Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Kira (Kiera, Kyra)
(1,598 words)

The term kira (kyra, kiera, chiera, chierara, chirazza) was applied to certain female functionaries who served the women of the imperial harem in the Ottoman Empire in various capacities. Scholars have disputed the origin of the term. The likeliest explanation is that it derived from the Greek κυρία/kyria (lady), despite an imaginative Spanish origin proposed by Rosanes.

During the second half of the sixteenth century, a period known as the Kadınlar Saltanatı (sultanate of the women), the combination of weak sultans and rampant intrigue at court provided an opening for the women of th…

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D Gershon Lewental, “Kira (Kiera, Kyra)”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 23 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1878-9781_ejiw_SIM_0013000>
First published online: 2010

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