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Ottoman Empire Society

advert During the Ottoman Empire period, the life-style of the people was influenced by both western and eastern cultures. The main reason for this was the vast expansion of the Ottoman Empire. People of different religious backgrounds had settled here. Also, trade and commerce of the Ottomans with other countries exposed them to various cultures. Constantinople, the capital of Ottoman was a classic example of diverse cultures as it was influenced by both Roman and Byzantine cultures.

The Ottoman society was based on hierarchical system. This meant that the Ottoman people were ranked according to the kind of work they performed. There were five classes in which the people were divided. At the top of this hierarchical ladder was the ruling class which was associated to the sultan. The next in order was the merchant class.

The merchants were free from the government taxation and regulation. Afterall the merchants were the artisan's class. The artisans were organised as per guilds established in the Ottoman Empire. Below the artisans were the peasant class which comprised of most of the population and they worked on leased lands. The last class was that of the tribes and clans which were governed by their own rules and under the control of their chiefs.

Socialization formed an essential part of the Ottoman culture. A unique characteristic of the lifestyle was that it was fragmented. Coffee shops played an important role in social activities of the people. The coffee house was a place which brought together people from different social classes under one roof. The first coffee house is said to have opened in 1473 in Istanbul. Hammam or Baths played a crucial role in the Ottoman culture. Baths were regarded as places for social get-togethers.

The women in the Ottoman period were veiled. In the latter years of the Ottoman period women were given freedom and were allowed to work as teachers and as industrial workers. The period from 1648-1658 is known as the Sultanate of women. During this period the mothers of the sultans played a significant role in deciding the future of the Empire when they were required to take charge of the Empire. The most prominent women of this time were Kosem Sultan and Turhan Hatice.

Harem was the resting place for the royal women. It included the wives of the sultan, their children and other female relatives.

Millets or the religious groups formed an essential part of the Ottoman social structure. These groups were responsible for holding the people together as the population of the Empire comprised of people following varied religions and cultures. The millets which established by having their own religious laws, traditions and language were protected by the sultan. Slavery was part of the Ottoman society and until 1908, women were sold as slaves. Education was given to the children belonging to the wealthy class and the Ottoman classical music was a part of this education. The Ottoman court was influenced by the Greek and European style. The Ottoman court culture was known as the Ottoman Way.

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This site covers all areas Ottoman Empire History Facts. Besides the popular Ottoman topics like rise and fall, leaders, society, economy, Inventions, Religion, it also covers several other areas like comparison with other empires.

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