ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

M. Fatih Torun1, Nalan Turna2

1Indiana University, The College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History, Bloomington, IN/USA
2Yıldız Technical University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Sociology, Istanbul/TÜRKİYE

Keywords: Sultan Mehmed IV, Edirne, Ottoman Circumcision Festival of 1675, imperial festival (sur-ı hümayun), artisans, guild/artisan pageants, army artisans, auxiliary artisans.


In 1675, the Ottoman state held an imperial festival (sur-ı hümayun) in Edirne to celebrate the military achievements, the circumcision of the sons of Sultan Mehmed IV (r. 1648-1687) and the marriage of his daughter. Drawing from seventeenthcentury official and non-official sources concerning the festival, this essay focuses mainly on the role of the artisans. It shows how the practices of the artisans at the festival resembled those of the army artisans who, too, paraded at the initial stage of the military campaigns. However, rather than the mere theatrical aspects of the guilds’ pageantry, it emphasizes other yet multiple functions of the artisans. In particular, showing the role of the Istanbul and Edirne guilds in front of and behind the stage, this essay argues that they not only benefited from participating in such events but also bore their burdens as they provided various services, labor, and funding. In this regard, it also pays attention to the other side of the coin where not only artisans but also other actors were involved. To this end, after a brief introduction, this essay focuses on the day-to-day parades of the artisans, the practices of gift-giving, the burdens and benefits of the festival for the different classes, and finally its military tone by considering the actively involved artisans and their auxiliaries.

Author Contributions

Conceiving the Study:Author-1 (%50) - Author-2 (%50)
Data Collection:Author-1 (%50) - Author-2 (%50)
Data Analysis:Author-1 (%50) - Author-2 (%50)
Writing up:Author-1 (%50) - Author-2 (%50)
Submission and Revision:Author-1 (%50) - Author-2 (%50)

Conflict of Interest

The Author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest / Çıkar çatışması beyan edilmemiştir.


We would like to thank Eunjeong Yi for her invaluable comments on the earlier version of this essay, Katherine Wilson for providing John Covel’s autograph journal from the British Library and the Newberry Library in Chicago for access to John Shirley’s book. We are also grateful to the editors of the journal and the anonymous reviewers for their contributions.