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Medical Treatment in the Ottoman Navy in the Early Modern Period

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Ottoman sources from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries tell us a great deal about naval finances or dockyard operations. Indeed, the logistics of the Ottoman have been studied reasonably well. However, the Ottoman sources are virtually silent about the people involved in these naval operations. In this article the manpower will be in focus, with particular emphasis on the oarsmen who manned the galleys, the captives and criminals, and the medical treatment offered to them. The resulting discussion allows us to gain insights into the experiences of non-elite or behind the scenes Ottomans involved in the navy—whose voices are difficult to recover—toward the end of the seventeenth century. This article also indirectly contributes to the growing scholarship in recent years on Ottoman slavery. Les sources ottomanes du XVIème-XVIIème siècles sont très informatives au sujet des finances navales, autrement dit, les opérations du chantier naval. Pour cette raison le logiciel de la marine ottomane a été plutôt bien étudié. Par contre, les manuscrits ottomans adressent à peine la main-d'œuvre engagée dans les opérations navales. Cette contribution traite particulièremt des rameurs des galères, des captifs et des condamnés, ainsi que du traitement médical offert à eux. La discussion qui en résulte nous donne une idée des expériences du menu peuple ottoman servant dans la flotte et de ceux travaillant dans les coulisses – des personnes dont les archives nous parlent à peine – vers la fin du XVIIème siècle. En outre elle contribue de façon indirecte à l'étude de l'esclavage ottoman, un thème déployé depuis quelques ans.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Middle Eastern & African History, Tel Aviv University;, Email:


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