The Harem: Inside the Grand Seraglio of the Turkish Sultans

Dover Publications #ad - Access to the grand seraglio--which served as the empire's administrative, legislative, as well as the ruler's home--was jealously guarded, and judicial center and an academy of fine arts, even after the sultans ceased to reside there in the mid-nineteenth century. For nearly four centuries, the Ottoman sultans dwelt amid the secret splendors of Topkapi Palace.

His evocative accounts of the manners, dress, and politics of Turkish court life continue to influence the scholarly work of the twenty-first century, and this classic history remains indispensable to studies of harem life. In 1936, norman mosley penzer 1892-1960, a distinguished scholar of Orientalism, was afforded a rare opportunity to step inside the Grand Seraglio; in this eagerly embraced and much-consulted volume, he reveals what he found.

The Harem: Inside the Grand Seraglio of the Turkish Sultans #ad - Constructed between 1459 and 1465 at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the Golden Horn, Topkapi Palace stands in present-day Istanbul, near the confluence of the Bosphorus, and the Marmara Sea. Penzer's illustrations of the opulent gardens, chambers, and pavilions come to imaginative life with his explorations of day-to-day palace life--particularly among the women of the harem and their eunuch guards.

Penzer surveyed the entire palace from end to end during numerous visits over the course of two years, and he presents photographs and floor plans that provide a comprehensive view of Topkapi's structure.


Harem: The World Behind the Veil

Abbeville Press #ad - A fascinating illustrated history of one of the strangest, and cruelest, cultural institutions ever devised. We enter the slave markets and the lavish boudoirs of the sultanas; we witness the daily routines of the odalisques, and of the eunuchs who guarded the harem. Croutier reveals their marital customs, child-rearing practices, and superstitions.

Juxtaposing a rich array of illustrations—Western paintings, family photographs, Turkish and Persian miniatures, and even film stills—Croutier demystifies the Western erotic fantasy of “the world behind the veil. This revised and updated 25th anniversary edition of Harem includes a new introduction by the author, revisiting her subject in light of recent events in Turkey, and the world.

People around me often whispered things about harems; my own grandmother and her sister had been brought up in one. Drawing on a host of firsthand accounts and memoirs, croutier explores life in the world’s harems, from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century, as well as her own family history, focusing on the fabled Seraglio of Topkapi Palace as a paradigm for them all.

Harem: The World Behind the Veil #ad - A worldwide best seller, translated into twenty-five languages. I was born in a konak old house, which once was the harem of a pasha, ” writes Alev Lytle Croutier. Here, too, his favorites, we learn of the labyrinthine political scheming among the sultan’s wives, and the valide sultana—the sultan’s mother—whose power could eclipse that of the sultan himself.

There were the harems of the sultans and the pashas, but there were also “middle-class” harems, the households in which ordinary men and women lived out ordinary—albeit polygamous—lives.