Public Perception in Classical Period Ottoman Lawbooks and its Classification

Koc Y.

MILLI FOLKLOR, no.98, pp.32-45, 2013 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.32-45
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Ottoman Lawbooks contain legal norms derived from various customs which have been recorded. into written documents since the mid XVth century. These texts, in the sense that they contain rules for a variety of issues concerning all social layers, can be analyzed in accordance with different disciplines and approaches. Accordingly, the so-called texts contain information to understand the progress of relations between the rulers and the ruled in Ottoman State and how rulers identified the crowds and classified them in terms of their notion of public. According to the Lawbooks, the public was entrusted by God to Ottoman Administration and it was requested to. comply with a sense of justice to rule the subjects. According to these Lawbooks, the public was classified into two main sections as the rulers and the ruled (soldier and reaya). Ruled people, namely large masses of people were divided according to religious, economic, governmental and social structure, by means of which Ottoman order was established. For this reason, people were classified according to key criteria of its daily habits, economic potential, productive activities, religious beliefs, age, gender, and whether they were free or not. It was required to maintain that conservative system in order to act in compliance with these criteria and to exert its authority.