Ottoman Tereke Registers

This article on the Ottoman probate inventories essentially consists of two parts. In the first part, the probate inventories are taken as historical sources. In this context, some major issues are tackled such as their characteristics, the scope and the limitations of their contents, an analysis of some conceptual descriptions as well as information on the courts responsible for keeping these records. In the second part of the article, the emergence and the development of studies on the Ottoman probate inventories, the aspects investigated as well as the methods and approaches pursued are examined. Probate inventories have been considered an extremely important source for Ottoman history since the 1950s. As with other sorts of historical documents, the substantial data present in legal (qadi) registers has contributed immensely to the emergence of numerous academic studies in Ottoman history. On the other hand, the studies on probate inventories seem to have stagnated in the twenty years following the publication of Ömer Lütfi Barkan’s pioneering work in 1966. The field was reinvigorated from the beginning of the 1990s with the contribution of historians and scholars from various disciplines, who conducted studies on subjects such as wealth, production and commerce, consumption, social groups, demographics, inheritance, material culture and life styles. A considerable part of these studies have been written in the last fifteen years. Despite the increasing interest and the mounting number of publications on the subject, however, there still needs to be much improvement on the quality and the quantity of studies on probate inventories.


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