Paradoxplace Portrait Pages

Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent

(1494 - 1520 - 1566 (72))


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Sultan Suleiman I (1494 - 1520 - 1566 (72)) “The Magnificent” and “The Law Giver” reigned for 46 years from 1520 as the tenth and greatest ruler of the Ottoman Empire.  His father, Selim I ("the Grim"), who ruled from 1512 to 1520, had conquered Egypt and become the first Sultan to also take the title of Caliph.   Selim had all of Suleiman’s brothers and close male relatives put to death, thus ensuring a smooth succession.  Luckily, he chose the right guy to keep alive.


During Suleiman’s long rule (which was also the time in which the Nation State structure of Europe was firming up) the geographic bounds of the Ottoman Empire reached what proved to be their maximum extent.  The Ottomans controlled the Mediterranean and in the North their armies knocked on the gates of Vienna (but did not get in) after overrunning Hungary, and Habsburg Emperor Charles V was humiliated into signing the Treaty of Constantinople.   In the East he reached Tabriz and conquered Baghdad in 1534 - the Baghdad Pavilion in the Topkapi Palace was built to celebrate this victory.


Outside of hands-on generalship, Suleiman "The Law Giver" drove the development of a legal system which codified the rights and duties of all the citizens of his huge domains.  He promoted art and architecture, and was himself no mean poet, often writing of his love for his chief wife - Roxelana.


This arresting portrait is thought to be a contemporary artist's workshop copy of one painted by the Venetian artist Titian (1487 - 1576) sometime between 1530 and 1550.   It was shown in the 2002  blockbuster Gonzaga exhibition in Mantova, and can usually be seen in Vienna in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Schloss Ambras.

Suleiman never "sat" for this portrait - more to come ..... 



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