Bringing to life an overlooked aspect of the dawn of the Ottoman empire, this illuminating study uses the prism of food—from farming to mealtimes, religious rituals, and commerce—to understand how Anatolian society gave rise to a superpower.
Byzantine rule over Anatolia ended in the eleventh century, leaving the population and its Turkish rulers to build social and economic institutions throughout the region. The emerging Anatolian society comprised a highly heterogeneous population of Christians and Muslims whose literati produced legal documents in Arabic, literary texts in Persian, and some of the earliest written works in the Turkish language. Yet the cultural landscape that emerged as a result has received very little attention—until now.
Investigating daily life in Anatolia during the fourteenth century, Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia draws on a creative array of sources, including hagiographies, archaeological evidence, Sufi poetry, and endowment deeds, to present an accessible portrait of a severely under-documented period. Grounded in the many ways food enters the human experience, Nicolas Trépanier’s comprehensive study delves into the Anatolian preparation of meals and the social interactions that mealtime entails—from a villager’s family supper to an elaborately arranged banquet—as well as the production activities of peasants and gardeners; the marketplace exchanges of food between commoners, merchants, and political rulers; and the religious landscape that unfolded around food-related beliefs and practices. Brimming with enlightening details on such diverse topics as agriculture, nomadism, pastoralism, medicine, hospitality, and festival rituals, Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia presents a new understanding of communities that lived at a key juncture of world history.
A Note on Transliteration
List of Abbreviations
Chapter 1. Food Production
Chapter 2. Food Exchanges
Chapter 3. Food Consumption
Chapter 4. Food and Religion
“Trépanier is to be congratulated for writing an accessible and creative account of an almost inaccessible period and topic in Anatolian history.”
Global Food History
“It is not easy to reconstruct whole worlds out of fragments. It is a painstaking endeavor that requires curiosity, reflection, familiarity with the existing research, the careful evaluation of sources, comparisons with other available materials, and overall a whole lot of patience.“Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia: A New Social History“ by Nicolas Trépanier provides a great example of this kind of meticulous yet passionate work in food history.”
“Foodways and Daily Life is not only a well-written and thoroughly researched inquiry into the daily lives of ordinary people in medieval Anatolia, but also a fascinating pathbreaker in a novel approach to the field.”
Journal of the American Oriental Society
“A pioneering study. Trépanier’s book shows that it is not only possible to study Medieval Anatolia, but that this can be done almost entirely by means of narrative and archaeological sources. . . . Studying this society through the prism of food is an excellent idea, since the production, exchange, and consumption of food are basic aspects of life, but also ones that lend themselves to social and cultural analysis. . . . This book should interest readers in several different fields, including Islamic studies, Byzantium, medieval intercommunal relations, gender, economic history, and consumption studies.”
Dimitris Kastritsis, Lecturer in History, University of St. Andrews, and author of The Sons of Bayezid: Empire Building and Representation in the Ottoman Civil War of 1402–1413