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Under Osman's TreeThe Ottoman Empire, Egypt, and Environmental History$
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Alan Mikhail

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226427171

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226427201.001.0001

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Animal Capital

Animal Capital

Chapter:
(p.111) 6 Animal Capital
Source:
Under Osman's Tree
Author(s):

Alan Mikhail

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226427201.003.0007

Through an examination of the role of domesticated animals as forms of property in rural Ottoman Egypt, this chapter argues that historians of the early modern Muslim world must pay greater attention to the economic and social importance of animals. Based on the Islamic court records of multiple cities in both the Nile Delta and southern Egypt, this chapter documents the roles of animals as agricultural laborers, means of transport, and sources of food. It then analyzes several court cases in which the ability of animals to move, die, and procreate challenged notions of property and legal ownership in Ottoman Egypt. Because animals were everywhere in rural Ottoman Egypt, they were enmeshed in nearly all aspects of the social and economic history of the countryside.

Keywords:   animals, property, animal labor, food production, transport, estate inventories, fraud, theft, wealth, comparative value

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