Venetian aqueduct in Crete

The most recent subject of Water Historical past has an article by Yannis Spyropoulos, “Operating water for the officers, rainwater for the poor: symbolic use and management of water in early fashionable Ottoman Crete”. The summary:

This paper offers with the difficulty of water administration on the island of Crete from the start of the Ottoman–Venetian struggle in 1645 to the start of its Egyptian administration in 1830. Primarily based totally on info given by Kandiye’s (mod. Herakleion) Shariah courtroom information, but additionally on a wide range of revealed and unpublished archival materials from Turkey, Greece, and France, it explores the socioeconomic facets of water-resource exploitation within the island’s city facilities, analyzes the involvement of assorted native and imperial actors in water administration, and locates the struggles created within the above-mentioned processes. By an in depth evaluation of the challenges confronted by the administration and the inhabitants of an insular space with restricted water sources, corresponding to Crete, the article tries to take a contemporary take a look at water administration on the Ottoman periphery: It redirects the researchers’ focus from heavily-populated cities and enormous cultivated plains to the examination of smaller areas with no main hydraulic and irrigation networks and places emphasis on the symbolic use of water within the socioeconomic context of the Ottoman Empire.

And from the conclusion:

I wish to underline the significance of working water in early fashionable Ottoman Crete as an emblem of monetary and administrative energy. In Islamic Legislation, water was thought-about to be a public good reserved for everybody, no matter class and officialdom. But, in an insular house with restricted water sources, corresponding to Crete, Islamic canonical therapy of water was typically overruled in favor of these with entry to wealth and energy. On this context, the possession of working water grew to become a standing indicator for the island’s elites and a subject of competitors and negotiation between varied officers. In early Ottoman Crete, it was primarily the sancakbeyis and different non-Cretan officers who undertook the duty of discovering and channeling working water to the island’s three cities, but, by means of time, as native elites began rising to energy, primarily by means of their reference to the army, the administration of water sources progressively handed into the palms of each imperial and native actors. Their origins however, the tactic utilized by all these elites was comparable: They claimed the water of all of the springs found within the vicinities of their cities by creating infrastructure connecting the previous to the latter. After making certain the appropriation of a considerable amount of water sources for their very own institutions, they offered the remainder of the water for public use –primarily by means of non-public endowments—thus presenting themselves as benefactors within the eyes of the native populace. The latter’s restricted entry to working water, alternatively, not solely made them flip to rainwater with a view to quench their thirst, but it surely additionally appears to have been probably the most possible causes of the frequent sabotage of the water-supply networks of Crete, an affordable response if seen within the gentle of the next Koranic verse: “And We ship the fecundating winds, then trigger the rain to descend from the sky, therewith give you water (in abundance), although ye should not the guardians of its shops”.

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