From Prohibitions to Modem Control: The Ottoman State's Approach to Alcohol Consumption and Winehouses


CTAD-CUMHURIYET TARIHI ARASTIRMALARI DERGISI, vol.16, no.31, pp.1-32, 2020 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16 Issue: 31
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-32
  • Keywords: The Ottoman Empire, alcohol, winehouses, prohibition, modern control
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Alcohol has been consumed in various ways in the daily life of Turkish societies, whether it was directly prohibited or not with the effect of the religion adopted. This alcohol consumption was transferred to the Ottoman State through the Seljuks by passing into effects of ancient Turks, Islam, Iran and Byzantine present in Anatolia. The Ottoman State developed those ways by inheriting the alcohol and winehouse traditions of conquered Istanbul and the Turco-Muslim states of the region prior to the Ottoman State. The recent researchers of Ottoman history have become increasingly interested in alcohol consumption and winehouses. Few studies focused on certain periods related to the subject, explain the prohibitive interventions of the Ottoman State relying on the Islamic identity of the Empire. Accordingly, the fact that the alcohol is ill gotten, sin and crime make generally alcohol and winehouses themselves criminal. Moreover, the findings of these studies are either limited to a characteristic peculiar to the analyzed period or they are generalized. However' these evaluations are inadequate to explain the approaches of the sultans who did not interfere with alcohol consumption and winehouses both in classical and modem periods. This study was planned to determine, predominately in light of cases of Istanbul, the approach of the Ottoman State towards alcohol consumpti.on and winehouses, especially during the modernization period In order to designate the changing elements firstly it is necessary to determine what the existing situation was. In this paper, the intervention of the Ottoman State in alcohol consumption and winehouses was defined and explained by dividing the subject into two parts: classical and modern. This study, which claims that the Ottoman State had a much more inclusive logic of intervention is based on a wide range of sources including court records, Ottoman archival documents, certain chronicles, travelogues, memoirs and research studies.