How women lived in oriental harems, or What they don’t talk about in romantic films

At the word "harem" most people come to the head with colorful pictures - an abundance of seductive half-dressed women, the murmuring waters of fountains, sweet wine and constant bliss. In general, heavenly pleasure. But do not forget that the times when harems existed were cruel, and the life of a woman was even harder.

So in fact, the sultan's harems were far from this idealistic picture.

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Source: kulturologia.ru

Translated from the Arabic "harem" means "separated, prohibited." This place in the house was always hidden from prying eyes and carefully guarded by servants. There were women in this secret room. Chief among them was either a wife who was honored to marry first and held a high title with her betrothed or eunuchs.

Often in the sultan's harem there were a huge number of women, whose number could reach up to several thousand. Zhen and concubines for the sultan always chose his mother - this is a strict rule. It was possible to be in a harem very easily - for this you just had to be a beautiful young virgin. But even in the harem, not everyone was able to establish a relationship with her “husband” and give him a heir.

Such high competition among wives allowed only the most intelligent, calculating, agile and cunning women to be among the first. Those who did not possess such talents were doomed to perform household duties and to serve the whole harem. They could never see their betrothed in their entire life.

In harems there were special orders that could not be broken. So everything was not so romantic, as, for example, in the popular TV series “The Magnificent Age”. The sovereign could be carried away by the new girl, and those who were naked in the eyes could be executed. Moreover, the methods of violence were striking in their cruelty.

One of the options to get rid of the annoying wife is to immerse her in a leather bag with snakes, tie it tight, tie a stone to the bag and throw it into the sea. An easy way to execute is strangulation with a silk cord.

Laws in the harem and state

If you believe the documents, the first harems emerged in the Ottoman Empire. Initially, it was formed exclusively from slaves, and the sultans took only the heirs of the Christian rulers of the neighboring states as wives. However, during the reign of Bayazid II, the usual attitudes have changed. From this time on, the sultan did not limit himself to marriage at all, and acquired children from his slaves.

Undoubtedly, the most important thing in the harem was the sultan, then in the chain of the hierarchy was his mother, called "Valida." When the ruler in the country changed, his mother necessarily moved to luxurious mansions, and the process of moving was accompanied by a chic procession. After the mother of the Sultan, his condemned men, who were called “Kadyn-efendi”, were considered the main ones. Then there were disenfranchised slaves, referred to as "jariye", which often harem was just filled.

The Caucasian princes wanted their daughters in the Ottoman harem of the Sultan and married him. Putting their daughters to bed, the caring dads would sing to the babes songs about a happy fate, a chic fabulous life they would be in if they were lucky enough to become wives of the Sultan.

The rulers could buy future slaves when the little ones were five to seven years old, they raised them and raised them before puberty, that is, until the age of 12-14 years. Parents of girls refused to write the rights to their child after they voluntarily sold their daughter to the sultan.

While the baby was growing, she was learning not only all the rules of secular communication, but also how to give a man pleasure. Upon reaching adolescence, a matured girl was shown in the palace. If during the inspection the slave revealed defects in the exterior or on the body, if she did not learn etiquette and showed bad behavior, it was considered unsuitable for the harem and cost less than others, therefore her father was paid a smaller amount than the one he counted on.

Weekdays slaves

The lucky ones, whom the Sultan allegedly thought to take as his concubine, should have known the Quran perfectly and mastered the female wisdom. And if the slave still managed to take the place of honor of his wife, her life radically changed. Favorite sultan engaged in the organization of charitable foundations, funded the construction of mosques.They revered Muslim traditions. Sultan's wives were very clever. The high intelligence of these women is confirmed by letters that have survived to our times.

The attitude towards concubines was relatively decent, they were well cared for, they were regularly given gifts. Every day even the simplest slaves received a payment, the size of which the sultan set personally. On holidays, be it a birthday or someone's wedding, money and various gifts were given out to slave women. However, if the slave was disobedient, she regularly violated the established rules and laws, the punishment for her was severe - cruel beatings with whips and sticks.

Marriage and adultery

After 9 years of living in a harem, a slave was given the right to leave him, but on condition that her master would approve. In the case of a positive decision of the Sultan, the woman received from him a paper that she was a free man. In this case, the Sultan or his mother necessarily bought her a luxurious house, additionally gave a dowry, looked for her husband.

Well, before the onset of heavenly life, particularly passionate concubines tied intimate relationships with each other or with eunuchs.By the way, all the eunuchs were brought from Africa, so they were all black.

This was done with a specific purpose - in this way it was not difficult to calculate the person who committed adultery with the servant. After all, in case of pregnancy, dark-skinned babies were born. But this happened very rarely, because often slaves fell into the harem already castrated, so they could not have children. Between concubines and eunuchs, love relationships were often made. It even got to the point that women who had left the harem left their new husbands, complaining that the eunuch brought them much more pleasure.

Roksolana

Up to the XVI century, girls from Russia, Georgia, Croatia and Ukraine got into the harem. Byazid tied himself in marriage with a Byzantine princess, and Orhan-ghazi chose as his wife the daughter of the emperor Constantine - Princess Caroline. But the most famous sultan's wife, according to legend, was originally from Ukraine. Her name was Roksolana, she stayed in the status of a betrothed Suleiman the Magnificent for 40 years.

According to the literary works of the time, the real name Roksolany - Anastasia. She was the daughter of a priest and was beautiful.The girl was preparing for the wedding, but shortly before the celebration was stolen by the Tatars and sent to Istanbul. There, the failed bride ended up in the Muslim market, where the trade in slaves took place.

As soon as the girl found herself in the walls of the palace, she converted to Islam and learned the Turkish language. Anastasia turned out to be a special tricky and prudent person, so by means of bribes, intrigues and seduction, in a short time she reached the young padishah who got carried away with her, and then got married. She gave her husband three healthy heroes, among whom was the future Sultan - Selim II.

In modern Turkey, there are no more harems, the latter disappeared in the early twentieth century. In its place, the museum was subsequently opened. Nevertheless, polygamy is practiced among the elite in our days. Against their will, young 12-year-old women who are charmed are given in marriage to the age-rich. Basically, this is what poor parents do, who do not have enough money to feed a large number of children.

In the United Arab Emirates and in a number of other Muslim countries, polygamy is legal, but at the same time it is allowed to have no more than four wives. All the same law imposes a duty on a decent polygamist on the decent content of his ladies and children, but not a word about respectful attitude is written.Therefore, despite the beautiful life, wives are often kept in extreme severity. In the case of divorce, the children always stay with the father, and mothers are forbidden to see them. Here is the payback for a comfortable and luxurious life with an influential Arab man.

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