Women of Royalty
Topkapi Palace Harem Vocabulary

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Acemi--a novice, a newcomer to the seraglio
Ba Kadn--the highest-ranking women of the harem
Black Eunuchs--castrated men reserved as the guards of the harem, often mute and silent people. They saw to the harem gardens, apartments and baths.
Cariye--lowest-ranking women of the harem, the slaves
Chief Black Eunuch--see Harem Aas
Eunuch--a castrated man
Gate of Felicity--'Gate of Happiness'. Gate through which the acemis passed under on their way to the harem upon their arrival at Topkap Palace. Harem women reputedly said that once a girl passed under the Gate of Felicity, they never left.
Gedik--a woman favored by the padishah but not bedded by him; they often became his personal servants
Harem--Arabic for 'forbidden'. Term applied for the women's part of the palace in Asian cultures. See seraglio
Harem Aas--the highest ranking eunuch, in charge of the harem's funds and monies, that also served as the Valide Sultana's personal eunuch
Haseki--a woman of the harem who received the padishah's special favors
Hasseki Sultana--the wife of the padishah who bore him sons
Hassodaliks--see odalisque
Ikbal--see odalisque
Lale Devri--The Tulip Period. A time period from 1720-1730 in which Padishah Ahmet III widely spread art and literature across the Ottoman Empire and continued the tulip craze that had overswept Europe and the empire at the time.
Mistresses--the women of the harem who, instead of being favored by the padishah or became servants, trained the acemis in their areas of expertise. The Mistresses included the: 
  • Keeper of the Baths
  • Chief Coffee-Maker
  • Mistress of the Flowers
  • Mistress of the Household
  • Keeper of the Jewels
  • Reader of the Koran
  • Mistress of the Lingerie
  • Mistress of the Maladies
  • Mistress of the Robes
  • Mistress of the Sherbets


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