TARAQAH (LEGACY) BOOKS OF
(By Assoc. Prof. Said ÖZTÜRK)
This work that is a study on Taraqah (Legacy) Books, of the most
significant sources of the social and economic history of the
Ottoman State, comprises two main chapters: The first chapter
extensively elaborates such issues as Shariah registers, taraqah (legacy)
books, office of qadi, office of qassam (law official who fixes
inheritance shares) and military class. The second chapter deals
with the analyses of personal wealth. In taraqah books were entered
all the movable and immovable assets a deceased person possessed in
his life. Moving from the mentioned books wherein thorough analyses
of personal riches were registered in minute details a general
panorama of the wealth distribution of the time has been portrayed.
Again, weighing upon such information as the marital statuses of the
legacy holders, whether they had inheritors - if any who they were,
information on their origins, such information as their professions,
positions, titles, etc. that would define their positions and roles
in the society, this work has given explanations on the social
structure of the time. Further, analyses have been made on the size
of families in Istanbul.
From the information in books is inferred to what extent the
military class who were separate from and more privileged than the
majority of people in Istanbul in the 17th century turned to such
items of commodities as composed the fortune.
Again, this work has made explanations on such matters as wealth
hoarding by various officers, attendants and scholars, who were
considered within the military class, the manner of formation of
their riches, and payable-receivable relationships, etc. Still, the
role of the ethnical origin and sex in payable-receivable
relationships has been established to some extent through the use of
the data in taraqah books. And the level of the relations between
non-Muslim Ottoman citizens and Muslim Ottoman citizens in economic
transactions has been investigated.
Moving from taraqah books, explications concerning the history of
the Ottoman money and prices, the above-said registers qualifying as
a reference for researches to be carried out as regards to the
historical topography of Istanbul have been included in the tables
about taraqah holders in the addendum at the end of the book.