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Extraordinary Taxes ('Aväriz) And Local Administration

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers one dimension of the urban experience. It aims to historicize the quarter as a product of forces both internal and external to it, and to qualify the relations of power at work within it. The seventeenth-century challenges of heavy taxation and militarization - and the opportunities offered by administrative decentralization - elicited various responses from urban civilian populations. To explore these developments, the chapter investigates the administration of extraordinary (ʿAvāriż) taxes in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. It also examines the normative procedures by which extraordinary taxes were assessed and collected on the local level, from the conduct of periodic tax surveys to the regular actions of quarter tax officials. "Normative" is a relative term here as the Ottoman state continued to experiment with the extraordinary tax system, and Ottoman officials assigned to Aleppo over time interpreted imperial tax laws differently.

Keywords: ʿavārıż taxes; Aleppo; normative procedures; Ottoman state; quarter tax officials; urban civilian populations



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