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Aspects of Juridical Integration of Non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire: Observations in the Eighteenth-Century Urban and Rural Aegean

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the usage of shariʿa courts by non-Muslims as recorded in legal documents in the Aegean region. Comparing a number of Eastern Aegean islands on the one hand and the city of Salonica, the author highlights that the figures of documented cases in these different environments diverge in a way that is far from proportionate to the difference in population between these regions. The chapter investigates whether this documents different levels of juridical integration of non-Muslims in the two sub-regions or whether there are other explanations for this observation. It examines few factors which could explain the imbalance in the documented usage of shariʿa courts by non-Muslims. Finally, the chapter concludes with the hypothesis that local circumstances on the islands and the general conditions of the Ottoman approach of legal pluralism have promoted the evolution of specific and efficient communal practices of dispute resolution in this subregion.

Keywords: Aegean; Non-Muslims; Ottoman Empire; Ottoman juridical system; shariʿa courts



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