Important Women in History

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Important Women in History
A Renegade is defined as “someone who rebelled against the faith.” This term is applied mostly to Christians who convert to Islam, but is used sometimes in association with political and other religious converts. In the story of Fatima Michiel, many people are converted, some more than once, in order to live somewhere, to be safe, and some were forced to convert.

In 1559, Fatima Hatun nee Beatrice Michiel was aboard a ship with her mother and three siblings when she was taken by captors and sold for ransom. Her brothers were enslaved and taken to Istanbul. The older of the two, Gazanfer, became a prominent member of the sultan-in-waiting’s office. He will stay in a high position for the rest of his life, which benefits Fatima and all of their relatives.

Fatima’s family was not together for very long. After they got separated on the ship in 1559, Gazanfer and his sister Fatima did not see each other for 3 decades (Dursteler, 10). Gazanfer and Fatima met again in 1591 when she left her second husband. Her first husband with who she had two children died shortly after their birth. She was quickly remarried to Zaghis. Zaghis was after Fatima’s money. Fatima had a “six-thousand-ducat dowery, extensive terraferma landholdings, and an annual two-hundred-ducat income from a Venetian office” (Dursteler, 8). Zaghis was more interested in Fatima’s money than anything else.

In 1591, Fatima fled Venice to go to the Ottoman capital where her brother Gazanfer worked. She was determined to get away from Zaghis who wanted to control her finances. Fatima was a smart woman who would soon be seen as a very influential person. When she got to the Ottoman capital she was encouraged by her brother to convert to Islam. She converted to Islam because it was convenient, and she stuck with her Christian roots in secret. Muslim women had many more privileges than that of European women. “Ottoman girls were considered imperial subjects at puberty, and...
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