Feb. 14, 2013
HIS 102 – 091
Suleiman And His Women
The Ottoman Empire was a vast empire that lasted well over a half a millennia and stretched its borders from the sands of the deserts of Iran and Afghanistan, to the northern tip of Africa, as well as European nations known today as Bulgaria, Bosnia and Greece. The empire began roughly the year 1299 and was led by their first sultan, Osman and lasted till 1924 when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the nations first president, reformed the nation. The Ottoman Turks had many customs and traditions that were not the considered norms of many empires or nations in Europe at the time. One of which was the sultan’s harem. The harem was a certain part of the palace where all of the Sultans concubines lived, learned and carried out most of their everyday lives. The sole purpose of the harem was to ensure the sultan had a healthy heir to take the throne when he was either too old, or if he died in battle or of old age. One sultan in particular was a man of many good traits. He was a jeweler by trade because every sultan had to take up a craft to learn patience and a steady hand amongst other skills that a sultan of a great empire was expected to have mastered by his ascension to the throne. This sultan was Suleiman the magnificent, the tenth and longest-reigning Emperor, reigning from 1520 to his death in 1566. Throughout his life he saw many important women come in and out of his life, and this is their story.
When his father Selim died in 1520 Suleiman took the throne at the age of 26. Before this time, he had been married to his wife Mahidevran and fathered a son with her by the name of Mustafa. As earlier mentioned, once a prince became the sultan he had to hold a harem of his women to ensure a royal bloodline would continue. The harem was the only part of the royal palace that the sultan could not venture, which was the job of the court attendants. These men were not men...