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Complaints About Avâriz Assessment and Payment in the Avâriz-tax System: An Aspect of the Relationship Between Centre and Periphery. A Case Study of Kayseri, 1618-1700

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This paper on complaints about avâriz assessment and payment relies on the şer'iyye sicils of Kayseri. It begins by reviewing the traditional Near Eastern concept of State Justice in conjunction with the archival evidence. By examining the court cases and the imperial orders in these sicils it is possible for us to assess how the Ottoman judicial system and central administration dealt with the complaints and alleged corruption regarding the avâriz levies in the province of Kayseri throughout the seventeenth century. It is also possible to see how common people fought with rising problems in the avâriz system, or how they sought justice, and to what degree they knew what was their legal right and what not by examining the sicils themselves. The result of this examination will help to revise a number of misconceptions regarding complaints in the Ottoman Empire- a study of complaints from the sicils may yield a certain insight into the nature of the relationship between the centre and periphery. Cet article sur les plaintes concernant le calcul et le paiement de l'impôt avâriz est fondé sur les şer'iyye sicils de Kayseri. Il débute par l'étude du concept traditionnel de l'État de Justice au Proche Orient en relation avec les données trouvées dans les archives. En examinant les procès et les ordres impériaux dans ces sicils , il nous sera possible d'établir comment, à la fois le système judiciaire et l'administration centrale de l'Empire ottoman, ont traité les plaintes et la supposée corruption concernant le prélèvement de l'impôt avâriz dans la province de Kayseri tout au long du XVIIème siècle. Il nous sera alors possible, en exploitant les documents contenus dans les sicils, de voir comment la population luttait contre les problèmes croissants dans le système avâriz, comment elle avait recours à la justice et dans quelle mesure elle connaissait ses droits légaux. Les résultats de cette analyse permettront de réviser un certain nombre d'idées fausses à propos des plaintes dans l'Empire ottoman; de même, l'étude de ces plaintes pourra éventuellement donner une certaine idée de la nature des liens entre le centre et la périphérie.


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