29 December 2006

1335) Ottoman court records shed light on Ottoman social life

The first volume of a project titled “Şer'iyye Sicillerine Göre Istanbul Tarihi” (The History of Istanbul According to Ottoman Court Records), carried out jointly by Sabancı University and the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI), was recently published.

The aim of the project, which was launched in 1999, is to shed light on the history and social, cultural and political life of the Ottomans. The first volume of the project is titled “Istanbul Mahkemesi, Şer'iyye Sicili No.121” (District Court of Istanbul, Court Register No.121) and includes Ottoman court records from 1816-1817.

The science committee of the project includes Ottoman historians and academics such as Professor Halil Inalcık (chairman), Professor Nurhan Atasoy, Professor Ahmet Evin, Professor Cemal Kafadar, Professor Gülru Necipoğlu, Nejdet Ertuğ (editor) and Zeynep Tarım Ertuğ (coordinator).

Kafadar, who teaches Turkish studies at Harvard University, said the publication would be an important source for experts working in the fields of economics, history, law, sociology, statistics, art and architecture. Kafadar says the following in the foreword of the first volume: “The project aims to organize the ocean of information and records of Istanbul towards a deeper understanding of the history of that city and to collaborate with colleagues working on similar archives pertaining to other cities that were once administered within the Ottoman imperial system.

“The court records are of inestimable importance for reconstructing the fabric of social and economic life of a city that was the capital of an empire that covered most of the Middle East and southeastern Europe for the better part of four of five centuries. They are vital for understanding critical aspects of the political, administrative, legal, economic and social structures of the empire and their transformation over time.”

Seven volumes will be published in the context of the project.

December 28, 2006
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News


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