Журнал: Научный журнал «Студенческий форум» выпуск №19(242)

Рубрика: История и археология

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Izvarina A.V. METHODOLOGY OF STUDYING THE PHENOMENON OF WOMEN'S INFLUENCE ON PUBLIC POLICY (ON THE EXAMPLE OF THE "FEMALE SULTANATE" OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE 1550-1656). // Студенческий форум: электрон. научн. журн. 2023. № 19(242). URL: https://nauchforum.ru/journal/stud/242/127125 (дата обращения: 26.05.2024).
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Izvarina Arina Valerievna
Student Belgorod State National Research University, Russia, Belgorod
Sushenok Margarita Olegovna
научный руководитель, Scientific adviser, Belgorod State National Research University, Russia, Belgorod




Изварина Арина Валерьевна

студент Белгородского государственного национального исследовательского университета, РФ, г. Белгород

Сушенок Маргарита Олеговна

научный руководитель, Белгородский государственный национальный исследовательский университет, РФ, г. Белгород


University: NIU BELGUThe phenomenon of women's influence on public policy is one of the themes characteristic of gender history. A.V. Tkacheva notes the larger size of the harem compared to the male part, as well as the luxury characteristic of the female part1. Describing the hierarchical structure of the harem, the researcher notes that the head of the female half of the Ottoman house was Valide Sultan, the mother of the ruling sultan, with whom the Ruler himself had to reckon.

S.I. Malozemov, D.E. Denisova and V.A. Savinova, describing the dominant role of Valide Sultan, write that the ruler's mother enjoyed authority beyond the palace.2 At an earlier period, that is, in 1521, a title appeared for the Ruler's beloved wife, Haseki. Women who had designated titles participated in the management of the state apparatus.

Describing the "female sultanate", the authors write that before reaching power, women went through a difficult path starting from a concubine; then they gained influence to actively interfere in the politics of the Ottoman Empire. Women ruled viziers, soldiers and even corresponded with the rulers of other dynasties, but at the same time they did not conduct political "games", unlike the situation prevailing in other monarchies. At the same time, S.I. Malozemov, D.E. Denisova and V.A. Savinova write that these women in the designated period acted as the political head of the state.

The period in question lasted from 1550 – 1656, which is designated as the "female sultanate". Akhmet Refik Altynai calls this period, as domestic researchers write, the beginning of the end of the Great Empire.

Denoting the reasons for the influence of women, researchers argue that the emergence of a female sultanate could be associated with the completion of campaigns or with the law "On Succession" of 1478, according to which the sultan's brothers should be killed so that there would be no turmoil.

S.I. Malozemov, D.E. Denisova and V.A. Savinova write about the first representative of the female sultanate - Hurrem Sultan (1531 – 1558). Sultan Suleiman gave his beloved concubine the name Hurrem. There are different versions telling about her appearance in the harem, but the fact of her place of birth – Western Ukraine is authentic.

Analyzing the reasons for the rise of Hurrem, the authors note that the sultan considered it possible to give the title of Haseki to the slave after the birth of the firstborn, then Valide Sultan died in 1534, vizier Ibrahim Pasha was executed in 1536, Mahidevran Sultan left for Manisa together with his son Mustafa. All this gave Haseki the opportunity to rise.

Education and knowledge of languages allowed Hurrem to understand what was happening in state affairs and international politics, correspond with the rulers of other states, communicate with nobles and artists. Noting its positive influence, the researchers write that Hurrem contributed to raising the standard of living in the country, opened waqfs. During her lifetime, schools, madrassas and baths, mosques were actively built and developed.

Hurrem, who in Europe is called Roxalana, was a friend and political adviser to the Sultan. S.I. Malozemov, D.E. Denisova and V.A. Savinov write, quoting J. Frehley: "As many researchers have noted, Haseki's influence on the sultan was enormous. The ambassador from Venice Navajero noted that Roxolana "held in her hands the bridle from the will of the sultan""3. By her decision, the sultan could execute an official. Thus Mustafa's execution took place. Hurrem did not live up to the status of Valide, but secured power for her son Selim.

Describing the trends of the further development of the "female sultanate", researchers write about the struggle of interests leading to the resignations and executions of dignitaries, the aggravation of the problem of corruption. This hindered the development of the Ottoman state, bringing it closer to collapse.

The authors summarize the study, arguing that today there is no unified historical assessment of the influence of the female sultanate on the evolution of the Ottoman Empire, because this phenomenon contributed to the death of the empire, its political fragmentation and chaotic nature. The sultan's power was turned into a bureaucratic apparatus. Women only preserved the established monarchical order, according to which the power of the sultans was inherited. Therefore, the sultanate is characterized by a group of scientists as a stabilizing factor.

In his dissertation, I.B. Mammadov explores the process of increasing the socio-political role of sultan mothers, their relationship with Haseki, whose influence was decreasing due to the emergence of another new institution - Valide4. Before that, the Haseki were patronizing dignitaries who married their daughters, and then, through their sons-in-law, they sought the decisions they needed in favor of their sons. The elevation of the sons, in turn, became an impulse to intensify the efforts of the sultan's mothers, which was reflected in the appearance of their new title.

Thus, the method of studying scientific works shows that in 1550-1656 in the Ottoman Empire, the introduction of official titles contributes to the creation of a "female sultanate". This term characterizes the influence of women on state policy.

As it was noted in scientific publications, Haseki Hurrem contributed to the beginning of the process of women's influence on the politics of the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, methods of studying its influence on the sultan were considered.

Roxalana, according to other versions Nastya, then Hurrem, turned from an ordinary slave into one of the influential women of her time. Indirectly, this is confirmed by the tombs of Sultan Suleiman and his wife Hurrem, who died before him. Therefore, the very fact that she is buried next to him says a lot. The mausoleum was erected in 1559. People close to her are buried in the same mausoleum. The one who created the mausoleum, the architect of the Ottoman Empire, Mimar Sinan, rests nearby.

The most beautiful and majestic mausoleum on the territory of the mosque is the Turbe of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, whose reign was the heyday of the Ottoman Empire. The state has expanded its borders to the maximum, has acquired wealth and influence.

The Ukrainian writer and candidate of Art History, A.E. Shutko, in the book "Letters of Roxalana: Love and Diplomacy" translates into Ukrainian letters to Hurrem Sultan, as well as those addressed to the Polish king Sigismund II Augustus and the Persian princess Sultan — the sister of Shah Tahmasp.5 According to the author, Roxalana, who did not know the Ottoman language at first, honed her language skills in intellectual conversations and disputes with Sultan Suleiman. In colorful language, Roxalana writes about her love for the sultan, with whom she had to be separated for a long time: "my life is with angelic faces", "my sultan, my tree is in the garden of paradise", "my soul is my soul, my lord", "kohaniy to the lord", "my love", "my love", "my love zirko", "oh, my autocrat, my sultan", "sonce", "svitlo of my eyes", "likar of my soul", "my life", "idina nadiya na tsim i tim sviti", "volodarevi svitu ta vich", "my support", "my shah"6.

Hurrem's diplomatic messages to the Polish King Sigismund II Augustus in 1548 and the Persian Princess Sultan Beigum in 1555 show that she sought to implement a peacekeeping mission in relation to the Poles and Persians. A commoner did not dare to carry out such a mission before her.

A well-known Ukrainian journalist, publicist S. Kabachinskaya writes that the history of the beginning of the "female sultanate" is special7. Suleiman ruled the empire for 46 years. In Europe, he was called the Great and Magnificent, and in Turkey, the Legislator. At the same time, he loved the Ukrainian captive for 40 years.

S. Kabachinskaya emphasizes the non-triviality of such an act for the sultan, because Suleiman was by that time the ruler of the most powerful empire. The Sharia laws allowed a devout Muslim to have four legitimate wives, and concubines - as many as he could support, the Islamic religion, the established traditions and customs adopted by the dynasty; the environment exerting pressure and the genetic propensity of men to polygamy, as the author writes, should have hindered the sultan's feeling.

The journalist and publicist quotes ambassadors who confirm the idea of Suleiman's genuine love for Hurrem and her influence on him. Addressing the reasons for such influence, S. Kabachinskaya writes that the almighty Sultan was a romantic nature, wrote poems under the pseudonym Muhibbi about the futility of life, wealth and fame, which, in her opinion, indicates the predisposition of the ruler to melancholy. The author of the publication suggests that this is why Roxalana was able to find mutual understanding with a person who is characterized by romanticism and subtle mental organization.

Although not all authors who have written about her assume that Roxalana has a mind that would allow her to be interesting to the sultan, S. Kabachinskaya writes about the knowledge of the sultan's beloved wife of five European languages, because Roxalana could read Homer in the original. While living in Turkey, Haseki learned Turkish, Arabic and Farsi languages.

The Ukrainian feminine principle, expressed in the desire to lean against a strong male shoulder, does not become shallow away from the Motherland, according to the author. Roksolana is a vivid example of this.

Giving a review of the series "Majestic Century", S. Kabachinskaya writes about the created cinematic image of the Sultan that he "led an uncompromising fight against bribery, severely punished officials for abuse. As Georg Weber wrote in The General History, "he won the favor of the people by good deeds, built schools, but was a ruthless tyrant; neither kinship nor merit saved him from suspicion and cruelty""8.

According to the author, Hurrem inspired the Sultan to advance along the path to civilization, enlightenment, and a secular state. The author is referring to the construction of schools and hospitals, shelters for poor and cheap hotels for worshippers, water pipes and mosques in Istanbul, Jerusalem, Mecca, Medina, Edirne. S. Kabachinskaya highlights the creation of the Hurrem Women's Fund, known for its charity.


Bibliographic list:
1. Tkacheva A.V. The structure of the harem in the Ottoman Empire / A.V. Tkacheva // Young Scientist. - 2020. - № 12 (302). - Pp. 220-224.
2. Malozemov S. I. The female Sultanate as a symbol of the revival of the Ottoman state of the XVI – XVII centuries / S. I. Malozemov, D. D. Denisova, V. A. Savinova // Contentus. – 2021. – No. 2. – pp. 34 – 42.
3. Mammadov I.B. The history of the formation of the Sultan's harem in the XV-XVIII centuries and its role in the political and social life of the Ottoman state: abstract of the dissertation ... cand. History of Sciences/ Mammadov I.B. - Saint Petersburg, 2011. - 26 p. 
4. Shutko O. Lissi Reksolani: lyubov ta diplomacy / O. Shutko – Ternopil: Initial book — Bogdan, 2017. — 160 p.
5. Kabachinskaya S. S. Kabachinskaya Riddle of Roksolana. For the sake of a cheerful Ukrainian, Suleiman the Magnificent even dissolved his harem / S. Kabachinskaya // For a week. Ukraine. 26.08.2013 - URL: (history)https://centrasia.org/newsA.php?st=1377500520 & (date of announcement – 23.04. 2023) 
6. Frolova I. A. Turkish harem and its inhabitants / I. A. Frolova // Interpretations of culture: Collection of articles – Tver, 2015. – pp. 230-235.