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Mahidevran Sultan

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Mahidevran (or Gülbahar)
ماه دوران سلطان
Mahidevran Turbesi3.jpg
The tomb of Mahidevran is located inside the Türbe of Şehzade Mustafa in Muradiye Complex, Bursa
Born c. 1500
Albania or Caucasus
Died 3 February 1581 (aged 80–81)
Bursa, Ottoman Empire
Burial Muradiye Complex, Bursa
Spouse Suleiman the Magnificent
Issue Şehzade Mustafa
Father unknown, allegedly Idar of Kabardia or Abdullah Recai
Mother unknown, allegedly Nazcan Hatun (wife of Idar)
Religion Islam

Mahidevran (Ottoman Turkish: ماه دوران ‎, c. 1500 – 3 February 1581;[1] also known as Gülbahar) was a consort[note 1] of Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire, (where as in some historical books she is referred as "Birinci Kadin" (First Woman)[2] or simply as a wife[3]) and the mother of Şehzade Mustafa.

Etymology

Mahidevran’s name (Turkish pronunciation: [ˌmaːhidevˈɾan], Ottoman Turkish: ماه دوران‎) means "one who is always beautiful", "one whose beauty never fades" or "beauty of the times". Another meaning of her name is "Moon of Fortune."[4] Some sources name her Gülbahar (Turkish pronunciation: [ɟylbaˈhaɾ]), with gül meaning 'rose' and bahar meaning 'spring' in Turkish and Persian. She is often referred to as "Mahidevran Sultan" in popular history books, TV series, touristic litterature[5] or incidentally[6][7] however according to Leslie P. Peirce, prior to the creation of the title "Haseki" for Hürrem Sultan,[8] all Ottoman consorts carried the less prestigious title "khatun",[9] thus this denomination might be anachronistic.

Origins and early life

Little if anything is known of Mahidevran's early life. Her ethnic background is a matter of controversy. She was either an Albanian or Circassian.[3][10] Theories of her origins are:

  • According to contemporary Venetian sources, she was of Circassian origin.[11][12]
  • By some other (unidentified) accounts, she was of "Montenegrin origin".[11]
  • André Clot says she was "probably of Tartar origin".[13]
  • According to the novel The Siege, she was originally named Rosne Pranvere and the daughter of Abdullah Recai, a wealthy Albanian musician.[14][unreliable source] Turkish drama Muhteşem Yüzyıl, also follows this view.[15]
  • According to an interview with Saide Perizat Temrukoğlu, an alleged descendant of Mahidevran, Mahidevran was the daughter of Mirza Haydar Temruk Bey, a 16th-century Kabarday prince and his Crimean Tartar wife Princess Nazcan Hatun, the daughter of Meñli I Giray.[16]

Life with Suleiman

Mahidevran is listed among the seventeen women of the harem of Suleiman while he was governor of Manisa; she did not belong at this time to the first ranked consorts, as she earned 4 aspers a day along with two other concubines, while three others earned 5 aspers. She bore her husband one son, Şehzade Mustafa in 1515.[10] It was recorded from Bernardo Navagero that Suleiman highly cherished her in Topkapi Harem along with Hürrem Sultan.[17]

When Selim I died in 1520, Suleiman moved to Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, along with his family to ascend the throne. In 1521 Suleiman lost his two other sons, nine-year-old Mahmud and the toddler Murad, Mustafa became the eldest of his princely generation.[4] In the Istanbul harem, Mahidevran Hatun had a very influential rival, Hürrem Sultan, who soon proved to be Suleiman’s favorite consort (first Haseki Sultan) as well as his legal wife.[4]

Hürrem gave birth to her first son Mehmed in 1521 (who died in 1543) and then Selim (future Sultan Selim II) in 1524, destroying Mahidevran’s status of being the mother of the Sultan’s only son.[18] The rivalry between the two women was partially suppressed by Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, Suleiman’s mother,[19] but after her death in 1534, as a result of the bitter rivalry a fight between the two women broke out, with Mahidevran beating Hürrem, which angered Suleiman.[20]

Foreign observers of the Ottomans, especially the ambassadors of the Venetian Republic followed Ottoman dynastic politics closely.[4] Their comments about Mahidevran glimpses of the vital role played by a prince's mother and of her necessary devotion to this welfare.[4] Pietro Bragadin, ambassador in the early years of Suleiman's reign, reported that while both were still resident in the imperial palace in Istanbul, Mustafa was his mother's "whole joy".[4]

Mustafa's provincial posts

According to Turkish tradition, all princes were expected to work as provincial governors (Sanjak-bey) as a part of their training. Mustafa was sent to Manisa in 1533, in the formal ceremony and Mahidevran accompanied him.[21] Describing his court at Kara Amid (Diyarbakır) near the Safavid border, Bassano wrote around 1540 that the prince had "a most wonderful and glorious court, no less than that of his father" and that "his mother, who was with him, instructs him in how to make himself loved by the people."[4] At some point Mustafa returned to Manisa, and in 1542 he moved to Amasya.[4] By 1546 three more of Suleiman's sons were in the field, and the competition for the succession began among the four princes, although the sultan would live for another twenty years.[4] The ambassador Bernado Navagero, in a 1553 report, described Mahidevran's efforts to protect her son: "Mustafa has with him his mother, who exercises great diligence to guard him from poisoning and reminds him everyday that he has nothing else but this to avoid, and it is said that he has boundless respect and reverence for her."[4]

Mustafa was an immensely popular prince. When he was only nine, that Venetian ambassador had reported that "he has extraordinary talent, he will be warrior, is much loved by the Janissaries, and performs great feats."[22] In 1553, when Mustafa was thirty eight years old, Navagero wrote, "It is impossible to describe how much he is loved and desired by all as successor to the throne."[22] Towards the end of Suleiman’s long reign, the rivalry between his sons became evident. Furthermore, both Hürrem Sultan and the grand vizier Rüstem Pasha turned him against Mustafa and Mustafa was accused of causing unrest. During the campaign against Safavid Persia in 1553, Suleiman ordered the execution of Mustafa[23] on charges of planning to dethrone his father; his guilt for the treason of which he was accused has since been neither proven nor disproven.[22]

Up until the very end of her son's life, Mahidevran endeavored to protect Mustafa from his political rivals, and most probably maintained a network of informants in order to do so.[4] The ambassador Trevisano related in 1554 that on the day Mustafa was executed, Mahidevran had sent a messenger warning him of his father's plans to kill him. Mustafa unfortunately ignored the message; according to Trevisano, he had consistently refused to heed the warnings of his friends and even his mother.[22]

Later years and death

For several years after her son’s execution, Mahidevran lived a troubled life. Mahidevran went to Bursa, where her son was buried and became the last woman to retire to Bursa. Less fortunate than her predecessors and presumably disgraced by her son's execution, she was unable to pay the rent on the house in which she lived, and her servants were taunted and cheated in the local markets. Mahidevran's situation improved towards the end of Suleiman's reign when her debts were paid at the sultan's orders and a house was purchased for her, possibly by Suleiman's sole surviving son, Mustafa's half brother Selim.[22]

Her rehabilitation may have been possible only after the death in 1558 of her rival, Hürrem. Financially secure at last, Mahidevran had enough income to create an endowment for the upkeep of her son's tomb, which was built by Selim. She died in 1581 and was buried in Mustafa's tomb.[22]

Depictions in literature and popular culture

In the 2003 TV miniseries, Hürrem Sultan, Mahidevran was played by Turkish actress Hatice Aslan. In the 2011-2014 TV series Muhteşem Yüzyıl, Mahidevran is portrayed by Turkish actress Nur Fettahoğlu.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Mahidevran is described in academic history books (incl. Osman's Dream by Caroline Finkel, pp. 133, 139, 651, e.g., Padişahın kadınları ve kızları by Mustafa Çağatay Uluçay p.36) as Suleiman's concubine.

References

  1. ^ Sakaoğlu, Necdet (April 2012). Süleyman, Hurrem ve Diğerleri: Bir Dönemin Gerçek Hikayesi. pp. 26–27. 
  2. ^ Ghada Hashem Talhami (2013). Historical Dictionary of Women in the Middle East and North Africa. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 279. ISBN 978-0-810-86858-8. Her elevation to this rank opened a period of great hostility between her and the first wife, Mahidevran, the mother of the heir to the throne. 
  3. ^ a b John Freely (2001). Inside the Seraglio: private lives of the sultans in Istanbul. Penguin. The bailo also noted that Mustafa was the 'whole joy' of his mother Mahidevran, who was still Siileyman's birinci kadin, though she had been supplanted as haseki by Roxelana. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Leslie P., Peirce (1993). "Wives and Concubines: The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries". The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016-4314: Oxford University Press. pp. 55–56. ISBN 978-0-19-508677-5. 
  5. ^ Murphy, Leeann (2014-12-23). Moon Istanbul & the Turkish Coast: Including Cappadocia. Avalon Travel. ISBN 9781612386140. 
  6. ^ Forsey, Alicia McNary (2009-01-01). Queen Isabella Sforza Szapolyai of Transylvania and Sultan Süleyman of the Ottoman Empire: A Case of Sixteenth-century Muslim-Christian Collaboration. Edwin Mellen Press. ISBN 9780773446533. 
  7. ^ İnalcık, Halil; Kafadar, Cemal (1993-01-01). Süleymân The Second [i.e. the First] and his time. Isis Press. 
  8. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 91.
  9. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 108.
  10. ^ a b Peirce 1993, p. 55.
  11. ^ a b Dr Galina I Yermolenko, Roxolana in European Literature, History and Culture, pg.2, citing Navagero ("la circassa"), Trevisano ("una donna circassa") in Eugenio Alberi, ed. Relazioni degli ambasciatori veneti al Senato, ser. 3: Relazioni degli stati ottomani, 3 vols (Firenze [Florence: Società editrice fiorentina], 1840–1855), 1: 74–5, 77; 3: 115.
  12. ^ Marie Broxup (1996). The North Caucasus Barrier: The Russian Advance Towards the Muslim World. Hurst. ISBN 978-1-850-65305-9. p.29
  13. ^ André Clot, Matthew Reisz (2005). Suleiman the Magnificent. Saqi. ISBN 978-0-863-56510-6.
  14. ^ http://books.google.al/books?id=PLRInQEACAAJ, pp 204-205. (Rosne Pranvere was the daughter of Abdullah Recai, a wealthy Albanian musician)
  15. ^ http://www.aksam.com.tr/magazin/muhtesem-yuzyilda-buyuk-sok/galerihaber-311226/15
  16. ^ Esra Açıkgöz, Ailesinin ağzından Mahidevran’ın hikâyesi (an interview with Saide Perizat) (Turkish)
  17. ^ Hughes, Sarah Shaver; Hughes, Brady (2015-04-29). Women in World History: V. 2: Readings from 1500 to the Present. Routledge. ISBN 9781317451822. 
  18. ^ Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire
  19. ^ Selçuk Aksin Somel: Historical Dictionary of the Ottoman Empire, Oxford, 2003, ISBN 0-8108-4332-3, p. 123
  20. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 59-60.
  21. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 61.
  22. ^ a b c d e f Peirce 1993, p. 56.
  23. ^ Lord Kinross: The Ottoman Centuries, (Trans. by Nilifer Epçeli) Altın Kitaplar, İstanbul, 2008, ISBN 978-975-21-0955-1 p. 233.

Bibliography