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Rescue the Surviving SoulsThe Great Jewish Refugee Crisis of the Seventeenth Century$
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Adam Teller

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161747

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161747.001.0001

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On the Istanbul Slave Market

On the Istanbul Slave Market

(p.124) Chapter Twelve On the Istanbul Slave Market
Rescue the Surviving Souls

Adam Teller

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the experience of Jewish captives in the slave market in Istanbul. Despite the best efforts of the Muslim guild merchants to exclude Jews from the slave trade, there were always plenty of opportunities for non-guild merchants, prominent among them Jews, to act as unofficial traders or to broker various deals. Jews thus remained prominent figures in the business. All this meant that when it came to ransoming the captives, there were people in the Istanbul Jewish community with a great deal of experience in buying and selling slaves. Nonetheless, it was not they who led the campaign. That role seems to have fallen to the rabbinic leadership, who took their responsibilities in the field of pidyon shevuyim very seriously. The chapter then considers the challenge of raising the money for ransoming Jewish captives.

Keywords:   Jewish captives, slave market, Istanbul, Muslim guild merchants, Jews, slave trade, Istanbul Jewish community, rabbinic leadership, pidyon shevuyim

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