Suleiman i (ruled native 1520-1566) is related to as the greatest Ottoman ruler. Also known as Suleiman the Magnificent, he to be the tenth ottoman sultan and also fourth one to dominion from Istanbul. The presided end a big empire and also ruled longer and more heroically than any other footrest sultan. The Ottoman realm reached its optimal under his dominance both in regards to political and economic power and advance of Turkish art and also architecture.

Suzan Yalman of the urban Museum of art wrote: “Under Süleyman, popularly well-known as "the Magnificent" or "the Lawmaker," the Ottoman realm reached the apogee of its military and political power. Süleyman"s armies conquered Hungary, over which the Ottomans maintained manage for end 150 years, and also they progressed as far west as Vienna, threaten the Habsburgs. Come the east, the Ottoman forces wrested control of Iraq from the Safavids the Iran. In the Mediterranean, their navy caught all the major North african ports, and also for a time the ottoman fleet fully dominated the sea. By the end of Süleyman"s reign, ottoman hegemony prolonged over a great portion the Europe, Asia, and also Africa. Süleyman ns was dubbed the "lawgiver" (kanuni ) by his Muslim subjects because of a brand-new codification of seriat undertaken throughout his reign. In Europe, however, he was well-known as Süleyman the Magnificent, a recognition of his prowess by those who had most to fear from it. His european contemporaries consisted of tsar Ivan the Terrible and also King Henry VIII. His main title to be at home was Suleiman, commander of the Faithful, shadow of God on Earth, Protector the the divine Cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, mr of Lords that the World, East and West.

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Suleiman the Magnificent delighted in writing love poetry in his free time and was as the “lawgiver” since he centralized the ottoman legal system. A Venetian envoy that met him described him as “by nature melancholy, much addicted to women, liberal, proud, hasty, and also yet sometimes really gentle.”

Websites and also Resources: footrest Empire and Turks: The ; footrest Text Archive project – university of Washington ; Wikipedia write-up on the Ottoman empire Wikipedia ; Encyclopædia Britannica short article on the Ottoman realm ; American Travelers come the divine Land in the 19th Century Shapell Manuscript structure ; ottoman Empire and Turk resources – college of Michigan ; Turkey in Asia, 1920 ; Wikipedia write-up on the Turkish human being Wikipedia ; Turkish Studies, Turkic republics, regions, and also peoples at college of Michigan ; Türkçestan Orientaal"s links to Turkic languages ; Turkish society Portal ; ATON, the Uysal-Walker archive of Turkish dental Narrative in ~ Texas technology University ; The Horse, the Wheel and also Language, exactly how Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes shaped the modern World", David W Anthony, 2007 ; Wikipedia post on Eurasian wanderers Wikipedia

Suleiman the Magnificent’s Life

Suleiman was born two years after Columbus sailed to America. His father was Selim the Grim, a location he deserve by slaying his father, two brothers and also 62 other relatives. Suleiman himself had his son and also best girlfriend strangled before him v a silken bowstring. Some historians say he was manipulated right into performing this deeds by his wife, Roxelena, a former slave girl indigenous the the Ukraine, who maneuvered she son right into position to be sultan.

Not much is known around the private of life that Suleiman and also Roxelena, but they did leaving behind part juicy love letters. Suleiman as soon as wrote "I am the sultan the love." And, one time when he was away ~ above a armed forces campaign, Roxelena sent him a letter saying: "My soul, my sultan, sun of my state, sweetheart of mine bliss, my love burns v your absence, ns beg of friend to free me from this longing, this sea the waiting."

Suleiman created poetry under the pseudonym Muhabbi, definition “beloved and also affectionate friend.” His poems have actually been defined as “lyrical, mystical, humble and also sincere. He composed poems about the loneliness that his position, his servitude come state, his accept of destiny and his love the beautiful things. That loved many all to create poems to Roxelana. On one this he wrote: “My sheer delight, my revelry, mine feast, mine torch, ,y sunshine, my sun in heaven;/ my orange, my pomegranate, the flaming candle that lights up my pavilion.”

golden age of the Ottoman empire Under Suleiman


sultan throwing gold coins

“The Ottoman realm reached the peak of the power throughout the ascendancy of Selim"s son, Suleiman the magnificent (ruled 1520 -66) and his grandson Selim II (1566 - 74). |According come the BBC: “Suleiman pertained to the throne as one of the wealthiest rulers in the world. His toughness owed much to the job-related his father Selim had actually done in stabilising government, removed opposition, dreadful (but not succesfully conquering) the Safavid realm of Iran right into adopting a non-aggression policy, and also conquering the Mamluk empire of Egypt and also Syria. This conquests, which unified the floor of eastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean under a solitary ruler, carried a time the peace and stability, under i beg your pardon the realm flourished.

“Suleiman had no inner rivals for power. His father had seen to the by executing his very own brothers and their sons, and also all 4 the Suleiman"s brothers. The Ottoman empire now included so much of the are where Islam to be practiced, and so plenty of of the Islamic divine places, that Suleiman to be widely concerned as the religious leader of Islam, as well as the earthly ruler of many Muslims. |::|

“The wealth and also stability the the Empire right now attracted the peak Muslim brain of the period, and also craftsmen, artists, intellectuals and also writers were eager to relocate to Istanbul. Suleiman was named "The Magnificent" by the Europeans, yet his own civilization called that "The Lawgiver". |::|

Suleiman the Lawgiver

When Suleiman ascended to the throne in 1520, two of his first decisions to be to totally free 1,500 Egyptian and Iranian prisoners recorded by his father and also compensate vendors for items his father had confiscated. These and other comparable actions helped him knife the location Suleiman the Lawgiver.♂

Under Sulyeman shariah regulation was elevated to higher level than in various other Muslim states. It became the regulation of the floor for all Muslims and it was practiced with a high level of power in Shariah courts throughout the empire by quadis (legal experts) and also muftis (legal assistants). Not just did the courts accomplish out justice they likewise created a bond between the neighborhood people, especially in Arab regions, and also the sultan. Because that the many part, footrest subject were happy tolive under shariah law.


Suleiman cracked under on corruption, reformed, simplified and codified the legitimate system. He passed regulations that attempted come wipe out discriminatory practices against Christians and also eliminated several of crueler punishments given of criminals. The United claims Congress recognizes him as one of the grea lawmakes the history.

Suleiman additionally had his cruel and also capricious side. He frequently ordered the execution that prsioners ~ a battle and began the customizeds of no speaking to foreign diplomats when they presented your credentials.

Süleyman the Magnificent’s Conquests

Belgrade dropped to Süleyman in 1521, and also in 1522 he compelled the Knights of Saint john to give up Rhodes. In 1526 the ottoman victory at the battle of Mohács resulted in the taking of Buda ~ above the Danube. Vienna to be besieged unsuccessfully throughout the project season that 1529. Phibìc Africa as much as the Moroccan frontier was brought under ottoman suzerainty in the 1520s and 1530s, and also governors named by the sultan were mounted in Algiers, Tunis, and also Tripoli. In 1534 Kurdistan and Mesopotamia were taken indigenous Persia. The latter occupation gave the Ottomans one outlet come the Persian Gulf, wherein they to be soon engaged in a navy war through the Portuguese.*

when Süleyman passed away in 1566, the Ottoman empire was a human being power. Most of the an excellent cities of Islam--Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Damascus, Cairo, Tunis, and Baghdad--were under the sultan"s crescent flag. The Porte exercised direct regulate over Anatolia, the sub-Danubian Balkan provinces, Syria, Palestine, and also Mesopotamia. Egypt, Mecca, and the north African provinces were administer under distinct regulations, as were satellite domains in Arabia and also the Caucasus, and among the Crimean Tartars. In addition, the native rulers the Wallachia, Moldavia, Transylvania, and also Ragusa (Dubrovnik) were vassals that the sultan.*

Suleiman the Magnificent’s accomplishments

Suleiman to be a great patron that the arts. Trained as a goldsmith, he personally managed the the work of craftsman in Topkapi and also commissioned the an excellent architect Mimar Sinan to build great mosques such together Suleimaniye Mosque in Istanbul and Selimiye Mosque in Edirne and also reconstructed the grand Mosque in Mecca.

Istanbul to be the biggest city in Europe and also the Ottoman realm was possibly the most an effective politcial reality in the world. That acted together a protector because that France and also Poland and also received envoys native India and also Sumatra who asked because that Ottoman assist combating the Portuguese in Asia.

Medicine was practiced at a high level. One observatory was built in 1579. Communication networks were open up with West. News of new discovereies in the brand-new World poured in. To plan were created a Suez Canal and a canals in between the the Don and also Volga rivers.

Suleyman the Magnificent and also his Vizier Ibrahim

In “The Story that Suleyman"s attachment to his Vezir Ibrahim,” Stanley Lane-Poole wrote: "Suleyman, great as that was, common his greatness through a second mind, come which his reign owed lot of that brilliance. The cool Vezir Ibrahim was the counterpart of the grand Monarch Suleyman. He to be the boy of a seafarer at Parga, and had been recorded by corsairs, by who he was marketed to it is in the servant of a widow at Magnesia. Right here he passed right into the hands of the young prince Suleyman, then governor of Magnesia, and also soon his extraordinary talents and resolve brought him promotion.... From being grand Falconer on the ascede of Suleyman, he increased to be first minister and virtually co-Sultan in 1523.


Suleiman procession

" He was the object of the Sultan"s soft regard: an emperor knows much better than most men how solitary is life there is no friendship and love, and also Suleyman love this man much more than a brother. Ibrahim to be not only a friend, he was an entertaining and instructive companion. He check out Persian, Greek and also Italian; that knew how to open unknown people to the Sultan"s mind, and Sulevman drank in his Vezir"s wisdom v assiduity. They lived together: your meals were common in common; also their beds to be in the very same room. The Sultan offered his sister in marriage to the sailor"s son, and Ibrahim to be at the summit that power."


Alexandra Hudson and also Ece Toksabay of Reuters wrote: “Born into a Ukrainian household as Aleksandra Lisowska some time about 1500 she was recorded by raiding Crimean Tartars and sold together a servant in Constantinople, where she was selected for the harem. With her charm and also guile she regulated to catch the eye that Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, displacing his previous favorite and also eventually ending up being his wife.

“History has not regarded Roxelana kindly, portraying her together a meddlesome schemer. Her son Selim, inherited the realm from his father yet proved a devastating ruler and also an alcoholic.Selim is said to have died in 1574 ~ slipping and also banging his head in a hammam while drunk.

“A television drama based on the life the Roxelana captivated Turkish audiences, but also drew complaints for its sexual content and liberty through the truth. That is glamorous costumes, sumptuous interiors, and the countless conniving and also plotting amongst the women of the harem have actually fed the resurgent neighborhood interest in the ottoman Empire.

Visit to the mam of Suleiman the Magnificent



A Visit to the wife of Suleiman the magnificent (Translated indigenous a Genoese Letter, c. 1550): “When I entered the kiosk in i m sorry she lives, ns was received by plenty of eunuchs in splendid costume blazing v jewels, and carrying scimitars in your hands. Lock led me come an within vestibule, where I to be divested of my cloak and also shoes and regaled v refreshments. Presently an elderly woman, really richly dressed, accompanied by a variety of young girls, approached me, and after the normal salutation, educated me that the Sultana Asseki was prepared to view me. Every the wall surfaces of the kiosk in which she resides are extended with the many beautiful Persian tiles and also the floors are of cedar and also sandalwood, which offer out the many delicious odor.

“I progressed through an countless row the bending female slaves, that stood top top either side of my path. At the enntrance gate to the apartment in i beg your pardon the Sultana consented to obtain me, the yonsi lady who had accompanied me all the moment made me a extensive reverence, and also beckoned to 2 girls to offer me their aid; therefore that ns passed right into the presence of the Sultana leaning upon their shoulders. The Sultana, that is a stout yet beautiful young woman, satellite upon silk cushions striped v silver, near a latticed home window overlooking the sea. Many slave women, blazing with jewels, attended top top her, stop fans, pipes because that smoking, and also many objects of value.

“When we had actually selected indigenous these, the great lady, who increased to receive me, expanded her hand and kissed me on the brow, and also made me sit at the sheet of the divan on which she reclined. She asked numerous questions worrying our country and also our religion, of which she knew naught whatever, and which ns answered together modestly and discreetly as I could. Ns was surprised come notice, as soon as I had actually finished my narrative, the the room was full of women, who, impelled through curiosity, had concerned see me, and to listen what I had actually to say.

“The Sultana now entertained me through an exhibition of dance girls and also music, which was very delectable. Once the dancing and also music to be over, refreshments were served upon trays that solid gold sparkling with jewels. Together it was growing late, and also I felt afraid to remain longer, lest I must vex her, ns made a motion of increasing to leave. She instantly clapped she hands, and also several servants came forward, in obedience to she whispered commands, moving trays heaped up through beautiful stuffs, and some silver write-ups of well workmanship, i m sorry she pressed me to accept. After ~ the usual salutations the old mrs who an initial escorted me into the royal presence performed me out, and also I was led from the room in exactly the very same manner in which i had gotten in it, under to the foot the the staircase, wherein my own attendants awaited me.

Dining with The Sultana, 1718


another portrait of Roxelana

Lady mary Wortley Montagu created in 1718: “I to be led into a large room, through a sofa the entirety length the it, adorned v white marble pillars choose a ruelle, covered with pale-blue figured velvet top top a silver ground, with cushions of the same, wherein I was wanted to repose it spins the Sultana appeared, who had contrived this path of agree to stop rising up in ~ my entrance, though she make me one inclination of her head as soon as I increased up to her. Ns was very glad to observe a lady that had actually been distinguished by the donate of one emperor, to who beauties were every day gift from all parts of the world. However she did no seem to me come have ever been half so beautiful as the fair Fatima I observed at Adrianople; though she had the remains of a good face, more decayed through sorrow 보다 by time.

“But her dress was other so surprisingly rich, i cannot forbear relenten it to you. She wore a vest referred to as donalma, and which different from a caftan by much longer sleeves, and folding end at the bottom. It was of purple cloth, directly to her shape, and thick-set, on every side, under to her feet, and round the sleeves, through pearls of the best water, of the very same size together their buttons commonly are. You need to not intend I mean as huge as those of my lord ____, but about the bigness that a pea; and to these buttons huge loops the diamonds, in the kind of those yellow loops so typical upon birthday coats. This habit was tied at the waist v two big tassels of smaller sized pearl, and also round the eight embroidered with big diamonds: her transition fastened at the bottom through a great diamond, shaped prefer a lozenge; her girdle as large as the broadest English ribbon, entirely covered v diamonds. Round she neck she wore three chains, which got to to her knees: one of huge pearl, in ~ the bottom of i m sorry hung a fine colored emerald, as large as a turkey-egg; another, consist of of 2 hundred emeralds, near joined with each other of the most lively green, perfectly matched, every one as large as a half-crown piece, and also as thick as 3 crown pieces; and another of tiny emeralds, perfect round. Yet her earrings overshadowed all the rest. Lock were two diamonds, shaped specifically like pears, as huge as a big hazelnut. Round her talpoche she had 4 strings that pearl, the whitest and most perfect in the world, in ~ least enough to make 4 necklaces, every one as big as the Duchess the Marlborough"s, and also of the same size, fastened through two roses, consist of of a big ruby because that the center stone, and also round them twenty drops of clean diamonds come each. Beside this, her headdress was spanned with bodkins that emeralds and diamonds. She wore huge diamond bracelets, and had 5 rings on her fingers, all solitary diamonds, (except Mr. Pitt"s) the largest I ever before saw in my life. That is for jewelers come compute the value of these things; but, follow to the common estimation the jewels in our component of the world, her entirety dress need to be worth over a hundreds thousand pounds sterling. This ns am really sure of, the no european queen has half the quantity; and the Empress" jewels, though really fine, would look an extremely mean near hers.

“She provided me a dinner that fifty key of meat, i m sorry (after their fashion) were placed on the table, but one in ~ a time, and also thus extremely tedious. Yet the magnificence of her table answered very well to that of she dress. The knives were of gold, the hafts set with diamonds but the item of deluxe that gripped my eyes to be the tablecloth and napkins, i m sorry were all tiffany, embroidered v silks and gold, in the finest manner, in natural flowers. The was v the utmost remorse that ns made use of these costly napkins, as finely wrought together the ideal handkerchiefs that ever before came the end of this country. You may be certain that lock were completely spoiled before dinner to be over. The sherbet (which is the liquor lock drink in ~ meals) was offered in china bowls; however the covers and salvers to be massy gold. After dinner, water was brought in a yellow basin, and also towels the the exact same kind as the napkins, i m sorry I really unwillingly delete everything my hands upon; and also coffee was offered in china, with gold sou-coupes.

“The Sultana seemed in very good humor, and also talked come me through the utmost civility. I did no omit this opportunity of finding out all that i possibly might of the seraglio, which is so totally unknown among us. She never discussed her husband there is no tears in she eyes, yet she seemed an extremely fond of the discourse. "My past happiness," claimed she, "appears a dream come me. Yet i cannot forget that ns was lovely by the greatest and also most beloved of mankind. I was chosen from all the rest, to make all his projects with him; I would certainly not endure him, if i was no passionately fond of mine daughter. Yet every my tenderness for her was hardly sufficient to do me maintain my life. When I lost him, i passed a totality twelvemonth without see the light. Time has actually softened mine despair; yet I now pass part days every mainly in tears, specialized to the memory of my husband."

“There was no affectation in this words. It was basic to check out she remained in a deep melancholy, though her great humor made her willing to draw away me. She asked me to walk in she garden, and also one of her slaves immediately brought her a pellice of rich brocade lined through sables. I waited top top her into the garden, which had actually nothing in that remarkable however the fountains; and also from thence she showed me all her apartments. In she bed chamber she toilet was displayed, consist of of two looking-glasses, the frames covered with pearls, and her night talpoc1te set with bodkins the jewels, and near it three vests of fine sables, every among which is, in ~ least, worth a thousands dollars (two hundreds pounds English money). Ns don"t doubt this rich behavior were purposely put in sight, however they seemed negligently thrown ~ above the sofa. Once I take it my leave of her, i was complimented v perfumes, as at the cool vizier"s, and presented v a an extremely fine embroidered handkerchief. Her slaves were to the number of thirty, besides ten little ones, the eldest not above seven year old. These were the most beautiful girls I ever saw, all richly dressed; and also I observed that the Sultana took a an excellent deal of pleasure in this lovely children, which is a substantial expense; because that there is not a handsome girl that that period to be bought under a hundred pounds sterling. Lock wore tiny garlands the flowers, and their own hair, braided, which was all your headdress; but their habits every one of gold stuffs. These offered her coffee, kneeling; brought water as soon as she washed, etc. That is a good part that the organization of the older servants to take care of this girls, come teach them come embroider and serve them as carefully as if lock were youngsters of the family.”

Art and also Architecture Under Süleyman the Magnificent

Suzan Yalman that the urban Museum of art wrote: “Along with geographic expansion, trade, economic growth, and also tremendous social and artistic task helped define the regime of Süleyman as a "Golden Age." breakthroughs occurred in every field of the arts; however, those in calligraphy, manuscript painting, textiles, and also ceramics were an especially significant. Artist renowned by name incorporate calligrapher Ahmad Karahisari and painters Shahquli and also Kara Memi.

“In architecture, the many outstanding accomplishments of this period were the public buildings designed by Sinan (1539–1588), chief of the Corps of imperial Architects. If Sinan is regularly remembered because that his two significant commissions, the mosque complexes the Süleymaniye in Istanbul (1550–57) and also of the later on Selimiye in Edirne (1568–74), the designed hundreds of buildings across the footrest empire and contributed to the circulation of footrest culture. Except mosques and also other pious foundations—including schools, hospices, and also soup kitchens, supported by shops, markets, baths, and caravanserais—Süleyman also commissioned repair and enhancements to significant historical monuments. The tile revetment that the Dome the the rock in Jerusalem, and also several enhancements to web page in Mecca and also Medina, the two holy Cities that Islam, date from this period.

Books: Atil, Esin The period of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. Exhibition catalogue.. Washington, D.C.: nationwide Gallery of Art, 1987. Necipoglu, Gülru The period of Sinan: Architectural society in the footrest Empire. London: Reaktion, 2005.

Suleiman the Magnificent’s military Campaigns

During battles to be Suleiman wore in a white turban and also jeweled robe, speak a black equine decked the end in gold. In one battle, follow to footrest historians, Suleiman was struck by arrows and also wounded by the swords of 3 knights, that were eventually cut to pieces by the sultan.♂

Suleiman doubled the size of the footrest Empire. He expanded its territory into Mecca and also Medina and also Yemen, and took Persian territory. The seized Belgrade (1521,) caught Hungary (1526) and also laid siege to Vienna (1529).

Suleiman won most of Hungary in the bloody battle at Mohac in 1526. At the time Hungary to be a an excellent power, and also Europeans feared it was only a matter of time prior to Europe fell.

The siege that Vienna in 1529 sent out a shudder through Europe. That was among the scariest episodes and also disruptive illustration in the history of west Europe. The Austrian Hapsburgs to be their key rivals in the Balkans and eastern and main Europe. The Hapsburgs developed a network the fortress in Hungary to organize off the Turks.

When Suleiman"s military attacked the castle of the stimulate of St. John on the island the Rhodes (Greece) in 1521, over 15,000 men died in one battle. As soon as the castle was finally recorded the knights that St. Man were set free, a relocate that Suleiman would certainly regret 12 year later.♂


Almost as famed as Suleiman himself was his admiral Barbarossa, who conquered much that the Mediterranean because that the sultan. So infamous was his reputation that European mothers provided to frighten their kids out the misbehaving by informing them Barbarossa would get them if lock weren"t careful. The Turkish admiral was named after the pirate-infested Barbary coast by europe who erroneously thought that was whereby he was from.♂

Suleiman’s navy under Barbarossa’s command defeated the combined forces of Spain, Venice and also the pope with necessary naval victories at Nice (1543) and Menorca (1558) and also other places, thus broadening the Ottoman empire into in Algiers, Oron and Tripoli in north Africa and also taking the strategic island the Rhodes.

Defeat that Suleiman the splendid at Malta

Suleiman"s most demoralizing defeat came at the hands of the Knights that St. Man in 1533. Part 9,000 members that the order, holed increase in fort St. Elmo in Malta, held off a Turkish army of 40,000 men and also a armada that 200 ships.♂

In this confrontation, the Turks poisoned wells, impaled the top of knights, and also nailed their bodies to the cross which were floated towards fort Elmo. The knights comment by throwing down flaming hoops and also boiling pitch, and cutting turn off the heads of Turkish prisoners and using them together cannonballs come fire ago on the Turks. Once a force of 7,000 Spaniards arrived to help the knights, only 600 defenders remained. Through this time, with winter approaching and also their morale and also numbers dwindling dangerously low, the Ottomans had sufficient anyway and also they headed ago to Istanbul, humiliated.

Suleiman’s last Years and also Legacy

The last years the Suleiman’s preeminence were characterized by financial stagnation, dispossession as peasants can not pay your taxes and also low agricultural production and unemployment. Brigands robed traders in Anatolia.

After Suleiman, the ottoman empire began declining. Only five years after ~ his fatality was the fight of Lepanto, in which the footrest navy was damaged by Venice and also Spain and also Ottoman lost manage of the west Mediterranean.

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contemporaries of Suleiman (left come right): Suleiman, Pope Clemens VII, Francis I, the battle each other of Cleves with Charles V top top the throne

Image Sources: Wikimedia, Commons

Text Sources: internet Islamic history Sourcebook: “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on document Publications, new York); “ Arab News, Jeddah; Islam, a Short background by Karen Armstrong; A background of the Arab individuals by Albert Hourani (Faber and also Faber, 1991); Encyclopedia of the civilization Cultures edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, new York, 1994). Encyclopedia the the world Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); metropolitan Museum of arts national Geographic, BBC, brand-new York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera, time of London, The new Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, linked Press, AFP, Lonely world Guides, Library the Congress, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and also other publications.

critical updated September 2018