My attempt to move from Southern California and create a happy and sustainable urban homestead in North Dakota, with some musings on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Monday, May 21, 2012

Head Gardener During the Ottoman Empire

Here's a rather grisly but fascinating bit of history from Smithsonian Magazine describing some of the details of the inner workings of the Ottoman Empire.
"The job of executioner was held instead by the Sultan’s bostanc─▒ basha, or head gardener—the Ottoman corps of gardeners being a sort of 5,000-strong bodyguard that, aside from cultivating the Sultan’s paradise gardens, doubled up as customs inspectors and police officers. It was the royal gardeners who sewed condemned women into weighted sacks and dropped them into the Bosphorus."
You can read the very interesting full article (it's pretty short, but yes quite grisly) at Smithsonian Magazine.  

I don't think I've ever heard of a job where I'd be mulching the azaleas one day and lopping off people's head the next day.  It would definitely give a new meaning to the phrase "dead-heading", you'd probably have to specify if you were talking about flowers or people.

3 comments:

Karen said...

Being the head gardener around here trying to whip this place into shape for the June 7 deadline suddenly makes me feel more powerful.

"Weed this or heads will roll."

I will inform my staff that practicing their wind sprints might be a good idea.

El Gaucho said...

My apologies to Carl (and the rest of the gardening staff) if this gives you the justification to start lobbing unused Castle rocks at their heads or taking swings with garden implements in their direction. Best of luck with the upcoming deadline, I know the folks on the garden tour will be thrilled to see your gardens.

Rosemary said...

Too funny (in a very morbid way)! I can see the movie being made as we speak.