Institute for Mediterranean Studies
Slaves and Freedmen in 17th and Early 18th Century Ottoman Crete

Spyropoulos, Yannis. “Slaves and Freedmen in 17th and Early 18th Century Ottoman Crete.” Turcica 46 (2015): 177–204.

This article is a study of the institution of chattel slavery in early Ottoman Crete. Conquered by the Ottomans between 1645 and 1669, Crete immediately became a pool of enslavement through war captivity as well as an active market place where both locals and non-Cretans bought and sold slaves of various ethnic backgrounds. Yet the importance of slavery for the early Ottoman Cretan society went far beyond its financial aspect. At a time of fluid social and religious identities for the island’s population, slave ownership became a marker of wealth just as converting slaves to Islam and emancipating them became a sign of piety. Thus it was used as a means of bridging the status gap between the local converts and the newly settled Ottoman administrative and military elite.

  • Γιάννης Σπυρόπουλος