Edirne and the Paşa Province
Gökbilgin, M. Tayyib. XV.- XVI. Asırlarda Edirne ve Paşa Livâsı: Vakıflar, Mülkler, Mukataalar. İstanbul: Üçler Basımevi, 1952, 301pp.


Edirne and the Paşa Province

XV.- XVI. Asırlarda Edirne ve Paşa Livâsı: Vakıflar, Mülkler, Mukataalar

Tayyib Gökbilgin’s study is a compilation of various unpublished sources on the foundation and development of Ottoman Edirne and its environs. The book gathers documents and information on the economic, administrative and social attributes of the region. Edirne was the capital of the Ottoman state prior to the conquest of Istanbul and preserved its political importance, especially in relation to the conquests in Rumeli, even after losing its status as the capital.

The first part of the book investigates the administrative and political structures of Edirne and the wider Rumeli region. This chapter explores the changing terminology during the historical expansion of the province, and is of use not only to political and economic historians, but also to those working on literature, culture and architecture. It sheds some light on the relationships between various groups such as the rulers, warriors, dervishes and ahis (members of guilds formed as fraternities), as well as exploring their interaction with the town’s identity. 

The second chapter focuses on agricultural production in and around the town and the land-holding network, revealing the process whereby Edirne became the centre of Rumeli. Extensive lists have been compiled from archival sources on various production/land-holding models. Among these, hass (Sultan’s private land) and mukataa (lands rented out for tax-farming) make up the most comprehensive lists, but the book also explores the influence of the district’s land-holding systems on the military and political zones such as zeamat (fiefs) and timar (smaller fiefs or tax farms).

 In the final and longest chapter, records of pious foundations and other estates are investigated chronologically. This last part takes the shape of a presentation of sources rather than an analysis, which will enable researchers to use the book as a primary source. 

Around twenty deeds relating to the leading architectural structures and landed estates of Edirne and its vicinity are added to the last part of the book, the most extensive ones being from the Bayezid II Complex. This appendix includes the original documents as well as translations and notes on their contents, and it follows the index of personal names, objects and terms. 

Overall, Gökbilgin emphasises the importance of the coloniser dervishes in the Ottoman society in the period before the conquest of Istanbul. However, he leaves out patronage of social structures, the influence of relationships of ownership and production on urban identity, and information on the physical, conceptual and cultural dimensions of structures. Despite the fact that there are translations into Turkish and explanatory notes in places, the book is directed towards an audience familiar with the Ottoman script. 

Zeynep Oğuz
Translated by Aysu Dincer

Oğuz, Zeynep. '"English abstract of 'Edirne and the Paşa Province'". Translated by Aysu Dincer. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 19. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Muslim Civilisations Abstracts - The Aga Khan University
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