Ichoglan. The Marquis de Sade in his work Justine defined the Icoglan as the Ganymede of the harems of Asia. And like the Ganymede, Bathile, etc., the term has sometimes been used in French literature (Voltaire, Sade, Lacoste) to name the young and beautiful boys who, in some way, serve and provoke the passion of men, but it also has been used as a synonym for pageboy, or has been mistakenly associated with eunuch, as it appears in French dictionaries from the 18th century.
As for its origin, the term itself is a loan word from Turkish, where we find it in the forms of ichioglan (1586), ichoglan (1624) eicoglan (1710). In that language “oğlan” means “boy, young, adolescent” to which is added the prefix “iç” which means inner, so we can translate this term as “inner boy“, in reference to the palace, and at least initially, it was the equivalent of the young pages that served in the western courts, of which we have spoken with the entry Damoiseau, in this same French Gay Dictionary.
In this sense, it is known that in the 14th century the fondness of the vizier Ali Pacha for beautiful young boys, raised the social status of these pages/servants, who, when turned into lovers, could aspire to be rewarded with positions in the administration of the empire. Thus, already in the 15th century and under the Ottoman control, many of the most beautiful young men of the Byzantine nobility became or were converted into the icoglans of the Sultan. However, over time, the small army of icoglans at the service of the Sultan in the Topkapi Palace, and that some historians number between 350 or 450 watched by 80 eunuchs, was fed mainly by slave prisoners and Christian teenagers, which were kidnapped in the areas of Serbia and Montenegro, in a practice called devshirme or recollection (of children).