The politics of households in Ottoman Egypt : the rise of the Qazdaglis


The politics of households in Ottoman Egypt : the rise of the Qazdaglis

Jane Hathaway

(Cambridge studies in Islamic civilization)

Cambridge University Press, 2002, c1997

  • : pbk

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"First published 1997, First paperback edition 2002"--T.p. verso

Includes bibliographical references (p. 180-189) and index



In a lucidly argued revisionist study of Ottoman Egypt, first published in 1996, Jane Hathaway challenges the traditional view that Egypt's military elite constituted a revival of the institutions of the Mamluk sultanate. The author contends that the framework within which this elite operated was the household, a conglomerate of patron-client ties that took various forms. In this respect, she argues, Egypt's elite represented a provincial variation on an empire-wide, household-based political culture. The study focuses on the Qazdagli household. Originally, a largely Anatolian contingent within Egypt's Janissary regiment, the Qazdaglis dominated Egypt by the late eighteenth century. Using Turkish and Arabic archival sources, Jane Hathaway sheds light on the manner in which the Qazdaglis exploited the Janissary rank hierarchy, while forming strategic alliances through marriage, commercial partnerships and the patronage of palace eunuchs.


  • Introduction
  • 1. Egypt's place in the Ottoman Empire
  • Part I. The Household and its Place in Ottoman Egypt's History: 2. The household
  • 3. Transformations in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Egyptian society
  • 4. The emergence and partnership of the Qazdagli and Jalfi households
  • 5. The ascendancy of Ibrahim Kahya al-Qazdagli and the emergence of the Qazdagli Beylicate
  • Part II. Qazdagli Household-Building Strategies: 6. Marriage alliances and the role of women in the household
  • 7. Property and commercial partnerships
  • 8. The Qazdaglis and the Chief Black eunuch
  • 9. Conclusions.

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