Shemsigul's Grievances

Improved Essays
Throughout history, parents sold their children to slave dealers to pay debts, but Mamluks and Ottomans slaves voluntarily sent their children into slavery with the hopes of better opportunities. During this time, many Ottoman Egyptian slave dealers would travel to Istanbul bringing young girls back to Cairo. Toledano expresses that Shemsigul’s parents sold her into slavery due to the poor living conditions that existed in the Circassian lower class in hopes that she would become a part of the Ottoman elite (83:1).
Shemsigul’s grievances relate to her sexual relationship and pregnancy with the slave dealer, Deli Mehmet, but not the act of sex itself. At that time, Mehmet would have been considered her master, and she would have been expected
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Guilds that dealt in white women were thought to be part of the elite society due to the cost of white female slaves. These slaves usually became part of a harem or a concubine as a sex slave. Each slave dealer would travel long distances across the Mediterranean, from Istanbul to Egypt, to gather slaves and then return to either the market or to a private purchaser with them. In this case, it seems that some of the members of this guild are Deli Mehmet, Timur, and Mustafa. Within each guild, there was accountability to each other and to the head of the guild to respect the guild’s ethical code to preserve their reputation. The reputation of a guild was formed partially based on the adherence of the code by its slave traders. Since the basis of the ethical code for each guild was the Muslim laws governing slavery, purchasers didn’t worry about buying slaves illegally and would continue to buy slaves from the same guild (88:2). The code gave specific limitations to the dealers of the guild about his sale of slaves, such as forbidding the sale of a pregnant slave or a slave that had birthed another man’s baby (87:3). Mustafa refused to even show Shemsigul to buyers after finding out about her having Mehmet’s …show more content…
The situation of Shemsigul’s delivery of Mehmet’s child became known by many and eventually another member of the guild, Timur, who he had asked to sell her reported Mehmet to Ali Efendi, the head of the guild. Efendi turned the information over to the police, after doing an investigation, along with Shemsigul for a testimony. The police investigation was well executed and seemed to uphold the law. The police questioned all parties involved and a key witness to uncover the truth about Deli Mehmet. Once the validity of the story was solid, it was forwarded to the administrative court or the mufti. It would appear that the police would allow the guild to handle its issues unless they sought out assistance from them. They relied on the head of the guild to be forthcoming with legal concerns. Therefore, it would be fitting that until the shaykh mentioned something, it was not considered factual. Thought this would ease the burden of the police and court system, there were probably many cases of such wrongdoings that never went to the police, even though it was stated that it was considerably risky (93:2). The speedy process from beginning to end was impressive. The text said the administration court rarely went against the police’s suggested punishment (92:5) so it can be assumed she was granted manumission, and Deli Mehmet would suffer some other form of punishment for

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