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Document Details :

Title: Safiye's Household and Venetian Diplomacy
Author(s): PEDANI, Maria Pia
Journal: Turcica
Volume: 32    Date: 2000   
Pages: 9-32
DOI: 10.2143/TURC.32.0.460

Abstract :
Venetian documents concerning the Ottoman Empire have still something to say to historians above all in those fields left aside during the last two centuries as, for instance, women’s history. At the end of the 16th century the old relations between slaves and the sultan were changing and new forces were gaining power: in the upper classes women became more and more important since marriages were used to cement alliances and it was necessary for men to have mothers, sisters and wives well introduced in the imperial harem. The letters written by Venetian diplomats to their lords in this period give interesting information about some of these women: for example Esther Handali, who attended both Nur Banu and Safiye, the mother (Franceschina Zorzi Michiel) and the sister (Beatrice/Fatma hatun) of the powerful kapiagasi Gazanfer, the kahyakadin Canfeda hatun, the kalfa and vekilharc Râziye hatun and her daughter, who was the sultana’s secretary. Venetian diplomats wrote also about the most important events which took place behind the well protected walls of the Imperial Palace: for instance, they speak of prince Murad’s dream, the explanation of which made the poor seyh Süca''s fortune and confirm Mustafa Ali’s words about Safiye’s marriage with the sultan.

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