Recovering the oft-neglected role of women in Ottoman high society and power politics, this book brings to life the women who made their mark in a male domain. Though historical records tend to favour the glitter of palaces over the trials of daily life, Goodwin also reconstructs ordinary women's domestic toil. As the Ottoman Empire first expanded and then shrank, women travelled its width and breadth whether out of necessity or merely for pleasure. Some women owned slaves while others suffered the misfortune of being enslaved. Goodwin examines the laws, which governed women's lives from the harem to the humblest tasks. This perceptive study of Ottoman life culminates with the nineteenth century and explores the advent of modernity and its impact on women at a time of imperial decline.