Agrarian Relations in the Ottoman Empire in the 15th and by Vera P. Moutafchieva

By Vera P. Moutafchieva

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Sipahis also collected the income from village households that were not registered in their name, which led to frequent arguments between the mefkufcu and the timar holders}16 On the other hand, practice also shows that the unregistered households were frequently included in separate new timars even before the due registration had taken place}17 The Official Status of the Timar As far back as the decree that history considers to have been written by Osman I, it was stated that "he to whom a timar is granted cannot be deprived of it without a reason, while he is able [to carry out his obligations].

It is unneccessary here to emphasize the great significance of the actual source material when it comes to describing the most important socioeconomic feudal institution of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. One thing is obvious: the legal records of that period are quite unable to convey the many aspects of the timar system when it was at its height and the first symptoms of its decline. This is why, on the basis of the original material used in this study, an attempt will be made to throw light on some features of the timar in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, which have been ignored by bourgeois literature.

87 The law of Mehmet II is divided into four sections (fasil): (a) regarding rape; (b) regarding assault, insult, and murder; (c) regarding the drinking of wine, theft and slander; and (d) simply the "Fourth Section of the Law of Mehmet Khan. "88 As appendices to this law, there is a decree regarding the yoruks (nomads), a "law regarding cebelli" ("mountain dwellers"), and a "law regarding house-holding 18 AGRARIAN RELATIONS IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE infidels. ' , 89 The briefest glance at the legislation of Mehmet IT gives an impression of its chaotic nature.

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