Ottoman Cauldron-Makers, 1643-1644

Ursula Georges


This article analyzes the names of eighteen men who made contributions to a waqf or charitable foundation in 1053 AH (1643-1644 AD). The men were residents of Istanbul and members of a guild of cauldron-makers or kazgancIlar. They were originally from Trebizond, a city on the Black Sea; many of the men are identified as bin `Abdullah, literally "son of a servant of God," which suggests that they had converted to Islam.

Note on Special Characters

These names have been transliterated from an Arabic script using the conventions of modern Turkish. In the modern Turkish system, the sound of the letter I depends on whether or not it is dotted. In this article, i stands for a dotted letter I, and I stands for the undotted letter. More information about the Turkish alphabet and the Ottoman script is available here.

Name Structure

These names are constructed using an Arabic-style patronymic, in which the given name is followed by the abbreviation b. (for bin, "son of") and the father's given name. For example, Mustafa b. Osman stands for Mustafa bin Osman, "Mustafa son of Osman". The name `Abdullah means "servant of God"; converts to Islam often identified themselves as sons or daughters of `Abdullah, so the high proportion of men in this list identified as bin `Abdullah probably indicates that most of the men had converted to Islam.

One of the men in this list is identified as Kara Mehmed or "Black Mehmed". Several use the byname El-Hac, which indicates that the bearer has completed the hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca.

Waqf Contributors

El-Hac Resul b. Murad
Hasan b. `Abdullah
Hüseyn b. `Abdullah
El-Hac `Ali b. `Abdullah
Mehmed b. `Abdullah
ibrahim b. `Abdullah
Mustafa b. `Abdullah
Mehmed b. Hüseyn
Mehmed b. Murad
Kara Mehmed b. `Abdullah
Yahya b. Hüseyn
El-Hac Mehmed b. `Abdullah
Mustafa b. Osman
Mustafa b. `Abdullah
`Abdurrahman b. `Abdullah
Mahmud b. `Abdullah
Hasan b. Kurt
Hasan b. `Abdullah


Main Source

Eunjeong Yi, Guild Dynamics in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul: Fluidity and Leverage. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV, 2004.

Other Sources

"Trabzond", Wikipedia.

Ursula Georges, "Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Names."

By Ursula Whitcher, alias Ursula Georges