Ahmet, Refik. On Altınci Asırda İstanbul Hayatı (1553-1591). İstanbul: Devlet Basımevi, 1935, 171pp.
Life in Istanbul in the Sixteenth Century (1553-1591)
On Altınci Asırda İstanbul Hayatı (1553-1591)
This book depicts the philosophical, social, cultural and economic aspects of life in İstanbul between 1553-1591 as reflected in records in the Court Archives (Hazine-i Evrak). The records provide information on various aspects of social life such as palace management, intellectual and scientific life, women's status, laws regulating the legal and social status of non-Muslims, services provided by municipalities, health services, the development and construction of public facilities, commerce and industry, and customs services.
The first document included in the book belongs to the Hegira year 961 (1553 AC). The last document is dated 993 (1585 AC). Documents for certain years are missing, and some of the records in the state register are irregular due to the fact that the records were kept by different clerks.
Each chapter includes related documents, which contain details on specific periods. For instance, in the chapter titled ‘Palace Management’, a copy of the letter sent to Queen Elizabeth I, and documents related to the importation of sables and fur from Russia, can be found. Furthermore, information concerning commercial and economic relations with other foreign countries is provided. The use of these official documents increase the reliability of the information provided in the book. For ease of reference, the less accessible terms and words are explained in the footnotes when needed.
Historical Istanbul provides valuable information for understanding the underlying causes of changes in urban life during the flow of history, the urban and social transformation of modern İstanbul, and for finding solutions to the city’s problems.
This work constitutes a source of reference for social scientists working on life in İstanbul in the sixteenth century, and for readers interested in this period in general.
Translated by Ertürk Barlas