Very Good. A copy that has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. From 1604 to 1607 Ottaviano Bon was the Venetian representative in Istanbul, where he recorded every aspect of life at the Topkapi Palace. His The Sultan's Seraglio provides a fascinating and lively account of the period of Ahmet I, covering topics as diverse as life in the harem; the exc hange of gifts between Turkish and Western dignitaries; the menu at officia l state banquets; the buying of slaves in the weekly slave market; and the great religious festivals and circumcision ceremonies. The various Ottoman officials are all introduced to us, including the vizie rs, the aghas and the 'itchoglans' (Christian recruits), with their long ye ars of harsh training until the best of them were admitted into the sultan' s personal service. We meet the buffoons and mutes who were the sultan's co nstant companions and accompanied him on boat trips down the Bosphorus to h is palaces and pleasure gardens. The book is of particular value not only as the best and most reliable of t he contemporary accounts, but also because it is not romanticized or 'orien talist'. The author observes with a detached eye, at times comparing Turkis h customs with Western ones, but always concerned to leave an objective pic ture. This is not simply a facsimile edition, although it preserves all the charm of the original. It has been annotated throughout by Godfrey Goodwin, the leading British historian of the Ottoman period.
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