Forcing the Wealthy to Pay Their Fair Share? The Politics of Rural Taxes in 17th-Century Ottoman Damascus

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Malissa Taylor University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Focusing on the province of Damascus, this study shows that individuals of the ʿaskarī class were obligated to pay village taxes in proportion to the amount of property they owned, and that it was the village cultivators who had the primary authority for individuating and collecting these taxes. Providing a detailed picture of the relations between the ʿaskarī class and peasant communities before the rise of the a’yān in the eighteenth century, the study explores how peasants sought to enforce their decisions on these powerful individuals and to what extent they were successful in doing so.

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