Celeps, butchers, and the sheep: the worlds of meat in Istanbul in the Sixteenth-Seventeenth centuries
Kokdaş, İrfan (2007) Celeps, butchers, and the sheep: the worlds of meat in Istanbul in the Sixteenth-Seventeenth centuries. [Thesis]
Despite the considerable expansion of studies about the economic and social history of the Ottoman Empire with special emphasis on urban problematiques, we are still far away from understanding simple matters concerning Ottoman urban centers such as the ways in which foodstuffs were brought to the city, or the mechanisms through which they were distributed to urban consumers. By analyzing the meat sector in the sixteenth-seventeenth centuries Istanbul, this thesis aims to partially fulfill this gap. In addition to the supply and distribution mechanisms, this study focuses on the meat consumption patterns of Ottoman Istanbuliots and on the consumption differentiations in a heterogeneous society. It seems that that such heterogeneity mirrored the entire meat sphere in the urban center. Different agents in the sector, which were the consumers, the butchers (the meat contractors), the livestock traders, celeps, and the dynasty members, all with their different roles, reflect this heterogeneity. Such a complex picture at the same time provides a huge opportunity for us in observing the effects of the major economic and political transformations in the 16th and 17th centuries on the different groups of the Ottoman Istanbuliots. For this reason, this study also aims to trace the patterns of the economic, social and political changes through one of the economic niches of society, the meat sector, which produced a network of social and political relationships around it. In the first chapter of this study, the geographical provenance and the features of the sheep delivered to the Ottoman capital is taken into consideration. In the second chapter, the methods of the delivery of sheep to Istanbul are analyzed. The third chapter is devoted to the analysis of the Istanbul butchers as the purchasers of delivered sheep. In the fourth chapter, the meat consumption patterns of Ottoman Istanbuliots are presented.
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