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Sulh and the 18th Century Ottoman Courts of Üsküdar and Adana

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This article explores and compares cases of sulh (amicable agreement) that are documented in the records of two Ottoman courts—one in Üsküdar, the other in Adana—in the second half of the 18th century. As a dispute resolution practice, sulh draws on three normative systems: shari'a, kanun and 'örf. An abundance of references to sulh agreements in court records testifies not only to the importance of this social practice, but also to complex interrelations between the three normative systems. Sulh documents provide evidence of the interrelation between the shari'a court and other legal arenas. The judges in both Üsküdar and Adana viewed sulh agreements—even those concluded privately and outside of court—as valid and binding. There were, however, significant differences between the two courts regarding the sulh cases; these differences highlight the connection between the location of the court and its specific legal culture.

Affiliations: 1: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and Ecole des hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Centre d'Histoire du Domaineturc, 54 boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris, France


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