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From Slaves to Prisoners of War – The Ottoman Empire, Russia, and International Law - Oxford Scholarship Online
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From Slaves to Prisoners of War: The Ottoman Empire, Russia, and International Law

Will Smiley


The Ottoman–Russian wars of the eighteenth century reshaped the map of Eurasia and the Middle East, but they also birthed a novel concept—the prisoner of war. For centuries, hundreds of thousands of captives, civilians and soldiers alike, crossed the legal and social boundaries of these empires, destined for either ransom or enslavement. But in the eighteenth century, the Ottoman state and its Russian rival, through conflict and diplomacy, worked out a new system of regional international law. Ransom was abolished; soldiers became prisoners of war; and some slaves gained new paths to release, ... More

Keywords: Middle East, Ottoman Empire, Russia, international law, Law of War, prisoners of war, slavery, humanitarianism, human rights, Eurasia, Islamic law

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780198785415
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198785415.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Will Smiley, author
Assistant Professor of History & Humanities, Reed College