L cm 60cm 69cm 30cm 98cm. Uses authors parameter link CS1 maint: Three other groups of women lives in separate quarters: Mughal Harem and Zenana. Little is known about the harems of the Parthians , but the information about the Sasanian harem reveals a picture that closely mirrors Achaemenid customs.
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The chief consort, who was usually the mother of the heir to the throne, was in charge of the household. She had her own living quarters, revenues, and a large staff. Three other groups of women lives in separate quarters: The Achaemenid harem served as a model for later Iranian empires, and the institution remained almost unchanged. Little is known about the harems of the Parthians , but the information about the Sasanian harem reveals a picture that closely mirrors Achaemenid customs.
A peculiar characteristic of the Sasanian royalty and aristocracy, which was attested in later times under the Safavid and Qajar empires, was that the highest female rank was not necessarily given to the chief wife, but could be held by a daughter or a sister. Of all the Persian kings, Khosrow II was the most extravagant in his hedonism. He searched his realm to find the most beautiful girls, and it was rumored that about 3, of them were kept in his harem.
This practice was widely condemned and it was counted as one of the crimes for which he was later tried and executed. Khosrow himself claimed that he sent his favorite wife Shirin every year to offer them a possibility of leaving his harem with a dowry for marriage, but that their luxurious lifestyle always prompted them to refuse his offer.
Eunuchs were probably introduced into Islam through the influence of Persian and Byzantine imperial courts.
According to Encyclopedia of Islam , castration was prohibited in Islamic law "by a sort of tacit consensus" and eunuchs were acquired from Christian and Jewish traders. European artists and writers envisioned and presented the Oriental harem in a romanticized, albeit historically inaccurate manner.
The dark eunuch was held as the embodiment of the sensual tyranny that held sway in the fantasized Ottoman palace, for he had been "clipped" or "completely sheared" to make of him the "ultimate slave" for the supreme ruler. The chief black eunuch, or the Kizlar Agha, came to acquire a great deal of power within the Ottoman Empire. He not only managed every aspect of the Harem women's lives but was also responsible for the education and social etiquette of the princes and young women in the Harem.
He arranged for all ceremonial events within the Harem including weddings and circumcision parties, and even notified women of death sentences when "accused of crimes or implicated in intrigues of jealousy and corruption.
Nineteenth-century travelers accounts tell of being served by black eunuch slaves. Both Arabs and Jews owned slaves. It also housed the Valide Sultan , as well as the sultan's daughters and other female relatives.
Eunuchs and servant girls were also part of the harem. During the later periods, the sons of the sultan lived in the Harem until they were 12 years old. Some women of Ottoman harem, especially wives, mothers and sisters of sultans, played very important political roles in Ottoman history, and in times it was said that the empire was ruled from harem.
It is being more commonly acknowledged today that the purpose of harems during the Ottoman Empire was for the royal upbringing of the future wives of noble and royal men. These women would be educated so that they were able to appear in public as a royal wife. Sultan Ibrahim the Mad , Ottoman ruler from to , is said to have drowned concubines of his harem in the Bosphorus.
In Istanbul, the separation of men's and women's quarters was never practiced among the poor, and by s and s it had become a thing of the past in middle and upper-class homes. The king's wives, concubines, dancing girls and slaves were not the only women of the Mughal harem. Many others, including the king's mother lived in the harem.
Aunts, grandmothers, sisters, daughters and other female relatives of the king all lived in the harem. Male children also lived in the harem until they grew up. The harem had a hierarchy, its chief authorities being the wives and female relatives of the emperor and below them were the concubines.
The royal harem played an important role in the history of Safavid Persia. In the early Safavid period, young princes were placed in the care of a lala high-ranking Qizilbash chief who acted as a guardian and eventually given charge of important governorates.
The administration of the royal harem constituted an independent branch of the court, staffed mainly by eunuchs. Ashoka , the great emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty in India , kept a harem of around women. Once when a few of the women insulted him, he had all of them burnt to death. In Mexico , Aztec ruler Montezuma II , who met Cortes , kept 4, concubines; every member of the Aztec nobility was supposed to have had as many consorts as he could afford.
Harem is also the usual English translation of the Chinese language term hougong hou-kung ; Chinese: Hougong refers to the large palaces for the Chinese emperor's consorts, concubines, female attendants and eunuchs. The women who lived in an emperor's hougong sometimes numbered in the thousands.
In , Yongle Emperor ordered 2, concubines, servant girls and eunuchs who guarded them to a slow slicing death as the Emperor tried to suppress a sex scandal which threatened to humiliate him.
The institution of the harem exerted a certain fascination on the European imagination, especially during the Age of Romanticism , and was a central trope of Orientalism in the arts, due in part to the writings of the adventurer Richard Francis Burton. Images through paintings and later films were particularly powerful ways of expressing these tropes.
Much of Verdi 's opera Il corsaro takes place in the harem of the Pasha Seid—where Gulnara, the Pasha's favorite, chafes at life in the harem, and longs for freedom and true love. Eventually she falls in love with the dashing invading corsair Corrado, kills the Pasha and escapes with the corsair—only to discover that he loves another woman.
The Lustful Turk , a well-known British erotic novel, was also based on the theme of Western women forced into sexual slavery in the harem of the Dey of Algiers , while in A Night in a Moorish Harem , a Western man is invited into a harem and engages in forbidden sex with nine concubines.
In both works, the theme of "West vs. Orient" is clearly interwoven with the sexual themes. The Sheik novel and the Sheik film, a Hollywood production from , are both controversial and probably the best known works created by exploiting the motif. Scene from the Harem , Jean-Baptiste van Mour 1st half of the 18th century.
Scene in a Harem , by Guardi. Harem scene by Dominique Ingres. Scene from the Harem by Fernand Cormon , c. Harem Scene , Quintana Olleras , , Spanish. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For other uses, see Harem disambiguation. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. March Learn how and when to remove this template message. Mughal Harem and Zenana. Belle of Nelson whiskey poster , based on a harem scene by Jean-Léon Gérôme. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. In Colin Blakemore, Sheila Jennett. The Oxford Companion to the Body.
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women. In Jane Dammen McAuliffe.
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