Hurrem Sultan

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Hurrem Sultan (Ukrainian: Роксолана), also known as Roxelana (1502/10/27 - 15 April 1558), was one of the most popular Slavic women. She was important both for Turkey and Slavic nations. She was taken by the Tatars and was brought as a gift to Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Then she became part of his harem and later his wife. Her real name and place of birth are unknown. Polish state her name was Alexandra, but 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 nation. Others are sure she was mean and selfish.

Origin[change | change source]

Roxelana was born in Rohatyn located in western Ukraine.

According to Samuel Tvardovskyi's poem "The Great Embassy" (written between 1621 and 1623, published in 1633), she was the daughter of an Orthodox priest from Rohatyn (his last name - Lisovskyi- appeared later in artistic works). According to the version of the Polish poet Mauritsius Goslavskyi, Roksolana comes from the town of Chemerivtsi (Khmelnytskyi region in Ukraine).

During the reign of Selim I (between the 1510s to 1520),[1] Crimean Tatars took 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 of Suleiman in the Ottoman imperial harem.[2]

Personality[change | change source]

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

Hurrem was also known for being generous. 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.

Critics also state that Hurrem was a selfish, manipulative and angry woman who would kill anyone who stood in her way. Even despite her charity, many people still believe she was not kind.

Pavlo Zahrebelnyi described 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. "Роксолана: міфи і історія". (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2021-03-12.
  2. Bonnie G. Smith, ed. (2008). "Hürrem, Sultan". The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195148909. Retrieved 29 May 2017.