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The Tımar system was the classic form of tax collection in the Ottoman Empire in its core provinces before the 19th century. For this purpose, the cultivable land was divided into districts with different sizes and different yields, one of which, which gives the system its name, is Tımar  /تيمارwas called. The holder of such a district is called a Timariot or Timarli (Tımarlı).

With only very few exceptions, the cultivable land was state land ( miri ). It was either tapulu , that is, given hereditary to a peasant household for use, or freely leased ( mukataalu ). The Tapu not only guaranteed the right of use, but also stipulated the farmer's obligations, in particular the payment of taxes. The basis for the design of these hereditary, but inalienable and indivisible farm positions was the Cift-Hane system (Turkish Çift-Hane or Çifthane). It was subject to periodic appraisal and review ( tahrir ).

The taxes of this rural population were now divided up into districts

  • the state domains ( hass-ı hümayun )
  • the has called domains of the Beys and Viziers with an income of more than 100,000 Akçe annually
  • the benefices of the subordinate leaders called ziyamet with a yield of 20,000 to 100,000 Akçe
  • the simple tımar or dirlik called further benefices for the Spahis with a yield of up to 20,000 Akçe. The minimum yield was seen at 500-750 Akçe.
  • Completed and not yet newly assigned Tımars were called mevkuf .
  • Has, ziyamets and tımars given to civilians were given names such as arpalık (“ barley money ”), paşmaklık (“ slipper money ”) or özengilik (“ trouble money ”)

The timariots , the Tımar owners, received this income instead of a salary (occasionally with additional payments) and not only had to support themselves from this income, but also the official expenses, the military personnel also the provision of further soldiers, depending on the income . When assigning favorites or people who have left active service, the Tımar assignment fulfilled the function of a pension or sinecure .

The first ruler of the Ottoman Empire, Osman I (ruled 1281–1326) tried to bind his followers by awarding land to himself. Murad I (r. 1359-1389) also gave land to his commanders under different names of the legal title . In the following years, the sultans strove to obtain sole ownership of the lands and merely to grant more temporary usage rights. For the resulting Tımar system, both the Iqta system existing in Muslim countries and the Byzantine Pronoia system are seen as models. From the reign of Murad II (ruled 1404-1451) Tımar registers for the allocation of Tımaren to Sipahis (cavalry soldiers) are preserved. With Mehmet II (ruled 1451–1481) the Tımar system became the only permitted form of land allocation in the Ottoman Empire. In the 17th century the number of Tımars decreased rapidly, and in 1831 the system was finally abolished by law. From this point onwards, all lands were state or privately owned.


The Çift-Hane was the peasant family's taxation unit on which the rural tax system was based. The unit consisted of three parts: the taxable married farmer (Hane) and his family (the labor), the land leased to him ( Çiftlik  /چفتلك), which with a pair of oxen ( Çift  /چفت) could be edited. The land had to be big enough on the one hand to feed the farmer and his family, on the other hand it had to be able to cover the operating costs and taxes (e.g. taxes). The three elements mentioned together formed an indissoluble unit both for tax purposes and for assessing the size of the land. This land was hereditary by law in the male line and could not be divided. The Sipahis were forbidden to occupy or cultivate the land intended for Çift-Hane for the settlement of peasants.

The size of the land area associated with a Çift-Hane unit varied depending on the quality of the soil and cultivation conditions in the various parts of the country and was between 5 and 15 hectares for each farmer with his family and the ox team.

The Çift-Hane system was also used as a method of land colonialization in the areas conquered by the Ottomans.


  • Halil İnalcık : The Ottoman Empire. Conquest, Organization and Economy. Collected Studies (= Variorum Collected Studies Series. CS. Vol. 87). Variorum Reprints, London 1978, ISBN 0-86078-032-5 .
  • Halil Inalcik: An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire (= Halil Inalcik, Donald Quataert [Hrsg.]: An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1914 . Volume 1 ). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1997, ISBN 0-521-57456-0 , pp. 146 ff . (English, 480 p., limited preview in Google Book Search).

Individual evidence

  1. Halil İnalcık: An economic and social history of the Ottoman Empire, Volume 1 1300-1600 Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge [and a.] 1999, ISBN 0-521-57456-0 , p. 139
  2. Halil İnalcık: An economic and social history of the Ottoman Empire, Volume 1 1300-1600 Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge [and a.] 1999, ISBN 0-521-57456-0 , p. 141
  3. Halil İnalcık: Timar. TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi , Volume 41, TDV İslâm Araştırmaları Merkezi, Istanbul 1988-2013, pp. 168-175, online

See also

Web links