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Jane Hathaway
Ohio State University (Columbus, OH 43210-1132)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2006 – 6/30/2007

The Chief Eunuch of the Ottoman Harem

This is the first book-length study of the Ottoman Chief Harem Eunuch, who, during the 17th and 18th centuries, was one of the most influential figures in the Ottoman Empire. After tracing the office’s development from its inception in the 15th century through its monopolization by eastern African men at the end of the 16th century, the study focuses on two Chief Eunuchs, Yusuf Agha (served 1671-88) and el-Hajj Beshir Agha (served 1717-46), whose careers epitomize the Chief Eunuch’s ties to the sultan’s mother, symbiotic relationship with Egypt, and influence as superintendent of the imperial pious endowments for Mecca and Medina.