By Cem Behar
Combining the bright and colourful aspect of a micro-history with a much broader ancient point of view, this groundbreaking learn appears on the city and social historical past of a small local neighborhood (a mahalle) of Ottoman Istanbul, the Kasap Iùlyas. Drawing on enormously wealthy historic documentation beginning within the early 16th century, Cem Behar makes a speciality of how the Kasap Iùlyas mahalle got here to reflect a number of the overarching problems with the capital urban of the Ottoman Empire. additionally thought of are different matters critical to the historiography of towns, comparable to rural migration and concrete integration of migrants, together with avenues for pro integration and the harmony networks migrants shaped, and the function of old guilds and non-guild hard work, the ancestor of the "informal" or "marginal" quarter stumbled on this present day in much less constructed nations.
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Extra info for A Neighborhood in Ottoman Istanbul: Fruit Vendors and Civil Servants in the Kasap Ilyas Mahalle
So, in a sense, Kasap ƒlyas’ Holy War was far from having ended with the capture of the city. His personal Holy War was in fact only beginning. He remembered the very day he had set foot on “his” bit of Istanbul. That was also the ﬁrst time he had entered the conquered city itself. Approaching his territory on a boat, he had found landing on a small old wharf made of a few creaking planks. The inﬁdels called it the Agios Emilianos wharf. Part of the Muslim army had already used it as a landing place during the two-month long siege of Constantinople.
As to the urban local level, population ﬁgures are non-existent. The ﬁrst citywide reliable count is that of 1885. The Archives of the Religious Courts (¥er’iye Sicilleri Arœivi) for Istanbul are classiﬁed on a topographical basis, given that many of the courts of justice were also responsible for law and order in speciﬁc chunks of the city. The archives for the Davud Paœa District, of which the Kasap ƒlyas mahalle is a part, span the period between 1782 and 1924. The Davudpaœa Court of Justice, always headed by an aide (na’ib) of the kadı of Istanbul, was one of the oldest courts of the city.
Lyas had seen glorious days indeed. He sometimes felt that the whole city of Istanbul was his. True, he was only a simple butcher. But he had been given, in his time, the incomparable honor of feeding and serving the army that conquered this magniﬁcent city. He had been appointed chief butcher of the sultan’s army, and had served his master as best as he could. He did not only feed the Blessed Army; he was also part of it. This meant that he too had waged a Holy War in his own right. That was more than four decades ago.
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