Students of Ottoman history have long recognized the household as one of the building blocks of Ottoman society and politics. In the last few decades important contributions have been made to the scholarly understanding of the varying structures, operations and functions of elite households. Many historians have been interested in the devolution of power from the middle of the sixteenth century onwards, when high state officials and other grandees built large household organizations to undertake responsibilities that once had belonged exclusively to the central government.1 Underlying these studies is the basic argument that the patrimonial household organizations of the larger political elite provided the necessary administrative agency for perpetuating dynastic state authority just when the political institutions of the central imperial state were faced with serious challenges.2