EUROPEAN SULTANAS OF OTTOMAN EMPIRE

EUROPEAN SULTANAS OF OTTOMAN EMPIRE

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 11:43

New book sheds light on a little known piece of history

european sultanas of the ottoman empire anna buxton.jpg

A beautiful princess is given by her brother, the king, as wife to the very man who is conquering their lands: The story of Bulgarian princess Tamara Maria and her marriage to Ottoman Sultan Murad I in 1371, as part of a treaty with her half-brother King Ivan Shishman, is a powerful one. It gave rise to a novel, Tamara Shishman and Murad I, written by Anna Ivanova Buxton in 2013.

Tamara, however, was not the only European woman to become the wife of an Ottoman sultan. This little known fact has inspired Anna Ivanova Buxton to collect the stories of these women in a non-fiction book, The European Sultanas of the Ottoman Empire, published in 2016.

From the beginning of the empire Greeks, Bulgarians, Italians, Serbs, Ukrainians and Georgians found themselves in the sultan's harem. During the Ottoman conquest, princesses were married to sultans with the aim of forming an alliance between the invaders and the invaded, to act as guarantors of a fragile peace that never lasted long. When the empire reached its largest extent, the princesses were replaced by women brought from neighbouring lands. These women had the brains, courage and charm to rise to the position of a sultana, or a legal wife. Some of these amassed significant political influence, becoming the epitome of the power behind the throne.

All these women are characters in Anna Ivanova Buxton's book. Better known stories like the one of Ukrainian-born Hürem Sultan, the favourite of Süleyman the Magnificent, are told next to the probably mythical capture of a Greek beauty on her own wedding day to become the wife of the early Ottoman ruler Orhan. There is the story of the Venice-born Nurbanu Sultan, the wife of Selim II, who actively participated in government.

This book is of interest to all readers who would like to know more about the hidden history of the Ottoman empire and its women.

The European Sultanas of the Ottoman Empire (ISBN: 9781530166077) is available from www.amazon.co.uk

Issue 117
0 comments

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
2 + 6 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Discover More

Bulgaria_under_communism.jpg
BULGARIA UNDER COMMUNISM: NEW BOOK IN ENGLISH EXPLORES RECENT PAST
A new book, Bulgaria Under Communism, published by Routledge in 2018, fills the gaps for English speakers.

tipsy oxcart.jpg
TIPSY OXCART: AMERICANS REINVENT BALKAN MUSIC
Balkan traditional music has the peculiar quality to move even people who are anyway not much into what used to be called world music.

shpatov.jpg
#LIFEFROMSOFIA
Wandering around Sofia as a first-time visitor could be disappointing.

deportation of jews from Vardar Macedonia, Aegean Thrace and Pirot in March 1943. Documents from the Bulgarian archives.jpg
BULGARIA AND THE HOLOCAUST
Seventy years after the Second World War the Bulgarian government is adamant in its denial that the Kingdom of Bulgaria did anything wrong in the territories – now in northern Greece, southern Serbia around the town of Pirot, and the former Yugoslav republi

lost in transition.jpg
LOST IN TRANSITION
A country increasingly difficult to understand even by its own citizens, Bulgaria stands unique in Eastern Europe in at least two respects: it is arguably the least reformed former Warsaw Pact state and – if international surveys and indices are anything to

Hector Zazou by Dimiter Panev.jpg
THE ARCH
The Bulgarian Eva Quartet joined some 50 musicians from four continents on Hector Zazou's posthumously-released album, The Arch.

THE BOY WHO WAS KING
When Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha established his political party in 2001 and was subsequently elected prime minister of Bulgaria, most people did not see anything strange about that.
Witnesses of Stone.jpg
CONCRETE LEFTOVERS
The children of the 21st Century will have a hard time understanding how such a ridiculous and supposedly omniscient system as the Communist one could hold in thrall a quarter of the world's population for so many decades.

Fridtjof Nansen.jpg
UNKNOWN NANSEN
Sofia's streets are generally named after those who have played a significant role in Bulgaria's past, and they often act as a crash course in the country's history.

Stanislava Ciuriskiene
SECOND LIFE
What happens when a psychology graduate with the nose of a reporter and the talent of a writer locks herself up in a flat for six months, only communicating with the world through Internet dating sites?

Rana Dasgupta_0.jpg
SOLO
According to the dust-cover blurb by Salman Rushdie, Solo is a novel of "exceptional, astonishing strangeness... confirming Rana Dasgupta as the most unexpected and original Indian writer of his generation."