1st Edition

Who Killed Panayot? Reforming Ottoman Legal Culture in the 19th Century

By Omri Paz Copyright 2021
    262 Pages
    by Routledge

    262 Pages
    by Routledge

    Who Killed Panayot? retells the true story of an opium robbery and subsequent police investigation that took place in the port-city of Izmir in 1850-52.

    What started as a simple case soon turned into a diplomatic crisis between two bygone empires, as the investigation provoked strong tensions between the British community in Izmir and the local Ottoman authorities. These tensions were exacerbated by the death of one of the suspects – a gardener named Panayot – after he was interrogated by the police. Drawing on a wide range of archival sources from the affair, Paz skilfully reconstructs this untold saga. Through microhistory and sociolegal analysis, he pieces together the lives of the outlaws and policemen involved in the case, and sheds important light on the history of opium smuggling and the impact of interrogation under torture. Paz argues that a "culture of lying" was adopted by both British and Ottoman officials, in face of the new legal reality that forged the concepts of human rights and the rule of law.

    This book will be of interest to students and scholars of microhistory, as well as those interested in sociolegal history, non-Western modernity, and the Ottoman Empire.


    The Big Picture

    1. Episode One: The Opium Deal

    2. Episode Two: The Robbery

    3. Episode Three: Reporting the Robbery

    4. Episode Four: Panayot and Lefter's Arrest

    5. Episode Five: The Siege on Barker's Villa (The Ottoman Version)

    6. Episode Six: The Siege on Barker's Villa (The British Version)

    7. Episode Seven: At Ulucaklı Dimitri's

    8. Episode Eight: At John Werry's

    9. Episode Nine: Interrogations in Seydiköy

    10. Episode Ten: Panayot's Death & Bekir Ağa's Arrest

    11. Episode Eleven: Manastırlı Mihail's Tale

    12. Episode Twelve: The Consul & The Pasha

    13. Episode Thirteen: An Imperial Affair

    14. Episode Fourteen: Ali Nihat Efendi's Commission

    Conclusions: A New Legal Culture


    Omri Paz is a Senior Lecturer at Levinsky College of Education. His research interests lie in the areas of Ottoman and Middle Eastern social and socio-legal history, with a focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.