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The Economics of Ottoman Justice


  • 5 b/w illus. 63 tables
  • Page extent: 364 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.71 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9781107157637)

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Ottoman Empire endured long periods of warfare, facing intense financial pressures and new international mercantile and monetary trends. The Empire also experienced major political-administrative restructuring and socioeconomic transformations. In the context of this tumultuous change, The Economics of Ottoman Justice examines Ottoman legal practices and the sharia court's operations to reflect on the judicial system and provincial relationships. Metin Coşgel and Boğaç Ergene provide a systematic depiction of socio-legal interactions, identifying how different social, economic, gender and religious groups used the court, how they settled their disputes, and which factors contributed to their success at trial. Using an economic approach, Coşgel and Ergene offer rare insights into the role of power differences in judicial interactions, and into the reproduction of communal hierarchies in court, and demonstrate how court use patterns changed over time.

• Offers a quantitative approach to a systematic analysis of legal practice in the Ottoman Empire • Depicts the interactions of different social, economic, gender and religious groups in their use of the sharia court • Identifies temporal changes in court-use patterns and the court's services, providing context to the sharia court's place and function


Introduction; Part I. Methodology and Background: 1. Quantitative approaches in research on Ottoman legal practice; 2. Kastamonu: the town and its people; Part II. The Court and Court Clients: 3. The court, its actors, and its archive; 4. Court use: a preliminary analysis; Part III. To Settle or Not to Settle: 5. Dispute resolution in Ottoman courts of law; 6. Trial vs settlement: an economic approach; 7. Which disputes went to trial? Case-type- and period-based analyses; Part IV. Litigations: 8. Rules and tools of litigation; 9. Economics of litigation: what affects success at trial?; 10. Who won? Case-type- and period-based analyses; Conclusion.


'Metin Coşgel and Boğaç Ergene have written a well-researched book that pushes the boundary of interdisciplinary scholarship. Their history is informed by economics, and their economics is generalized via history. It is an impressive and difficult methodology to pull off, yet Coşgel and Ergene have done just this.' Jared Rubin, EH.Net

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