REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

Bursa Edict of Standarts

BURSA EDICT OF STANDARDS

The document named the Bursa Edict of Standards, issued by Emperor Bayezıd II in 1502, is the world’s first standard in the modern sense. This 500-year- old document, of which the original is in the Revan Library of Topkapı Museum, covered standard rules in accordance with the local characteristics and product ranges of such provinces and areas as Amasya, Aydın, Arapkir, Çankırı, Diyarbakır, Edirne, Erzurum, İçel, Karahisar, Karaman, Mardin, Musul, Rize and Sivas in addition to Bursa. Containing sound standards in a vast field from food to textiles and from market vendors’ aprons to weights of gold jewellery sold by goldsmiths, the Bursa Edict of Standards is a valuable historical document evidencing the importance attributed by Turks to the production and standardisation of products.

Here is how the scroll reads:

Orders received from the Emperor requires that all businessmen and merchants in Bursa should be thoroughly inquired on how and when the prices of clothes, wearing apparels and foodstuffs and their varieties are determined, that all gathered information with as much detail as possible should be entered on a ledger, that evidence should be collected regarding the basis on which the prices used to be determined when the Emperor acceded to the throne, that data should be obtained on the subsequent changes in the prices together with the reasons thereof, that no ambiguities should be left in the knowledge so obtained and that they should be properly scribed on a ledger, which should be absolutely complete since it will be used as a law to be abided by all citizens.

In obedience to the imperial orders, businessmen, merchants and assessors from each field were gathered in turns and asked how the prices were determined, whether there were any changes since then and what were the reasons of the changes and when they were introduced. They all replied that the old rules of business were no longer being obeyed and that all prices had been completely tampered with and raised up in the last five or six years in such a manner that the previously determined prices were no longer valid.

First inspections and inquiries were made among the bakers. They said that the prices of bread were previously being determined by reliable assessors appointed by judges. The expert witnesses acted in strict impartiality and set the prices depending on the price and quality of the wheat. The decision of the assessors was such that one Bursa mud of medium quality wheat costed 100 akças, the best one commanding a price of 110 and the somewhat lower quality sold for 85. Thus one 700 dirham loaf of bread would be sold for one akça and this price would be redetermined whenever there was a change in the wheat price. It was required that the flour should be sieved through a fine mesh, that the bread should be baked well, have a white colour and be devoid of improper odours.

Samples of bread were then brought from several bakeries to find out whether these conditions were being obeyed. It was noted that most of the loaves were underbaked, blackish in colour and underweight. Asked about the underlying reasons for this situation, bakers replied that municipal controllers were tolerating this by receiving five to ten akças a day from each bakery. The matter had become so commonplace that the municipality had to issue an order to the controllers to quit the practice of receiving bribes. But this did not improve the situation and they continued receiving their palm greases and tolerating the sale of low-quality bread to the people. They receive this money under the pretext of as fine; but they pocket it in reality and look the other way when the underweighted low quality bread is sold. Therefore was asked the city’s mayor whether he knew about it. He said that he was appointed to this past only a few days ago and that his secretary and usherer were in the municipality for many years and in a position to give a satisfactory reply. When these two officials were approached and asked why they tolerated this practice, they confessed their guilt and promised that they would never do it again. They were ordered to pull themselves together and stop this mispractice. But they became even worse within a very short time. Despite many subsequent warnings, they continued violating the law and religion’s orders.

Then were gathered all bakers and assessors together and questions were addressed to them regarding the previous prices, they replied that the bread was for as long as they could remember around hundred and fifty dirhams less than the necessary weight, but the flour was made from quality wheat and passed through a fine-mesh sieve, a sufficient amount of poppy seeds was sprinkled on the loaves that were baked crisp. They also said that one oke of fat to be added to one kile of flour, but it was nowadays reduced to half an oke. The loaves presently baked were of different and often lower qualities. The inquiries showed that the reason of this worsening was the habit of giving and receiving bribes and the resulting lack of control.

Standard for the buns:

The buns should be one-half the weight of a bread loaf and one oke of fat should be added to one kile of flour. The inspection revealed a low quality due to bribing again. Bakers were told to revert to the original standards.

Onions:

The onions which were sold at one akça for four and a half oke are now on sale at four oke at the same price. Onions with stems weighed five okes, which were reduced by half an oke in the autumn. Green grocers were making two-oke bundles from the two and a half oke winter deliveries. This practice also was against the law because of the akças inobtrusively slid into the pockets of controllers. Merchants were told in no uncertain terms to return to the previous rules.

Butchers:

When the butchers, assessors and city fathers were brought together and asked, most of the true believers said that the price of mutton had three different levels at three different annual periods: The unit was two hundred and fifty, three hundred and two hundred dirhams in each of the four-month slices of the year. They added that three hundred dirham was wholly forgotten for the past four or five years. Replying the question of why three hundred dirhams were not being used any longer; butchers showed several reasons: Primo, there was a freightage tax of one akça per sheep at Gallipoli pier in the past, which is now raised to four akças. Secundo, the imperial almshouses and some dignitaries collect from us sixty thousand sheep on foot per annum and the latter has been an official levy today. Tertio, they had received a court decision to the effect that the unit will be three hundred dirhams in Bursa when it is three hundred and fifty in Istanbul and always fifty dirhams less than it will be in Istanbul. Yet said the believers that the pier tax was raised some fifteen years ago while the abandonment of three hundred dirham unit took place only four or five years ago and gift of sixty thousand sheep to almshouses is no longer valid although the state levy continues and this did not cause any lessening of live sheep deliveries to the city. Now, varying numbers of sheep is sent to Bursa and price is determined by the quantity of available animals. Sometimes, more sheep comes here than to Istanbul and butchers did not raise the unit weight to three hundred dirhams when it was three hundred and fifty in Istanbul. The butchers were accused by the inquirers that they had entered into a clandestine agreement with the mayor, to whom they had paid large amounts of money at the beginning of the season and sold the mutton at the unit weight of two hundred and fifty when it should have been three hundred and thereby disregarded and denied the tenet of intermoslem solidarity. It was ascertained that the real culprit in this was the mayor. The city fathers intervened at this point and laid bare another bitter fact that continued for the past four or five years. The goat flesh always sold at a unit weight fifty dirhams more than the mutton; but the mayor collected two akças for each goat slaughtered and permitted it to be sold at the mutton price. Around one hundred city fathers as true believers swore before the mayor and his aides that they had actually witnessed the money changing hands between the mayor and butchers. The latter did not deny it and said that they had no compuction to sell the goat flesh at the same price as mutton. Many butchers clearly confessed this in front of the people in the meeting.

Marketplace vendors:

Asked to give information on the old rules regarding the fruit prices, vendors and assessors together with the city fathers stated that the fruits arriving to the city were bought an sold freely between the producers and vendors depending on the amount of deliveries until about four or five years ago. It was revealed in the meeting that the vendors had begun to go to the fields of producers, buy the crop on the trees, bring them to their secluded storage places, from which they release them in piecemeal fashion to keep the prices high and shared the difference with the mayor. In order to control the truth of these claims, ledgers were checked and some fruits were brought from the nearest marketplace for examination. When the claims of coty fathers turned out to be correct, the vendors were asked why they sold the fruits at weights under the standards. They replied in the presence of the mayor that they were doing this with his approval. The mayor first denied it when he was accused of tolerating this mispractice, but admitted in a round about manner by saying that he had found the things like that when he came to the office and tried to have himself excused by saying that this was the only way for collecting the sum that he was expected to send annually to the imperial treasury and to meet the costs of running the city. His secretary and aides confessed the sales at underweight. Some of the vendors also declared that the municipal controllers were actually collecting one or two akças from each shop that they inspected and received a basketful of fruits to take home everyday in clear violation of laws and edicts. All this was found to be unpleasant and painful. Prices of all fruits were checked one by one and the old rules were found to be in complete disregard. It was agreed in the meeting that new prices should be determined in consultation with vendors, assessors and buyers and strictly enforced afterward.

Following decisions were adopted for fruits:

Sweet cherries will be sold for one akça per hundred and fifty dirhams first, per two hundred dirhams three days later and the price will be one akça per oke with fifty dirham increments every three days.

Fresh apricots will command a price of one akça for two hundred dirhams first and the price will be set thereafter as per the quantities received.

Fresh plums will have a price of one akça per two hundred dirhams, one akça per five hundred dirhams and the pricing system will continue by increments until is reached the level of one akça per six hundred during the season.

Such will be the price of Gökbaşlı pears.

The İgnesi pears will be one akça per six hundred dirhams first, one akça per two oke five days there after and the price will subsequently be arranged according to the amounts incoming.

The Veçhi ballû pears will be sold for one akça per two oke and one thousand dirham for one akça three days after and the 3- day intervals system will apply until three oke start selling for one akça.

The Örenkuş pears will be for one akça per two hundred dirhams first, three hundred dirhams three days later, one oke four days later and price will continue to abate until six hundred dirhams start selling for one akça.

The Zerdamori pears will start at one oke first and six hundred dirhams for one akça five days later and subsequent prices will be handled as per this escalation.

The Mürendî pears will be sold at one akça per three hundred dirhams first, five hundred dirhams five days later and price will be determined in accordance with this schedule.

The Bey pears will be sold at one akça for two hundred and fifty dirhams when a donkey load sells for eighty-six akças and the price will thereafter be escalated at this ratio.

The Sultanî pears will sell at five hundred dirhams first, six hundred dirhams five days later and to okes for one akça finally.

The Şekerî pears will be three hundred dirhams first and six hundred dirhams for one akça thereafter.

The Türkî pears will be thousand dirhams first for one akça and the price will be set thereafter according to the amount of deliveries thereafter.

The Sabunî pears will be sold at one akça for three hundred dirhams first, six hundred dirhams for one akça five days thereafter and to okes for one akça two weeks thereafter.

The Kara Moru pears will sell at one oke first, five hundred dirhams three days thereafter and eight hundred dirhams for one akça finally.

The Bozdoğan pears will sell at one akça per oke first, six hundred dirhams three days later, eight hundred dirhams and four okes for one akça with the same time intervals.

The Bedegânî apples of Akşehir will be sold at one akça per three hundred and fifty dirhams when one camel load sells for hundred akças, and the price will be set subsequently in accordance with this ratio. The sour apples of the same origin will be sold at one akça per oke. The tradition dictates that. Yet the price will depend on the deliveries.

Apples from Şehrebani village will sell at one akça per three hundred dirhams when a mule load is purchased at seventy akças, three hundred and fifty dirhams for one akça when the same load is available for sixty akças and this ratio will apply for subsequent deliveries.

The Küllabî apples will sell fourteen hundred dirhams first and one oke three days later and six hundred dirhams for one akça finally.

The Misk apples will be two hundred dirhams for one akça when one load is delivered for hundred akças, two hundred and twenty-five dirhams at the same price when the load dictates hundred and ten akças, and two hundred dirhams for one akça for two okes.

The Yalı pomegranates will sell at six hundred dirhams for one akça when one load is bought for twenty akças, five hundred dirhams for one akça in twenty-five akça loads, and one oke for one akça when the load rises to thirty akças. The Bey species will be one akça per oke and the price will be escalated thereafter according to the supply.

Price of the Birgi pomegranades will be one akça for two hundred and eighty dirhams when a load is bought for hundred and forty akças, subject to alteration in accordance with this ratio.

The spotted Aydın grapes will sell for one akça per two hundred dirhams for the first two days, and three hundred dirhams at the same price thereafter. It will be reduced to one akça per oke when the local grapes reach the market and the price will be escalated thereafter according to the supply.

Three hundred dirhams of the Ulubat grapes will be one akça first and three okes for one akça thereafter and revert again to the initial pricing at the final deliveries of Medrebelid grapes when one load is sold at seventy akças. The Ulubat will then sell for one akça per oke.

The local Medrebelid grapes will sell one akça per two hundred dirhams first, three hundred dirhams three days later and five hundred and six hundred dirhams for the same price one week later. When the supply is abundant, the price may be reduced even to two okes per akça. The local vendors have readily agreed to comply when they were instructed that the sales will be consummated at two hundred dirhams more for each akça’s worth of supply ten days later when grapes other than Medrebelid appear on the market.

The fresh figs will sell at one akça per two hundred dirhams first, per one oke three days later per two oke a further three days later. It will be one akça per two okes thereafter until the end of the season.

The Cornelians will sell at one akça per two hundred dirhams first and one akça per two oke afterward.

The Güzelhisar oranges will dictate a price of one akça per two hundred and eighty dirhams.

The Midilli oranges will be one akça per oke.

The lemons will be priced at on akça per two hundred and eighty dirhams at hundred and eighty akças per load.

Prime chestnuts will sell at two hundred and fifty dirhams for one akça when the delivery is fourteen akças per load. Other chestnuts will be priced at an akça an oke when one kile is delivered at eight akças.

The olive prices:

Karaburun and Çekişte olives will be one akça per two hundred dirhams and Yalı olives will be one akça per oke.

Fresh hazelnuts with green cotyledons on will sell at one akça per oke and one akça per two hundred dirhams when they are sold unshelled. The price will be one akça per one hundred and twenty five dirhams for one akça when the season is over.

Walnuts will sell at four and a half akças per kile when one mud is bought at eighty akças.

Unripe medlars will sell at five akças per kile, four and a half akças four days later and four akças a further four day later. The ripe ones will go at one akça per three hundred dirhams first, one akça per oke three days later, six hundred dirhams for one akça a further three days later and finally at one akça per two okes.

Cuss lettuce will first be sold at one akça per eight, sixteen for one akça three days later and finally twenty four for one akça.

Cucurbitacea:

When asked about the old laws and regulations on the horticulture products, the city fathers and assessors replied that the city inhabitants used to buy  their hearts’ content the fruits such as melons and water melons when they reached the market. But the street vendors have created their own orchards and made an alliance among themselves to buy these fruits right in the field and store them at their inobtrusive storage places, sell them only in a few shops and the profits are shared by overlords and their accomplices. Since they are in absolute unison in this field, the pious moslems suffer from this. It was decided that the old rules should be revived and an imperial edict will be quite effective to ensure this. The moslems will then be forever grateful to the Emperor and the State, to which their prayers will perennially be addressed. First come the cucumbers among these fruits.

The cucumbers used to be sold at four for one akça first, eight for one a week later, sixteen for one in the second, twenty four for one in the third and thirty two for one in the fourth week. They were marketed fresh as they arrived. Yet the merchants sell them for one, two, four or five for one akça at a time when twenty or thirty should be sold at that price. The price never falls even when they are no longer fit for human consumption.

Moslems never seen fresh cucumbers because the municipal inspectors tolerate this practice in consideration of akças that they receive from the merchants, who even dump off the excess deliveries to the city garbage ditches in order to keep the prices up and sell stale cucumbers on which they sprinkle murky water as if they are valuable medicaments. They cheat the moslems at exorbitant prices as in the case of other fruits. Therefore, they were ordered in no uncertain terms to return to the old laws.

The Engürü (Ankara) melons will be sold at one akça per two oke first, per five okes six days later and per eight another six days later.

The Karaca melons will sell at one akça for three okes first, for six okes a week later and for ten okes finally.

The water melons will sell at one akça for four okes first, for six okes two days later and for eight okes one week thereafter.

The unripe melons will sell for one akça for three okes first, for four okes three days later, for five okes one week thereafter and for sever okes ten days later. The melons and water melons will never be put on the market when they are not mature yet; those that do it will be summarily handled by the judge according to the old law.

The inquiries revealed that there was no trace in the market of the old laws and practices. When asked about the reasons for this disobedience, the city fathers replied that the municipal inspectors were receiving bribes under the pretext that the vendors were found to be selling these products at higher than established prices. An examination of the ledgers confirmed what the people had declared and entries were made on the books to the effect that this mispractice had started some four or five years ago.

As for the vegetables, findings are the following;

Okras will sell for one akça per two okes first and two and a half okes five days thereafter.

There will be no price limitations in the first three days on pumpkins, which will then sell at one akça for three okes from third day on, for four okes during the next week, for five okes in the following week, for six okes in the next week for eight okes in the last week. When the pumpkins begin to sell at one akça for eight okes, the unripe grapes will be available at one akça for one thousand dirhams. The green grocers will sell pumpkins to those who want pumpkins only and sour grapes wishing to buy sour grapes and never try to sell them together.

Price of eggplants will be one akça for ten at the start of the season, for twenty-four one week later, forty in the second week, sixty in the third and eighty in the fourth week.

Carrots will sell at one akça for four okes.

Cabbage price will be one akça for four okes to begin with, one akça for six okes ten days later and one akça for eight okes after twenty days.

It was found that the old laws were in oblivion also in respect of the vegetables for reasons that swere mentioned before. The green grocers convened together and declared that they were ready to apply the old rules. They added, however, that they used to sell the pumpkins, unripe grapes, carrots and the likes themselves; but the marketplace vendors had entered into this area and that, for this reason, they were compelled to buy these items at a higher price and perforce sell at a price higher than shown in the rules. Therefore, it was resolved that they should henceforth be sold only by the green grocers.

Now for the sweets:

Halva makers and their assessors got together and gave the following information:

Mixed halva with almonds sells for seven and other halvas for six akças per oke. The shopkeepers sell the ordinary halva for four and a half akças per oke while the street vendors sell it at four akças and charge three and a half akças for grape halva. Those that bring the stuff from neighbouring townships go as far down as three akças per kilo. The inspections confirmed these statements and found deviations from the old rules for the same reasons. The old rules were reinstated with the hope that they will be duly implemented.

Assessors of blancmange makers said that the price of this product became one akça for two hundred and twenty-five dirhams when they bought the grapes at fifteen akças per batman, used four akças’ worth of saffron, one oke of almonds, six akças’ worth of starch, three okes of firewood, miscellaneous materials for two akças, puppy seed oil for nine akças, paid a shop rental of one akça and used labour for four akças. Yet the market inquiry revealed higher sales prices, all for the reasons cited before. The previous rules were ordered to be implemented henceforth.

When grapes sell at one akça per three hundred and fifty dirhams, price of grape sherbet becomes five hundred and fifty dirhams for one akça; and grapes at one akça for one oke dictates a sherbet price of one akça Per seven hundred dirham. The market prices were found to be significantly different and orders were issued for the implementation of old rules.

Here is how the matter is for the grocers:

When the grocers and their assessors and city fathers were brought together to the Council and asked about how the prices were determined for the commodities sold by and bought from the wholesalers, an agent of the mayor and a number of respected city fathers inspected the items and set prices at the scale of ten/eleven, that is, a good bought for ten should be sold for eleven, and immediately did away with the culprit. It was found that this rule was no longer obeyed and that every grocer bought and sold at whatever price that pleased him. This was due to the slackening of inspection and the resulting bribes. Therefore, the old ten/eleven rule was installed again depending on seasons and prices were determined as follows for the commodities listed below:

Strained honey will sell at five and half akças an oke if delivered at ninety akças per batman, at five akças for deliveries at eight akças per batman and at four and a half akças for deliveries at seventy akças per batman.

Cooking fat will sell at eight akças an oke for deliveries at hundred and thirty akças per batman, at seven akças an oke for deliveries at hundred and twenty akças a batman and at six and a half akças an oke for deliveries at hundred akças a batman.

Poppy seed fat will sell at four akças an oke if delivered at sixty akças a batman, at four and a half akças an oke if delivered at seventy akças a batman and at three and a half akças an oke if delivered at fifty akças a batman.

Emir Ali apricots will sell at four akças an oke if delivered at seventy akças a batman.

Garbî apricots will sell at three and a half akças an oke if delivered at fifty akças a batman.

Raisins will sell at one akça per four hundred and fifty dirhams an oke if delivered at fourteen akças a batman.

Grapes from Beylerce will sell at one akça per four hundred dirhams if one batman is purchased for fifteen akças.

Reşidiye raisins will sell at one akça per for hundred dirhams if delivered at fifteen akças per batman.

Better quality dried figs will sell at one akça per three hundred dirhams.

Amasya plums will sell at two hundred and fifty dirhams an akça if received at twenty five akças per batman.

Prunes will sell at one akça per three hundred dirhams if one batman is purchased for twenty akças.

Aydın apricots will sell at two hundred and fifty dirhams per akça if received at five akças per batman.

Akşehir pears will sell at two hundred and fifty dirhams an akça if one load is received at fourteen akças.

Pears from Aydın will sell at one akça per four hundred and fifty dirhams if one batman is purchased for fourteen akças.

Karaman apricots will sell at two hundred and fifty dirhams an akça if delivered at thirty akças per batman.

Apricot paste will sell at two hundred and fifty dirhams an akça if delivered at twenty eight akças per batman.

Grape paste will sell at two hundred and fifty dirhams an akça if delivered at twenty five akças per batman.

Almonds will sell at four akças an oke if delivered at sixty akças per batman.

Marascinos will sell at one akça for hundred dirhams if delivered at sixty akças per batman.

Shelled walnuts will sell at three akças an oke if delivered at forty three akças per batman.

Grape treacle will sell at two hundred dirhams an akça first and two hundred and fifty dirhams an akça subsequently.

Starch will always sell at one oke an akça.

Those bringing roasted chick peas from other cities will sell it at an oke and fifty dirhams an akça and shopkeepers will sell them at one oke an akça.

Sofia and Karaman cheese will sell at hundred and fifty dirhams an akça if one kantar is delivered at ninety akças.

Eşme cheeses will sell at two hundred and fifty dirhams an akça.

Midilli cheese will sell at two akças an oke.

Cheese curds will sell at two akças an oke, starting with an akça for three hundred dirhams and the price will be adjusted subsequently according to the amount of deliveres.

Now for the flesh and eggs:

Chicken sellers and city fathers having been summoned to the Council said with respect to the old law that one hundred dirhams of chicken meat sold for one akça in Bursa when it was one hundred dirhams for one akça in Istanbul and there was a difference of ten dirhams. When the ledgers were examined, however, the price was found to be eighty dirhams for one akça. The vendors had agreed to this first, but declared later that they coluldn’t sell at that price. When asked why, since they had agreed at the start, they said that some of them bought the chicken, some others butchered and plucked the animals and they paid seven akças every other day to the municipal officials for selling at any price that they fancied.

The chicken sellers names Ömer bin Mehmet, Hasan bin Hüseyin and Çakır bin Abdullah having declared under oath that they were paying this bribe for the past four or five years, the reasons behind this disorderly conduct were understood and the new price was set at seventy dirhams for one akça and the mutton price which was two hundred dirhams for one akça was raised to two hundred dirhams for the same price. When the supply increases and the price is reduced to two hundred and fifty dirhams for one akça, the chicken meat will be set at eighty dirhams for the same price. If the mutton price basis rises to three hundred dirhams, the chicken meat will sell for ninety dirhams for one akça.

The egg prices set at ten eggs per for one akça in winter, fourteen in springtime and sixteen in August were found to have been altered still for the same reason. The sellers were ordered to revert to the old rules.

Fish sellers:

Regarding the fish sellers who were summoned together with their assessors and city fathers, it was learned that a tax of two akças were being paid per load before, that carp commanded a price of one akça per oke, catfish sold for one akça per five hundred dirhams, prices of marine fish were six hundred dirhams for one akça and İznik trouts were being bought at one akça per oke. This system had also been abandoned always for the same reasons and, what is more, a 15-akça additional tax was imposed on fish over and above the previous two akças. This additional tax was repealed and the merchants were told to use the old rules. They accepted this first, but disregarded it in practice.

Then were examined the eateries.

Cooks, their assessors and city fathers replied in the Council meeting the questions on the meals served by saying that they were selling one half of the raw meat and a broth for one akça when they bought the mutton at one akça for two hundred and fifty dirhams, thus they served the meal using one-fourth of the raw meat. The fried meat dish prices were three and a half akças per oke and meals of prime cuts, bought at four akças an oke, would be sold at one akça for ninety dirhams less the onions to be served as side dish. Pot stew with bones was for one akça per hundred and twenty five dirhams and kebab on skewer sold at one akça per handred twelve and a half dirhams. All this were now disregarded for reasons as said before. The old rules were reinstated, possibly under a special edict to be obtained for added enforcement strength.

Fritters:

Asked about the old rules, assessors of fritter makers replied that at a time when the mutton was sold at one akça per two hundred and fifty dirhams, a fritter selling for one akça required seventy dirhams of meat, ten dirhams of onions and hundred dirhams of dough, making up a total of one hundred and eight dirhams. An oke of pure fat and pepper for one akça used to be added to the raw materials. These rules are now disregarded for the reasons mentioned before. The old rules were reinstated.

Sheep heads:

In the shop serving approximately six hundred heads of which one hundred was available for forty akças together with the legs, expenditures were two hundred and forty akças for heads, two hundred akças for daily shop rentals, price of sixteen chords of wood, two hundred and forty akças as labour wages including their meals, eighty akças for bread, sixteen akças for salt and vinegar and thirty-three akças for garlic. The total daily costs were therefore nine hundred and seven akças. Selling one head together with vinegar and four slices of bread for one akça and four feet together with bread selling also for one akça, daily revenues became twelve hundred akças, leaving a net profit of two hundred and ninety akças. These prices were applied during the four months when the mutton sold at one akça for two hundred dirhams and when they could buy one hundred heads together with legs for sixteen akças. Therefore, it was decided that the heads should be sold at one and a quarter akças together with bread and four legs together with bread should be sold for one akça.

Textiles:

Assessors said the following in response to the questions on the old rules established for the velvet, taffeta and brocade:

Old custom was to add five okes of root dye to weft threads of velvet and three dirhams for each dirham of pile. For the last four or five years, they use three okes for the weft and two and later one and a half dirhams for each dirham of pile.

The colour therefore began to worsen and acquired a bluish tinge, which they called magenta. But this was not the original magenta, obtainable only if five okes of dye is added to the weft, and three dirhams for each dirham of pile and the cloth is immersed in the indigo bath. In the present practice where the root dye is halved and indigo bath immersion is made, the colour becomes something between red and violet. The velvet veavers said that they used the root dye in accordance with the old rules, but the dyers goofed in the indigo bath. The dyers replied against this accusation that they abide by the book and retorted that the price of carmine was two akças an oke while the root dye sold for ninety or hundred akças and that they mixed the carmine and root dye in order to cut the prices down since the municipal inspectors tolerated this against the bribe that they received.

The velvet weavers than declared that the price of root dye was twenty five or thirty akças per oke and they used it freely at that price. But several profiteers are now buying the root dyes coming to the city, store them and sell at exorbitant prices. They were admonished several times against this practice, but they did not heed to it. For the reasons of why the quality of the velvet had deteriorated, they said that the warp and weft threads of it are processed by thread twisters, that they mix the good quality threads with less desirable ones and make all warps, wefts and pile from this mixture.

Expensive silk is of very high quality, cures easily and absorbs the dye without difficulty. Since the inferior threads do not receive the dye well, the colour suffers from it and velvet’s quality falls.

In the same vein, warp and weft twisters had all threads twisted before and the colour was thus always uniform. Now the untwisted threads break off easily and velvet’s strength is reduced. They were ordered in no uncertain terms to resort to the old practice.

For the embroidered velvet, they said that forty five or fifty threads weighed one dirham and the cloth was strong, shiny and durable. Today, the threads began to become thinner to the point that sixty, seventy and finally one hundred threads weigh one dirham. Likewise, we used to add one miskal French thaler to each hundred dirhams of silver. Now they use half a miskal or at most one dirham of lower quality gold. Therefore the embroidered velvet is not so beautiful as it used to be before.

The reason was the same perennial mispractice of the bribes received by the officials. It was ordered that the old rules should be rehashed and used.

When inquiries were made on monochrome brocades and taffeta, they replied that they used to have seven thousand warps, but now this number was reduced to six thousand and the width of the bolt was perforce reduced. They were ordered to return to seven thousand warps as per the old rules.

For the royal brocade, they said that the rules were seven thousand warps and one thousand and five hundred wefts, that is, a total of eight thousand and five hundred threads, that one thousand threads were being eliminated from this figure. Though there are still some weavers that abide by the old rule, the majority sidesteps this. It is the moslems that suffer from it since the tax paid on the length of bolt is always the same.

The situation was entered on the ledger exactly as reported, with the indication that the municipal officials keep on bleeding the royal brocaders by asking for and receiving bribes.

With regard to the faille, the weavers said that there used to be sixteen hundred warp threads in the faille and its wefts were always twisted. Nowadays, few are not the weavers who reduce this figure by two, three, four, six and even eight hundred threads from the warp and use untwisted weft. The mayor was therefore asked why he neglected to supervise this and he replied that he was only recently appointed and did not know about this. Since the faille weavers were accused, they retorted that they were paying bribes to the municipal inspectors who tolerated this for the money that they received.

The mayor flared and said that they were lying. But the city fathers that were present in the Council declared that more than one thousand looms were producing this low-quality item with the tolerance they had against the palm grease paid. The mayor then had to – confess that said that this was the only way to collect the money to be sent to the imperial treasury and to run the city.

The moire also had sixteen hundred warps, its wefts were twisted and gold threads were solid. It was found that its warps and therefore width were reduced and carmine was being used instead of root dye for the same old reason. It was decided that the old rules should be applied henceforth.

The brocatel used to have twenty-two hundred yarn threads for warp and its width was one-quarter less than the other failles. It was left as found.

Double taffeta had eighteen hundred double thread warps, with a width of one and a quarter girah, and glue was applied with the palm in order to flatten its rugosities. For some time, number of warps are reduced by two, three and even four hundred and salt was being added to the glue in order to hide the loss of strength, always for the same reasons. It was ordered that the old rules should be adopted again, with stringent controls.

Another type of taffeta, called pongee, with two thousand warps are now being produced with two to three hundred less for always the same reason. Orders were issued to implement the old rules.

The honan type of taffeta that to have sixteen hundred warps was found in a derelict shape and orders were given to revert to the old rules with stringent controls.

The royal satin used to have four thousand two hundred warps, with a width of half an arşın and one girah. During the reign of Late Emperor Mehmet, six or seven hundred threads were removed from it. A new rule was introduced for thirty-five hundred warp threads, with the same width as before.

The royal red shantung used to be woven with twenty-two hundred warps and had a scarlet colour of root dye. Warps were found to be sixteen hundred and the colour off-shade in inspection and previous rules were reinstated.

The damask had thirty-six hundred warps, with a width of half an arşın and one girah. The inspection revealed a shortage of six hundred to one thousand threads for the same reasons and orders were issued to revert to the previous rules.

The crepe, which should have eighteen warp threads, with slightly twisted weft. The inspection revealed two hundred threads missing and none of the wefts were twisted for always the same reason, and the old rules were ordered to be implemented.

Surrah weavers:

The surrah weavers and their assessors in Council said that there were eight hundred warps in the original good and the inspection discovered that there were two hundred threads less for the same reason. The old rules were reintroduced.

Clothing:

Tailors and their assessors were summoned to the Council and the following was determined from the replies given to the questions asked:

When the lengths of marketplace vendor garbs are one and a quarter arşıns, they will be two arşıns and a quarter from the waist down. Their sleeves and waists will likewise be an arşın and a quarter. Collars will be half an arşın long, a quarter of an arşın wide. All buttons and lining will be of the same type.

When the garb length is an arşın and an eighth, the length from waist down will be two arşıns and an eighth. The sleeve and collar will be one girah less than an arşın and five girahs wide. Skirts of all garbs will be hemmed.

When the garb length is an arşın less a quarter, the length from the waist down will be two arşıns less a quarter. The waist and armpit will be half an arşın. The sleeve length will be a quarter less than an arşın and the sleeve opening will have a width of three girahs.

When the garb is one arşın long, the length from the waist down will be two arşıns, the waist line will be a quarter more than an arşın, the armpit will be three quarters of an arşın less one girah. The sleeve opening will be three girahs wide.

Cloch sash garb will have a length of one arşın and a quarter, with a waist-down length of two arşıns.

When the cloch prices were asked, the cloch weavers said that there were something like forty or fifty different types and declared that is was necessary to set prices for each type. The measurements of the garbs worn by the marketplace vendors were definitely not in agreement with the old rules for the reasons cited above. The vendors mentioned however that the raw Karaman and Hamileli grays were seven and a half arşın long and the washed ones measured seven arşıns. The grays received for the past four or five years are always less than these lengths and the garbs are never of the required length when tailored.

Furs:

The furriers and their assessors said in reply to the questions on furs that forty sable, polecat and mink furs would make one pelt.

Eighteen lynx furs used to make one pelt and small pieces were left over.

Forty fox furs were reported to be enough for a pelt for a medium-sized person. Whereupon the existing pelts were examined and the sable pelts were found to have been made of twenty-eight furs. The furriers were warned to use the correct number of furs from now on. But furriers objected to this and said that all the furs that came to the city and bought by them alone before are now purchased by anyone who fancies it and this creates a shortage of supply. This was duly entered on the ledger.

Grays, haircloths and aprons:

It was reported that there was no previous rules on the grays since their widths were quite different. Therefore, instead of establishing prices for these items, the rule of ten-eleven was suggested.

The haircloth weavers said that the previous municipal rule for this item was sixteen hundred warps, a length of three arşıns and a quarter and a width of an arşın and a quarter. The inspection revealed however that there were three hundred warps missing and the width was one girah less. They were admonished and told to obey with this rule.

The gray apron cloth will have twenty two hanks, with eighty threads per hank. It will have an indigo dye, a length of one arşın and seven-eights, and a width of one arşın and a quarter. The inspection revealed six hanks less and the width was under the standard. The colour was noted to be a lot darker than indigo, the explained it by saying that the grays coming from elsewhere were of this colour and they had to comply with it in order to have uniform goods on the market.

The white, pink and yellow cloths which should have sixteen to seventeen hanks of warp had two hanks less. This was explained by the arrival of these cloths from elsewhere. They added that the yarns that reached the market were bought by the wholesale merchants before they arrived to the spot and resold them at ten-twelve and higher rates. This was duly entered on the ledger. The public bath owners also complained about the short sizes of bath towels made of these cloths and said that the intimate places of the bathers were becoming visible.

Footwear:

Boot makers and their assessors were summoned to the Council together with the city fathers and trustworthy consumers and an inquiry was made on the boot and footwear situation. It was learned that there was no rules on these items. Therefore, it was decided in unanimity that the red goatskin boots bought for twenty akças would be resold at thirty, provided that they reached below the knees, the soles are fixed with three rows of nails and sewn with a strong thread. A sixteen akça goatskin boot of the same features would ten be resold twenty four, the twelve akça ones would be offered for twenty two akças. If they have double soles, this will command an additional price of two akças. The goartskinlined short boots will sell for fourteen akças, and the better quality ones will be permitted to be sold at sixteen. The persian goatskin shoes with ox leather soles, goatskin-lined, broad soled and cleat-tipped shoes will sell for twenty one akças, medium to large will be for eighteen and medium ones will be for fifteen akças. If these shoes are made of ox leather; have goatskin-linings and ox leather heels, large and medium sizes will sell for eighteen and fifteen akças. The wholly ox- leather shoes will sell for thirty-two akçes the large sizes and the medium ones will be for twenty-six- akças. Large size ox leather shoes of the above quality but with goatskin lining will sell for twenty-seven akças and the medium ones will be for twenty-two. The belly side of the leather will never be used for the boots and shoes and extra soles will have been sewn on the lower sole. The janissary boots of buffalo skin and goatskin lining will sell for seventeen akças in large sizes and fourteen for smaller ones. If they are made of black ox leather and with three rows of nails, they will command a price of sixteen akças. The french ox leather boots with goatskin lining will sell for fifteen and fourteen akças depending on size. The black french ox leather boots with lining and nails will be at eleven and nine akças. The all ox leather booth will be eleven akças for medium large, twenty for extra large, fifteen for large and eight for medium sizes. Women’s shoes will be at seven akças. If they are made of ox leather, they will sell at twelve akças for large, eight for medium and six for small size. Goatskin uppers will be at five akças for small feet and lower quality ones will be sold at four akças.

Tailors of official uniforms said in the council that new prices were sent from Istanbul when the mayor was changed. But this edict could not be located anywhere. It was suggested that the former mayor might have taken it together with him when he departed. Since the aged tailors did not have any information on this matter, it was agreed that an entry should be made on the ledger to that effect.

Quilt makers:

The quilt makers and their assessors declared in the Council that the length of the gray cloth was twelve spans. The inspection revealed however lengths of eight and nine spans. It was decided that the length will be twelve spans from now on and the price will be thirty-two akças if they are eight spans wide, with a tight weaving.

The black bags of three span length and width will sell at five akças if they have two spun handles.

The gray bags of three span length and width will sell at four akças if they have two spun handles.

The donkey feed bags with two and a half span length and width will sell at three akças.

The large sacks with a capacity of more than one mud will sell at eighteen akças if they have tying strings.

The eleven-span long and eight span-wide black horse stable bags will sell at twenty five akças.

The horse saddle girths will sell for five akças, while the higher-quality ones will command a price of six akças, with possibility of an even higher if more arduous labour is invested in them.

If hobbling ropes have ten plies, they will be sold at three akças.

Saddlemakers:

It was learned that there was no previous rules adopted for the saddlemakers.

It was decided that the double-layer halters should be sold at eight akças, those with double-layer headgear should be for six akças, the single-layer ones should have a price of five akças and those of lower quality should be available for four akças. Ox leather bits should be seven and eight akças depending on quality of workmanship and material.

It was reported that the linings of buffalo skin bits were also of the same material, but now sheep and goatskin is used.

This was forbidden and buffalo leather was reinstated.

Farriers:

An examination of old rules on farriers showed that complete shoeing of a horse was at six akças for the past twenty-five years, while five akças were charged for mules and four akças for donkeys. The rules also dictated that the farrier was responsible to care and feeding the animals injured during shoeing. This rule was retained as such.

Green fodders:

Under the old rules, twelve one-oke chords used to be sold for one akça when the green fodders arrive to the city, which was reduced to fourteen chords an akçe five days later and sixteen chords an akça in the next three days and twenty-four chords an akçe after ten days until the supply ends. The examination made on the scales showed that the old rules were in complete disregard for the reasons mentioned previously.

It was reported that the old rules were such that twenty-four one-oke chords of lucerne were sold at one akça since the first supplies were mixed with other grass and that the price was later raised to one akça per twenty chords.

The old records confirmed this. But for the last four or five years, the suppliers had acquired a habit of dividing the one-oke chords into two or three and sell such underweight bundles still at twenty or twenty-four akças, which meant that the actual sales were not more than twelve okes. Asked why such was the practice, the lucerne suppliers stated that the city had grown much, the number of animals increased and the demand for lucerne rose. But the city fathers retorted that the lucerne fields increased more than the growth of the city. It was therefore decided with also the consentment of the lucerne vendors that the first crop should be sold as twenty one-oke bundles and the following crops should be marketed as eighteen one-oke bundles. Vendors had nevertheless returned to the Council and said that they could not sell at these prices. When they were asked why they did not accept selling a lesser amount while they were obliged to deliver twenty-four and twenty bundle chords before. They answered that the records were correct, but added that the municipal officials were coming to their shops and collecting one or two akçes everyday from them under the pretext that they were selling underweight stuff and then tolerating the sales. It was resolved that the current price should be observed.

The felt laid under the saddle will weigh one and a half oke and the producer will charge four and a half akça for it while the price at the saddlemaker will be five akças.

The special one-oke saddle felts will sell for three akças if they are cured.

Lumber:

The shingle sheaths will be two ziraîs long and there will not be more than twenty planks per hundred pieces.

Lengths of the carpenter, furniture-maker and flooring planks were eight, nine and twelve spans respectively under the old rules, which went into complete disregard in the last four or five years still for the previous reasons.

The firewood to be hauled on mules will be three spans long. Nine spans are allowed for those carried on camels. It was reported that a little bit was always cut off the tips of these wood stems once they arrive at the yards of woodsellers who thereby tried to compensate for the bribes paid to the municipal officials.

Goldsmiths:

Assessors of goldsmiths in the Council reported that there was an imperial edict to the effect that all silver objects would be made in eight-tenths purity level. The examinations made in the shops of jewellers revealed however many silver plated copper buttons. The goldsmiths said that they were not of their products, but they were actually buying them from the passengers coming from İstanbul. The goldsmiths were ordered to revert to the old rules and never use gold inferior to the quality of the one selling for sixty akças per miskal. Though the old rules was such, violations were determined for the same reasons.

Coppersmiths:

The coppersmiths never tinned the old copperware and sold them as new before. They always did their sales on the ten-eleven basis. The situation was found different today and they were ordered to revert to the old rules.

Nightcap makers:

The nightcap makers summoned to the Council and asked to explain the old rules said that they used to sew taffeta linings into the night caps embellished with gold coins. Linings of the village women’s caps were of cheesecloth while the city women wore honan caps and hemmed. Lower quality cloths were never permitted. The button for the veil, now simply glued by a sort of cement, was always strongly sewn at the inner side. The examinations made on actual objects confirmed what was said by the assessors and the old rules were ordered to be implemented.

Cotton carders:

The cotton carders used to charge half an akça for one hundred dirhams of cotton to be carded. When they sold carded cotton, they used the ten-eleven rule. It was found that the old rules were in force in this vocation.

Haberdashers:

It reportedly was not customary to set prices for the habersdashers. Yet they used to add five dirhams of poppy seed oil to one hundred dirhams of sweetmeal oil. Some of the haberdashers even used more poppy seed oil to obtain a heavier stuff. The old rules were reinstalled and the paper wrapping used for selling sugar should not be more than three layers and the powder of the sugar should be placed into a separate paper cone at the delivery to the customer and that they should apply the ten-eleven rule in their sales.

Milk and Yoghurt:

The milk and yoghurt sellers said regarding their prices that sheep breeders and other used to bring milk to the city and sell it by visiting each quarter and street and that both the direct consumers and yoghurt makers bought from them. They sold the milk at one akça per six hundred dirhams first and two oke in the second week and four oke in the third week.

Yoghurt made of sheep milk was one copper bowl of one oke first, two bowls in the second and three bowls in the third week.

Yoghurt made of cow milk sold at one akça for two large bowls. Each bowl contained two okes. The inspection failed to find any trace of old rules. Though the deviation was evidently due to the oft-quoted reasons, the old rules were reinstated, whereby the milk peddlars will continue to sell milk on house-to-house basis and deliver both to consumers and yoghurt makers. There will henceforth be three yoghurt shops and producers will not go out of the city to buy the incoming milk.

Locksmiths:

An inquiry made among the locksmiths revealed that the old rules were still applied.

Building trade:

The examined buildings showed full obedience to the Emperor’s orders, who set a daily wage of twelve akças for the architects. The old rules were reintroduced, with the difference that architect’s fee will not be paid to the apprentices under their training.

Adobe makers:

The summoned adobe makers said that the small adobes weighed five and the larger ones weighed eight okes. The inspections revealed lesser weights always for the same reasons and the old rules were introduced again.

Grave diggers:

The grave diggers said that they digged the men’s graves to the chest and women’s graves to the shoulder depth for nine akças. The grave charges were fifteen akças for the well-to-do and ten or eight akças for the poorer. Higher charges will not be asked for and one tombstone will not be sold to several people.

Grain markets:

The municipal controller dispatched to the grain market had discovered that all scales in the market were tampered with and all weights on which the mayor’s seal existed were underweight. It was found that they never controlled the scales and weights for so many years. Vendors claimed that the municipal officials used to visit them every two or three days and collected bribes from them to keep silent. Another finding was that the practice was to buy the delivered grains and pulses from the producer and resell them on ten-eleven basis. But now the vendors were going to the villages and buying the entire crop in advance, store them in their hideouts and selling them at higher prices by creating an artificial shortage. This was forbidden, arrangements were made such that the grains and pulses that used to be bought under the old rules will continue to do so at the exclusion of hoarders.

Rice merchants:

The rice market was such that an official of the mayor used to visit the merchants together within the assessors and set prices on ten-eleven basis for each type of rice. But the mayor seemed to have abandoned this practice for the past four or five years against certain considerations. The old rules were reintroduced.

Tanneries:

Tanners and their assessor admitted to the Council meeting said that they used the full amount of canine dung and tanning oil as required by the old rules. But it was found that they had started cutting the corners in the required amounts in the last four or five years, with the result that the tanned leathers develop cracks in the winter. They also used to buy sheep and goat skins on hoof by going to the villages. This was found to be against the religious tenets and forbidden and the new prices were set as follows:

Good leather is the red one and will sell at twenty akças if it does not have blemishes. Unblemished leathers in olive green, dark violet and other seven different colours will sell at sixteen akças and blemished ones will be for twelve akças.

Sheep skin will be at four akças for good quality and three akças for inferior ones.

Raw black cow skin will be at twelve akças and tanned ones at twenty five akças.

Raw black ox skin will be at ninety akças and tanned ones at hundred and thirty akças.

As all the old rules were found to be disregarded, they were reinstated.

Candlemakers:

The candlemakers and their assessors, replying the questions on the old rules, said the following:

When the mutton sells at one akça per two hundred and fifty dirhams, one batman of raw oil is sold at thirty-two or thirty-three akças, with the result that one oke of candles are sold at three and a half akças. The price of soaps two akças and three quarters, liver oil and tallow sell at two and a half akças and tripe oil sells at two akças. The record confirmed what the assessors said. But the price of one batman of oil rose by four or five akças a year since 1490 and reached today the level of fifty akças. Thus one oke if candles sells for five akças, tallow sells for four and a half akça, liver oil sells for four akças and tripe oil sells for three and a half akças. When the candlemakers were demanded to sell at the prices indicated in the old rules, they replied that they could not do that since the butchers were selling them the oil at a price higher than before. Therefore it was decided that one oke of candles will be sold at four akças when one batman of raw oil is available for forty akças. In the middle of the summer, the candle prices will be three and a half akças when one batman of raw oil goes down to forty-four akças. The price of soap will always depend on that of the candles be three quarters of an akça lower.

Kitchen salt:

The inquiries about the salt price showed that it sold at one akça per four okes when it is abundant in summer and one akça per two okes when it is scarce in the winter. It was reported however that the salt vendors always delivered half an oke less to the shopkeepers. Thus the old rules were reintroduced. We beg to inform the Glorious Emperor to adopt this report as a law for strict obedience and for prevention of deviations.