Hurrem Sultan

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Hurrem Sultan (Ukrainian: Роксолана) is also known as Roxelana. She is one of the most famous and powerful Ukrainian women, who was important both for Turkey and Ukraine. She was stolen by the Tatars and was brought as a gift to the sultan. Then she was in a harem and became a wife of Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Her real name and place of birth is unknown. Polish and Russian literature says she is Alexandra, in Ukrainian literature she is presented as Anastasia.

People say different things about her personality. Some think she was patriotic and did a lot for her country while others are sure she was mean and selfish.

Origin[change | change source]

The sources say Roxelana is from Ruthenia, which was then part of the Polish Crown.[1] It is said she was born in the town of Rohatyn, which is a Ukrainian town now.[2]

During the reign of Selim I (between the 1510s to 1520),[3] Crimean Tatars stole her during one of their Crimean–Nogai slave raids in Eastern Europe. In Istanbul, she was chosen as a gift for Suleiman. Later Hurrem became a favorite one for Sultan Suleiman in the Ottoman imperial harem.[4]

Personality[change | change source]

Hurrem is described as a woman who was good-looking, and different from everybody else because of her red hair. She was as also intelligent and had a pleasant personality. She loved poetry very much. It is considered it was one of the reasons why Suleiman loved her so much. He also admired reading poems.

Hurrem is known for being generous to the poor people. She built a lot of religious, cultural and resting places for pilgrims travelling to the Islamic city of Mecca. Her greatest charity work was the Great Wall of Jerusalem, a large soup kitchen that fed the poor.

But at the same time people say that Hurrem was a selfish, manipulative and angry woman who would kill anyone who stood in her way. Even despite her charity, many people believe she was not kind with people around.

A famous Ukrainian writer Pavlo Zahrebelnyi describes Hurrem as "an intelligent, kind, understanding, openhearted, candid, talented, generous, emotional and grateful woman who cares about the soul rather than the body; in short, a perfect woman".

Children[change | change source]

She had 6 children with Suleiman — 5 sons and a daughter Mihrimah.

  • Mehmed (31 October 1522 – 6 November 1543): the first son born in 1521 at Istanbul
  • Mihrimah (c.1523 – 25 January 1578): the only daughter
  • Abdullah (c.1523 – 1526)
  • Selim (30 May 1524 – 12/15 December 1574)
  • Bayezid (1525 – 25 September 1561)
  • Cihangir (9 December 1531 – 27 November 1553)

References[change | change source]

  1. Bokhari, Afshan BokhariAfshan (2008-01-01). The Oxford Encyclopedia Women in World History. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780195148909.001.0001/acref-9780195148909-e-472. ISBN 978-0-19-514890-9.
  2. Abbott, Elizabeth (2011-09-01). Mistresses: A History of the Other Woman. Overlook. ISBN 978-1-59020-876-2.
  3. "Роксолана: міфи і історія". www.golos.com.ua (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2021-03-12.
  4. Bokhari, Afshan BokhariAfshan (2008-01-01). The Oxford Encyclopedia Women in World History. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780195148909.001.0001/acref-9780195148909-e-472. ISBN 978-0-19-514890-9.