Slavery and Household Formation in Ottoman Aleppo, 1640-1700

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Charles L. Wilkins
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Focusing on a seventeenth-century Syrian city, this study examines the practice of slavery as a strategy for building elite households in the Ottoman Empire. After an overview of the slave trade and the social and political conditions which sustained it, it constructs a demographic profile of the slaves and slaveholders and concludes with case studies of how slaves were integrated into selected military-administrative, merchant and ulama families. Valued as servants, soldiers, companions, and business agents, slaves were integrated to a wide range of elite households, in some cases providing critical human resources for the households’ continuity.

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