[i] “… Suleiman the Magnificent…”
“Suleiman I (Ottoman Turkish: سليمان Sulaymān, Turkish: Süleyman; almost always Kanuni Sultan Süleyman in Turkish) (November 6, 1494 – September 5/6, 1566), was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as the Lawgiver (in Turkish Kanuni; Arabic: القانونى, al‐Qānūnī), for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system. Suleiman became the pre-eminent monarch of 16th century Europe, presiding over the apex of the Ottoman Empire’s military, political and economic power. Suleiman personally led Ottoman armies to conquer the Christian strongholds of Belgrade, Rhodes, and most of Hungary before his conquests were checked at the Siege of Vienna in 1529. He annexed most of the Middle East in his conflict with the Persians and large swathes of North Africa as far west as Algeria. Under his rule, the Ottoman fleet dominated the seas from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean.
At the helm of an expanding empire, Suleiman personally instituted legislative changes relating to society, education, taxation, and criminal law. His canonical law (or the Kanuns) fixed the form of the empire for centuries after his death. Not only was Suleiman a distinguished poet and goldsmith in his own right; he also became a great patron of culture, overseeing the golden age of the Ottoman Empire’s artistic, literary and architectural development.
In a break with Ottoman tradition, Suleiman married a harem girl who became Hürrem Sultan, whose intrigues in the court and power over the Sultan have become as famous as Suleiman himself.”
— Reference: Wikipedia.org
[ii] “… His assistant was a harem girl who rose up from slavery to become his wife…”
” According to late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century sources such as the Polish poet Samuel Twardowski, she was born in the town which was then part of the Kingdom of Poland. She was captured by Crimean Tatars during one of their frequent raids into this region and taken as a slave, probably first to the Crimean city of Kaffa, a major centre of the slave trade, then to Istanbul, and was selected for Süleyman’s harem.
Suleiman was infatuated with Hurrem Sultan, a harem girl of Ruthenian origin. In the West foreign diplomats, taking notice of the palace gossip about her, called her “Russelazie” or “Roxolana“, referring to her Slavic origins. The daughter of an Orthodox Ukrainian priest, she was captured and rose through the ranks of the Harem to become Suleiman’s favorite. Breaking with two centuries of Ottoman tradition, a former concubine had thus become the legal wife of the Sultan, much to the astonishment of observers in the palace and the city. He also allowed Hurrem Sultan to remain with him at court for the rest of her life, breaking another tradition—that when imperial heirs came of age, they would be sent along with the imperial concubine who bore them to govern remote provinces of the Empire, never to return unless their progeny succeeded to the throne.
Under his pen name, Muhibbi, Suleiman composed this poem for Roxolana:
“Throne of my lonely niche, my wealth, my love, my moonlight.
My most sincere friend, my confidant, my very existence, my Sultan, my one and only love.
The most beautiful among the beautiful…
My springtime, my merry faced love, my daytime, my sweetheart, laughing leaf…
My plants, my sweet, my rose, the one only who does not distress me in this world…
My Istanbul, my Caraman, the earth of my Anatolia
My Badakhshan, my Baghdad and Khorasan
My woman of the beautiful hair, my love of the slanted brow, my love of eyes full of mischief…
I’ll sing your praises always
I, lover of the tormented heart, Muhibbi of the eyes full of tears, I am happy.”
Roxelana, as she is better known in Europe, is well-known both in modern Turkey and in the West, and is the subject of many artistic works. She has inspired paintings, musical works (including Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 63), an opera by Denys Sichynsky, a ballet, plays, and several novels.”
— Reference: Wikipedia.org
[iii] “… Queen Elizabeth…”
Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) was Queen of England and Queen of Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, The Faerie Queen or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. The daughter of Henry VIII, she was born a princess, but her mother, Anne Boleyn, was executed three years after her birth, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Perhaps for that reason, her brother, Edward VI, cut her out of the succession. His will, however, was set aside, as it contravened the Third Succession Act of 1543, in which Elizabeth was named as successor provided that Mary I of England, Elizabeth’s half-sister, should die without issue. In 1558, Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister, during whose reign she had been imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels.
Elizabeth set out to rule by good counsel. One of her first moves was to support the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the Supreme Governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement held firm throughout her reign and later evolved into today’s Church of England. It was expected that Elizabeth would marry, but despite several petitions from parliament, she never did. The reasons for this choice are unknown, and they have been much debated. As she grew older, Elizabeth became famous for her virginity, and a cult grew up around her which was celebrated in the portraits, pageants and literature of the day.
One of her mottos was video et taceo: “I see, and say nothing”.
This strategy, viewed with impatience by her counselors, often saved her from political and marital misalliances. Though Elizabeth was cautious in foreign affairs and only half-heartedly supported a number of ineffective, poorly resourced military campaigns in the Netherlands, France and Ireland, the defeat of the Spanish armada in 1588 associated her name forever with what is popularly viewed as one of the greatest victories in British history. Within twenty years of her death, she was being celebrated as the ruler of a golden age, an image that retains its hold on the English people. Elizabeth’s reign is known as the Elizabethan era, famous above all for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.”
— Reference: Wikipedia.org