Forging Urban Solidarities

Ottoman Aleppo 1640-1700

Series:

As with most empires of the Early Modern period (1500-1800), the Ottomans mobilized human and material resources for warmaking on a scale that was vast and unprecedented. The present volume examines the direct and indirect effects of warmaking on Aleppo, an important Ottoman administrative center and Levantine trading city, as the empire engaged in multiple conflicts, including wars with Venice (1644-69), Poland (1672-76) and the Hapsburg Empire (1663-64, 1683-99). Focusing on urban institutions such as residential quarters, military garrisons, and guilds, and using intensively the records of local law courts, the study explores how the routinization of direct imperial taxes and the assimilation of soldiers to civilian life challenged – and reshaped – the city’s social and political order.
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Biographical Note

Charles L. Wilkins, Ph.D. (2006) in History and Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, is Assistant Professor of History at Wake Forest University. He specializes in the history of the Arab Provinces of the Ottoman Empire.

Review Quotes

“…the book remains of interest for scholars and students of Aleppo’s history and serves as an example for the wealth of information that can be found in its archives.”
Thomas Phillip, H-Soz-u-Kult, H-Het Reviews, December 2010

Table of contents

CONTENTS

Acknowledgements ............................................................................ ix
List of Tables, Maps, and Figures ................................................... xi
List of Abbreviations ......................................................................... xiii
Note on Transliteration .................................................................... xv

Introduction ........................................................................................ 1

PART I
Chapter One: Extraordinary Taxes (ʿAvārıż) and Local Administration .............. 19
The ʿAvārıż Tax Regime and the Conduct of Tax Surveys .... 22
The Mechanics of Local Tax Administration: Land Use, Personal Liability, and Apportionment .............. 36
The Responsibilities and Compensation of Quarter Tax Officials ................................................................... 44
A Fiscal Demography of Aleppo ................................................ 53
Chapter Two: Urban Responses to the Imposition of Extraordinary Taxes ................................................... 63
The Frequency and Level of Extraordinary Tax Levies .......... 64
Popular Strategies for Tax Relief: Tax Exemption .................. 70
Other Individual Strategies for Tax Relief ................................ 90
Collective Action and Mutual Assistance ................................. 94
Residential Quarters and the Question of “Positive Loyalties” ............................................................... 109

PART II
Chapter Three: Military Units: Elements of Solidarity and Division .................. 115
Survey of Military Cadres ............................................................ 118
Residence Patterns ........................................................................ 130
Compensation of Troops ............................................................. 142
Ocaḳlıḳ and the Guards of the Kars Citadel ............................. 153
Soldiers, Market Regulation, and Moneylending .................... 158
Mobilization and Unit Solidarity ................................................ 180
The Career of ʿAlī b. Shabīb (d. ca. 1678) ............................ 185
The Episode of ʿAlī Agha b. ʿAbdullāh .................................. 192
Limits on Unit Discipline and Solidarity .................................. 199

PART III
Chapter Four: Solidarity and Leadership in the Guilds .............. 205
Guild Self-Government ................................................................ 208
The Leadership of the Guilds: Two Case Studies .................... 221
The Butchers .............................................................................. 226
The Ḳaṣapbaşı: Compensation and Social Background ... 229
The Tanners ............................................................................... 247
The Akhī Bābā and Shaykh al-Sabʿa ................................. 247
A Sketch of one Shaykh al-Sabʿa: Sayyid Ibrāhīm b. Sayyid Rajab al-Ḥanbalī (d. 1678) ................................. 257
The Shaykh al-Dabbāghīn and Naqīb al-Dabbāghīn ...... 264
Relations among Guilds ............................................................... 271
Guilds: Patterns of Autonomy and Organizational Fluidity ................................................................................. 283

Conclusion .......................................................................................... 287
Glossary ............................................................................................... 293
Bibliography ........................................................................................ 295
Index .................................................................................................... 319

Readership

All those interested in Islamic history, Ottoman history, the history of Early Modern empires, urban history, the history of Islamic law, and the history of the Mediterranean.

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