Haseki sultan

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Haseki Sultan of
the Ottoman Empire
Contemporary painting of Hürrem Sultan, a Ruthenian-born haseki sultan, and later the legal wife of Suleiman the Magnificent, 16th century. After the death of Suleiman's mother, Ayşe Hafsa, she became the most powerful woman in the palace.
Style Haseki Sultanefendi
Residence Topkapı Palace
Formation 1520-22
First holder Hürrem Sultan
Final holder Gülnuş Sultan
Abolished 1687-95

Haseki sultan (Ottoman Turkish: خاصکي سلطان,[1] Turkish pronunciation: [haseˈci suɫˈtaːn]) was the title given to the favourite wives of the Ottoman Sultan. The word haseki comes from the Arabic and means "to attribute something exclusively to". Haseki is, therefore, one who belongs exclusively to the sultan.[2] A haseki sultan had an important place in the palace, being the second most powerful woman of the harem after the valide sultan, the mother of the sultan. The haseki enjoyed the greatest status in the imperial harem after the Valide sultan. The haseki had no blood relation with the reigning Sultan, ranked higher than the Sultan's own sisters and aunts, the princesses of the dynasty. Her elevated royal status derived from the fact that she was the mother of a potential future Sultan. Haseki sultans usually had chambers close to the sultan's chamber. Nonetheless, a haseki sultan was rarely a wife and didn't have a solid position in the palace. She could lose her entire estate in a day.

The title was first used in the 16th century for Hürrem Sultan, also known as Roxelana, when she was given favor by Sultan Suleiman I. She was his consort and the mother of Selim II. Hürrem Sultan was married to Sultan Suleiman, becoming both his legal wife and the most powerful woman in the Topkapı Palace. The title was next held by Nurbanu Sultan, favourite wife of Selim II, and the mother of the next Sultan Murad III. In 1575, just after Murad's accession, Safiye Sultan became the haseki and was given a higher rank than the Sultan's own sisters, Ismihan Sultan and Gevherhan Sultan, and aunt Mihrimah Sultan. During Mehmed III's reign, the title haseki did not came in use. Mehmed's son Ahmed I gave the title haseki to Kösem Sultan, his favourite wife and the mother of Sultans Murad IV and Ibrahim. Osman II gave the title to his wife Ayşe Sultan. During Murad Iv's reign the title became "royal consort". Privy Purse registers record the presence of, Ayşe as Murad's only haseki, until the very end of Murad's seventeen-year reign, when a second haseki appears. But still the hasekis continued to rank higher than princesses. Ibrahim had eight hasekis; Turhan Hatice, Saliha Dilaşub, Hatice Muazzez, Ayşe, Mahenver, Șivekar, Saçbağli and Hümaşah Sultan. Ibrahim's son and successor is known to have one haseki, Emetullah Rabia Gülnuş Sultan.[3]


  1. ^ Bianchi, Thomas Xavier (1831). Vocabulaire français-turc à l'usage des interprètes: des commerçans, des navigateurs, et autres voyageurs dans le Levant. Paris: Éverat. p. 830. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ Fanny Davis (1986). The Ottoman Lady: A Social History from 1718 to 1918. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-24811-5. 
  3. ^ Leslie P. Peirce (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford University Press. pp. 106–107. ISBN 978-0-195-08677-5. 

See also[edit]