Between Pious Generosity and Faithful Service to the Ottoman State: The Vakıf of Nikolaos Mavrogenis, End of the Eighteenth Century

in Turkish Historical Review
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This paper aims to investigate the pious endowment (vakıf) established by Nikolas Mavrogenis, an Ottoman zimmi, who through appropriate patronage networks in Istanbul managed to be appointed dragoman of the Ottoman fleet and, later, voyvoda of Wallachia by the end of the eighteenth century. The paper focuses on the content of the endowment deed, which followed the principles of Islamic law, as well as on the confiscation of the endowed property as a result of the execution of Mavrogenis in 1790.



Sfyroeras, Vasilis, “Les Mavroyéni et la vie économique de la mer Égé”, pp. 329–30.


Blancard, O οίκος των Μαυρογένη, p. 115. In order to create an aristocratic origin Mavrogenis cultivated the belief that his family was descended from the Venetian Morosini, who conquered Morea and Euboia in 1685. Blancard, O οίκος των Μαυρογένη, pp. 42–8. According to Sfyroeras, Mavrogenis’s predecessors appear in Paros in the first years of the eighteenth century, Sfyroeras, “Les Mavroyéni”, p. 328–9.


Blancard, O οίκος των Μαυρογένη, pp. 114–24. It was on this occasion that, according to the ambassador of France in the Ottoman capital, Mavrogenis was called “peasant of the Archipelago”, see Documente privitore de Istoria Romanilor, Eudoxiu de Hurmuzaki (ed.) (Bucuresti: s.n., 1885), vol. ii, p. 37.


 See Yediyıldız, Institution du vaqf, pp. 23–5, where it is also estimated that almost 75 per cent of the vakıfs in the Ottoman empire during the eighteenth century were semi-familial (p. 23). It is to be noted, however, that the basic distinction between public (hayri) and family (ahli) according to the definition of the beneficiaries belongs to the modern legislation. Classical doctrine does not make this distinction and applies the same rules to all types of them. Behrens-Abouseif, Doris, “Wakf in classical Islamic law”, Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed., H.A.R. Gibb et al. (eds.) (Leiden: Brill, 1960–2004), vol. xi, p. 60.


Kolovos, Η νησιωτική κοινωνία της Άνδρου, pp. 57, 72. See also above footnote 13.


Akgündüz, Ahmet, İslâm Hukukunda ve Osmanlı Tatbikatında Vakıf Müessesesi (Istanbul: Osmanlı Araştırmaları Vakfı, 1996), pp. 239–40.


Blancard, Ο οίκος των Μαυρογένη, p. 331.


d’Ohsson, Mouradjea, Tableau Général de l’Empire ottoman (Istanbul : Isis, 2001), vols.iii-iv, p. 317.


 See also Bouquet, Olivier, “La foundation (pieuse) d’un patrimoine: étude d’une vakfiyye du Grand Vizir Halil Hamid Pacha (1784)”, Turcica 45 (2014), p. 214. For the philanthropic activities of Mavrogenis in Paros and other Aegean islands see Blancard, Ο οίκος των Μαυρογένη, pp. 329–42 and Sfyroeras, “Les Mavroyeni”, p. 332.


Blancard, Ο οίκος των Μαυρογένη, p. 353. See also Philliou, Biography of an Empire, p. 204, footnote 24.


Koumas, Ιστορίαι, p. 390; Philliou, Biography of an Empire, pp. 22–3.


Cezar, Yavuz, Osmanlı Maliyesinde Bunalım ve Değişim Dönemi (Istanbul: Alan Yayıncılık, 1986), p. 110; Göçek, Rise, p. 161 footnote. 36.


Blancard, Ο οίκος των Μαυρογένη, p. 339.


 See Barbir, “One marker of Ottomanism”, pp. 136, 145.


Barbir, “One marker of Ottomanism”, p. 144.



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