Households were the building blocks of the Ottoman political edifice. Therefore the basic unit for the study of the sociology of political life is the household. In a dynastic empire the role of the ruler is rightly accorded central place, and the royal household is the keystone of the edifice. While paying due attention to this imposing keystone, we must not neglect humbler bricks in the walls: the sultan maintained a huge personal staff and retinue, but he also insisted that all his officers did the same, proportionate to their rank and allotted revenues.1