Resm-i arusane

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The resm-i arus,[1] or resm-i arusane, was a feudal bride-tax in the Ottoman Empire. It was typically a fixed fee, a divani tax; it was paid around the time of marriage, to the timar-holder, or even to a tax-farmer in their stead. The tax-collector might record details of individual marriages, although this was not equivalent to the church marriage-registers in contemporary western Europe[2] and some of the tax records are unclear.[3]

Resm-i arusane is first recorded in the fifteenth century AD.[4] Although it was arguably incompatible with the shari'ah law, the resm-i arusane continued to be a small, but significant, source of tax revenue in the Ottoman Empire. For instance, tax records for the village of Sakal Dutan in 1550 show a total 810 akçes of tax revenue, of which 30 akçe were from resm-i arusane.[5] One 16th-century fatwa specifically stated that the resm-i arusane and the resm-i hinzir (pig tax) were illegal, but these taxes on "forbidden" transactions continued - sometimes under the guise of "gifts".[6]

Various sources suggest that the fee was paid either by the bride or the husband; rates might vary according to the bride's personal status and religion. One preserved document sets resm-i arusane at double the rate for virgins compared to widows; and Muslim rates paid twice as much as unbelievers.[7] The kannunname of Rhodos and Cos, in 1650, set resm-i arusane at 30 aspers for widows (regardless of their religion), and 60 aspers for virgins.

A Christian couple who wished to marry in a church would also have to pay nikâh resmi to the metropolitan, and a further fee to the local parish priest; this could be considerably more expensive than the resm-i arusane itself. There would also be a charge for registering the marriage with the government.[8]


  1. ^ ACCOUNTING METHOD USED BY OTTOMANS FOR 500 YEARS: STAIRS (MERDIBAN) METHOD (PDF). Turkish Republic Ministry of Finance Strategy Development Unit. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-01. 
  2. ^ Stewart, Johansen, Singer (1996). Law and society in Islam. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 116. 
  3. ^ Jews in the realm of the Sultans: Ottoman Jewish society in the seventeenth century. Mohr Siebeck. 2008. p. 156. ISBN 978-3-16-149523-6. 
  4. ^ Stewart, Johansen, Singer (1996). Law and society in Islam. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 130. 
  5. ^ Jennings, Ronald (January 1978). "Sakaltutan Four Centuries Ago". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 9 (1): 89–98. doi:10.1017/s0020743800051710. JSTOR 162627. 
  6. ^ Princeton papers: interdisciplinary journal of Middle Eastern studies. Markus Wiener Publishers. 13-14: 130. 2005. ISSN 1084-5666.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Shmuelevitz, Aryeh (1984). The Jews of the Ottoman Empire in the late fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries. Brill. p. 107. ISBN 978-90-04-07071-4. 
  8. ^ Women in the Ottoman Balkans: gender, culture and history. I.B. Tauris. 2007. p. 248. ISBN 978-1-84511-505-0.