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Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Doctor That Got a Bit Choked Up- The Tale of Suleiman The Magnificent's Physcian.

     Succession has always been a bit of a problem historically in any royal family. However, in no other nation since Roman times had there been such brutality amongst family as in the Ottoman Empire. This is the tale of the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, one of the greatest rulers of the Ottoman Turks, and the fate of his poor doctor that tried in desperation to save his life on a Hungarian battlefield in 1566.

     The Ottoman Empire in 1566 was at its apex as a political, military, and economic power in Europe and the Middle East. And the competition as to who would succeed as the next sultan was indeed fierce. Suleiman had eight legitimate children from his wives. In the Turkish tradition, the man who would ascend to the throne would often have his siblings killed to prevent any sibling rivalry. Indeed Suleiman's second wife one started a rumor that his eldest son(from his first wife) was plotting to overthrow Suleiman. The Sultan quickly summoned his son to his tent where he was promptly executed.

    When the elderly Sultan fell during a Hungarian campaign in 1566, a doctor was summoned and with much diligence attempted to save his monarch's life. However, the Sultan was beyond saving and passed away. There was a great fear that if the news of the Sultan's sudden passing got out, that his successor Selim would be vulnerable as preparations had not been made to secure his succession. This meant the execution, exile, or imprisonment of all threats to his rule had yet to be carried out. Also there were concerns amongst the generals that the news would demoralize the army already on campaign. In an attempt to keep the death of Suleiman a secret the doctor was promptly strangled to death to prevent any leak of the sad news. It did in fact work on all fronts, the news was kept secret for over a month while Selim secured his rule and the army had a successful campaign against the Hungarians.


Suleiman the Magnificent was clearly a believer in the idea that the bigger your hat, the more important you are.

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