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According to Bernard Lewis, the Ottomans considered dealing with Westerners “the dirtiest trade of all”, the mediation in which they were happy to leave to Ottoman non-Muslims. In the study of Christian and Jewish ‘dragomans’ their contacts with Europeans tend to be emphasized, but almost all of them only worked for a particular embassy or consulate part-time—if they were in active service at all. This article will highlight the various other socio-economic activities of non-Muslim protégés of European consulates in the pre-modern period, with case studies from Aleppo. These additional enterprises, which have escaped scholarly attention until now, also show that the protégés had and generally kept close ties with their local confessional community and did not “Westernize” nearly as much as it is often assumed.

In: Oriente Moderno
In: Legal Documents as Sources for the History of Muslim Societies
In: Religious Minorities in the Middle East