Harem: The Power Within

This essay Harem: The Power Within has a total of 2523 words and 10 pages.


Harem: The Power Within

In Muslim societies the social interaction between unrelated men and women is restricted. Traditional house design often allowed the women the inner part of the house which would be off-limits to outsiders. This is the concept of Harem, which literally means a sacred or restricted place. However, in Arabic and Turkish the word Harem is also used as a general
name for all the women living in an household. According to Alev L. Croutier the most largest Harem of all times was the Harem of the Ottoman Sultans. He claims that in 16th century there were 600 women in the Ottoman Harem. The origin of the girls brought to the Imperial Harem was very diverse. Because the territories of the Empire was expanded into three continent they were girls from European Countries, Iran, Russia, and North Africa. Most of the girls were brought when they were child. The real source for slaves and concubines brought to the Imperial Palace were the continuos wars. These girls were mostly Christian. Because most wars were made with the Christian countries. Later in 14th century when the Mediterranean piracy started the source for girls and slaves became the north Africa and Caucasian. Besides the girls who were brought as a war prisoner, there were also girls sent to Sultan by the ministers and princes of other countries and states of the Ottoman Empire.
Imperial Harem was above all schools. Before being presented to the Sultan, all girls had to learn Arabic, Turkish, literacy, court manners, music and religion. For talented girls Harem also had private teachers coming from other countries. All girls were made Muslim the day they entered the Imperial Palace. A new Arabic or Persian name were giving to them. After that, older women of the Harem were giving these girls the necessary education in case they could see the Sultan one day. If a concubine who saw the Sultan for one time could have the chance to see him again, she became a favorite. Favorites of the Sultan had more chance to marry him. If a girl marries the Sultan and gives birth to a child, then she could guaranty her luxury until the death of her husband. However, the most powerful woman of the Harem and the Empire was the mother of the Sultan. She was also called Valide Sultan which means Mother Sultan. She had a higher income than the Grand Vizier, the vice president, and often acted as the guardian of the interests of the Sultan and the dynasty. Therefore, the dream of all mothers of prin

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