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Servants of the DynastyPalace Women in World History$
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Anne Walthall

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520254435

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520254435.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

Beyond Harem Walls: Ottoman Royal Women and the Exercise of Power

Beyond Harem Walls: Ottoman Royal Women and the Exercise of Power

Chapter:
(p.81) 4 Beyond Harem Walls: Ottoman Royal Women and the Exercise of Power
Source:
Servants of the Dynasty
Author(s):

Leslie P. Peirce

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520254435.003.0004

For roughly 100 years, from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth centuries, women of the Ottoman royal family exercised so much influence on the political life of the empire that this period is often referred to, in both scholarly and popular writing, as “the sultanate of women.” This period is notable for the important role acquired by dynastic women, the queen mother in particular, in the symbolics of sovereignty: the ceremonial demonstrations of imperial legitimacy and the patronage of artistic production. The standard historical treatment of this salience of the imperial harem in Ottoman politics views it, in the framework of the Islamic polity and Islamic society, as an illegitimate exercise of power. This chapter corrects certain misconceptions regarding harems in the Ottoman Empire and explores the networks through which royal women in this gender-segregated society exercised power in the world beyond the walls of the harem.

Keywords:   Ottoman Empire, royal women, power, harems, politics, networks, queen mother

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