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Title: The confiscation of monastic properties by Selim II, 1568-70
Author: Kermeli, Eugenia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2694 2696
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1997
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This study deals with Selim II's confiscation of monastic properties at the end of the 16th century. The research is based firmans and huccets from monasteries on Mount Athos and Patmos as well as fetvas of the seyhu 'L-islam Ebu' s Su 'ud, dating from between 1569 and 1570. The purpose of this study is to show that, unlike previous confiscations by Ottoman Sultans, this was not a straightforward seizure of property, but ultimately a re-definition, to the benefit of the Ottoman Treasury, of an agreement between the monasteries and the Sultan. The immediate motive seems to have been the need to raise money for the attack on Cyprus in 1570. The new arrangements, however, were also intended to bring long term benefits to the Treasury while allowing the monasteries to remain intact. It was Ebu's Su'ud who provided the legal instruments for the confiscation by ruling that agricultural land was held by the Sultan on behalf of the Treasury, and by ruling vakfs made for churches and monasteries to be invalid. Monastic vakfs offended two legal principles. Firstly, they consisted largely of rural land which in Ebu's Su'ud's definition was mfrf land, and secondly they had been created for the benefit of churches and monasteries, a concept totally opposed to the hanaH laws on vakfs. Thus, monastic land was confiscated on the grounds of the first offence and the rest of monastic properties, i.e flocks, vineyards, orchards, buildings, fountains, on the grounds of the second. However, Ebu's Su'ud recognised the necessity of retaining monastic communities intact. Thus, when the monks requested to be treated as a collectivity, he devised a legal fiction that enabled monastic communities to survive and to continue operating as before. He categorised monastic vakfs as family vakfs and then he recognised the monks of a monastery as the offspring of deceased monks. By this device, the monasteries received assurances that no one would interfere in the possession and exploitation of their properties, in future, provided that the monasteries did not re-offend. This leniency demonstrated by Ebu's Su'ud, is evident not only in the rulings of the ~eyhu 'I-islam but also in the procedure in the kadf's court on Kos. The kadf seemed to have 'bent the rules' on a number of occasions, testified in the huccets concerning the sale of the properties of Patmos Monastery and their conversion into vakfs. Despite, the standard procedure of converting mUlks into vakfs, the monks of the monastery converted properties to vakfs before they actually bought them back from the mfrf. In two cases, as well, fields were sold by the mfrf as mUlks in clear defiance of Ebu's Su'ud's prohibition of the practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available