Kösem Sultan

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Kösem Sultan
Umm al-Muʾminīn[1]
Ṣāḥibet al-Maḳām
Deri Devlet
Kösem portrait (cropped).jpg
A copy of a lost original attributed to Hans Ludwig Graf von Kuefstein, c. 1630
Valide Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Tenure10 September 1623 – 2 September 1651
Haseki Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
(Imperial Consort)
Tenure26 November 1605 – 22 November 1617
Regent of the Ottoman Empire
1st Tenure10 September 1623 – 18 May 1632
2nd Tenure9 February 1640 – 8 August 1648
3rd Tenure8 August 1648 – 2 September 1651
Bornc. 1589[2]
Tinos, Republic of Venice
Died2 September 1651(1651-09-02) (aged 61–62)
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
(m. 1605; died 1617)
Turkish: Kösem Sultan
Ottoman Turkish: كوسم سلطان
HouseOttoman (by marriage)
ReligionSunni Islam
(raised Greek Orthodox)

Kösem Sultan (Turkish pronunciation: [cœˈsɛm suɫˈtan], Ottoman Turkish: كوسم سلطان, romanized: Kösem Sulṭān; c. 1589[2] – 2 September 1651[3]) also known as Mahpeyker Sultan[4][5] (Turkish pronunciation: [mahpejˈkɛɾ suɫˈtan]; from the Persian compound ماه پيكر, romanized: Māh-peyker; lit. ‘moon-shaped’) was Haseki Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1605 to 1617 as the chief consort of Sultan Ahmed I (r. 1603–1617), Valide Sultan as the mother of Sultans: Murad IV (r. 1623–1640) and Ibrahim (r. 1640–1648), and Büyük Valide Sultan (Queen grandmother) of Sultan Mehmed IV (r. 1648–1687). She became one of the most powerful and influential women in Ottoman history as well as a central figure during the era known as the Sultanate of Women.[6] As regent, she effectively ruled the Ottoman Empire for roughly 20 years.

Born in Tinos (then part of the Republic of Venice, now Greece) to a Greek Orthodox priest, she was kidnapped at the age of 15 and sold as a slave by the Bosnian Beylerbey before being sent to the Imperial Harem in Constantinople. She rose to prominence early in Ahmed I's reign as part of a series of changes to the hierarchy of the Imperial Harem. As a Haseki Sultan (legal wife of Ahmed I), her influence over the sultan increased in the following years, and it is said that she acted as one of his advisers. She was credited by many historians for her attempts to persuade Ahmed I to spare the life of his younger half-brother, Mustafa, thereby issuing a decree officially halting the centuries-old practice of fratricide in the Ottoman Empire. After the death of Ahmed I, she was briefly banished to the Old Palace (Eski Sarayı) during the reigns of her half-brother-in-law, Mustafa I, and her stepson, Osman II.

Following Murad IV’s accession to the Ottoman throne in 1623, Kösem was thrust into the political arena, becoming the first official regent (naib-i-sultanat) of the Ottoman Empire. As regent, she rose to immense notoriety and affection among her subjects and wielded extraordinary political power in the Ottoman Empire. Despite her son's opposition, she remained active in certain politics and court affairs even after being forced to step down as regent in 1632, and continued to attend divan (cabinet) meetings from behind a curtain. Following Murad IV’s death in 1640, she was re-appointed as regent for her incompetent son, Ibrahim. She sought to rule in his place by encouraging Ibrahim to entertain himself with his concubines. Although, in 1647, she conspired to overthrow Ibrahim in favor of his son, Mehmed, with the backing of the Grand Vizier Salih Pasha and other senior Ottoman officials, but she did not succeed. When a coup d'état broke out against Ibrahim in 1648, she gave her consent to his execution. Kösem was re-appointed as regent for her grandson, Mehmed IV, for the third time. However, her daughter-in-law, Turhan Sultan, began to exert what she saw to be her rightful authority. As a result, Kösem conspired to overthrow Mehmed IV and replace him with his younger brother, Suleiman, which led to her assassination in 1651. She was buried in the mausoleum of her husband Ahmed I in Sultan Ahmed Mosque.

The brutal assassination of Kösem Sultan caused tumult and rioting in Constantinople and resulted in the execution of hundreds of men.[7] After her death, the people referred to her by the names "Vālide-i Muazzama" (magnificent mother), "Vālide-i Maḳtūle" (murdered mother), and "Vālide-i Şehīde" (martyred mother).[8]

Early life[edit]

Map of Tinos (Tine) by Giacomo Franco, 1597

Kösem was of Greek descent,[2][9] the daughter of a Greek Orthodox priest on the island of Tinos whose maiden name was Anastasia.[10][11][12] At the age of 15, she was kidnapped during one of the Ottoman-Venetian maritime campaigns and bought as a slave by the Bosnian Beylerbey or a high-ranking Ottoman official. Noting her beauty and intelligence, she was sent to Constantinople to join a cohort of other slave girls marked by their striking appearance or intelligence to be trained in the harem of Sultan Ahmed I as an imperial court lady.[13][14]

The slave market where Kösem was sold, called Avret Pazan (the Women's Market), is described by William Lithgow in 1610 as follows:

"I have seen men and women usually being sold in this Market, as are horses and other animals in our markets: were prisoners of Hungary, Transylvania, Carindia, Istria, and Dalmatia, and elsewhere. These people, if no merciful Christian wants to buy or free them, will either become Turks or be left in a world of slavery forever.”[15]

Haseki Sultan, the Imperial Consort[edit]

Kösem rose to prominence early in Ahmed's reign as part of a series of changes to the hierarchy of the Imperial Harem. Safiye Sultan, Ahmed's once-powerful grandmother and manager of the harem, was deprived of power and banished to the Old Palace (Eski Sarayı) in January 1604, and Handan Sultan, Ahmed's mother and Valide Sultan, died in November of the following year.[5]

Upon her arrival at the Imperial Harem, she was taught religion, theology, mathematics, embroidery, singing, music and literature.[16] Most importantly, she was taught the ins and outs of the political dynamics of the empire. According to sources, she was tall, slender, and appealing due to the whiteness of her complexion, the velvety deep brown of her eyes, and the sparkling brilliance of her blond hair.[17] Her beauty and intelligence drew Ahmed's attention, and she became his leading haseki and possibly his legal wife in 1605. Upon her conversion to Islam, her name was changed to Mahpeyker,[18] and later by Ahmed to Kösem,[14] meaning "leader of the herd", indicating Kösem's leadership and political intelligence.

As a Haseki Sultan to Ahmed, Kösem was considered his favorite consort and gave birth to many of his children.[5] During her time as Haseki Sultan she received 1,000 aspers a day.[19] As the mother to a number of princesses she had the right to arrange their marriages which were of political use. One of her daughters, Ayşe Sultan, was married to Nasuh Pasha in 1611 at the age of 6.[5] Venetian ambassador Simon Contarini, the bailo between 1609 and 1612, mentions Kösem in his report in 1612 and portrays her as:

"[A woman] of beauty and shrewdness, and furthermore ... of many talents, she sings excellently, whence she continues to be extremely well loved by the king ... Not that she is respected by all, but she is listened to in some matters and is the favorite of the king, who wants her beside him continually."[5]

Portrait of Ahmed I (by John Young, 1815)

Contarini reported in 1612 that the sultan ordered a woman to be beaten for having irritated Kösem. She may have been Kösem's fellow consort Mahfiruz, mother of Ahmed's eldest son Osman.[20]

George Sandys, an English traveller who was visiting Constantinople in the early 1610s, recorded Kösem's name as "Casek Cadoun" (Haseki Kadın) and believed that she was “a witch beyond beauty." He claimed that the sultan had a "passionate" love for Kösem. He emphasized that this was the result of witchcraft. Sandys goes on to characterize her as a woman with "a delicate and at the same time shy nature."[21]

Kösem also made efforts to keep her brother-in-law Mustafa safe from execution, and may have regarded Mahfiruz as a rival intent on lobbying in favor of her own son.[20] Kösem's interest in the question of succession did not pass unnoticed by contemporary observers. Simon Contarini reported in 1612 that by letting the brother of the sultan live, the "queen" was trying to make sure that Osman, her stepson, would spare the life of her newborn son, Murad. Contarini does not mention the name Kösem but talks about a "queen" (regina).[22] Moreover, Kösem was able to use her close alliance with Mustafa Agha, the Agha of the Janissaries, and his client Nasuh Pasha (her son-in-law) to wield influence over the sultan.[23]

After Mahfiruz's apparent expulsion from the palace, probably in the mid-1610s, Kösem and Osman grew fond of each other. She used to let him join her in carriage rides where he showed himself to the crowd when she made excursions into Constantinople. The reports of the Venetian bailos note that on these excursions, Osman enjoyed throwing handful of coins to the passers-by who flocked to see the young prince, while his stepmother Kösem remained concealed behind a curtain,[24] but once this came to Ahmed's attention he forbade any conversation between them.[25] Eventually Ahmed interfered with this relationship between Osman and Kösem; the Venetian ambassador Bertuccio Valier reported in 1616 that the sultan did not allow the two eldest princes (Osman and Mehmed) to converse with Kösem. His motive perhaps, as Valier speculated, was fear that the princes' security was threatened by Kösem's well-known ambitions for her own sons.[20]

The Grand Vizier Nasuh Pasha, Kösem’s son-in-law as the spouse of her daughter, Ayşe Sultan, was executed on the orders of Ahmed in 1614, Kösem herself tried to stop her husband from taking such action, but failed to do so.[26] Thus, Kösem lost an important ally in the government. From that point on, she probably concentrated her efforts on keeping Mustafa alive, rather than on securing the succession of her own son, Murad.[27]

Kösem's influence over the sultan increased in the following years and it is said that she acted as one of his advisers.[5] The bailos noted that Ahmed was deeply devoted to Kösem.[24] However, she refrained from involving herself constantly in serious issues as the sultan refused to be overshadowed by his wife.[5] Kösem is sometimes accused of trying to save her own position and influence throughout her long career "rather than that of the sultan or of the dynasty".[28] According to Cristoforo Valier in 1616:

“Her circumspection was presumably intended at averting the sultan's displeasure, who was keen to avoid seeming ruled by a woman, as his father had been. She can do what she wishes with the King and possesses his heart absolutely, nor is anything ever denied to her."

Contarini noted, however, that Kösem "restrains herself with great wisdom from speaking [to the sultan] too frequently of serious matters and affairs of state.”[5]

Kösem also had a long career as a guardian of şehzades (princes). It is possible that the significant modifications in the pattern of succession to the throne during Ahmed's time owed something to her efforts. She must have realized the personal gain that might stem from the transition to seniority coupled with the fact that she was no longer haseki but had a son "in waiting". According to the Venetian ambassador, Simon Contarini, Kösem "lobbied to spare Mustafa the fate of fratricide with the ulterior goal of saving her own son from the same fate."[29] Ahmed's reign is noteworthy for marking the first breach in the Ottoman tradition of royal fratricide; henceforth Ottoman sultans would no longer systematically execute their brothers upon accession to the throne.[30]

Death of Ahmed I[edit]

Sultan Ahmed I died on 22 November 1617 at the age of 27. Prior to Ahmed’s death, the question of who would take his place on the throne arose. When a sultan died, however, one of his sons was supposed to take the throne, according to the pedestals, but this was not the case as the law had been abolished by Ahmed. Kösem led a faction that supported the accession of Mustafa.[31] Thus, state officials finally decided to declare Mustafa as the sultan, who was older and had the best claim to the Ottoman throne. The Kizlar Agha expressed his concern to the statesmen, citing that Mustafa was mentally imbalanced.[32]

Retirement at the Old Palace[edit]

Kösem retired in the Old Palace during the reign of her brother-in-law Mustafa I and step-son Osman II.[32]

Due to the emergence of seniority as the principle of succession, which meant that a prince's mother might mark time in the Old Palace between the death of her master and the accession of her son, Kösem was able to maintain her Haseki status and daily stipend of 1,000 aspers during her retirement there;[33] still, after the end of Kösem's tenure as Haseki, the position lost its prominence. During her retirement, she met Safiye Sultan.[28]

Mustafa I's 1st reign[edit]

Initially, Mustafa refused to reign as sultan, claiming that he was uninterested in state concerns, however, the statesman decided to ignore the matter. Kösem, despite residing in the Old Palace, wielded considerable power during the reign of her half-brother-in-law, along with his mother, Halime Sultan, and a series of Grand Viziers during his reign. In actuality, he was overthrown on 26 February 1618, just 96 days after ascending to the throne, and was replaced by Osman, the eldest son of Ahmed and Mahfiruz Hatice Sultan.[32]

Osman II's reign[edit]

According to Freely, Osman's mother, Mahfiruz Hatun, who had now presumably become Valide Sultan, was empowered by the ulama to act as co-regent for her son, because of his youth. Mahfiruz Hatun immediately used her powers to have Kösem evicted from the Harem and confined to the Old Palace (Eski Sarayı).[34] However, this claim remains disputed since many historians believe that Mahfiruz Hatun died before her son’s accession to the throne in 1618.[35]

In 1619, Osman paid Kösem a three-day visit at the Old Palace, thus manifesting his special fondness for her. Kösem may have cultivated this relationship with the intent that she could use her influence to persuade him to spare her sons. Indeed, when as Osman he departed on the Polish campaign of 1621, Osman executed only Mehmed, the eldest of his younger brothers, who was not one of Kösem’s sons.[20] Even if their relation was cultivated, though, it did not yield consequential results for the young sultan, whose most exceptional weakness was the lack of a Valide Sultan to lobby in his favour.[25] Even though Osman was young, he felt uneasy with Kösem's involvement in state issues. He did not, however, ignore her advices, as he had always admired her.[32][36]

Osman, recognizing that his failure at Chocim in 1621 was partly due to the Janissary corps' lack of discipline and degeneracy, he punished them by lowering their pay and closing their coffee shops.[36] Then he claimed his intention to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, but his true goal was to form a new army in Egypt and Syria to depose the Janissaries. The Janissaries learned of the plot and were already enraged by Osman's prior tactics. On 18 May 1622, they revolted, ousted Osman on 19 May 1622, with the approval of Kösem, and murdered him the next day.[32]

Mustafa I's 2nd reign[edit]

The same day, Sultan Mustafa I was installed to reign for a transitional time so that Murad could manage the Ottoman state's affairs. Kösem eventually reached an agreement with the statesmen to correct the situation, isolate Mustafa, and install her son, Murad, as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.[32][36]

Valide Sultan[edit]

Murad IV's reign[edit]

Oil painting depicting Murad IV in his young age (anonymous, c. 17th century)

Kösem came back in power when her son ascended to the throne on 10 September 1623 as Murad IV. Since her son was a minor, she was appointed not only as a Valide Sultan but also as an official regent (naib-i-sultanat) during his minority, from her son's ascension on 10 September 1623 until 18 May 1632.[32]

The Ottoman Government sent a letter to the Republic of Venice in 1623 to officially declare Murad IV's accession to the throne. Kösem was addressed as Valide Sultan in the letter, which wrote: "Her Majesty the Sultana Valide […] for the late Sultan Ahmed, whom Allah took with him, was a very important person and he loved her so much that he honored her by marrying her." The letter further indicates that Kösem would rule in her son’s name: “We have great hope and faith in the Valide Sultan, who - among all women enjoying the position - is distinguished by maturity and virtue of character.”[37]

Shortly after Murad's enthronement in 1623, a Venetian ambassadorial message remarked on Kösem's political experience:

"[A]ll power and authority [is with] the mother, a woman completely different from that of Sultan Mustafa, in the prime of life and of lofty mind and spirit, [who] often took part in the government during the reign of her husband.”[38]

Roe, the English envoy, wrote a month before the Venetian despatch, predicting that the new sultan would be "gouemed by his mother, who gouemed his father, a man of spirit and witt."[38]

First regency (1623–1632)[edit]

Kösem, as regent, essentially ruled through her son Murad and effectively ran the empire, attending and arranging meetings of the divan (cabinet) from behind a curtain. She would meet with foreign ambassadors from other countries to discuss international treaties and was in charge of appointing political figures and overseeing the state's administration. She also formed friendships with statesmen, judges, and other court figures. The leading viziers wrote their letters directly to her, in response, Kösem used her kira to compose letters to the viziers, which also proves that every thread ran together in the hands of Kösem. In essence, she was actually steering instead of her son, not along with her son.[39]

During the early years of Murad’s sultanate, Kösem had to deal with the loss of Baghdad and Erivan by the Safavid Empire, the rebellion of tribes in Lebanon and the Abaza rebellion by Abaza Mehmed Pasha in northern Anatolia, the wavering allegiances of governors in Egypt and other provinces, the assertion of independence by the Barbary states, a revolt of Tatars in Crimea, and raids by marauding Cossacks to the coasts of the Black Sea.[40][41] Throughout her regency, Kösem ably restored the state’s finances after a period of severe inflation.[42]

In one letter, the Valide Sultan wrote, “You say that attention must be paid to provisions for the campaign. If it were up to me, it would have been taken care of long ago. There is no shortcoming on either my or my son’s part.” In another, she sends good news: “You wrote about the provisions. If I were able to, I would procure and dispatch them immediately. I am doing everything I can, my son likewise. God willing, it is intended that this Friday ten million aspers will be forwarded to Üsküdar, if all goes well. The rest of the provisions have been loaded onto ships.” Bayram Pasha, the governor of Egypt and Kösem’s son-in-law, wrote directly to the Valide Sultan on a number of issues, and she communicated the contents of the governor’s letters to the Grand Vizier Hafız Ahmed Pasha along with her own comments on these matters. Among the problems discussed cussed were delays in the provision of gunpowder, the troublesome situation in the Yemen, and shortfalls in the province’s revenue (in 1625 Egypt sent only half of its normal revenue because of the ravages of a plague known in Egyptian annals as “the plague of Bayram Pasha”). The extensive cooperation between Grand Vizier Hafız Ahmed Pasha and the Valide Sultan is suggested by Kösem’s frank comment to the former: “You really give me a headache. But I give you an awful headache too. How many times have I asked myself. ‘I wonder if he’s getting sick of me’? ‘But what else can we do?”[43]

Murad's criticism of Kösem's foreign policy was evident during this period of her regency. In 1625, Murad vocally objected his mother’s truce with the Spanish Empire. According to a Venetian dispatch of 1625, “the Imperialists and Spaniards declared that the matter was progressing favorably, being actively assisted by the Sultan’s mother.”[44] A year later, the Venetian ambassador reported that the sultan, “with a prudence beyond his years,” was opposed to the truce, as were most leading statesmen except the admiral Recep Pasha and Bayram Pasha, governor of Egypt, and noted that the Spanish “base their hopes on these two and the Sultan’s mother and sister.”[45] The ambassador was probably aware of the fact that Recep Pasha was married to Gevherhan Sultan and Bayram Pasha to Hanzade Sultan, both of whom were Kösem’s daughters. Nevertheless, the treaty was called back on the sultan’s orders.[46] In addition, Kösem corresponded with Nur Jahan, the chief wife of the Mughal emperor Jahangir. Nur Jahan attempted, with the support of Kösem and the Uzbeks, to form an alliance between the Mughals and the Ottomans against the Safavids. However, Jahangir died in 1627 before the coalition could be formed.[47][48]

Serial marriages of a royal princess occurred frequently in the Ottoman dynasty in the century after Suleiman the Magnificent, allowing the royal family to establish a network of alliances with the most powerful of the pashas. Kösem, in particular, used her daughters to help maintain herself in power for nearly half a century. As she wrote to the Grand Vizier Hafiz Ahmet Pasha in 1626, a few months before he became her daughter Ayşe Sultan‘s third husband: 'Whenever you're ready, let me know and I'll act accordingly. We'll take care of you right away. I have a princess ready. I'll do just as I did when I sent out my Fatma.'[49] Kösem also matched numerous other women in the Imperial household with men of significant standing that would be beneficial to her rule.[5] Additionally, not only did the marriages Kösem facilitated allow her to build extensive networks, but she also strategically allied herself with the Janissaries.[50]

Kösem Sultan's letter to the Grand Vizier Hüsrev Pasha, 1627.

In 1627, the Ottomans lost Aden and Lahej. Kösem expressed her concerns regarding the situation in Yemen and Murad's health in one of her letters to the Grand Vizier Damat Pasha. It also implies that the sultana is frustrated by her lack of direct control over important decisions; she wrote to the Grand Vizier Damat Pasha:

"Letters have come from Egypt—apparently to you too—which describe the situation there. Something absolutely must be done about Yemen—it's the gate to Mecca. You must do whatever you can. You'll talk to my son about this. I tell you, my mind is completely distraught over this [the Yemen situation].... It is going to cause you great difficulty, but you will earn God's mercy through service to the community of Muhammad. How are you getting along with salary payments? Is there much left? With the grace of God, you will take care of that obligation and then take up the Yemen situation. My son leaves in the morning and comes back at night, I never see him. He won't stay out of the cold, he's going to get sick again. I tell you, this grieving over the child is destroying me. Talk to him, when you get a chance. He must take care of himself. What can I do—he won't listen. He's just gotten out of a sickbed and he's walking around in the cold. All this has destroyed my peace of mind. All I wish is for him to stay alive. At least try to do something about Yemen. May God help us with this situation we are in.... You two know what's best."[51]

The next year, Murad was twice ill to the point where his life was in peril, according to a Venetian ambassadorial message from September 1628. Another letter expresses the similar worry that the young sultan be counseled and chastised by the Grand Vizier Hüsrev Pasha, if not by Kösem herself. It also implies that Kösem was getting information about events outside the palace from Murad rather than directly:

“I heard from my son that he had written you and warned you that [your steward] is not a man of good intentions. Is it true that he is giving you a bad name? To a degree it is a pasha's own men who cause his bad reputation. May God give them the reward they deserve. I'm not referring to anything specific. A friend is one who tells a person his faults to his face. I wouldn't wish ill on any of you. May God protect us all from evil. I wish you would listen to me and have them stop practicing the javelin in the Hippodrome. Why can't they go play in Langa? My son loves it, I lose my mind over it. Whoever says it's good for him is lying. Caution him about it, but not right away. What can I do? My words are bitter to him now. Just let him stay alive, he is vital to all of us. I have so many troubles I can't begin to write them all. You must give him as much advice as you can—if he doesn't listen to one thing, he'll listen to another.”[52]

In the following year, Murad moved to break Kösem's damad ties with Admiral Hüseyin Pasha, the spouse of her daughter Fatima. Murad had the marriage dissolved after becoming enraged by his mother's excessive support for the Pasha. Hüseyin Pasha had benefited from the protection of both the powerful Chief Black Eunuch and the Valide Sultan. Murad's move against the otherwise successful admiral may have stemmed from his wish to break free from the influence of his inner palace advisers and exercise authority over the government's most influential officers. Kösem is said to have tried to satisfy her son with a gift of ornately dressed horses and a banquet of ten thousand aspers.[53]

Removal from office[edit]

In 1632, Kösem's 9-year term of office ended as a result of her son, Murad, removing her from the political scene after he decided not to allow any power to interfere in his administration of the empire, and ordered Kösem to cut off her contacts with his statesmen, and threatened her with exclusion and exile away from the capital if she did not comply; this was probably a response to the May 1632 uprising in Constantinople when the Janissaries stormed the palace and killed the Grand Vizier Ahmed Pasha, among others. Murad was compulsively trying to keep his mother away from politics, and it is clear from his actions that he was disturbed by his mother’s great influence. Murad also feared suffering the same fate as his elder brother, Osman II, and decided to assert his power. That is why, as soon as he took power under his own control, he sought to replace his mother’s loyal men.[54][55][40] He later tried to quell the corruption that had grown during the reigns of previous sultans, and that had not been checked while his mother was ruling through proxy. His absolute rule started in 1632, when he took the authority and repressed all the tyrants, and re-established the supremacy of sultan.[40] However, Kösem continued to run some governmental affairs when the sultan was away Constantinople and directly communicated with him and the newly placed Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha.[56]

The death of Murad IV (engraving by Paul Rycaut, 1694)

During Murad's departure on a royal advance through the area near Bursa in 1634, Kösem moved quickly to safeguard him from a threat of sedition. Murad's execution of an Iznik judge for a minor offense sparked such outrage among Constantinople's religious hierarchy that reports began to circulate that the mufti Ahizade Hüseyin Efendi was stirring up sentiment against the sultan and plotting hot overthrow him. When the Valide Sultan learned about the accusations against the mufti, she promptly sent word to Murad to return to the capital as soon as possible. The unfortunate Hüseyin Efendi was strangled before proof of his innocence could reach the irate sultan. This was the first execution of a mufti in the history of the Ottoman state.[57]

Angelo Alessandri, secretary to Venetian envoy Pietro Foscarini, characterizes her as follows in 1637:

“..this lady, of Greek origin, is now about forty-five years old, very beautiful and has delicate features. A person with a good heart, interesting amusements and pleasures, virtuous, wise and reasonable. Majestic, with wide horizons."[58]

Following the capture of Baghdad from the Safavids in 1638, Kösem was a key figure in the celebrations surrounding her son Murad's triumphal return to Constantinople. The Valide Sultan retraced her path after processing out of Constantinople to welcome Murad in İzmit, two days' journey from the city, while the sultan returned by sea. She rode in a carriage draped with gold fabric, its wheels studded, and spokes fully coated in gold, preceded by viziers and high-ranking religious authorities on gorgeously caparisoned horses. Twelve additional carriages followed the Valide Sultan's carriage, most likely transporting members of the harem.[59]

Kösem’s principal effort in protecting the dynasty appears to have been dissuading the sultan from executing all his brothers toward the end of his reign. The princes Bayezid (her stepson) and Süleyman (her biological son) were executed during the celebrations over the victory at Erivan (1635) and Kasım, Kösem’s own son and the heir apparent to the Ottoman throne, was also executed during the Baghdad campaign in 1638.[60]

Ibrahim's reign[edit]

Kösem Sultan assuring Ibrahim of Murad IV's death by displaying his corpse before him (engraving by Paul Rycaut, 1694)

One of Kösem's two last surviving sons, Ibrahim, lived in terror of being the next of his brothers to be executed by Murad's order. Murad's liver cirrhosis had left him terminally ill. The sultan's dying wish was to have Ibrahim killed in the final days of his reign. Despite the fact that the House of Osman was in complete disarray, Murad informed his statesmen that he did not want a maniac as sultan. His life was only saved by the intercession of his mother Kösem.[2] After Murad's death in 1640, Ibrahim was left the sole surviving prince of the dynasty. Upon being asked by the Grand Vizier Mustafa Pasha to assume the sultanate, Ibrahim suspected Murad was still alive and plotting to trap him. It took the combined persuasion of Kösem and the Grand Vizier Mustafa Pasha to make Ibrahim accept the throne. For instance, Kösem had ordered his brother's corpse to be displayed before him, and she even threatened Ibrahim that he may face ‘strangulation, not inauguration' if he had refused to be crowned sultan of the Ottoman Empire.[36]

Second regency (1640–1648)[edit]

When Ibrahim succeeded his brother in 1640, he proved too mentally unstable to rule. He was encouraged by his mother to distract himself with harem girls. The distractions of the harem allowed Kösem to gain power and rule in his name.[2] When Alvise Contarini arrived in Constantinople in 1640, sent by the Venetian government on the occasion of Ibrahim’s accession, he gave letters of congratulation addressed to the Valide Sultan to the Grand Vizier Mustafa Pasha for delivery. The latter, Kösem’s rival for control of the weak Ibrahim, did not forward the letters, “as if scorning them,” reported Contarini, “and told me that the queen mothers of the Ottomans are slaves of the Grand Signor like all others, not partners or heads of government, like those in Christian countries.”[61] Despite the Grand Vizier’s opposition of the Valide Sultan’s authority and dominance within the Ottoman government, he continued to serve as Grand Vizier for 4 more years. But on 31 January 1644, Ibrahim, who was then under the influence of his mother, dismissed the Grand Vizier. A few hours later, he was executed.[62] As regent, Kösem took significant measures to tackle the empire's problems, such as increasing economic assistance to the Janissaries, reforming the tax collection system, and handling the people's financial concerns.[63]

During the early years of Ibrahim’s reign, he retreated from politics and turned increasingly to his harem for comfort and pleasure. During his sultanate, the harem achieved new levels of luxury in perfumes, textiles and jewellery. Ibrahim's love of women and furs led him to have a room entirely lined with lynx and sable. Because of his infatuation with furs, the French dubbed him "Le Fou de' Fourrures." Kösem kept her son in check by supplying him with virgins she personally purchased from the slave market, as well as overweight women, for whom he craved. In one instance, when Ibrahim allegedly tried to rape a concubine, the concubine spurned him and threatened to stab him with a dagger if he persisted. Their struggle was overheard by Kösem, who reprimanded Ibrahim and allowed the woman to escape the harem.[36][64][65]

Portrait of Mahpeyker Kösem Sultan, c. 19th century

Kösem did have a less compatible relationship with Grand Vizier Musa Pasha than she had with the previous Grand Viziers of Murad's early reign. Kösem was a clever and experienced politician, now in her second regency and fourth decade of political engagement. The competition between the two was reported by the Venetian ambassador Alvise Contarini:

"In the present government, to the extent that this son's capabilities are less, she is held in greater esteem [than at the end of Murad's reign]. And thus, with her commanding affairs within the palace and the grand vezir [commanding] those outside, it happens quite often that these two rulers come up against each other and in doing so take offense at each other, so that one can say that in appearance they are in accord but secretly each is trying to bring about the downfall of the other."[66]

Cinci Hoca, a minor religious figure with occult powers who was brought into the palace to compensate for the sultan's lack of successors. He was a spiritualist and fraud who worked his way into the palace under the invitation of Kösem to cure her son, Ibrahim, after informing her that he had inherited certain ‘magic formulas.’[67] After curing Ibrahim, the sultan rewarded Cinci Hoca with a chief justiceship, the second highest ulema position, as a reward for what he considered to be his achievements. When Kösem lost control of the sultan, Cinci Hoca’s appointment was just one of numerous examples of the overturning of authority and procedure at court.[68][69] After becoming regent, Kösem was required to distribute service pay to the Janissaries in accordance with Ottoman tradition, but there was no money left in the treasury. She had attempted to obtain this money from Cinci Hoca, but Cinci Hoca had not responded positively. She had later explained this situation to the Janissaries as “I want to distribute your service pay but Cinci Hoca does not allow me” and caused the Janissaries to consider Cinci Hoca as an enemy and kill him.[70] Because of a financial shortfall in the Imperial Treasury, possibly caused by Ibrahim's decision to split Egypt's whole treasury between his two favorites, Şivekar Sultan and Hümaşah Sultan, Kösem and her allies urged Ibrahim to launch a naval assault on the Venetian-controlled island of Crete. The campaign was largely unsuccessful, and the venture further drained the Ottoman treasury. Nonetheless, the Ottomans defeated the Venetians in the Cretan War (1645–1669) after years of fighting for control over the island.[71]

The heifer-like woman described by Cantemir was an Armenian from the Bosphorus village of Arnavutkoy, who is said to have weighed nearly 330 pounds, she later became known as Şivekar Sultan, a former slave of Kösem.[72] According to Rycaut, Ibrahim became so infatuated with his new love that he couldn't deny her anything, which led to her downfall because she incurred the wrath of Kösem: ‘By these particulars the Queen Mother becoming jealous, one day inviting her to Dinner, caused her to be Strangled, and persuaded Ibrahim that she died suddenly of a violent Sickness, at which the poor Man was greatly afflicted.' She then informed the distraught Ibrahim that Şivekar Sultan 'had died suddenly of a powerful illness.'[73] However, some sources disagree with this theory, suggesting that Şivekar Sultan was instead exiled to Egypt or Chios after Ibrahim’s death in 1648.[74]

In the following year, Kösem attended a conference with leading viziers at the entrance to the harem. The Agha of the Janissaries addressed her:

"Gracious mistress, the folly and madness of the Padishah have put the world in danger; the infidels have taken forty castles on the frontiers of Bosnia and are blockading the Dardanelles with eighty ships while the Padishah thinks only of pleasure, debauch and selling offices."[75]

Simultaneously, Ibrahim humiliated his sisters Ayşe, Fatma, and Hanzade, as well as his niece Kaya, subordinating them to his concubines, whom he gave their land and jewels. He also forced his sisters and niece to work as maids for his wife Hümaşah Sultan. This infuriated Kösem, who turned against Ibrahim.[65]

Plot to depose Ibrahim I[edit]
Ibrahim, engraved by Arolsen Klebeband, 1641

Ibrahim's behaviour sparked talks of deposing the sultan. In September 1647, the newly placed Grand Vizier Salih Pasha, Kösem, and the Shaykh al-Islām Hacı Abdürrahim Efendi plotted to depose the sultan. The Shaykh al-Islām deferred to Kösem in the matter of her son's deposition, aware that she needed to be consulted before any final decision was made. They informed the Valide Sultan that all of the statesmen were in favor of Ibrahim’s deposition and that they were prepared to swear allegiance to Ibrahim's son, Mehmed, the eldest prince. But Kösem hesitated, likely out of maternal instinct, or most likely she didn’t want to lose her position as Valide Sultan.[76] She begged the coconspirators to consider leaving her son in possession of the throne under the guardianship of the Shaykh al-Islām and the Grand Vizier Salih Pasha.[77]

In December 1647, Ibrahim was made aware of the attempt to topple him. As a response, the Grand Vizier Salih Pasha was executed and Kösem was exiled from the harem. Initially, Ibrahim planned to have Kösem exiled to the island of Rhodes, but this indignity was resisted by his hasekis, and the sentence commuted to exile in one of the imperial gardens in the capital.[68] According to Naima:

“[T]he valide sultan would sometimes speak affectionately, giving counsel to the... padishah. But because he paid no attention to her, she became reluctant to talk with him, and for a long while resided in the gardens near Topkapi. During this time the padishah became angry as a result of some rumors and sent the grand vezir Ahmed Pasha to exile the valide sultan to the garden of Iskender (thereby breaking the hearts of all, great and small.)”[78]

Historians accused Kösem of encouraging Ibrahim's desire in reproduction by diverting him with concubines so that she might “take over the country”. But, at least initially, her motivation was to ensure the dynasty's survival. Moreover, Kösem, like others, despised Ibrahim's concubines' excessive influence over public matters. During the closing months of Ibrahim's reign, Kösem was thrust back into the position of dynasty protector when the Agha of the Janissaries, who were going to demand the resignation of the unpopular Grand Vizier Ahmed Pasha, warned her to take great care to safeguard the princes' safety.[79]

The next year, the Janissaries and members of the ulama revolted. Ibrahim then lost his temper and fled into the arms of his mother, begging her to protect him. Kösem persuaded him to abdicate, whereupon the Janissaries installed Ibrahim's eldest son as Mehmed IV.[80]

The chronicler Kâtip Çelebi reports that Kösem came to the divan and spoke to members of the clergy and others assembled there about the impending action:

“For all this time [i.e. since the accession of Sultan Ibrahim eight years before, in 1640] you have acquiesced in whatever my son has requested and have served as [unwitting] guides [through your passive attitudes] in the perpetration of all manner of wrong. Not once did you offer your good council or support. Now your foremost concern is to dethrone the sultan and seat in his place a mere stripling. What sort of ill-conceived policy is this?”[81]

The Valide Sultan's resistance had another purpose, it enabled for the practice of important political arguments. "Wasn't every single one of you raised up through the benevolence of the Ottoman dynasty?" Kösem asked the statesmen, emphasizing the need of dynasty allegiance. They replied with a holy law imperative: “a mentally ill person cannot lead the ummah (the community of Muslim believers.)” The statesmen used a tactic at one point in the debate: they addressed the Valide Sultan as umm al-mu'minin, "mother of the [Muslim] believers." This honorific title, given to the wives of the Prophet Muhammad by Qur'anic revelation, gave Kösem an identity that allowed her to extend her maternal function as mentor/guardian beyond her son and the dynasty to the empire.[79] Hanifezade, an Ottoman judge, appealed to her not as a mother but as a stateswoman:

“Oh, royal lady, we have come hither, fully relying on your grace, and on your compassionate solicitude for the servants of God. You are not only the mother of the sultan; you are the mother also of all true believers. Put an end to this state of trouble; the sooner the better. The enemy has the upper hand in battle. At home, the traffic in places and ranks has no bounds. The Padishah, absorbed in satisfying his passions, removes himself farther and farther from the path of laws. The call to prayers from the minarets of the Mosque of Aya Sofia is drowned in the noise of fifes, and flutes, and cymbals from the palace. No one can speak counsel without danger to the speaker: you have yourself proved it. The markets are plundered. The innocent are put to death. Favorite slaves govern the world.”[77]

The Valide Sultan made one more effort, and said, "All this is the doing of wicked ministers. They shall be removed; and only good and wise men shall be set in their stead." "What will that avail?" replied Hanifezade, "Has not the Sultan put to death good and gallant men who served him, such as were Mustafa Pasha and Yusuf Pasha, the conqueror of Canea?" "But how," urged Kösem, "is it possible to place a child of seven years upon the throne?" Hanefizade answered: "In the opinion of our wise men of the law, a madman ought not to reign, whatever be his age; but rather let a child, that is gifted with reason, be upon the throne. If the sovereign be a rational being, though an infant, a wise Vizier may restore order to the world; but a grown-up Sultan, who is without sense, ruins all things by murder, by abomination, by corruption, and prodigality." "So be it, then," said Kösem; "I will fetch my grandson, Mehmed, and place the turban on his head." She agreed to surrender when they promised not to murder Ibrahim, but merely put him back in the Kafes. On 8 August 1648, Ibrahim was dethroned, seized and imprisoned in Topkapı Palace.[2][82] Kösem was by this point anxious to get rid of her son, whose disastrous administration had undone the restorative work done by his elder brother, saying "In the end he will leave neither you nor me alive. We will lose control of the government. The whole society is in ruins. Have him removed from the throne immediately."[83][84]

The newly placed Grand Vizier Sofu Mehmed Pasha, petitioned the Sheikh ul-Islam for a fatwā sanctioning Ibrahim's execution. It was granted, with the message "if there are two caliphs, kill one of them." Kösem articulated the fact that only she could make the final decision whether the sultan lived or died:

They said my son Ibrahim was not suitable for the sultanate. I said ‘depose him.’ They said his presence is harmful, I said ‘let him be removed.’ I said ‘let him be executed.’ If anyone is under my protection, it is my son.[85]

Nevertheless, she also gave her consent to Ibrahim’s execution and two executioners were immediately sent.[86] As the executioners drew closer, it was reported that Ibrahim's last words were: "Is there no one among those who have eaten my bread who will take pity on me and protect me? These cruel men have come to kill me. Mercy! Mercy!"[87] Ibrahim was strangled to death on 18 August 1648.[88]

Büyük Valide Sultan[edit]

Mehmed IV's reign[edit]

The same day, Kösem rushed to the divan and presented her seven-year-old grandson, Mehmed, with the words "Here he is!, see what you can do with him!" Thus, she declared herself regent for the third time. When a group of government authorities insisted that the palace send the sultan's seven-year-old son to be enthroned at the Sultan Ahmed Mosque to receive the Janissaries’ and sipahis’ oath of allegiance, Kösem refused and demanded that they instead come to the palace. Her rejection was based on the fact that no sultan had ever been enthroned in a mosque before. Her purpose was undoubtedly in part to compel the situation to occur so that she could have some influence over the outcome.[89][90]

Left: Engraving of Sultan Mehmed IV in his young age (c. mid-17th century) Right: Engraving of Turhan Sultan as Valide Sultan (c. 19th century)

Third regency (1648–1651)[edit]

Kösem used the youth of the sultan and his mother as an excuse for refusing to retire to the Old Palace.[76] As the senior Valide Sultan (Vālide-i Kebir), Kösem continued to be incredibly powerful. She styled herself as Büyük Valide "the Great Valide Sultan" or “Queen grandmother” in 1649 to outrank herself from all of the Imperial Harem's members, most notably, Turhan Sultan.[91]

At the head of the Ottoman Empire stood the child sultan, Mehmed. Historians have recorded that Kösem would usually sit in the palace lodge with her grandson, handing down decisions.[92] She would also usually sit beside the sultan, concealed behind a curtain, if the sultan's presence was needed at the divan. During an imperial audience, a foreign ambassador recorded the child sultan turning to his grandmother and asking, “What answer should I give?”[93] Kösem would sometimes chastise the viziers in abrasive tones in front of their faces, "Have I made you vizier to spend your time in gardens and vineyards: Devote yourself to the affairs of the empire and let me hear no more of your deportments!"[87]

With Mehmed's ascendancy, the position of Valide Sultan should have gone to his mother Turhan Sultan. When she was about 12 years old, Turhan was sent to the Topkapı Palace as a gift from Kör Süleyman Pasha, the Khan of Crimea, to Kösem and it was probably Kösem who gave Turhan to Ibrahim as a concubine.[94][95] However, during the reign of her son Mehmed, Turhan was overlooked due to her youth and inexperience. Instead, Kösem was reinstated to this high position since she was requested by leading statesmen to continue on as regent to the child sultan, Mehmed, instead of retiring and giving her position to the mother of Ibrahim's successor. Turhan, on the other hand, began to exert what she saw to be her rightful authority.[96] Turhan must have also resented the lower stipend of 2000 aspers she received as Valide Sultan, in contrast to Kösem’s 3000 asper allotment. According to Rycaut, “The two queens were exasperated highly against each other, one to maintain the authority of her son and the other her own.”[97]

According to Abdülaziz Efendi, then the chief justice of Rumeli and a central figure in the dynastic upheavals of the time, it was considered prudent to appoint the more experienced woman regent in contravention of tradition:

"It being an ancient custom that upon the accession of a new sultan the mother of the previous sultan remove to the Old Palace and thus give up her honored office, the elder valide requested permission to retire to a life of seclusion. But because the loving mother of the [new] sultan was still young and truly ignorant of the state of the world, it was thought that if she were in control of government, there would result the possibility of harm to the welfare of the state. Therefore the elder valide was reappointed for a while longer to the duty of training and guardianship, and it was considered appropriate to re-new the assignment of crown lands to the valide sultan."[98][99]

Dismissal of Sofu Mehmed Pasha[edit]
Mehmed IV attending an Imperial audience (engraving by Paul Rycaut, 1694)

However, Kösem's interpretation of her mission does not appear to have been widely accepted. She inherited direct sultanic authority as a politician, undoubtedly one of the most experienced and informed of the ruling elite. It was unavoidable that Kösem would fight with Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha, who appears to have seen himself as both regent and “temporary ruler.” According to Naima, the Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha was misled by "certain would-be doctors of religion" who quoted legal texts to the effect that the guardian of a minor sultan was entitled to exercise the prerogatives of sovereignty. The Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha despised Kösem's absolute authority and control over the government, as Naima noted on the Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha's futile hope that he, rather than the sultan's grandmother, would act as regent to the young Mehmed IV. He bragged, "The soldiers of this exalted state respect only the honor of inherited nobility."[100]

On 21 May 1649, following the defeat of the Ottomans in the Battle of Focchies, Kösem entered the divan on foot, in agreement with the aghas, to discuss the fleet and army disasters. She presided over the divan and sat on the sultan’s throne, alongside the sultan himself. The Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha, expressed disappointment for the difficult circumstances, but in a speech, Mehmed told the Grand Vizier, "Go, you are not worthy of being grand vizier; give back the seal of the State. And you," he added, handing the seal to Kara Murat Pasha, the Agha of the Janissaries, “take it; I will see what you can do.” Then, the grand judge Abdülaziz Efendi, an ally of the former Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha, turned to the sultan and asked, “Dear child, who taught you that, at your age?” This insolence directed at the Kösem made her anger boil over and broke her silence and cited the former Grand Vizier's shortcomings, including his alleged plans to assassinate her, to which she commented, "When the sultan orders something from his slaves, is it respectful," she exclaimed:

"When certain imperial commands have been issued, they have said [to the sultan], ‘my dear, who taught you to say these things?' Such patronizing behavior towards sultans is impermissible! And what if the sultan is instructed? It is the voice of the world that taught him. The children themselves know our misfortunes and speak out against your iniquities, in spite of all the treasures you have extorted and lavished you have obtained. You want to kill me, but you haven’t done so yet. I know, because my position bothers you. Thanks to God, I have lived through four reigns and I have governed myself for a long while. The world will be neither reformed nor destroyed by my death. Sometimes they want to kill me, sometimes they want to enslave the sultan; but the time has come to choose between you and him."[98][32][101]

In Naima's words, Abdülaziz Efendi "drowned in the sea of mortification.”[102] Kösem gave the newly placed Grand Vizier Kara Murat Pasha orders to have Sofu Mehmed Pasha and his allies executed. Abdülaziz Efendi managed to get away from the ordeal by fleeing.[32][103]

Financial Quandaries[edit]
An Ottoman miniature depicting Kösem Sultan, 1650

In 1650, new protests by Constantinople's merchants erupted. The empire's treasury was once again empty, and traders were obliged to accept faulty coins in exchange for good ones in order to pay the Janissaries. They retaliated by closing their shops, taking to the streets, and rising in revolt, demanding the dismissal of Grand Vizier Kara Murat Pasha, the former commander of the Janissary corps, as well as the execution of Janissary commanders. A large gathering of 15,000 artisans and merchants marched to Shaykh al-Islām Karaçelebizade's residence. They wept and ripped their garments, lamenting the fact that their protests had gone unheard, that they had been subjected to harmful innovations such as monthly heavy taxes, and that they feared debtor's prison.[104] The Shaykh al-Islām sympathized with their plight and intended to convey news to the Sultan to "cancel evil innovations," but he was encircled and forced to accompany them to the palace. To give them credibility, they put the reluctant Shaykh al-Islām in the forefront on horseback.[105] The Hippodrome was packed with a throng of 20,000 men. They entered the Hagia Sophia compound with the hope of meeting the sultan in the historic house of worship, but were instead allowed to enter the palace. They marched as far as the Gate of Felicity, passing through its grounds, to voice their grievances.[106] Kösem arrived in an uproar, angrily asking, “Why did you not turn back these people, instead bringing them to the palace?” The Shaykh al-Islām claimed, “We did not bring them, they brought us.”[107]

When the sultan heard the merchants' protests, he inquired as to what was causing the uproar. Mehmed advised the Shaykh al-Islām to come back the next day when they submitted their grievances to him, but they responded, “We will not take a step backward until we receive what we deserve.” Moreover, “in Constantinople there are five sultans. We cannot take their oppression.”[108] The sultan then requested to meet Grand Vizier Kara Murat Pasha, but Melek Ahmed Pasha preferred that he return his seal of office rather than appear in front of him. Kösem stated that the room where they were meeting was claustrophobic, so she stepped outside to the great pool and gave Melek Ahmed Pasha the seal of office.[109][110]

The city was put under curfew, and the square was filled with soldiers and the scent of gunpowder. Those who ventured to step outdoors were apprehended and executed by armed Janissaries stationed at road exits. As a result, commoners gave up trying to express their difficulties to the sultan, fearing that the Janissaries would prevent them from gathering and approaching the palace again.[111] The Shaykh al-Islām Karaçelebizade did not remain long in office, either. He claimed that Kösem, the harem eunuchs and the Janissaries, he alleged, were all against him, especially when he was seen leading a revolt.[112][113]

Plot to depose Mehmed IV[edit]

Dervish Abdullah Efendi, a late 17th century author, claims that the Chief Black Eunuch, Uzun ("Tall") Süleyman Agha, deliberately turned both Kösem and her daughter-in-law, Turhan, against each other:

“A black eunuch called Uzun Süleyman [said to Kösem], "My lady, the Junior Mother [Turhan] covets your wealth. You should guard yourself well, because she is determined to kill you one night. I have experienced your kindness previously, and for this reason, I have told you," and he began to cry. When [Kösem] asked, "What is the remedy for this?" this black hypocrite answered, "We have all agreed to depose Sultan Mehmed and enthrone Sultan Süleyman [II]. They are both your sons [in fact, her grandsons]. This treachery must be stopped immediately."

He then went to Turhan and, similarly weeping, told her, "Soon they are going to kill all your black eunuchs and imprison you, for I have learned that the Senior Mother's eunuchs have agreed to depose Sultan Mehmed and enthrone Sultan Süleyman."[114][115] Abdullah Efendi then goes on by stating that his intention to create a feud between the two women is unknown. Although, it is known that Kösem, while in power from the very start, had warned the harem eunuchs not to interfere in state affairs, and Süleyman Agha was possibly a eunuch ambitious for power.[116]

Turhan, in her struggle to become the rightful Valide Sultan and regent for her underage son, was supported by Süleyman Agha, the Chief Black Eunuch in her household, and the incumbent Grand Vizier Siyavuş Pasha, while Kösem was supported by the Janissary corps, especially Şahin Agha, the Agha of the Janissaries since 1649, to whom she communicated the plot.[117] Although Kösem's position as Valide Sultan and regent was seen as the best for the government, the people resented the influence of the Janissaries on the government.[3]

According to Naima, Kösem planned to dethrone Mehmed and replace him with his younger brother, Suleiman. According to one historian, this switching had more to do with replacing an ambitious daughter-in-law with one who was more easily controlled. Kösem secretly asked the palace guards to leave the palace gates open so that Janissaries could sneak in and kill Turhan in her chambers. Additionally, Kösem gave two bottles of poisoned sherbet to Uveys Agha, the head helva (sweets) maker in the palace kitchen, to serve to the child sultan. She promised Uveys Agha a promotion if he succeeded in poisoning the sultan. The day before enacting the plan, however, one of Kösem's slaves, Meleki Hatun, betrayed her and revealed the plot to Turhan and the plan failed.[3][32]


Büyük Valide Han was constructed by Kösem Sultan in 1651, this Ottoman building accommodated thousands of traveling merchants for more than 350 years.

While Kösem may not be remembered for the number of charitable structures she endowed, her philanthropic career is notable for the number of charitable acts she undertook. She made charities and donations both for people and ruling class in the state; she would leave the palace in disguise every year in the Islamic month of Rajab to personally arrange for the release of imprisoned debtors and other offenders (excluding murderers) by paying their debts or recompense for their crimes.[118] She was well known for seeking out poor orphan girls and endowing them with a mahr, a home and furnishings; and women of all religious persuasions, across both Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire, bequeathed money to provide dowries for poor women, including special funds for noble girls whose families had come down in the world.[119] She did not rely on her administrators for the distribution of her benefits, and she went herself to the hospitals and prisons to seek out the sufferings and misfortunes that had a right to her pity.[32][120] She also paid visits to schools, mosques and even churches to boost her popularity.[121] According to Naima, “She would free her slave women after two or three years of service, and would arrange marriages with retired officers of the court or suitable persons from outside, giving the women dowries and jewels and several purses of money according to their talents and station, and ensuring that their husbands had suitable positions. She looked after these former slaves by giving them an annual stipend, and on the religious festivals and holy days she would give them purses of money.”[20][122] Her pages, who had to put up with the eunuchs' arrogance and assaults and were entrusted with guarding her apartment, only worked five days a week and were given two days off to rest as a reward. She had Çinili Mosque (tr) and a school near it constructed in Üsküdar in 1640 and spent a lot of money on it to make it an architectural masterpiece, as well as allocating a lot of porcelain and porcelain to decorate it. She also had the small mosques and fountain of the Valide madrasa of Anadolu Kavağı, fountain in Yenikapı, Valide Han mosques, fountains in Beşiktaş and Eyüp. It is also known that she had also laid fountains built outside the capital.[123]

Kösem established a foundation to meet the needs of pilgrims in need of water, to assist the poor in Haremeyn, and to have the Quran read in this place. She funded the construction of Büyük Valide Han in Constantinople, which served a variety of purposes, including providing accommodation for foreign traders, storing goods or merchandise, housing artisan workshops, and providing offices from which to conduct business. She financed irrigation works in Egypt and set aside cash from a solemn pause indicated in a waqf dated 1640, where many funds were stopped to spend on the needy and the poor who reside on the way to Mecca, as well as numerous funds sent to Mecca and Medina every Hajj season to distribute to the destitute there. She fed all of Constantinople's starving people at soup kitchens she established, in addition, people referred to her as the 'hand of deus ex machina'.[124]


Kösem’s great financial wealth remains a controversial topic. She accumulated a massive fortune through tax farming, owning and leasing commercial buildings, and investing extensively in diverse economic activities.[125] In his memoirs, Karaçelebizade Abdülaziz Efendi, a prominent member of the ulama, described a meeting of the imperial council in which the subject of crown lands held by royal women was being discussed. When it was reported that the Kösem held lands whose annual income was three hundred thousand kuruş, Karaçelebizade protested, “A Valide with so much land is unheard of!” Those who disagreed with him, he contended, did so only because of personal enmity toward him or because they were recipients of the Valide Sultan's largesse. Even such seemingly commendable deeds as charitable acts could be criticized. The historian Şarih ül-Menarzade argued that Kösem’s extensive charities were misconceived since they were financed from her immense personal fortune; he viewed the wealth she had accrued as an abuse of the empire’s fiscal management, especially harmful at a time when the treasury was in severe straits, the peasantry impoverished, and the soldiers unpaid. A century later, however, the historian Naima defended Kösem from the criticisms of Şarih and others. On the subject of her charities, Naima commented that, had her substantial fortune remained in the general treasury, it might well have been squandered rather than spent for the benefit of the populace, as it was through her efforts.[126]

In keeping with the Ottoman tendency to blame the subordinates of prominent individuals for their faults, critics of Kösem recorded the depredations of her “violent tax collectors,” who, in an effort to increase their own take, were responsible for her huge hass income. Naima relayed the comment of the historian Şarih ül-Menarzade, who disapproved of Kösem’s power and wealth: “The valide sultan’s stewards... collected incalculable amounts of money. The peasants of the Ottoman domains suffered much violence and disaster on account of the excessive taxes, but because of their fear of the stewards, they were unable to inform the valide sultan or anyone else of their situation.”[127] She had a number of properties in Constantinople, including the Büyük Valide Han, as well as farms in Cyprus, Rumelia and a few other locations in Anatolia. She also controlled the entire revenue of Volos, a Greek port city. With her fortune, she purchased a lot of land and frequently operated her ships out of Alexandria and Cairo.[128]

After her death in 1651, it was reported that twenty boxes loaded with gold coins were discovered in the Büyük Valide Han that she had built a year earlier. The cash fortune that were discovered could be transformed into profit. For example, in 1664, the profit on cash investments accounted for nearly two-thirds of the revenue of the endowment established for Safiye Sultan's Karamanlu mosque. In addition to directly endowing funds, the valide sultans are likely to have utilized their funds to acquire the above-mentioned urban assets. In fact, her riches and business transactions were so broad that her many agents might become very wealthy and enjoy popular esteem. When recording in his history the death of Kösem's steward, Koja Behram, Naima commented, “The afore-mentioned Behram Kethiida enjoyed great prestige and distinction and wealth. As the manager of all the affairs of the valide sultan and the pious institutions she had established, and as an extremely trustworthy man, he acquired a great deal of wealth and property. But his children and his grandchildren did not maintain the high stature he had enjoyed, and his wealth and property were squandered.”[127] Her wealth was so vast and diffused in so many different enterprises that, according to Naima, it took fifty years for the state treasury to confiscate it all.[129]


Murder of Kösem Sultan (engraving by Paul Rycaut, 1694)

On 2 September 1651, a large group of Turhan's followers, consisting of over 120 armed eunuchs led by Süleyman Agha, the Chief Black Eunuch of Imperial Harem, first headed to the apartment of Kösem’s chief private guard and the master of the privy chamber (has odabaşı).[32][130] When they arrived, they demanded an audience with him. However, he refused to do so. As a response, Süleyman Agha ordered his arrest and he was presented to Mehmed. The has odabaşı (master of the privy chamber) spoke up for Kösem in the meeting room, saying, “What have you to do with the Valide Sultan? Are you worthy to open your mouths against her serene Name?,” Süleyman Agha then had his head split apart with an axe and his blood was splattered across the plush carpets in front of the child sultan.[131] Kösem was accused of being the instigator in the meeting room, and the sultan's supporters urged that she should be executed. It was decided to supplicate the sultan for his consent after significant thought and debate with the other chief ministers. The sultan’s Grand Signor said the following words to the sultan, “Sir, The will of God is, that you consign your Grand-Mother into the hands of Justice, if you would have these Mutinies appeased; a little mischief is better than a great one; there is no other Remedy; God willing, the end shall be prosperous.” The sultan then summoned a mufti, who wrote a sentence, which was, according to Rycaut, that the ‘Old Queen’ should be strangled, “but neither cut with a sword nor bruised with blows,” both the sultan and his Grand Signior signed the death warrant.[132]

The unhappy Sultana offered in vain to the one who had discovered her a handkerchief filled with sequins (engraving by Antoine-Laurent Castellan, 1812)

Süleyman Agha and the armed men then headed to Kösem’s apartment, which was guarded by over three hundred armed Janissaries and eunuchs. However, Süleyman Agha and his men managed to swiftly kill all the guards on their way. Kösem, hoping the Janissaries were on their way to escort her to the divan and install Suleiman as sultan, whispered from within her apartment, ‘Have they come?’ 'Yes, they have come,’ Süleyman Ağa answered, hoping to deceive her. ‘Only come out.’ Kösem, on the other hand, recognized his voice and fled. Süleyman Agha and his men burst into her apartment, killing the eunuchs who were guarding her.[32][133] The only person they found inside the apartment was an old woman who served as Kösem's buffoon. The woman was armed with a pistol, which she pointed at them while they questioned her about the whereabouts of Kösem. The woman replied, ‘I am the Valide Sultan,’ but the eunuchs cried, ‘It is not she’ and thrust her aside.[134]

Kösem fled from her apartment down the corridors of the saray, along the Golden Way and through the Court of the Black Eunuchs to the Dome with Closets, probably hoping to get out through the Carriage Gate. The gate was closed, so she attempted to hide in a cupboard in the wall of a staircase in her apartment.[135] The apartment's doors were broken down and the cabinets were smashed after Süleyman’s arrival in a violent search for Kösem by his men. Unfortunately for Kösem, a piece of dress protruding under the cabinet door betrayed her to a halberdier. One of her assailants, Kucuk Mehmed Agha, found her and dragged her out by her long braids and started beating her. She tried to bribe the pages, but they robbed her of her garments, as well as her rings, bracelets, garters, and other valuables. According to Rycaut, they also tore both of her earrings, which were two chestnut-sized diamonds cut angularly with a ruby beneath each diamond. Ahmed, her late husband, gave her those earrings as a present, and their estimated worth was equivalent to Egypt's annual income. They were crafted by the empire's finest accomplished jewelers.[136]

Drama in a Harem (by Stanisław Chlebowski, 1870)

Süleyman Agha then had Kösem dragged by her feet to the gateway leading from the harem into the Third Court, where he ordered his men to kill her. There were four of them that strangled her, all of whom were young and inexperienced assassins. They worked tirelessly to strangle her with a piece of cord that Süleyman Agha tore off the curtains, while the others drew the cord, one assassin got on her back and pitched her neck with his hands. The assassin came to a halt when Kösem bit the thumb of his left hand so severely. The assassin then struck her in her forehead, perhaps causing her to fall unconscious. Then, assuming she was dead, they screamed out, ‘She is dead, she is dead!’ and went to notify the sultan. She then unexpectedly lifted herself up, most likely hoping to escape through a secret passageway. When it was discovered that she had gone away, the executioners were summoned again, and she was caught.[137] According to Rycaut, the assassins then applied the curtain cord for the second time, while the Ottoman renegade Bobovi, relying on an informant in the harem, stated that Kösem was in fact strangled with her own hair.[138] Nonetheless, she is said to have struggled so much that blood spurted out of her ears and nose and soiled the murderer's clothes.[134][139]

A total 2315 deaths were recorded. In the Topkapi Palace Museum Archive, all deaths were documented in a notebook collecting the muhallefats of members of the palace who died on the same day.[140]

Kösem's body was taken from Topkapi to the Old Palace (Eski Sarayı). Rycaut describes the funeral of Kösem, whom he refers to as the ‘Queen’, “The Black Eunuchs immediately took up the Corpse, and in a reverent manner laid it stretched forth in the Royal Mosch; which about 400 of the Queens Slaves encompassing round about with howlings and lamentations, tearing the hair from their heads after their barbarous fashion, moved compassion in all the Court.”[141] She was buried in the mausoleum of her husband Ahmed I without a ceremony.[142][143] Her slaves were also taken to the Old Palace and eventually married off to suitable Muslims with money taken from her estate. The central treasury confiscated her entire wealth: her vast estates and tax farms in Anatolia and Rumelia and other places, her jewelry, precious stones, and twenty boxes of loaded with gold coins that she had hidden in the Büyük Valide Han near the Grand Bazaar in Constantinople.[144]


Hours after her assassination, the Grand Vizier Siyavuş Pasha ordered the sacred standard of the Prophet Mohammed to be taken from the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle and displayed above the main gate of Topkapı Palace, this flag was usually taken out at the start of imperial campaigns against Christian or Shi‘i powers. To implement a general levy of all able-bodied men for public defense, criers ran through the streets of Constantinople shouting, “Whoever is a Muslim, let him rally around the banner of the religion. Those who do not come are rendered infidels and they are divorced from their [Muslim] wives.”[145][146] When Şahin Agha, the Agha of the Janissaries, mounted his horse, he urged his troops to avenge Kösem's murder, saying, "We only want the Valide's expiation!" "Are you then the heir, the son, or the husband of the Valide?" a voice said in response to these statements. The long silence with which this daring apostrophe was met confirmed that the Janissaries did not agree of their commander’s intentions. Şahin Agha would later be abandoned by his followers, after which he and the other rebel leaders were hunted down and executed.[32][147]

When news of Kösem's death became public the next day, the people of Constantinople spontaneously observed three days of mourning. Beginning the following day, the city's mosques and markets were closed for three days. By this time, a huge crowd had gathered by the gates of Topkapı Palace, the sultan summoned his statesmen to the audience. Fired up, the crowd blamed the Janissaries for Kösem's murder and swore to avenge it.[148] In Topkapı Palace, it started a tradition of lighting candles “for her soul” every night, and this tradition continued until the palace was closed.[149]

The assassination of Kösem sparked a political uproar and a wave of retaliation: The first phase involved the execution of Kösem's Janissary supporters, most notably, Şahin Agha. In the second phase, public outrage over the purge prompted Turhan's new administration to dismiss the Grand Vizier Abaza Pasha who had carried out the executions.[150]

Kaya Sultan, Murad IV's daughter and Kösem's paternal granddaughter, condemned the Grand Vizier Siyavuş Pasha's apparent role in Kösem's assassination:

“You tyrant Siyavuş! You murdered my grandmother, your lord Murad's mother. Aren't you and my kinsmen? […] By the soul of my grandfather [Sultan Ahmed I] I will curse you, and you will get no pleasure from this seal."[151]

Contemporary Ottoman chroniclers did not welcome the news of Kösem’s assassination and recorded it as an injustice committed against a woman of great accomplishments and stature, and as a harbinger of greater social disorder.[152] Evliya Çelebi, a famous Ottoman traveler, writer, and admirer of Kösem, described the regicide, “The mother of the world, wife of Sultan Ahmed (I); Murad (IV), and Ibrahim; the Grand Kösem Valide—was strangled by the Chief Black Eunuch Div Süleyman Agha. He did it by twisting her braids around her neck. So that gracious benefactress was martyred. When the Istanbul populace heard of this they closed the mosques and the bazaars for three days and nights. There was a huge commotion. Several hundred people were put to death, secretly and publicly, and Istanbul was in a tumult."[153] While lauding her charity, Naima also criticizes Kösem for her “greed” and political interference. With respect to the factors leading up to the political crisis that resulted in her murder, he states, "It was divine wisdom that the respected valide, philanthropic and regal as she was, was martyred for the sake of those unjust oppressions.”[154] Clearly, Naima felt some regret over the tragic regicide, but he also blamed it on the corrupt Janissary aghas and officials who enjoyed her patronage. In other words, he might have implicitly supported the decision of Sultan Mehmed IV to order the murder of Kösem and the punishment of her political faction."[155] Dervish Abdullah Efendi, a late 17th century author, recalled, "Those black infidel eunuchs martyred the Senior Mother [Kösem], Mother of the Believers"—a term ordinarily reserved for the wives of the Prophet Muhammad—"and plundered most of her jewels."[114]

Bostancı Ali, of Albanian descent, was one of Kösem’s assassins that stole her earrings by squashing her ears. The two earrings were, as described by Rycaut, “two diamond of the bigness of chestnuts and beneath each diamond was a ruby,” furthermore, he wrote that it was given as a gift by Ahmed and that its estimated value was about the annual income of Egypt. Bostancı Ali subsequently expressed guilt for his part in her murder and decided to return the earrings to Topkapı Palace.[156]


Despite her notoriety as a woman who does not know mercy or compassion for the sake of government and power, Kösem was known among the Ottoman state's citizens for her charitable work, which served as a kind of self-cleansing or false reconciliation, but in any case succeeded in stabilizing the mental image that she desired.

Among westerners: Michel Baudier, a contemporary writer, presents her as a woman politician "enjoying prestigious authority." Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, another contemporary merchant and traveler, described her as "a woman very wise and well-versed in state affairs.”[157] Both Alphonse de Lamartine and Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall praised her for her charitable works.[120]

In the introduction to the English translation of the novel Histoire d'Osman premier du nom, XIXe empereur des Turcs, et de l'impératrice Aphendina Ashada, by Madame de Gomez in 1736, describing the life of Osman II, John William states that Kösem was "one of the most active in politics and enterprising women of her time, which she achieved by insidious intrigues from ambitious motives.”[158]

The chronogram that appears on the gate of the Çinili mosque's courtyard reads:

“Mother of Sultan Ibrahim Khan, her Majesty of the Sultana, the most munificent mother of the sultan: She constructed this divine edifice as an act of charity. Lo, let it be a house of prayer for the servants of God! May they be summoned to God's mercy at the five times [of prayer]! May it be a halting place for worshippers and ascetics! She built a school, fountain, bath and fountain, for which let God grant her favor and benevolence! Philanthropists and those who worship in it, O God, take them into the eternal Paradises! The charitable work of the sultan's mother was completed in [the Islamic year] one thousand fifty [1640-41].”


Kösem Sultan's sons who were Sultans of the Ottoman Empire. Left: Murad IV (ca. 1612–1640) Right: Ibrahim (ca. 1615–1648)

Kösem's sons were:

  • Murad IV[159][160] (26/27 July 1612 – 8 February 1640), sultan from 20 January 1623 until his death
  • Şehzade Süleyman (tr)[159][5] (1613 – murdered 27 July 1635).
  • Şehzade Kasım (tr)[159][160] (early 1614 – 17 February 1638), heir apparent since 1635
  • Ibrahim[159][160] (5 November 1615 – 18 August 1648), sultan from 9 February 1640 until 12 August 1648

Kösem's daughters were:[159][160]

In popular culture[edit]


See also[edit]


  • Mansel, Philip (1995). Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453–1924. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0719550769.
  • Imber, Colin (2009), "The Ottoman Empire"; New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Peirce, Leslie P. (1993), The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195086775
  • Tezcan, Baki (2007). "The Debut of Kösem Sultan's Political Career". Turcica. Éditions Klincksieck. 39–40.
  • Lucienne Thys-Senocak, Ottoman Women Builders (Aldershot: Ashgate 2006).
  • Piterberg, Gabriel (2003). An Ottoman Tragedy: History and Historiography at Play. California: University of California Press. p. 271. ISBN 0-520-23836-2.
  • Kohen, Elli (2006). History of the Turkish Jews and Sephardim: Memories of a Past Golden Age. Maryland: University Press of America.


  1. ^ The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. 1993. p. 264.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Baysun, M. Cavid, s.v. "Kösem Walide or Kösem Sultan" in The Encyclopaedia of Islam vol. V (1986), Brill, p. 272
  3. ^ a b c Peirce 1993, p. 252.
  4. ^ Douglas Arthur Howard, The official History of Turkey, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-30708-3, p. 195
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Peirce 1993, p. 105.
  6. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 105: While Hurrem was the woman of the Ottoman dynasty best known in Europe, it is Kösem who is remembered by the Turks as the most powerful}}
  7. ^ Dankoff, The Intimate Life of an Ottoman Statesman, 89.
  8. ^ Necdet Sakaoğlu (2007). Famous Ottoman women. Avea. p. 129.
  9. ^ Finkel, Caroline (2005). Osman's Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1923. New York: Basic Books. p. 197. ISBN 978-0-465-02396-7.
  10. ^ A.H. de Groot (1993). s.v. Murad IV in The Encyclopaedia of Islam vol. VII. Brill. p. 597. ISBN 90-04-07026-5. Kosem [qv] Mahpeyker, a woman of Greek origin (Anastasia, 1585–1651)
  11. ^ Hogan, Christine (2006). The Veiled Lands: A Woman's Journey Into the Heart of the Islamic World. Macmillan Publishers Aus. p. 74. ISBN 9781405037013.
  12. ^ Amila Buturović; İrvin Cemil Schick (2007). Women in the Ottoman Balkans: gender, culture and history. I.B.Tauris. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-84511-505-0. Kösem, who was of Greek origin. Orphaned very young, she found herself at the age of fifteen in the harem of Sultan Ahmed I.
  13. ^ Redhouse Turkish/Ottoman-English Dictionary (14th ed.). SEV Matbaacılık ve Yayıncılık A.Ş. 1997. p. 722. ISBN 978-975-8176-11-3.
  14. ^ a b Davis, Fanny (1970). The Palace of Topkapi in Istanbul. Scribner. pp. 227–228. OCLC 636864790. Kosem was said to have been the daughter of a Greek priest of one of the Aegean islands, probably captured during one of the Ottoman-Venetian maritime campaigns. Her name was Anastasia but was changed after her conversion, no doubt on her admission to the palace, to Mâh-Peyker (Moon-Shaped), and later by Sultan Ahmet to Kosem
  15. ^ Freely 2019, p. 212-213.
  16. ^ Rank 2020, p. 3, ch 4: Placed into the harem's rigorous education system, she and other inductees learned the disciplines of the palace. She took lessons in theology, mathematics, embroidery, music, and literature.
  17. ^ Kadınlar Saltanatı III,14; Samur Devri:27-28
  18. ^ Redhouse Turkish/Ottoman-English Dictionary (14th ed.). SEV Matbaacılık ve Yayıncılık A.Ş. 1997. p. 722. ISBN 978-975-8176-11-3.
  19. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 129.
  20. ^ a b c d e Peirce 1993, p. 233.
  21. ^ Relazioni di ambascitori veneti al Senato..., op. cit., s. 22, 649.
  22. ^ [L]a Bas Cadin, principalissima favorita del Gran Signore, e madre del secondogenito di Sua Maesta the chiaman ora regina; "BAROZZI and BERCHET, eds., Le relazioni degli stati europei: Turchia, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 132 [FIRPo, ed., Relazioni : Constantinopoli,op. cit., p. 480] ; see also PEIRCE, The Imperial Harem, op. cit., p. 233.
  23. ^ Ibid., pp. 158, 172-178, 188, 201 and in passim.
  24. ^ a b Freely 2000, p. 108.
  25. ^ a b Piterberg 2003, p. 18.
  26. ^ For Nasuh Pasha’s life and career, see Mehmed bin Mehmed, Tarîh, pp. 40-42; and Tezcan, “Searching for Osman,” pp. 97-98, 120-123, 214-215, and passim. Tezcan (p. 121) also notes that when Nasuh Pasha wanted to get rid of one of his chief rivals, the Mufti Hocazade Mehmed Efendi, the mufti asked the sultan to execute his grand vizier. This is a plausible explanation given that Ahmed previously took his decision to execute Derviş Pasha upon Sunullah Efendi’s encouragement. These two examples point to the great influence of the mufti.
  27. ^ DELLA VALLE, Reiss-Beschreibung, op. cit., p. 33.; see TEZCAN, "Searching for Osman", op. cit., p. 334, n. 58.
  28. ^ a b Peirce 1993, p. 106.
  29. ^ Piterberg 2003, p. 14.
  30. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 99.
  31. ^ Kia 2017, p. 76.
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Living in the Ottoman Realm: Empire and Identity, 13th to 20th Centuries, pp. 199-201
  33. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 128.
  34. ^ Freely, John 1998, p. 24.
  35. ^ Tezcan 2007, p. 350.
  36. ^ a b c d e Mansel 1995, p. 200.
  37. ^ Leslie P. Peirce, Kösem Sultan: İktidar Hırs ve Entrika. 2015.
  38. ^ a b Peirce 1993, p. 235.
  39. ^ History's 9 Most Insane Rulers, Scott Rank. 2016. p. 80
  40. ^ a b c Peirce 1993, p. 223.
  41. ^ Kohen 2006, p. 131.
  42. ^ Quataert 2000, p. 33.
  43. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 250.
  44. ^ In addition to Koçi Bey’s Risale, the works written for Murad included Aziz Efendi’s Kanunname-i Sultanî and the head chancellor Avni Ömer Efendi’s Kanun-i Osmanî M efhum-i Defter-i Hakanî. The work presented to Osman II was Kitab-i M üstetab. These works have been edited by, respectively, R. Murphey, İ. FI. UzunçarSili. and Y. Yücel.
  45. ^ Cited in Hammer, Histoire, 7:320, n. 1.
  46. ^ The Negotiations of Thomas Roe in his Embassy to the Ottoman Empire from the year 1621 to the year 1628
  47. ^ Carr, K.E. The Mughal Empire – History of India. Quatr.us Study Guides, July 19, 2017. Web. January 11, 2022.
  48. ^ Sungarso 2021, p. 111.
  49. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 145.
  50. ^ The Janissaries were the elite infantry troops under the sultan’s control.
  51. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 243.
  52. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 244-245.
  53. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 245.
  54. ^ Mansel 1995, pp. 200–201.
  55. ^ Piterberg 2003, p. 26, Murad’s succession.
  56. ^ Ibid.. 22, Baysun. Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed., s.v. "Kosem Sultan," 5:272.
  57. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 241.
  58. ^ Ibidem, s. 298.
  59. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 193.
  60. ^ Peirce 1993, pp. 259.
  61. ^ Barozzi and Berchet, Le Relazioni, 1:374.
  62. ^ Joseph von Hammer: Osmanlı Tarihi cilt II (condensation: Abdülkadir Karahan), Milliyet yayınları, İstanbul. p 231
  63. ^ Pohl, N. (2006).Women, Space, Utopia, 1600-1800. Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Company, p. 141.
  64. ^ Janda, Setareh (10 January 2020). "Facts About Ibrahim I, The Man Who Lived In A Cage". Ranker.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  65. ^ a b Rycaut, Paul 1694, p. 492.
  66. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 249.
  67. ^ Fanny 1970, p. 228.
  68. ^ a b Börekçi, Günhan. "Ibrahim I." Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. Ed. Gábor Ágoston and Bruce Masters. New York: Facts on File, 2009. p. 263
  69. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 215.
  70. ^ Şefika, Şule. “Women Leaders in Chaotic Environments”. 2016. P. 81
  71. ^ Freely, John 1998, p. 26.
  72. ^ Argit 2020, p. 82.
  73. ^ Tibballs 2005.
  74. ^ Rycaut, Paul 1694, p. 493.
  75. ^ Mansel, 1995 & ch. 4.
  76. ^ a b Fanny 1970, p. 229.
  77. ^ a b Rank, Scott. History's 9 Most Insane Rulers p.76
  78. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 258.
  79. ^ a b Peirce 1993, p. 263.
  80. ^ Rycaut, Paul 1694, p. 495.
  81. ^ Thys-Senocak 2006, p. 25-26.
  82. ^ Thys-Senocak, p. 26
  83. ^ Quioted in Thys-Senocak, p. 26
  84. ^ Shepard, Edward. History of the Ottoman Turks: from the beginning of their empire, p. 17
  85. ^ Baer 2007, p. 36.
  86. ^ Kohen, Eli. History of the Turkish Jews and Sephardim: Memories of a Past Golden Age. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2007. Page 142.
  87. ^ a b Mansel 1995, p. 201.
  88. ^ Morgan, Robert (21 September 2016). History of the Coptic Orthodox People and the Church of Egypt. FriesenPress. ISBN 9781460280270.
  89. ^ The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1650: The Structure of Power by Colin Imber, p. 69
  90. ^ Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire p.55-103
  91. ^ Living in the Ottoman Realm: Empire and Identity, 13th to 20th Centuries P.21
  92. ^ Fanny 1970, p. 71.
  93. ^ The Secret World Of The Islamic Empire's Harem | The Hidden World Of The Harem | Parable, 2003
  94. ^ Thys-Senocak, p. 17
  95. ^ Honored by the Glory of Islam: Conversion and Conquest in Ottoman Europe, p. 35
  96. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 143.
  97. ^ Rycaut, Paul. “The Present State of the Ottoman Empire”, p.13
  98. ^ a b Peirce 1993, p. 251.
  99. ^ Kosem Sultan, Ottoman Sultana. Britannica. Adam Zeidan. 2016.
  100. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 284.
  101. ^ Hammer-Purgstall, Joseph von. “Histoire de l'Empire ottoman, depuis son origine jusqu'à nos jours. Volume 1.” 1835-1843. pp. 204-205
  102. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 251-252.
  103. ^ Hammer-Purgstall, Joseph von. “Histoire de l'Empire ottoman, depuis son origine jusqu'à nos jours. Volume 1.” 1835-1843. pp. 205
  104. ^ Evliya Çelebi, Seyahatname, quoted in Dankoff, An Ottoman Mentality, 70, 71.
  105. ^ Naima, Tarih-i Naima, 5:54–59.
  106. ^ The original title is Mizanü’l-hakk. See The Balance of Truth, by Katip Chelebi, translated with an introduction and notes by G. L. Lewis, Ethical and Religious Classics of East and West, no. 19 (London: Allen and Unwin, 1957); M. Tayyib Gökbilgin, “Katip Çelebi, Interprète et rénovateur des traditions religieuses au XVIIe siècle,” Turcica 3 (1971): 71–79.
  107. ^ Baer 2007, p. 49.
  108. ^ Ibid.; Vecihi Hasan Çelebi, Tarih-i Vecihi, fols. 85a–87a; Silahdar, Tarih-i Silahdar, 1:59.
  109. ^ Ahmed Dede, Jami’ al-Duwal, fol. 776b.
  110. ^ Baer 2007, p. 49-50.
  111. ^ Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire, 184–85.
  112. ^ Ahmed Yaşar Ocak, “Religion,” in İhsanoğlu, History of the Ottoman State, Society and Civilisation, 1:177–238, 234–35.
  113. ^ Baer 2007, p. 50.
  114. ^ a b Isom-Verhaaren 2016, p. 229.
  115. ^ Ibid,. fols. 61a-62b.
  116. ^ Argit 2012, p. 82.
  117. ^ Freely 2000, p. 156.
  118. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 209.
  119. ^ Hunt 2010, p. 318.
  120. ^ a b Hammer-Purgstall, Joseph von. “Histoire de l'Empire ottoman, depuis son origine jusqu'à nos jours. Tome 11 / par J.” 1835-1843. pp. 286
  121. ^ Stern, Bernhard 1934, p. 125.
  122. ^ Naima, Tarih, 5:113.
  123. ^ Şefika Şule Erçetin (28 November 2016). Women Leaders in Chaotic Environments:Examinations of Leadership Using Complexity Theory. Springer. p. 83. ISBN 978-3-319-44758-2.
  124. ^ İbrahim Alaeddin Gövsa / Türk Meşhurları (1946), Ana Britanica Ansiklopedisi (13. cilt, 1986), Büyük Larousse Ansiklopedisi (12. cilt, s. 7064, 1986), M. Çağatay Uluçay / Padişahların Kadınları ve Kızları (1992), Mücteba İlgürel / Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslam Ansiklopedisi (26. cilt, s. 273-275, 2002), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Kadınlar (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 6, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey's Famous People. {{cite book}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  125. ^ Isom-Verhaaren 2016, p. 199.
  126. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 248.
  127. ^ a b Peirce 1993, p. 216.
  128. ^ Kumrular, a.g.e., s. 296.
  129. ^ Isom-Verhaaren 2016, p. 201.
  130. ^ Hammer-Purgstall, Joseph von. “Histoire de l'Empire ottoman, depuis son origine jusqu'à nos jours. Tome 11 / par J.” 1835-1843. pp. 271
  131. ^ Rycaut, Paul. “The present state of the Ottoman Empire” p.18
  132. ^ Kalmar 2012, p. 97.
  133. ^ Hammer-Purgstall, Joseph von. “Histoire de l'Empire ottoman, depuis son origine jusqu'à nos jours. Tome 11 / par J.” 1835-1843. pp. 280
  134. ^ a b Inside the Seraglio: Private Lives of the Sultans in Istanbul, John Freely. ch. 10
  135. ^ Fanny 1970, p. 230.
  136. ^ Rycaut, Paul. “The Present State of the Ottoman Empire”, p.20
  137. ^ Rycaut, Paul. “The Present State of the Ottoman Empire”, p.21
  138. ^ Thys-Senocak, p. 28
  139. ^ Rycaut, Paul. “The present state of the Ottoman Empire” p.18
  140. ^ Devrin hemen tüm kaynakları Kösem Sultan'ın dairesine girmek isteyenlere engel olmaya çalışan Hasoda-başı ile sarayın kapılarını açık bıraktırdığı için Bostancı-başının öldürüldüğünü yazsa da, bu kişilerin isimlerini sadece Abdurrahman Abdi Paşa zikretmektedir. Bkz. Abdurrahman Abdi Paşa Vekâyi‘-nâmesi [Osmanlı Tarihi (1648-1682)], haz. Fahri Ç. Derin, İstanbul 2008, s. 40.
  141. ^ John Freely, Inside the Seraglio, p. 158
  142. ^ Singh, Nagendra Kr (2000). International encyclopaedia of Islamic dynasties. Anmol Publications PVT. p. 425. ISBN 81-261-0403-1. Kosem Walide…Her body was taken from Topkapi to the Eski Saray and then buried in the mausoleum of her husband Ahmad I.
  143. ^ Freely & 2000 158.
  144. ^ Naima, Tarih-i Naima, 5:113.
  145. ^ Baer 2007, p. 47.
  146. ^ Nihadi, Tarih-i Nihadi, fol. 158b.
  147. ^ Hammer-Purgstall, Joseph von. “Histoire de l'Empire ottoman, depuis son origine jusqu'à nos jours. Tome 11 / par J.” 1835-1843. pp. 282
  148. ^ Mansel 1995, p. 202.
  149. ^ Necdet Sakaoğlu (2007). Famous Ottoman women. Avea. p. 136. It was a tradition to light candles for her soul at nights, and this tradition continued until the Topkapi Palace harem was closed.
  150. ^ Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire P.22
  151. ^ Farah, Ceaser E. “Decision making and change in the Ottoman Empire” p=172
  152. ^ Thys-Senocak, Lucienne: Ottoman Women Builders: The Architectural Patronage of Hadice Turhan Sultan. Ch. 2
  153. ^ Living in the Ottoman Realm: Empire and Identity, 13th to 20th Centuries P. 203
  154. ^ Ibid., 101
  155. ^ Naima, Tarih-i Naima, 5:132-148. See also Ulucay, Harem II, 47-5o. Ulucay also believes that the interference of harem women in politics was one of the main reasons for the decline of Ottoman power.
  156. ^ Paul Ricaut, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu'nun Hâlihazırının Tarihi (XVII. Yüzyıl), (terc. Halil İnalcık-Nihan Özyıldırım; çeviriyazı Ali Emre Özyıldırım; Giriş Bülent Arı), İstanbul 2012, s. 31.
  157. ^ Michel Baudier, Histoire générale du Serail et de la cour du grand seigneur Empereur des Turcs, 1623, s. 56.
  158. ^ Madame de Gomez, Histoire de Osman Premier..., op. cit., wstęp.
  159. ^ a b c d e f g h Singh, Nagendra Kr (2000). International encyclopaedia of Islamic dynasties (reproduction of the article by M. Cavid Baysun "Kösem Walide or Kösem Sultan" in The Encyclopaedia of Islam vol V). Anmol Publications PVT. pp. 423–424. ISBN 81-261-0403-1. Through her beauty and intelligence, Kösem Walide was especially attractive to Ahmed I, and drew ahead of more senior wives in the palace. She bore the sultan four sons – Murad, Süleyman, Ibrahim and Kasim – and three daughters – 'Ayşe, Fatma and Djawharkhan. These daughters she subsequently used to consolidate her political influence by strategic marriages to different viziers.
  160. ^ a b c d Peirce 1993, p. 232.
  161. ^ a b c Peirce 1993, p. 365.
  162. ^ Turkish screenwriter tells Ottoman history through one woman's life
  163. ^ "Turkish star Beren Saat to play mother of Ottoman sultan in new drama – CINEMA-TV". Hürriyet Daily News | LEADING NEWS SOURCE FOR TURKEY AND THE REGION. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  164. ^ "Kösem Sultan – Nurgül Yeşilçay". www.fox.com.tr. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
Ottoman royalty
Preceded by Haseki Sultan
26 November 1605 – 22 November 1617
Succeeded by
Preceded by Valide Sultan
10 September 1623 – 3 September 1651
Succeeded by