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(hâr`əm) [Arabic], term applied to women's apartments in a Muslim household. In the ancient Arab world women enjoyed a certain amount of freedom. However, with the advent of Islam, the veiling and seclusion of women into harems became more common. The most famous harem, that of the sultans of Turkey, dates from the 15th cent. and included the old and new palaces on Seraglio Point, Constantinople. It was abolished with the downfall (1909) of Abd al-Hamid II. The sultan's harem often contained several hundred women, all subject to the control of the sultan's mother and guarded by eunuchs. In India the harem is called a purdah or zenana; in Iran, andarun. Although the harem is rapidly disappearing in the 20th cent., there nevertheless are still some in existence in the more remote areas of the Muslim world.


See N. M. Penzer, The Harem (1937); D. Van Ess, Fatima and Her Sisters (1961).



the women’s quarters in a wealthy Muslim household; also, in a figurative sense, its inhabitants—the wives and concubines of the master of the house. Large harems of rulers, the wealthy, and dignitaries in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and other countries were guarded by eunuchs. Men (other than husbands and sons) were barred from the harems. Beginning in the 1920’s the harem virtually disappeared as a result of the ban on multiple marriages (for example, in Turkey in 1926), the introduction of equal social rights for women, economic and cultural progress, and the growth of the democratic movement, including the women’s movement.


, hareem
a group of female animals of the same species that are the mates of a single male
References in periodicals archive ?
During our stay in Constantinople in the month of April, at which season the delicious greens of sycamores, oaks, elms, and beeches mingle with the black foliage of the column-like cypresses and the lilac masses of the blossoming Judas-trees, and bring into brilliant relief the white palaces that line the shores of the Bosphorus, and the climbing terraces of red-roofed houses and beehive mosques behind them; during this same pleasant month of April, it was my good fortune to be invited to share the Iftar of the ladies of the harem of Djevdet Pasha, then minister of justice in Turkey.
And this is the story about a harem that is so motivated around one charity that they hold countless fundraisers - organizing huge yard sales, selling their own handmade sea glass jewelry and homemade bibs, and even auctioning seats in the EMC section of Fenway Park, where two baseball fans might find themselves sitting just three seats away from Sox owner John Henry (which is exactly what happened to one of the sisters).
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The recently released book Tales from the Expat Harem is a collection of 32 short stories written by western expatriate women.
Because these horses are social creatures, members of a harem can recognize each other's faces--and they even have individual friendships
The central signifier in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Orientalist discourse was the harem or zenana.
Mollino's props were as standard as those of any painter or studio photographer; one is inevitably reminded of the long and intimate relationship between pornographic fantasy and art, from Delacroix's harem paintings and Courbet's L'Origine to Picasso's Demoiselles and Picabia's kitsch pinups.
I was happy to see the article on the transgendered Alberta Harem [Behind the Headlines, September 3].
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Wearing white (diaphanous, elegant versions of burqas over halters and harem pants), they delivered bravura dancing.
Harem, general minister and president, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), USA
This section will discuss and differentiate these points in the sultana's life: her early career in the harem and marriage to Sultan Aiyub, [3] the situation during the Sixth Crusade, her brief sultanate, her marriage and co-sultanate with Aybek and her fall and subsequent execution in l257.