Captives or crooks? Pirates, impostors, and Jewish communities in the eighteenth century Ottoman Empire

Karagedikli G., Ben-Naeh Y.

Mediterranean Historical Review, vol.35, no.2, pp.189-209, 2020 (AHCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 35 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09518967.2020.1816660
  • Journal Name: Mediterranean Historical Review
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, L'Année philologique, American History and Life, Historical Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Sociological abstracts, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.189-209
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In the present article, based on Ottoman and Hebrew documents, we focus on people who made up fictitious stories of captivity in order to gain a living, as well as on authorities or local Jewish communities that detected and coped with those frauds in the eighteenth-century Ottoman Empire. In detecting acts of fraud, a novel method 10 adopted by Jewish communities during the period under study was printed letters that were not available to all segments of society. Considering the vigilance of Jewish communities to root out the ploys used by their co-religionists to acquire money through deceitful means, we suggest that those communities formulated some regulations in order to validate authenticity and differentiate between the true and the fake. 15 We argue that an efficient web of networks among early modern Jewish communities in the Mediterranean and the use of the printing press played a crucial role in certifying the truthfulness of a document or a person