Handan Sultan

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Handan Sultan
Apartments Valide Sultan Topkapi March 2008pano.jpg
Reconstructed scene of a Valide Sultan and her attendants in her apartments at Topkapı Palace
Born Helen or Helena[1]
Died 26 November 1605
Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire
Residence Istanbul
Ethnicity Greek[1][2]
Known for Vâlidā Sultâna
Religion Greek Orthodox Christian at birth, subsequently converted to Islam after her capture
Spouse(s) Ottoman Sultan Mehmed III
Children Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I
Sultanahmed Mosque was built during the regency of Handan Valide Sultan's son, Ahmed I.
The son of Handan Sultan, Ahmed I.
Sultanahmed Camii (Blue Mosque) erected by the order of Ahmed I, the son of Handan Sultan, is the only mosque ever built in Ottoman Empire with six minarets. (The entrance)
Blue Mosque, built by Handan Sultan's son, is the largest structure of the Ottoman History (Interior View).

Handan Sultan (fully Devletlu İsmetlu Handan Valide Sultan Aliyyetü'ş-Şân Hazretleri; ca. 1574 – 26 November 1605[3]) was the mother of the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I and his Valide Sultan from 21 December 1603 until 26 November 1605.


She was either an Greek Orthodox Christian[1][2] or a Muslim. Some sources have claimed that she was ethnically Greek, originally named Helena.[1][2] Other sources say that she was an ethnic Circassian, originally named Handan and was born in Caucasus. She was married to Mehmed in 1589 by Servazad Hatun who was the daughter of Mustafa Pasha, brother of Mahidevran Sultan.[4][5] According to some other sources, she was also the mother of Ottoman Sultan Mustafa I.[6] She prevailed upon her son Ahmed I to save the life of Mustafa I by making him abolish "the law on the immediate execution of the brothers of the Ottoman Sultans" upon his accession to the Ottoman throne. The law was initially put into effect by Fatih Sultan Mehmed for the purpose of preventing probable fighting among the Sultan's brothers who were the potential claimants to the Ottoman throne.

The Executive Authority of Handan Valide Sultan[edit]

During the first two years of the reign of Sultan Ahmed I, she was the Vâlidā Sultâna, being his mother. The contemporary historian Ibrahim Pecevi questioned her wisdom. Leslie Peirce points out that Ahmed I tended to disregard her advice.[7] While respecting the tradition that A mother's right is God's right, he ingeniously circumvented her will. She did not manage to receive either influence or economic funds as had the two previous Vâlidā Sultânas. Her salary was only 1000 akçes even though she acted as the co-regent as the Vâlidā Sultâna during the first two years of the regency of her son Sultan Ahmed I while the grandmother Sâfiyā Sultâna were receiving 3000 akçes during the same period.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Ali Kemal Meram, Padişah Anaları, Öz Yayınları, 1977, id=X6AtAQAAIAAJ&q=%22Handan+Sultan%22+Helen&dq=%22Handan+Sultan%22+Helen&hl=tr&ei=xTryTPvTCoTuvQOrjNnvDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAA p. 244. (Turkish)
  2. ^ a b c Günseli İnal, Filiz Özdem, Mary Işın, Semiramis Arşivi, Semiramis: Sultan'ın Gözünden Şenlik, Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2005, p. 27. (Turkish)
  3. ^ E.J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913–1936, Martijn Theodoor Houtsma, 1987[page needed]
  4. ^ Mahidevran Haseki ve Ailesi by Melike Chimay
  5. ^ Mahfiruz Hatice Valide Sultan by Melike Chimay
  6. ^ Yavuz Bahadıroğlu, Resimli Osmanlı Tarihi, Nesil Yayınları (Ottoman History with Illustrations, Nesil Publications), 15th Ed., 2009, page 245, ISBN 978-975-269-299-2
  7. ^ Imperial Harem : Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire 1993, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508677-5[page needed]
Ottoman royalty
Preceded by
Safiye Sultan
Valide Sultan
22 December 1603 – 26 November 1605
Succeeded by
Alime Sultan