everyday. For example, Ottoman women preferred building their new palaces on top of Byzantium’s ruins,90 building new kiosks and minaret’s on the archeological sites left by their predecessors. The process maintained imperial rituals of power in an otherwise fast changing political landscape: in the late sixteenth century, the Ottoman Empire’s economy floundered. An earlier explanation of the crisis held that due to a flood of Spanish silver91 into the Ottoman market, which was the result of the introduction of ocean-faring tall ships in Europe that carried Spaniards to Central American,92 Ottoman international trade routes were put under serious strain.93 This view is Ottoman-centric. It does not take into account that similar inflation was taking place across Europe on account of new world silver.94 Though it has been shown that about one third of Spanish silver was shipped to the orient in return for trade goods,95 this exchange has not been shown to have met Ottoman demand for silver currency. Instead of excessive new world bullion accounting for

67 inflation, a systemic growth in the participation in the market economy in the Ottoman Empire seems more feasible. In this view, while market activity increased, simultaneously, important market developments took hold. First, prices for those not involved in the market economy skyrocketed. Then, this hike encouraged participation in the urban centered market economy. The Ottoman population, shown to have doubled in this period96, continued increases in market activity due to immigration to the city. This shift caused further inflation for traditional producers, as they slipped out of the current of capital circulation. The need for producers to continue to make a profit continued to increase prices. With these developments, the market would have been ravenous for currency to carry out all these exchanges. This shortage, like the shortages in silver across Western Europe, was a result of a massive increase in market activity, which caused acute shortage of currency. Acute shortages of currency97 attest to the reality of this inflation, which seems completely paradoxical if inflation was due predominately to a flood of American precious metals.98 The shortage is further attested to by the subsequent debasement of Ottoman coinage to meet the demand.99 Currency shortage, in sixteenth-century European contexts, have been demonstrated to have caused a growth of financial markets.100 Thus, in the Ottoman domains during the long sixteenth century, Ottoman’s tried to govern a quickly expanding economic scene. One could postulate that the receding power of the Ottoman dynasty during this period was due to the myopic policies created from within the women’s quarters. That is to say, if women’s views were materially effected by

68 their secluded position, it would seem feasible that their power accounted for policy that did not see the mercurial economic landscape outside the palace as it actually was. This position, however, should be taken into the light: the women’s quarter remained a center of power within the turmoil of economic upheaval, thus the policies enacted should be recorded as maintaining, not hindering, the administration. Moreover, the Ottoman administration was crucial in maintaining the silk trade, a vital industry in the empire at the time, and so by continuing to harness the silk trade’s profits the harem was maintaining a traditional policy that in turned buoyed certain sections of the Ottoman house during the economic storm. Thus, arguing they were narrowly focused on traditional policies fails to make account for the posturing that kept the palace’s coffers, for a time, in the black. It is possible, without any evidence to the contrary, that the women’s quarter enacted fiscal policy without reference to the new circumstances; either way, their efforts for a time succeeded. Rather than blaming the policies of the harem for the administration’s failures–considering that the overall trajectory of female power was upward–it may be more useful to ask what factors contributed to the growth in female power in comparison to the receding power of the Ottoman Sultan and its traditional support: tax farms and military campaigns. This rise can be found in the administrations acquisition policies and their effect on the Ottoman market. The supply of the needs of the administration was seen as the primary purpose of the producing class of the Ottoman Empire.101 The supply of goods between towns was carried on by speculative trading ventures.102 The primary

69 long distance trade was the textile industry that the Ottoman Empire intentionally fostered.103 Employees of the central administration (kapu kullari) acted as entrepreneurs in the textile business.104 Long distance trade also supplied major towns with the vital foodstuffs.105 Though, due to the dangers inherent in long distance travel on treacherous roads–swimming in pooled rain water and reigned over by local strong men and self-seeking government officials–merchants only traded when profits were exceptionally high.106 This trade, because of its high capital requirements, necessitated the backing of well-financed bankers. In the currency short Ottoman Empire, as in Western Europe, the joint venture between risk-prone, but profit-high international trade may have contributed to a growth in trans-regional finance. In the classical period, landholders and production associations, such as guilds, financed this trade. Over time, these segments’ influence declined as the economy moved away from an agrarian basis into an early modern network of urban centers. With this reorientation–due to increased market activity between regions–the administration had to reexamine its acquisition strategies. This change of practice, though, was limited by the restrictions of popular opinion. The local populations resented the alliance between long distance traders and bankers. This increasing popular resistance corroborates to a fair degree the assertion that long distance trade began to dominate the market at this time. Religious cofraternities, which represented popular sentiment,107 gave voice to the complaint that traders were upsetting the market. The idea was supported by Sunni orthodoxy, especially al-Ghazali, who held the ideal that profit should only

70 be made for a time to meet one’s needs, and that excess profits should be used to prepare for the next life by giving back to the local community, and endowing religious institutions.108 With this evidence, Halil Incilik argued that religious ideals created a self-restricting market. In this analysis, guild members, in the sixteenth-century, were producing for a limited number of customers. The guild hierarchy limited production in order to maintain the whole industry’s well being.109 In this context, long distance merchants were seen to unduly upset markets’ status quos through profiteering, and speculation.110 It is important to note that the ideals of religious order and community practice did not persist in the face of a drastically changing economic horizon. This is evinced by the fact that the utopian motives of guilds are not born out by the sources in the seventeenth-century.111 This shift, seems to indicate a growing resentment toward traders and their financiers. In the earlier period, though not all guilds were bound by a shared religion, the guilds of small towns must have found it easy to control membership due to limited geographic space and social cohesion.112 Because in these more homogenous spaces local concerns were more completely enacted. Though when capital began to flow between provinces more freely, social norms merely served to further divide the economic positions of long distance traders, who were awash in transnational capital, and local producers, who where competing with depreciating local products. In the outlying areas, especially the rural spaces the unrealistic ideal had more sway, and consequently, the resistance to external intrusion was more intense. This steadily rising resentment against

71 long distance traders’ market activities would seem to corroborate their increasing market dominance. The Ottoman administration organized the flow of commodities in the empire to meet its own needs. Due to overwhelming inflation, the Othman house lost the economic muscle to mobilize their largely demand based economy. In the Ottoman Empire, supplies for the state were acquired by commandeering supplies from the private sector by “administrative fiat.”113 For instance, by borrowing money from timar holders, paid back by a reduction in their tax bill, the state hired overland transport114 to carry their campaign supplies.115 Unfortunately for the command-based supply, the timar holders’ profits, were based on crops, and as such, the comparative decline in value of their products in a deflating economy meant they could not cope with rising prices.116 The prices continued to rise because transportation’s price scale was buoyed by trans-national trade. In other words, timar holders’ ‘cash on hand’ would have depreciated as the market declined, but transportation profits would have risen because they transported international products. The comparative decline of the Ottoman Empire shifted the economy’s orientation, effecting local producers negatively and long distance traders positively. This was crippling to the Ottoman administration because they relied on giving tax breaks to tax farmers, as with other productive enterprises in the Ottoman borders, in exchange for short term loans in order to hire transportation.117 Unfortunately, long distance transportation, unlike local products, did not depreciate in price. In fact, on account that the international

72 value of textiles such as silks and woolens was set in international markets and these textiles formed the largest trade good in the period the cost of transportation increased drastically in comparison with the depreciating price of crops or manufactured goods. That is as textiles moved through Ottoman Empire their value was maintained by demand both in Persia and Europe. Consequently, as long distance traders chose the most valuable cargo–silks and woolens that did not depreciate in value–they caused the cost of transportation for local producers to skyrocket. As a result, the earnings of local producers could no longer stay competitive in comparison to the largely internationally market based price of textiles. As a result, the transportation sector preferred to transport textiles. Consequently, because the state relied on loans from local producers to finance their transport services, the devaluation of local production in comparison to internationally priced products would have caused local producers to no longer have the cash on hand to finance the government’s transportation demands. The dearth did not stop the government from making demands. In fact, occasionally the central administration demanded deliveries of textile fibres in lieu of taxes.118 Showing the administration’s awareness of a shift in market activity towards the textile industry. In this context, many of the richer land holding Anatolians immigrated to Eastern Europe and Persia119, taking their capital with them. Thus, reorientation caused a subsequent economic up-shift for international and interregional traders especially in textiles, and a downshift for those invested in local production exterior to the textile industry.

73 As the silver currency of the empire depreciated, the administration made a trade agreement. They traded silks to England for woolens. The English demanded silks, not silver for their woolens.120 A similar deal had been employed a half-century earlier to maintain the empire’s limited precious metals from all being bought by Persia with raw silk.121 Though the value of silver in the Ottoman Empire was depreciating, the English did not demand chests of silver for their woolens. This is on account of a similar economic situation in Western Europe as was in The Ottoman Empire. Both markets were going through what has been call the “Price Revolution.” That is to say, the English and the Ottoman’s went through a sustained inflation between 1520 and 1640, and both would have preferred a more stable commodity, such as textiles over quickly depreciating silver.122 This indexes that both economies viewed silver as commodity, which they both had in short supply, and not a currency. Though both economies desperately needed silver coinage to supply the growing market activity, both realized the other’s position and exchanged commodities that were in ample demand, bypassing the shortfalls of currency. Thus, this deal is clever because they traded textiles for textiles. The exchange would have been a lifeline to the institution that reaped the profits, because the commodities value was exterior to the currency market. For as the currency depreciated in the Ottoman Empire, commodities, like English woolens, rose in price; thereby, their value rose to match inflation in the receding Ottoman market. Consequently, their real value stayed abreast with actual prices in the Ottoman Empire.

74 The Ottoman Empire was the largest producer of high quality silk in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Ottoman skill in fabric arts was particularly renowned in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.123 Bursa was the center of Ottoman textile manufacturing in the sixteenth-century. Bursa had long served as a second capital to the empire. Though Bursa was a major administrative city, it was also a vibrant economic center. The Ottoman Empire manipulated taxes and tariffs to encourage the silk trade to center in Bursa.124 As a result by 1500, there were more than one thousand silk workshops in the city.125 The participation of women in economic life of the empire is well attested to. A rare tally of ownership in Bursa, from 1678, shows that out of the 300 silk spinning implements in Bursa then more than half were owned and/or operated by women.126 Notably, sixteen percent of all women in the city spun silk.127 Further, in Bursa a reduction of the tax on silk was defended on the grounds that most silk spinners were “poor women.”128 It seems fair to assume that if textile manufacture was perceived as appropriate work for women in Bursa, it was in other cities in the empire as well. Though, Bursa continued to be a prominent center of silk manufacture, it is clear from the sources that the center of silk production shifted to Istanbul towards the end of the sixteenth century.129 Though the international silk trade progressed, the local supply of materials declined. In Istanbul the general quality of the material decreased: the vibrancy of the colors, the intricacy of the designs and the use of gold and silver thread all diminished.130 This decrease is notable because it indexes the general decline in the availability of

75 local materials at the beginning of the seventeenth-century,131 and as a corollary, the decline of the Ottoman Empire’s market economy. The women’s quarters of the imperial administration had control of textile industry in the Ottoman Empire, as it had control of the entire administration. The profits maintained the women’s quarter throughout the general economic decline. While the economy in general was declining in comparison to Europe, the woman that controlled Ottoman Empire, probably Nurbanu Sultan, arranged to maintain the court’s revenues. She created the deal with the English, the court would barter Ottoman silks for English woolens, exterior to a depreciating currency. Who exactly made the deal is not recorded in the sources, but the amount of influence the valide sultan wielded in the court, meant all deals were eventually hers to make. By the odd agreement, the Ottoman textile manufacturers would offset the losses incurred by the depreciation of the silver market.132 And as women controlled the court, the silk industry in the imperial workshops can be seen as supporting the women’s quarter of the imperial harem. As such, the kind for kind trade maintained the women’s quarter of the Ottoman administration, while the patriarchy’s traditional sources of income–taxes on timar estates and booty from conquest continued to diminish in the receding Ottoman economy. Thus, at the end of the classical age women’s fiscal power increased dramatically on account of their control of the textile industry. The increase in fiscal strength positioned the women’s quarters to lead the empire through its transition to the early modern era. With this transition, came the growth in capital markets, and the decrease in subsistence farming. No longer

76 could timar holders take their status for granted. The land holding class was based on a feudal system of a privileged military class, which formed a cadre of trusted intimates who were traditionally the favored lenders to the Osmanlis. This old guard could not compete against the migration of transnational capital, and as such lost their place in the Ottoman power structure as the administration–ruled by women–took notice of the world around them and attempted to reoriented the Ottoman fiscal policy to the new economic circumstances.

The centrality of the harem positioned the them to take control of veins of capital circulation. This pulse largely ran through the textile trade from Persia to the heart in Bursa and Istanbul and then back out into the West and East. The recognition of this pulse being separate from the circulation of silver made the arrangement with the English even more effective. For though the transnational capital movement dominated the market, older production sites persisted in traditional ventures. Their attempts did not fair well in competition with the nodal production of capital. Despite the competitive advantage of a capital market, the Ottoman religious community–voicing the concerns of the small towns of Anatolia and the wider empire–attempted to curb the growth by invoking religiously motivated egalitarianism. Likewise, timar holders, the traditional lending partners of the Ottoman house’s fiscal and military might, bemoaned their lost status. In all this change, the empire did not fundamentally falter, but it may be argued they did not deal with the revolutions of the long sixteenth century as well as their European competitors. This assertion is mainly supported by the

77 growth of European sea-born initiative drawn by the power of sails, which the Ottomans only adopted very late. This comparative decline has been analyzed and in large has been used by historians to reinforce the backwardness of Islam and the Ottomans who espoused it. Their ignorance has largely been focused on the backwardness of the ‘Oriental’s’ treatment of women, and the women’s subsequent lack of worldview. But this assertion has to be reexamined with the consideration that fiscal policy, under the oversight by Ottoman royal women adapted to the changes of the economic situation. While at times the administration may have not succeeded, it was not due to woefully undereducated administers but the leviathan task before them. To adapt to a world of transregional capital and ocean faring worldwide travel atop the waves of the fathomless deep is much to ask of anyone. These valide sultanas were the very best the Ottoman Empire had to offer. Though given the social parameters in which they lived their lives are not clearly documented, they ruled over an empire. This rule was on account of the loosening of bonds between traditional sources of power: land owning, guild production and the outward military expansion of the empire.133 In this context, new sources of wealth and social activity became more accessible. Indeed many contemporary Ottoman scholars pronounced this lessening of the social cohesion as the primary reason for, rather than a result of, the economic revolution.134 Thus, though the lives and historical foundation, which formed Ottoman royal women’s lives, did to an extent create their world, they adjusted and negotiated this world to adapt to the fast changing socio-economic situations

78 posed by the price revolution of the long sixteenth-century. Thus, the Genoese women’s observation of a court of bending slave girls naively listening to her tale of a world “which they knew nothing of,”135 seems grossly misrepresentative. In this period, this world–and all the major sources to power and wealth–went through the hands of these women’s imperial harem. From this harem, the institutions of the Ottoman Empire were reoriented to adjust to the alternative world created by the movement of transnational capital. As such, the veil that covers these women’s historical lives is unfortunate, for their study, to a large degree, is the study of the transition into the modern world.



The Ottoman Empire in the long sixteenth-century was led by a cadre of women. One may recall, the situation was like many of its European compatriots: Catherine the Great in Russia, Elizabeth in England, Catherine de Medici in France. Unlike these other women, however, the Ottoman women institutionally structured their separate status along gender lines in order to better organize their power. From the institutions of the Ottoman female court, capable leaders came forth to meet the challenges of incorporating into the modern world. Their position in the center of the Empire’s circulation of power allowed them to appropriate its flow. By assuming this role, the women’s quarter guided the Ottoman Empire through the transition to the early modern era. It should be considered whether this position was the result of competitive politics or historical accident. If it was an accident, than the silk trade happened to be centered in the administrations hands, and because the patriarchy faltered at this time, women happened to ‘catch’ the reins of power. This interpretation removes the women’s agency, demanding that they have as little historical impact as a falling thread of silk. But it was these threads, at this time, which I argue were exactly what gave the harem its power. Instead of circumstance, I see their acquisition as a calculated move towards the means of capital growth in an economy shifting towards the early modern period. An era marked by the decline of subsistence farms and egalitarian

80 production, and the growth of specialized production and, as a result, greater market participation. This shift is attested to by five changes: first, the administrations implementation of the ad hoc barter bargain with the English to diminish the affects of the transition on their coffers; second, the failure of feudal production methods in the face of transnational capital; third the local populations resistance to these market and consequent, social changes; fourth, the shortages of currency; and fifth, the necessary increase in banking networks to finance transregional trade. This shift caused a serious problem for the traditionally demand based economy of the Ottoman Empire. They could no longer rest on the financing provided by the feudal guild and tax farm systems. As a result, the inflation of the price revolution was disruptive to the Empire’s traditional organizational practice. In this revolution the women’s quarter took intentional measures to maintain their power. They did this by employing traditional economic policy of commodity exchange, rather than monetary, to buoy their treasury. The implementation makes sense, for in their economic dealings the Ottomans treaded silver much more as a commodity than a currency. Through this policy the Ottoman women strove to create a world accommodated to their rule. They largely used as precedent the rulers who had come before them. They did so by reinterpreting older practice to meet new needs. Through this visual reinvocations they supported and created the revolution of Ottoman social roles that took place through the Price Revolution of the long sixteenth-century. The rule by the grafted members of the Ottoman Empire was the result of their more protected status. Within the walls of the palace they were not as

81 quickly effected by the outside. Thereby, their feelings of loyalty to the Osman house were stronger than other administrative components of the Empire. They thought of themselves as its guardians. While the world around them reorganized and changed, they persisted in this regency for over a hundred years. This was a result of the indoctrination and life long training that the harem taught to its members. They were first and only, members of the Othman house. By the time a woman reached the rank of valide, she hat long since established her unquestionable incorporation into the Ottoman values. This collective prided itself on the removal of personal interests–namely, natal concerns or ethnic pride. Perhaps, as a result, the historical record of these well trained, and to all accounts literate women, is exceedingly sparse because of the prerogative to delete these facets of the life. This deleting reminds one of the fact that when a women leaves her home she is to become fully part of her husbands house. This dearth is saddening, for their lives through the transition, like the women staring at herself in the palace pond in chapter two, would be perfect reflections of the transition into the modern world. This paucity has been taken advantage of to project misogynist constructions on to the lives of these women. Because of their forceful assertion of personal power, history has construed them as manipulative and unlady like. Within this story the demands by some Ottoman religious scholars for their removal have been seen by modern historians as corroboration of the ill effects of irrational women’s rule. This view is sadly uninformed, and as we have seen, lacking a large enough historical context. Thus, because women participated

82 in, and governed the Ottoman Empire and their rule cannot be noted for its inferiority, it is difficult to assert that the rule of women was inherently inferior. As we saw at the beginning of chapter three, the view of a collection of women as mere sexual bodies without any understanding outside of the palace walls has been a commonly made mistake. This mistake conflates the construct of ‘private’ space with apolitical space. The fact that the interior of the family unit also was the center of political discourse creates a visually confused space for unfamiliar eyes, which is perpetuated into the historical record. The situation created an alternative space for women to brook the limitations on their influence arising from socio-religious norms, while controlling the streams of power running through the House of Osman. The image of young women staring at herself in chapter two exemplifies the position. She was within the walls of the palace, and the artist records her and the prince as a pair of people, in the much wider context of the imperial palace. It reminds the viewer that the influence of no one unit was monolithic. Instead the society was the result of the continuous actions of thousands of individuals confined within the parameters of birth and the experiences of their lives. The artist seems to recognize this fact in his choice of subject. He displays individuals, not monolithic structures in this image. In contrast to the seemly intimate scene depicted of the royal couple, the image of Khadija and Muhammad seems to index the benefits of being close to the center of power. Instead of the viewer being part of this scene, he is positioned as an outsider with veils between him and the sacred. This is especially striking

83 given the fact that this is the image of a man and wife alone together. It is obvious the painter was aware that the image would be consumed by outsiders, as demonstrated by the coverings on Khadija’s face even while she is ‘alone’ with her husband. The artist shows benefit of this obfuscation by leaving the viewer with a lack of knowledge behind the veil. The tension this screen creates is partially relieved by the text of the image. The text makes clear the image is an object lesson in the correct means of information sharing in the hiden, ideal center of power. But this withstanding, the viewer does not completely know what the intentions of the characters are within this image, because the viewer cannot see their eyes. Thus, in this context observing ritual is the same as gaining access to power, and hiding ritual then is the same as maintaining control power. The honorific space created for women in both of these images was similar to the honorific position given to all notable members of Ottoman society. At times, the protection of the sacred confused western observers. Indeed, Busbecq, when he was confined in his quarters within the palace and only allowed out with a bodyguard, assumed he was being kept prisoner. His impression of imprisonment is unlikely for he was free to move as he wished. Instead, he was simply discouraged to go outside and be seen without a commiserate number of attendants to demarcate his elite status. Likewise, though Necipoglu correctly describes the visually schematic nature of Ottoman power, he misses the point that the order’s primary purpose was to protect the elite from view, and, thus, honor the sacred center of the order. Consequently, though he notes in accurate detail the loyal rows of janissaries and

84 retainers which surround the sultan, he fails to note that the female harem is likewise surrounded. Instead, he remarks that it is secluded and consequently powerless. Though their observations are separated by four-hundred years, both European scholars fail to recognize that power in the Ottoman Empire was designed around a spiral association into smaller units all orbiting around the sovereign center. This center was not designated by palaces or geography, but in the body of the sovereign. The tent of the sovereign was as inviolable as the walls of Topkapi palace. The space was not only a traditionally sacrosanct zone. For the Ottomans felt seeing the rituals of the court initiated the viewer into its practice of power. For them seeing was knowing. This understanding makes sense when to a good degree the only thing that separated Ottoman administrators from the common milieu they attempted to govern was their behavior. Taken as they were from the periphery of the empire, for most of the Empire’s history, Ottoman administrators were not set apart by blood or birth. Thus, they were only distinguished by their etiquette. For this reason, observing the rituals of court practice, as the two mischievous young men did right before Süleyman’s death at Szigetvár, was seen as a violation of the court. By visually understanding the court they opened the possibility of their integration into it. The possibility of this usurpation of power demanded the continual re-invocation of the elites seclusion The visual segregation of the Ottoman order into smaller units is an indication of their recognition of the deeper layering of the Ottoman court. In his depiction of the Ottoman Patriarchy, Nakkasha Osman, the most renowned

85 example of Ottoman illumination, plays with the understanding of the spiral association between Ottoman administrators. He creates perspective in the image by the arrangement of social units: viziers, camel drivers, cavalry officers, and janissary foot soldiers. In the Ottoman order the separation of men and women was expect. But it was only as divisive as the scissions between any number of the other units which spiraled in the Ottoman Empire. Whirlpools and eddies of power were the norm in the Empire, and as the traditional relationships between them broke down in the price revolution the currents of these eddies began to form a Charybdis. Like Odysseus, the Ottoman patriarchy, built on the ruins of Greek Byzantium, tried to stay out of the maw of a monster–namely, a vortex of power centering on the Queen mother. The new formation has been obscured by the generalized role Orientalists and historians have created for women in the Muslim world. This misogynist trend in history has been focused on in Islam as if it was the only religion or group to have ever disenfranchise women. But the intention to discredit women’s achievements was not only in hindsight. Ottoman art removed women from the visual record. Artists in the Ottoman Empire were men. They had little access to the women’s world. The lack of recognition of the women’s existence by the artist indexes the fact that in the Ottoman popular artist imagination–the representation which was recorded as the ideal in the Empire–women did not have a place. This is the natural result of the practice of visually hiding one part of the society. As they were hidden in contemporary sources they are visually forgotten in the

86 record. Moreover, because this practice was present in the lives of the elites, emulating it may have served as a vital means of incorporating into the upper echelons of dynastic affairs. At the same time, the ideal’s affect only permeated to a certain level of the social substratum: women played an active role in social and economic street life in the Ottoman Empire. The multi-cultural sources of social norms speak to the heterogeneous sources of the Empire’s social practice. The simplification of this confusion has led to a non-representative Orientalist construct. This construct once removed, leaves a mass of unsorted information. Sifting through it to reclaim the mostly undocumented lives of women can be daunting. Mistakes and misunderstandings of the past should be expected as the norm. And only through reapplying ourselves across fields, instead of continually re-invoking the understandings of fellow historians, can hindsight help deliver insight. In the Ottoman Empire, the religious fiqh of the Hanafi law school took on its most impressive actualization. In this understanding, situations which were seen to contravene God’s order were limited. Because the ulema considered men and women predisposed to have sex, as if nothing kept them apart, and the society at large referred to the religious scholars for guidance, the social order in total was organized to keep them apart. Though other religions may have had different understandings in the empire, one would expect the social limits the Ottoman religious order defined to influence the perspectives of all people that lived within it. The proscription created the separate world of women. This was caused by the perceived sexual power of women. The logic of the system is unmistakable: if the

87 genders never mix, then they will never have intercourse. The system, though, demands a level of rigidity that is impossible to maintain in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the entrance into the early modern period. Immigration and urbanization lent themselves to devolution of the enforcement of socially ossifying, puritanical social fundamentalism. The changing nature of society was not lost on the Ottoman scholars. They understood that every people and nation has its own ürf, and that the applications of these customary laws to new places may not be possible. This recognition is an acknowledgement that society changes. The law enforcement of the Ottoman administration sought to address these differences by applying a universal law, but with local enactments. This two-tier system was the foundation of the success of the Ottoman system. They simultaneously held to a rigid set of values, and left it up to local authorities to decide how to apply it. The heterogeneous application and interpretation of shari’a by pious Muslims of different backgrounds, and thus understandings, was the backbone of the system. For Ottoman’s this accomplishment saw its highest form in the kanun of the sultan which had their immediate antecedent in the religiously derived law of the Christian Roman Emperors of Constantinople. The sultans knew they ruled over a disparate mixture of cultures. They sought to incorporate them by recognizing their differences of practice, as long as they did not conflict with their implementation of imperial order. This attempt to unify divided ethnic, cultural and linguistic groups into one political group has roots in both earlier Islamic Empires, the Mamluks, Abbassids, and in the Christian Byzantine Empire. From the linguistic substratum of all of them the institutions of

88 the Muslim Anatolian Mediterranean Balkan Persian Ottoman Empire immerged. This collusion of cultures arose because of Mehmed’s conquest, at twenty-one years old, of the declining Roman Empire in 1453.



The Janissaries were the elite administrators of the Ottoman slave army. At this Busbecq, Ogier Ghislain de, and E. S. Forster. The Turkish letters of Ogier

time approximately 12,000 served in the Empire’s military and administration.

Ghiselin de Busbecq, imperial ambassador at Constantinople, 1554-1562: translated from the Latin of the Elzevir edition of 1663. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005), p. 68. The recruitment process of both male and female harems was elaborate. Importantly, it was the fastest track to positions of power in the Ottoman Empire. It is misleading to imagine the recruitment process as purely predatory. Thus, though the devshirm (body tax), that the Balkan states remember so acutely, did account for a large number of recruits, there were other classes and identities other than ‘poor foreigner’ in the imperial service. Regardless of the origins, the palace served as a central training center for administrators of the Sultans’ will. The administrators served like the nervous system out into the provinces for the Osman house. That is, the will was centralized in the body of the sultan, and projected into the empire through loyal administrators.

Schacht, Joseph. The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950) p. 99-112. Encyclopedia of Islam Vol. IV, Kanun, p. 559. See Hallaq, Wael, “Was the Gate of Ijtihad Closed?” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies , XIV, No. 1 (March, 1984), p. 3-41 Publisher: Cambridge University Press. http://www.jstor.org/stable/162939; Rudolph Peters, “Idjtihad and Taqlid in 18th and 19th Century Islam” Die Welt des Islams, New Series, Vol. 20, Issue 3/4 (1980), p. 131-145; and Baber Johansen, “Legal Literature and the Problem of Change: The Case of Land Rent” Islam and Public Law (Jun 24, 1993).

4 5


Semerdjian, Elyse, “Gender Violence in Kanunannames and Fetvas,” In Sonbol, Amira El Azhary. Beyond the exotic: women's histories in Islamic societies. Gender, culture, and politics in the Middle East. (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2005), p. 180.



Messick, Brinkley Morris. The calligraphic state textual domination and history in a Muslim society. Comparative studies on Muslim societies. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993). Though this work deals with the twentieth Century, it attempts to elucidate the work of a mufti more fully.


Heyd, Uriel, and V. L. Ménage. Studies in Old Ottoman Criminal Law. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973), p. 46. R. David b. Zimra. She’eloth u-Teshuvoth, Venice, 5509 (1748-9), I f. 53b Encyclopedia of Islam Vol. IV, Kanun, p. 558. Uriel Heyd. (1973), p. 2. Shafi and Hanabli’s fikr effectively caused an end to the creation of Islamic law


no.296, in Heyd, Uriel. (1973), p. 2.
10 11 12

by suggesting that those who attempted to invent new interpretations not directly apparent in the source texts were impious. In essence, it was a return to a literal understanding of religion that sought to remove additions to a singular “Islam.” Baber Johansen, among other scholars, has substantively and continuously challenge this view.
13 14

Hezarfenn, MS. Paris, f. 78b Semerdjian, Elyse. (2005), p. 183; This process was accelerated by the empire’s Inalcık, Halil. The Ottoman Empire: the classical age, 1300-1600. (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973), p. 73 Importantly, Arabic script does not record most vowels’ sound, so a constancy Inalcik. (1973); additionally Köprülü and Paul Wittek supported the assertion

continued expansion throughout the subsequent two centuries.


of consonants carries the functional load of a word.

that Byzantine institutions had no direct influence on Ottoman institutions, that position seems an over simplification, as the evidence is heavily against its binary stance.
18 19 20

Encyclopedia of Islam Vol. IV, Kanun, p. 557. Ibid, p. 558. Ibid


21 22

Heyd, Uriel. Studies in Old Ottoman Criminal Law (1973), p. 3. Ibid, himayat al-ra’iya min mazalim al-khukkam on Üniversite Kütüphanesi, Istanbul, MS. T 1807 [=Vc, in the list at pp. 33-37, below] folio predding f 1a. Inalcik, Halil. (1973), p. 73. Semerdjian, Elyse. (2005), p. 186 This judiciary discretion created a certain amount of flexibility in the code in Semerdjian. (2005), p.183. In her demonstration, she shows that rape, though it

23 24 25

comparison to earlier states that implemented shari’a law.

is often subsumed under the heading of zina (unlawful intercourse), has a substantive place in kanun and shari’a law. “The difficulty arises from the very notion of zina, which encompasses all forms of extralegal sex except concubinage” This legal category often times subsumed the modern legal category of rape. Though a number of studies have shown that the notion of rape had judicial effect in the Ottoman courts as well as fatwat.

Mehmet Ertugrul Duzdag, Seyhulislam Ebussuud Efendi Fetvalari Iciginda, 16 Asir Türk Hayati, 157. As in Semerdjian, Elyse. (2005), p. 185. Tucker, Judith E. In the house of the law gender and Islamic law in Ottoman Syria and Palestine. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); Hallaq, Wael B. A History of Islamic legal Theories: an Introduction to Sunni uṣu’l al-fiqh. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 160.



Burhan al-din ‘Ali ibn Abi Bakr al-Marginani, The Heyda; or, The Guide: A Commentary on the Mussulman Laws, p. 182. Semerdjian, Elyse. (2005), p. 186. Heyd, (1973), p.164. In modern Turkish it would be transliterated fercin Semerdjian, Elyse. (2005), p.187. Of course, vigilante justice by the community Ibid Ibid, p. 196. Weiss, Bernard G. The Spirit of Islamic Law. (Athens: University of Georgia

30 31

dagliyalor as compared to Semerdjian’s “onlara farcalarni daglilar.”

members cannot be seen in the court record.
33 34 35


Press, 2006). Peirce, Leslie (1993), p. 48. And p. 58. 37 Zilfi, Madeline. In Beyond the Exotic (2005), p. 134.
36 38 39 40

Inalcik, Halil. (1973), p. 60. Geromé, Jean-Leon, “Slave Market.” 1884. Ingres, Jean-Auguste-Dominique, “La Grande Odalisque.” (Online Photograph. Britannica Student Encyclopædia, 1814 http://student.britannica.com/eb/art-11961); also see “The Turkish Bath” (1863).


Ahmed, Leila, “Western Ethnocentrism and Perceptions of the Harem.” Feminist Studies, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Autumn, 1982), p. 521-534

42 43

Ibid. Güner, Sami, Adair Mill, Maggie Quigley Pınar, and Graham Clarke. Islâm sanatında Türkler = The Turkish contribution to Islamic arts. (Istanbul: Binbirdirek Matbaacılık Sanayii A. S, 1976), p. 94.


Papadopoulo, Alexandre. Islam and Muslim Art. Trans Robert Wolf, (New York: H.N. Abrams, 1976), p. 83. Ibid, “The Fact is that, except for a single manuscript dating from 1009 (the


astronomical treaties by Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi), there are no Arabic illustrated books from before the thirteenth century. To argue that there were, and that every last copy was destroyed in the Mongol invasions, is at most a hypothesis that nothing justifies historically. In the first place, the manuscripts that do survive from the first half of the thirteenth century were produced before Baghdad was taken in 1252. How then were they spared in the sack of the city? Surely the flames did not burn the books in chronological order! On the other hand, Egypt was never invaded, neither under the Fatimids nor under the Mamluks. True enough, the immense library of the Fatimid caliphs was progressively robbed and dispersed, but even if the manuscripts were looted they were considered to be among the most priceless treasures of the age and would certainly not have been destroyed by the thieves. And from 1171 on there was a stable government under


Salah ad-din and the Ayyubids. Yet with the one exception there are no manuscripts with miniatures that can be dated before the thirteenth century.”
46 47 48 49

Güner, Sami (1976), p. 94 Inalcik, Halil. (1973), especially part one. Ibid. p. 26 Lufti, Huda, “Manners and Customs of Fourteenth-Century Cairene Women: Female Anarchy versus Male Shar’i Order in Muslim Prescriptive Treaties,” in Nikkie R. Keddie and Beth Baron, eds., Women in Middle Eastern History: Shifting Boundaries in Sex and Gender (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991).


Peirce, Leslie P. Morality Tales: Law and Gender in the Ottoman Court of Aintab. (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003), p. 251-275. Gerber, Haim, "Social and Economic Position of Women in an Ottoman City, Bursa 1600-1700," International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, XII (1980), p. 231-44.



Reindle-Kiel, Hedda, "A Woman Timar-Holder in Ankara Province during the Second Half of the 16th Century," JESO. Bourdieu, Pierre. The Forms of Capital, (1986). Meeker, Michael, “Gaze, Discipline and Rule” in A Nation of Empire: The Ottoman Legacy of Turkish Modernity. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), p. 117.

53 54

Sinan, Howard Crane, Esra Akın, and Gülru Necipoglu. Sinan's

autobiographies: five sixteenth-century texts. Studies and sources in Islamic art and architecture, v. 11. Leiden: Brill, 2006); Reis, Sidi Ali. Mirat ul-Memalik = The Mirrior of Countries. (1557), trans. A. Vambery (1899) permanent link at the Medieval Sourcebook. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/16csidi1.html

Williams, Raymond, "Culture, Hegemony, and Traditions, institutions and Formations" in, Marxism and Literature (Oxford: University Press, 1977), p. 11-20/108-120.


Entry of Ottoman troops into Revan under the command of Ferhad Pasha in the


“Shahinshahnâma”, 1006/1597 Topkapi Palace Library, B. 200m fol. 101b. Classical School - Nkkash Osman in Güner, Sami (1976), p. 107.

From the “Nuzhat al-ahbar dar-safari Szigetvar” Ahmad Feridun Pasha, 976/1568. Toplapi Palace Library, H. 1339, fol. 16b. Classical Period – in the style of Nakkasha Osman. In Güner, Sami (1976), p. 109.

59 60

Ibid, Folio 15, p. 113. Atil, Esin. The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1987), p. 77. Peirce, Leslie (1993), p. 8. Papadopoulo, Alexandre. (1976), p. 83. Lewis, Bernard. Political Language of Islam. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), p. 11-13, 22-23. Andrews, Walter. Poetry’s Voice, Society’s Song. (Publications on the Near East, University of Washington, no. 1. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1985). Especially chapter 5.

61 62 63



Peirce, Leslie. Imperial Harem
Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 7. Meeker. (2002), p. 118-123. Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, Roger Ariew, and Daniel Garber. 1989.

66 67

Philosophical Essays. (Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co., 1989), p. 32 … perfect similarity is found only in incomplete and abstract notions, but not in every way, as for example, when we consider shapes alone, and neglect the mat that has shape. And so it is justifiable to consider two similar triangles in geometry, even though two perfectly similar material triangles are nowhere found. And although gold and other metals, also salts and many liquids might be taken to be homogeneous, this can only be admitted with regard to the senses, and it is not true that they are, in all rigor.

Necipoglu, Gülru. Architecture, Ceremonial and Power: the Topkapi Palace in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. (New York, N.Y.: Architectural History Foundation, 1991), p. 68.





Busbecq, Ogier Ghislain de, and E. S. Forster. The Turkish letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, imperial ambassador at Constantinople, 1554-1562: translated from the Latin of the Elzevir edition of 1663. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005), p. 92

71 72 73

Ibid. Peirce, Lesie. (1993), p. 46. Papadopoulo, Alexandre. (1976), p. 123. This is very similar to Necipoglu’s Atil, Esin. The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1987), p. 77. Alloula, Malek. The Colonial Harem. Theory and History of Literature, v. 21. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986). Peirce (1993), p. 77. Busbecq, Ogier De. (2005), p. 59. “A practice which has always been observed

(1991, p. 68) claim that the Ottoman court’s order was “graspable at a glance.”


76 77

since a Croatian sought an interview and murdered the Sultan Amureth (n) in revenge for the slaughter of his Master, Marcus the Despot of Serbia”, according to Busbecq

Tappan, Eva March, ed. The World's Story: A History of the World in Story, Song, and Art. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Vol. VI: Russia, Austria-Hungary, The Balkan States, and Turkey, 1914), p. 509-510. “When I entered the kiosk in which she lives, I was received by many eunuchs in
splendid costume blazing with jewels, and carrying scimitars in their hands. They led me to an inner vestibule, where I was divested of my cloak and shoes and regaled with refreshments. Presently an elderly woman, very richly dressed, accompanied by a number of young girls, approached me, and after the usual salutation, informed me that the Sultana Asseki was ready to see me. All the walls of the kiosk in which she lives are covered with the most beautiful Persian tiles and the floors are of cedar and sandalwood, which give out the most delicious odor. I advanced through an endless row of bending female slaves, who stood on either side of my path. At the entrance to the apartment in which the Sultana consented to receive me, the elderly lady who had accompanied me all the time made me a profound reverence, and beckoned to two girls to give me their aid; so that I passed into the presence of the Sultana leaning upon their shoulders. The


Sultana, who is a stout but beautiful young woman, sat upon silk cushions striped with silver, near a latticed window overlooking the sea. Numerous slave women, blazing with jewels, attended upon her, holding fans, pipes for smoking, and many objects of value. When we had selected from these, the great lady, who rose to receive me, extended her hand and kissed me on the brow, and made me sit at the edge of the divan on which she reclined. She asked many questions concerning our country and our religion, of which she knew nothing whatever, and which I answered as modestly and discreetly as I could. I was surprised to notice, when I had finished my narrative, that the room was full of women, who, impelled by curiosity, had come to see me, and to hear what I had to say. The Sultana now entertained me with an exhibition of dancing girls and music, which was very delectable. When the dancing and music were over, refreshments were served upon trays of solid gold sparkling with jewels. As it was growing late, and I felt afraid to remain longer, lest I should vex her, I made a motion of rising to leave. She immediately clapped her hands, and several slaves came forward, in obedience to her whispered commands, carrying trays heaped up with beautiful stuffs, and some silver articles of fine workmanship, which she pressed me to accept. After the usual salutations the old woman who first escorted me into the imperial presence conducted me out, and I was led from the room in precisely the same manner in which I had entered it, down to the foot of the staircase, where my own attendants awaited me.”

79 80

Ahmed, Leila. (1986), p. 530-31. Thys-Senocok, Lucienne, “The Yeni Valide Mosque Complex of Eminönü, Istanbul (1597-1665): Gender and Vision in Ottoman Architecture”. In Women, Patronage, and Self-Representation in Islamic Societies. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000), p. 79.

81 82 83 84

Peirce, Leslie. (1993), p. 12, as well as chapter 9 Ibid, p. 6 Ibid, p. 7 Ruggles, D. Fairchild, “Vision and Power: An Introduction.” Women, Patronage, and Self-Representation in Islamic Societies. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000), p. 6-8.


As one example among many see Lord Eversley. (1917) The Turkish Empire: from 1288 to 1914. (Fisher Unwin, Ltd., 1923), p. 151-167. Peirce, Leslie. (1993), p. 31




McCumber, John. Metaphysics and oppression: Heidegger's challenge to Western philosophy. Studies in Continental Thought. (Bloomington, Ind: Indiana University Press, 1999), p. 12.

88 89 90

Ibid Ibid Thys-Senocak, Lucienne. Ottoman Women Builders: the architectural patronage of Hadice Turhan Sultan. Women and gender in the early modern world. (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2006)

91 92 93

Inalcik. (1973), p. 49. Ibid, p. 44-45. In the Ottoman Empire the inflation caused a gradual decrease in traditional

scissions of power. The agrarian roots of most Ottoman subjects kept them close to the land. With these price increases, old relationships between food producers and urban consumers probably shifted. This changed decreased focus on capital lenders whose profits were largely tied to local production, rather than transregional trade. This reduction was not an immediate result of any one action. For instance, the Ottoman fleets’ defeat at Lepanto, October 7th 1571– hailed across Europe as the final defeat of the Turks–had little material effect on the Ottoman navy. The two hundred and thirty ships were rebuilt within one winter season. Consequently, its fair to say the means of production stayed strong throughout the decline.

Goldstone, Jack A., “Urbanization and Inflation: Lessons from the English Price Revolution of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.” In The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 89, No. 5 (Mar., 1984), p. 1138.


Parker, G, "The Emergence of Modern Finance in Europe 1500-1730." In The Fontana Economic History of Europe, edited by C. Cipolla. Vol. 2, The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. (Glasgow: Collins/Fontana, 1974), p. 529.


Jennings Ronald C, "Urban Population in Anatolia in the Sixteenth Century: A Study of Kayseri, Karaman, Amasya, Trabzon, and Erzurum." International


Journal of Middle Eastern Studies VII, 1976, p. 37.
97 98

Encyclopedia of Islam Vol. III, Harir [silk], p, 213. Compare the English economic situation at the same time. Goldstone, Jack A.

“If the foregoing projection is correct, and the increase in prices and the volume of transactions led to a 13-15-fold increase in PT [price multiplied by trades made], the question arises whether increases in bullion supplies alone could have supported this increase. If not, there should be evidence of a substantial struggle in England during the price revolution, despite sizable imports of bullion, to raise the supply and velocity of money by other means to keep up with the rapidly growing demand for money to finance transactions. However, if prices rose chiefly because of an increasing surplus of bullion, there should be evidence that the demand which was pushing up prices was financed by an ample supply of money.”


Inalcik. (1973), p. 49. Miskimin H, "The Impact of Credit on Sixteenth Century English Industry." in


The Dawn of Modern Banking. Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. (University of California, Los Angeles. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. 1979), p. 275-89; Van der Wee, H. "Monetary, Credit and Banking Systems." In The Cambridge Economic History of Europe V: The Economic Organization of Modern Europe, edited by E. Rich and C. Wilson. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), pp. 300-301, 348; Parker, G. 1974. "The Emergence of Modern Finance in Europe 1500-1730." In The Fontana Economic History of Europe, edited by C. Cipolla. Vol. 2, The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. (Glasgow: Collins/Fontana), p. 531.

Inalcik, Halil, “Capital Formation in the Ottoman Empire”. In Capitalism and the Extent of Its Early Development Outside Europe. The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 29, No. 1, The Tasks of Economic History. (Mar., 1969), p. 97.

102 103

Ibid, p. 101 Encyclopedia of Islam Vol. III, Harir [silk], p. 213.



Faroqhi, Suraiya. Towns and Townsmen of Ottoman Anatolia: Trade, Crafts, and Food Production in an Urban Setting, 1520-1650. Cambridge studies in Islamic Civilization. (Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press, 1984), p. 128.

105 106 107

Inalcik, Halil. (1969), p. 103. Ibid. Lewis, Bernard, "Islamic Guilds," in Economic History Review, VIII (1937), p. 20-37. Inalcik, Halil. (1969), p.104. Ibid. p. 105 Ibid. p. 106 Yi, Eunjeong, “Guild Membership in Seventeenth Century Istanbul” Faroqhi, Suraiya, "Urban Space as Disputed Grounds: Territorial Aspects to Artisan Conflict in Sixteenth to Eighteenth-Century Istanbul" in Stories of Ottoman Men and Women: Establishing Status, Establishing Control, (Istanbul: Eren, 2002), p. 206.

108 109 110 111 112


Faroghi, Suraiya. “Camels, Wagons, and the Ottoman State.” In Peasants, Dervishes And Traders in the Ottoman Empire. X, 535; Faroghi, Suraiya, “Labor Recruitment and Control in the Ottoman Empire”. In Quataert, Donald. Manufacturing in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, 1500-1950. SUNY series in the social and economic History of the Middle East. (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1994).

114 115

Ibid, p. 531. Finkel, Caroline. The Administration of Warfare: The Ottoman Military Campaigns in Hungrary, 1593-1606. (Viena, 1988), p. 261. Inalcik, Halil. (1973), p. 49. For the administrative tax break plan see Sahillioglû, Halil. 1962-3. ‘Bir Mültezim Zimem Defterine gore XY. Yüzyil Sounda Osmanli Darphane Mukataalari’, IFM, 23, 1-2: 145-218; For transportation acquisition see Faroghi, Suraiya. “Camels, Wagons, and the Ottoman State.” In Peasants,

116 117


Dervishes And Traders in the Ottoman Empire. X
118 119 120 121 122

Faroqhi, Suraiya. (1984), p. 130.

Inalcik, Halil. (1973), p. 50. Ibid. p. 45. Encyclopedia of Islam Vol. III, Harir [silk], p. 212. Goldstone, Jack A., “Urbanization and Inflation: Lessons from the English Price Revolution of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries” p. 1128. “The quantity equation, MV = PT, applies only to that part of the economy
subject to market transactions. That is, MV equals the price, times the total volume, of goods marketed. Nonmarket transactions such as inkind payments to agricultural laborers or home consumption of farm products, though they may reflect relative commodity prices, do not augment the need for currency or its more rapid circulation. Thus the need for more currency or greater velocity would have grown, even with prices unchanged, if during the period 1500-1650 market transactions had become a greater part of the total economy.

123 124 125 126 127

Güner, Sami (1976), p. 142. Encyclopedia of Islam Vol. III, Harir [silk], pp 213. Güner, Sami (1976), p. 143. Ibid, p. 237 BI 121326, 6b-7b, CII 1089. Gerber, Haim, “Social and Economic Position of Women in an Ottoman City, Bursa, 1600-1700”. International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 12, No. 3. (Nov., 1980), p. 238.

128 129 130 131

Ba-abakanltk Argivi, Istanbul, Maliye Defterleri 9506, p. 158, 7 CI I 134 Güner, Sami (1976), p. 143. Ibid. Faroghi, Suraiya. “Alum Production and Alum Trade in The Ottoman Empire.” In Peasants, Dervishes and Traders in the Ottoman Empire. p. 169. Atıl, Esin. (1987). p. 179 Inalcik, Halil. (1973), p 52.

132 133


134 135

Ibid. 47-48 Tappan, Eva March, note 72 at the beginning of Chapter 3.

Ahmed, Leila, “Western Ethnocentrism and Perceptions of the Harem.” Feminist Studies, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Autumn, 1982). –––––––“Chapter 8 Discourse of the Veil.” in Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992). Alloula, Malek. The Colonial Harem. Theory and History of Literature, v. 21. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986). Andrews, Walter. Poetry’s Voice, Society’s Song. (Publications on the Near East, University of Washington, no. 1. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1985). Atil, Esin. The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1987). Bourdieu, Pierre, “The Forms of Capital,” In Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education ed. J.G. Richardson, 241-258. (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986). [In French, 1983]. Burhan al-din ‘Ali ibn Abi Bakr al-Marginani, The Heyda; or, The Guide: A Commentary on the Mussulman Laws. Busbecq, Ogier Ghislain de, and E. S. Forster. The Turkish letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, imperial ambassador at Constantinople, 1554-1562: translated from the Latin of the Elzevir edition of 1663. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005).


Eversley, Lord. (1917) The Turkish Empire: from 1288 to 1914. (Fisher Unwin, Ltd., 1923). Faroqhi, Suraiya. Towns and Townsmen of Ottoman Anatolia: Trade, Crafts, and Food Production in an Urban Setting, 1520-1650. Cambridge studies in Islamic Civilization. (Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press, 1984). ––––––––"Urban Space as Disputed Grounds: Territorial Aspects to Artisan Conflict in Sixteenth to Eighteenth-Century Istanbul" in Stories of Ottoman Men and Women: Establishing Status, Establishing Control, (Istanbul: Eren, 2002). ––––––––“Camels, Wagons, and the Ottoman State.” In Peasants, Dervishes And Traders in the Ottoman Empire. X, 535; Faroghi, Suraiya, “Labor Recruitment and Control in the Ottoman Empire”. In Quataert, Donald. Manufacturing in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, 1500-1950. SUNY series in the social and economic History of the Middle East. (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1994). ––––––––“Alum Production and Alum Trade in The Ottoman Empire.” In Faroqui. (1994). Finkel, Caroline. The Administration of Warfare: The Ottoman Military Campaigns in Hungrary, 1593-1606. (Viena, 1988). Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978) ––––––––Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977). Gerber, Haim, "Social and Economic Position of Women in an Ottoman City, Bursa 1600-1700," International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, XII


(1980). Goldstone, Jack A., “Urbanization and Inflation: Lessons from the English Price Revolution of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.” In The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 89, No. 5 (Mar., 1984). Güner, Sami, Adair Mill, Maggie Quigley Pınar, and Graham Clarke. Islâm sanatında Türkler = The Turkish contribution to Islamic arts. (Istanbul: Binbirdirek Matbaacılık Sanayii A. S, 1976). Hallaq, Wael B. A History of Islamic Legal Theories: an Introduction to Sunni uṣu’l al-fiqh. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). ––––––––“Was the Gate of Ijtihad Closed?” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, XIV, No. 1 (March, 1984). Published: Cambridge University Press. http://www.jstor.org/stable/162939 Hedda Reindle-Kiel, "A Woman Timar-Holder in Ankara Province during the Second Half of the 16th Cntury," JESO. Heyd, Uriel, and V. L. Ménage. Studies in Old Ottoman Criminal Law. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973). Hezarfenn, MS. Paris, f. 78b himayat al-ra’iya min mazalim al-khukkam on Üniversite Kütüphanesi, Istanbul, MS. T 1807 [=Vc, in the list at pp. 33-37, below] folio predding f 1a. Inalcık, Halil. The Ottoman Empire: the classical age, 1300-1600. (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973). ––––––––Harir [silk], Encyclopedia of Islam Vol. III.


––––––––“Capital Formation in the Ottoman Empire”. In Capitalism and the Extent of Its Early Development Outside Europe. The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 29, No. 1, The Tasks of Economic History. (Mar., 1969),

Ingres, Jean-Auguste-Dominique, “La Grande Odalisque.” (Online Photograph. Britannica Student Encyclopædia, 1814 http://student.britannica.com/eb/art-11961); also see “The Turkish Bath” (1863). Islâm sanatında Türkler = The Turkish contribution to Islamic arts. (Istanbul: Binbirdirek Matbaacılık Sanayii A. S, 1976). Jennings Ronald C, "Urban Population in Anatolia in the Sixteenth Century: A Study of Kayseri, Karaman, Amasya, Trabzon, and Erzurum." International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies VII, (1976) Johansen, Baber, “Legal Literature and the Problem of Change: The Case of Land Rent.” in Islam and Public Law (Jun 24, 1993). “Kanun,” Encyclopedia of Islam Vol. IV. Köprülü, Mehmet Fuat, and Gary Leiser. The Origins of the Ottoman Empire. SUNY series in the social and economic history of the Middle East. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992). Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, Roger Ariew, and Daniel Garber. 1989. Philosophical Essays. (Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co., 1989).


Lewis, Bernard. Political Language of Islam. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988). ––––––––"Islamic Guilds," in Economic History Review, VIII (1937). Lufti, Huda, “Manners and Customs of Fourteenth-Century Cairene Women: Female Anarchy versus Male Shar’i Order in Muslim Prescriptive Treaties,” in Nikkie R.Keddie and Beth Baron, eds., Women in Middle Eastern History: Shifting Boundaries in Sex and Gender (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991). Madison, James, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and Isaac Kramnick. The Federalist Papers. (Penguin classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1987). Marx, Karl, and Eugene Kamenka, “Chapter 32: The Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation.” in The Portable Karl Marx. The Viking portable library. (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1983). ––––––––“Chapter 1: Commodities.” in The Portable Karl Marx. The Viking portable library. (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1983). McCumber, John. Metaphysics and Oppression: Heidegger's Challenge to Western Philosophy. Studies in Continental Thought. (Bloomington, Ind: Indiana University Press, 1999). Meeker, Michael, “Gaze, Discipline and Rule” in A Nation of Empire: The Ottoman Legacy of Turkish Modernity. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002). Mehmet Ertugrul Duzdag. Seyhulislam Ebussuud Efendi Fetvalari Iciginda, 16


Asir Türk Hayati, 157. Messick, Brinkley Morris. The Calligraphic State Textual Domination and History in a Muslim Society. Comparative studies on Muslim societies. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993). Miskimin H, "The Impact of Credit on Sixteenth Century English Industry." in The Dawn of Modern Banking. Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. (University of California, Los Angeles. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. 1979). Necipoglu, Gülru. Architecture, Ceremonial and Power: the Topkapi Palace in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. (New York, N.Y.: Architectural History Foundation, 1991). Papadopoulo, Alexandre. Islam and Muslim Art. Trans Robert Wolf, (New York: H.N. Abrams, 1976), p. 83. Parker, G. 1974. "The Emergence of Modern Finance in Europe 1500-1730." In The Fontana Economic History of Europe, edited by C. Cipolla. Vol. 2, The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. (Glasgow: Collins/Fontana). Peirce, Leslie. Imperial Harem:
Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993). ––––––––Morality Tales: Law and Gender in the Ottoman Court of Aintab. (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003). Peters, Rudolph, “Idjtihad and Taqlid in 18th and 19th Century Islam” Die Welt des Islams, New Series, Vol. 20, Issue 3/4 (1980). Ruggles, D. Fairchild, “Vision and Power: An Introduction.” Women,


Patronage, and Self-Representation in Islamic Societies. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000). Sahillioglû, Halil. 1962-3. ‘Bir Mültezim Zimem Defterine gore XY. Yüzyil Sounda Osmanli Darphane Mukataalari’, IFM, 23, 1-2: 145-218 Sidi Ali Reis. Mirat ul-Memalik. (1557), trans. A. Vambery (1899). Semerdjian, Elyse, “Gender Violence in Kanunannames and Fetvas,” In Sonbol, Amira El Azhary. Beyond the exotic: women's histories in Islamic societies. Gender, culture, and politics in the Middle East. (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2005).

Schacht, Joseph. The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950). Sinan, Howard Crane, Esra Akın, and Gülru Necipoglu. Sinan's autobiographies: five sixteenth-century texts. Studies and sources in Islamic art and architecture, v. 11. Leiden: Brill, 2006). Tappan, Eva March, ed. The World's Story: A History of the World in Story, Song, and Art. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Vol. VI: Russia, Austria-Hungary, The Balkan States, and Turkey, 1914), p. 509-510. Thys-Senocok, Lucienne, “The Yeni Valide Mosque Complex of Eminönü, Istanbul (1597-1665): Gender and Vision in Ottoman Architecture”. In Women, Patronage, and Self-Representation in Islamic Societies. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000). ––––––––Ottoman Women Builders: the architectural


patronage of Hadice Turhan Sultan. Women and gender in the early modern world. (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2006) Tucker, Judith E. In the House of The Law Gender and Islamic Law in Ottoman Syria and Palestine. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998). Van der Wee, H. "Monetary, Credit and Banking Systems." In The Cambridge Economic History of Europe V: The Economic Organization of Modern Europe, edited by E. Rich and C. Wilson. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977). Weiss, Bernard G. The Spirit of Islamic Law. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2006). Especially Chapters 3 and 4. Williams, Raymond, "Culture, Hegemony, and Traditions, institutions and Formations" in, Marxism and Literature (Oxford: University Press, 1977). Wittek, Paul. The Rise of the Ottoman Empire. (New York: B. Franklin, 1971). Zilfi, Madeline, “Thoughts on Women and Slavery in the Ottoman Era and Historical Sources,” In Beyond the Exotic: Women's histories in Islamic societies. Gender, culture, and politics in the Middle East. (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2005). With no less than great pleasure this project has constituted the formation of my understanding of factionalism, and its effect in growth and decline. In this project I see the clear importance of competition to drive social change, and its no less important role in coping with economic upheaval. As points of reference mercurially shift, the legal and social structure must be flexible enough to allow for new sources of leadership. At the same time, the fact that the society was rigid enough to constitute an ‘element’ is responsible for every mark it left in History.


If it had not had this rigidity, it would not have been remembered as a unified accomplishment, but instead a number of discrete happenings. Women in the Ottoman Court are interesting in this context because they were a unified political force without any historical or contemporary political voice. This leaves their memory, along with much of ‘female history’ in pickle: they can exercise power, but until the rhetoric is developed to mark its import, it will remain one of the objects histories(plural) shadow.

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