Imperial Harem Research Paper

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A Google Image search of the word “harem” brings forth images depicting women in various states of dress, dancing, swimming, playing music, etc. Some Americans think that Muslim men treated women as prizes and used them as objects. That the harem was a place where the man of the household or the Sultan held their women for safe keeping, like prisoners. Contrary to popular belief, the women of the harem were not sex objects passed amongst the man’s male friends and family. I argue that the women of the Imperial Harem, during the rise of the Ottoman Empire, were not only the opposite of sex objects and prizes but actively influential in both foreign and domestic affairs. In this paper, I will ascertain that harems were more than holding cells for sex slaves. I will examine the effects of the ethnic and…show more content…
Any loyalties or networks that were established during the principality “would become the basis of future alignments at the imperial court.” Considering that women come into the Imperial Harem from across several dozen countries, there is the likelihood of there being multiples of any one ethnicity. It is also likely that the women of the Imperial Harem, including the Valide Sultan, would have created alliances between other women sharing a background or members of comparable rank. If the Valide Sultan and the Haseki Sultan(s) worked together to express a uniform message to the Sultan, they may have been even more influential than they were alone. Considering the wars that raged on during the early Sultans’ reigns in Turkey and that the mothers of the second through the fourth Sultan were Turkish, there is a possibility that these women all had a similar goal in mind with the direction of the Empire. This being said, there is no solid proof dictating whether these women worked together on any political
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