This paper examines the system of labour provision for the Ottoman navy from the fifteenth to the late seventeenth century. Comparing the experiences of statute labourers, convicts, and prisoners of war who rowed on galleys and worked in the imperial arsenal, it argues that the organisation and classification of labour were key mechanisms in establishing state control over subjects during the early modern period. For the field of Ottoman history more specifically, the conclusion suggests that differences in socioeconomic status and human capital had greater influence on the way the state viewed and interacted with its subjects than is commonly acknowledged.

Published: 2022-02-15