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Bread from the Lion's Mouth: Artisans Struggling for a Livelihood in Ottoman Cities

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Volume 25

International Studies in Social History

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Bread from the Lion's Mouth

Artisans Struggling for a Livelihood in Ottoman Cities

Edited by Suraiya Faroqhi

366 pages, 18 illus., 12 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-558-5 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (March 2015)

eISBN 978-1-78238-559-2 eBook

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“This book is an exciting and valuable contribution to the field of Ottoman history in general, and guild studies in particular. The editor’s sweeping introductory synthesis alone is an unparalleled round-up of the latest research…this introduction, and the following chapters, broach most if not all the “big questions” relating to the study of guilds and their history.”  ·  Pascale Ghazaleh, The American University in Cairo


The newly awakened interest in the lives of craftspeople in Turkey is highlighted in this collection, which uses archival documents to follow Ottoman artisans from the late 15th century to the beginning of the 20th. The authors examine historical changes in the lives of artisans, focusing on the craft organizations (or guilds) that underwent substantial changes over the centuries. The guilds transformed and eventually dissolved as they were increasingly co-opted by modernization and state-building projects, and by the movement of manufacturing to the countryside. In consequence by the 20th century, many artisans had to confront the forces of capitalism and world trade without significant protection, just as the Ottoman Empire was itself in the process of dissolution.

Suraiya Faroqhi is Professor in the Department of History at Istanbul Bilgi University. She has taught at Middle East Technical University, Ankara (1972-87) and served as a professor of Ottoman Studies at the Ludwig Maximilians Universität in Munich, Germany (1988-2007).

Subject: History (General) Political and Economic Anthropology
Area: Middle East & Israel


List of Illustrations
Time line
Map (from Artisans of Empire)

Introduction: Once again, Ottoman artisans


Chapter 1. Tracing Esnāf in Late Fifteenth-Century Bursa Court Records
İklil Erefe Selçuk

Chapter 2. The Art of the Potter in Ottoman Hungary
Geza David and Ibolya Gerelyes

Chapter 3. Damascene Artisans around 1700
Colette Establet

Chapter 4. Mapping Istanbul’s Hammams of 1752 and their Employees
Nina Ergin

Chapter 5. Surviving in Difficult Times: The Cotton and Silk Trades in Bursa around 1800
Suraiya Faroqhi

Chapter 6. The Shoe Guilds of Istanbul in the Early Nineteenth Century: A Case Study
Nalan Turna


Chapter 7. Blurred Boundaries between Soldiers and Civilians: Artisan Janissaries in Seventeenth-century Istanbul
Gülay Yılmaz

Chapter 8. Rich Artisans and Poor Merchants? A Critical Look at the Supposed Egalitarianism in Ottoman Guilds
Eunjeong Yi

Chapter 9. Gedik: What’s in a Name?
Onur Yıldırım –  Seven Ağır

Chapter 10. Punishment, Repression and Violence in the Marketplace: Istanbul, 1730-1840
Engin Deniz Akarlı


Chapter 11. Some observations on Istanbul’s artisans during the reign of Selim III (1789-1808)
Betül Başaran and Cengiz Kırlı

Chapter 12. Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire: Protest, the State, and the End of the Guilds in Egypt
John Chalcraft


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