Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial


From drawings by Octavien Dalvimart (d'Alvimart), engraved by F.H. Clark



Officer of Police from the NYPL

Under the Bostangi Bachi, there is a sort of lieutenant of the police at Constantinople, called Stambol Effendissi, who fixes the price of provisions, and takes care, either by himself, or his sub-delegate, called Murtasib, that the weights and measures are just. When either of these officers proceed in the execution of their duty, some persons are always sent before them in disguise, who seize upon the light bread of some baker, or the weights and scales of any other fraudulent trader. The Stambol Effendissi, or his deputy, mounted on horseback, and preceded by four Janizaries in their habits of ceremony, with white staves in their hands, follows after, one of his attendants carrying scales, another weights, a third a hammer, and the rest cudgels and other instruments, to punish the guilty.
The light bread is put into the scale against the weight which it ought to weigh, and the baker, already seized, and in the presence of his judge, expects his sentence, whether it be the bastinado, or to have his ears nailed to his shop, or even to be hanged, at the caprice of his judge.
The patroles who go the rounds of the city, are only armed with a kind of bludgeon, the lower end of which is dipped in rosin; for this reason robberies are committed in open day in the streets of Constantinople, and its suburbs, more particularly on the eve of the departure of the ships from the harbour, when the lawless excesses of the Gallangis, or seamen, is such as to set apprehension at defiance; the shopkeeper during this period closes his shop; the desperate and audacious conduct of these ruffians being such as to prevent the interference of the other passengers in cases of robbery, the patroles themselves being often not proof against the effects of intimidation.
When a criminal endeavours to escape, the patroles show much dexterity in tripping him up, by throwing the bludgeons, or staves, wherewith they are armed, at his legs.

Next: Ottoman Ambasador
Back to Illustrations by d'Alvimart in McLean's The Military Costume Of Turkey