|Valide sultan of |
the Ottoman Empire
|Formation||30 September 1520|
|First holder||Hafsa Sultan|
|Final holder||Rahime Perestu Sultan|
|Abolished||11 December 1904|
Valide sultan (Ottoman Turkish: والده سلطان, lit. "mother sultan") was the title held by the "legal mother" of a ruling Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. The title was first used in the 16th century for Hafsa Sultan, consort of Selim I and mother of Suleiman the Magnificent, superseding the previous title of mehd-i ulya ("cradle of the great"). Normally, this title was held by the living mother of a reigning sultan. The mothers who died before their sons' accession to the throne were never bestowed with the title of Valide Sultan. In special cases, there were grandmothers and stepmothers of a reigning sultan who assumed the title Valide Sultan.
Sultan (سلطان) is an Arabic word originally meaning "authority" or "dominion". By the beginning of the 16th century, this title, carried by both men and women of the Ottoman dynasty, was replacing other titles by which prominent members of the imperial family had been known (notably hatun for women and bey for men). Consequently, the title valide hatun (title for living mother of reigning Ottoman sultan before 16th century) also turned into valide sultan. This usage underlines the Ottoman conception of sovereign power as family prerogative.
Western tradition knows the Ottoman ruler as "sultan", but the Ottomans themselves used "padişah" (emperor) or "hünkar" to refer to their ruler. The emperor’s formal title consisted of "sultan" together with "khan" (for example, Sultan Suleiman Khan). In formal address, the sultan’s children were also entitled "sultan", with imperial princes (şehzade) carrying the title before their given name, with imperial princesses carrying it after. Example, Şehzade Sultan Mehmed and Mihrimah Sultan, son and daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent. Like imperial princesses, the living mother and main consort of reigning sultans also carried the title after their given names, for example, Hafsa Sultan, Suleiman’s mother and first valide sultan, and Hürrem Sultan, Suleiman’s chief consort and first haseki sultan. The evolving usage of this title reflected power shifts among imperial women, especially between Sultanate of Women, as the position of main consort eroded over the course of 17th century, the main consort lost the title "sultan", which replaced by "kadin", a title related to the earlier "khatun". Henceforth, the mother of the reigning sultan was the only person of non imperial blood to carry the title "sultan".
Title valide carried before or after given name. According to a genealogical website, the formal way of addressing a valide is Devletlû İsmetlu (given name) Vâlide Sultân Aliyyetü'ş-Şân Hazretleri. Many westerner often translated their official title, sultan, to title which not exist in Ottoman royalty officially, sultana, possibly for distinguished them from Ottoman ruler and other male member of Ottoman dynasty.
Role and position
Valide sultan was perhaps the most important position in the Ottoman Empire after the sultan himself. As the mother to the sultan, by Islamic tradition ("A mother's right is God's right"), the valide sultan would have a significant influence on the affairs of the empire. She had great power in the court and her own rooms (always adjacent to her son's) and state staff. Valide sultan also traditionally had access to considerable economic resources and often funded major architectural projects. In particular during the 17th century, in a period known as the "Sultanate of Women", a series of incompetent or child sultans raised the role of the valide sultan to new heights.
Most harem women who were slaves were never formally married to the sultans. Nevertheless, their children were considered fully legitimate under Islamic law if recognized by the father. However, only very few harem women who became Valide Sultans upon their son's ascension to the throne were indeed freed from slavery and married to their spouses, the former Ottoman Sultans. These Sultanas were Nurbanu Sultan, Kösem Sultan and Rabia Gülnuş Sultan.
List of Valide Sultans
The list does not include the complete list of mothers of the Ottoman sultans. Most who held the title of valide sultan were the biological mothers of the reigning sultans. The mothers who died before their sons' accession to throne, never assumed the title of valide sultan, like Hürrem Sultan, Muazzez Sultan, Mihrişah Kadın, Şermi Kadın, Tirimüjgan Kadın, Gülcemal Kadın, and Gülüstü Hanım. In special cases, there were grandmothers and stepmothers of the reigning sultans who assumed the title of valide sultan, like Kösem Sultan and Perestu Kadın. Most of the information on the origins of Valide Sultans are disputed, especially in the early stages of the title, like with Hafsa Sultan, Nurbanu Sultan and Safiye Sultan. A lot of information about the concubines of the Sultans wasn’t recorded because they were only thought of as mother of a Şehzade.
|Name||Maiden Name||Origin||Became Valide||Ceased to be Valide||Death||Sultan(s)|
|Hafsa||(Disputed) Crimean Tatar princess, daughter of Crimean Khan Meñli I Giray||30 September 1520
|19 March 1534||Suleiman the Magnificent (son)|
نور بانو سلطان
|Cecilia Venier-Baffo||(Disputed) Venetian noblewoman, daughter of Niccolo Venier-Baffo and Violanta Baffo||15 December 1574
|7 December 1583||Murad III (son)|
|Sofia Leonardo Bellucci Baffo||(Disputed) Venetian noblewoman, daughter of Leonardo Bellucci Baffo||15 January 1595
|22 December 1603
|10 November 1618||Mehmed III (son)|
|Helena||Greek||22 December 1603
|9 November 1605||Ahmed I (son)|
|Altunsah||Abkhazian||22 November 1617
|26 February 1618
|10 September 1623||Mustafa I (son)|
|19 May 1622
|10 September 1623|
ماه پیکر كوسم سلطان
|Anastasia||Greek. Born on Tinos, Republic of Venice||10 September 1623
|2 September 1651||Murad IV (son)|
Mehmed IV (grandson)
ترخان خدیجه سلطان
|Nadia||Ruthenian noblewoman, born in Kingdom of Russia||2 September 1651
|4 August 1683||Mehmed IV (son)|
صالحه دل آشوب سلطان
|Katarina||Serbian noblewoman born in Kingdom of Serbia||8 November 1687
|4 December 1689||Suleiman II (son)|
|Rabia Gülnuş Sultan
رابعه گلنوش سلطان
|Evmania Voria||Greek||6 February 1695
|6 November 1715||Mustafa II (son)|
Ahmed III (son)
|Aleksandra||Greek||20 September 1730
|21 September 1739||Mahmud I (son)|
|Maria||Serbian noblewoman born in Kingdom of Serbia||13 December 1754
|16 April 1756||Osman III (son)|
مهر شاه سلطان
|Agnes||Daughter of Georgian Orthodox priest||7 April 1789
|16 October 1805||Selim III (son)|
سینه پرور سلطان
|Sonia||Bulgarian||29 May 1807
|28 July 1808
|11 December 1828||Mustafa IV (son)|
نقش دل سلطان
|Aimée du Buc de Rivéry||(Disputed) French noblewoman, born in Martinique, Kingdom of France||28 July 1808
|22 August 1817||Mahmud II (step-son)|
بزم عالم سلطان
|Suzi||Georgian||2 July 1839
|2 May 1853||Abdülmecid I (son)|
پرتو نهال سلطان
|Hasna Khater||Arabian noblewoman, member of the noble Alkhater family||25 June 1861
|30 May 1876
|5 February 1883||Abdülaziz I (son)|
شوق افزا سلطان
|Vilma||Georgian. Born in Russian Empire||30 May 1876
|31 August 1876
|17 September 1889||Murad V (son)|
رحيمه پرستو سلطان
|Rahime Gogen||Russian noblewoman, member of the ruling Ubykh tribe of Circassia||31 August 1876
|11 December 1904||Abdul Hamid II (step-son)|
Normally, living mother of reigning sultan held title Valide Sultan. But in exceptional cases, there were women who didn't hold this title when their sons became Sultan.
|Name||Maiden Name and Origin||Period||Son||Note|
|Mahfiruz||Eudoxia||26 February 1618 (son's ascension) – 26 October 1620 (her death)||Osman II||Privy Purse registers no Valide Sultan during Osman's reign. Apparently, Mahfiruz fell into disfavour, was banished from the palace at some point before Osman's accession, and never recovered her status. Banishment in disgrace would explain both Mahfiruz's absence from the palace and her burial in the popular shrine of Eyüb rather than in her husband's tomb. The Venetian ambassador Contarini reported in 1612 that the sultan had a beating administered to a woman who had irritated Kösem, perhaps this woman was Mahfiruz|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Apartments of the Queen Mother (Topkapı Palace).|
- Haseki Sultan
- List of mothers of the Ottoman sultans
- List of Ottoman titles and appellations
- Ottoman family tree
- Sultana (title)
- Davis, Fanny (1986). "The Valide". The Ottoman Lady: A Social History from 1718 to 1918. ISBN 0-313-24811-7.
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- "RoyalArk-Turkey". Archived from the original on April 18, 2002. Retrieved 2006-09-26.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
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- Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh, ed. (1980). "The Imperial Family of Turkey". Burke's Royal Families of the World. Volume II: Africa & the Middle East. London: Burke's Peerage. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-85011-029-6.
- A. D. Alderson, The Structure of the Ottoman Dynasty, Oxford: Clarendon, 1956, p.83
- According to Yavuz Bahadıroğlu, Resimli Osmanlı Tarihi, Nesil Yayınları (Ottoman History with Illustrations, Nesil Publications), 15th Ed., 2009, page 245, ISBN 978-975-269-299-2, Mustafa I's mother is Handan Sultan.
- Y. İzzettin Barış (2002). Osmanlı padişahlarının yaşamlarından kesitler, hastalıkları ve ölüm sebepleri. Bilimsel Tıp Yayınevi. p. 184. ISBN 978-975-6986-17-2.
Selim'in annesi olan Mihrişah, Gürcistan'dan kaçırılan bir papazın kızıydı
- Yavuz Bahadıroğlu, Resimli Osmanlı Tarihi, Nesil Yayınları (Ottoman History with Illustrations, Nesil Publications), 15th Ed., 2009, page 387 & 395, ISBN 978-975-269-299-2
- Brookes, Douglass Scott, The Concubine, the Princess, and the Teacher, p.287. University of Texas Press, 2008. ISBN 0-292-71842-X
- "Sultan II. Abdülhamid Han". Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
- The period that she had to be a Valide Sultan
- Leslie P. Peirce (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-508677-5.