By Cem Behar

Combining the bright and colourful aspect of a micro-history with a much broader old point of view, this groundbreaking examine appears on the city and social background of a small local group (a mahalle) of Ottoman Istanbul, the Kasap Iùlyas. Drawing on enormously wealthy ancient documentation beginning within the early 16th century, Cem Behar specializes in how the Kasap Iùlyas mahalle got here to reflect many of the overarching problems with the capital urban of the Ottoman Empire. additionally thought of are different concerns valuable to the historiography of towns, resembling rural migration and concrete integration of migrants, together with avenues for pro integration and the cohesion networks migrants shaped, and the position of historic guilds and non-guild hard work, the ancestor of the "informal" or "marginal" region came upon this present day in much less constructed nations.

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Additional info for A Neighborhood in Ottoman Istanbul: Fruit Vendors and Civil Servants in the Kasap Ilyas Mahalle

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10 In the absence of family surnames, almost all of the workers employed on the construction site of the large sultanic mosque were clearly identified by their place of origin. For those coming from outside the capital, the name of their town of origin was added to their name and for the Istanbulites, that of their district within the city. 11 First of all, various amounts of cash, ranging from one thousand to thirty thousand aspers (akçe) were donated. In most of the deeds of trust it was clearly specified that the yearly return of these moneys would be 10 percent.

Demirhan’s lot was perhaps better situated, as it overlooked the bustling Golden Horn from the top of a steeper hill near the Byzantine church of Christ Pantocrator and was nearer to the commercial center of the city. But it was much smaller in area and already rather densely populated by Christians. As to his own share, near the city walls and overlooking the sea of Marmara, it was much larger and virtually empty. Luckily, ƒlyas had to face a territory that was practically a tabula rasa. Indeed, after the conquest the quasi-deserted city had to be almost totally repopulated.

Their doorstep, their (often dead-end) street, and their mahalle were indeed transitional stages between their private and public spheres of activity. Therefore for many people, to talk about a mahalle implied conducting, in a sense, a first-person narrative discourse. On the other hand, Ottoman historians have sufficiently stressed the fact that there was no widespread tradition of first-person narrative writing, no “personal” literature, or autobiographical materials worthy of that name in Ottoman times, at least not before well into the second half of the nineteenth century.

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