VALIDE, A NOVEL OF THE HAREM BY BARBARA CHASE-RIBOUD - November 25, 2022
November 25, 2022
Says Chase-Riboud in Valide, a Novel of the Harem:
There was a rigid and absolute hierarchy among the women in the harem, decreed by law and centuries of usage. It took years to advance from one caste to another. Sometimes it never happened. The first and lowliest degree was Gedicli, or slave girl, attached to the personal service of the Sultan and who aspired to his bed. They were sometimes referred to as Odalisques. The second caste was Gozde, or "in the eye," a woman in the harem who had managed to gain the attention of the Sultan. Third, there were the Ikbals, women who had become favorites of the Sultan and slept with him occasionally. The fourth and supreme caste was Kadine, "official" wife of the Sultan, who had been allowed the maternity of a royal Prince or Princess.