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Suleiman I "The Magnificent" The Ottoman Ruler

1619 words - 7 pages

The Ottoman Empire was one of the greatest empires of the world. "Their moment of glory in the sixteenth century represented one of the heights of human creativity, optimism, and artistry. The empire they built was the largest and most influential of the Muslim empires of the modern period, and their culture and military expansion crossed over into Europe." (Hooker) The Ottoman Empire lasted until the twentieth century.Pressured out of their homeland in the Asian steppes by the Mongols during the late 1200's a group of nomadic Turks settles in the region of Anatolia, in western Turkey. They were called the Oghuz and they settled under the Seljuks. The Turks called themselves the Ottomans ...view middle of the document...

It was under his rule the Ottoman Empire experienced its golden age and ranked among world powers in culture, military, and politics.Suleiman was born on November 6, 1464, at Trabzon, the Black Sea coast of Turkey; to Sultan Selim I.Little is know about his childhood. Ruling for 46 years, he came to power in 1520, and he ruled until 1566. He was known as "Kanui," or lawgiver, in his homeland, but to Europeans, he was known as "Suleiman the Magnificent." He was regarded as the perfect Islamic ruler because he valued justice and fairness above all. He was"aptly named after the biblical Solomon, Suleyman showed wisdom as a lawgiver - not in the sense of an innovator, but as a regulator and restorer of balance." (Kavalcio) He was a multitalented man as a military commander, a skillful ruler, and he was a patron of the arts.He ruled as both the sultan and the caliph. As sultan, he had absolute power but his central function was to guarantee justice over all of the land. As caliph, he was responsible for the security of Muslims and for Islamic orthodoxy. He was supported by a group of personal advisors, the bureaucracy, a group of religious advisors, known as the Ulema, and the army. A grand vizier or Prime Minister headed the bureaucracy. The grand viziers were normally chosen for their ability not their social standing. The Sultan kept watch over all of his officials with the help of the grand vizier. The Ulema made rulings on questionable Islamic law. The army helped conquer land and maintain control as well. The core of the army was recruited officers from the conquered peoples. They came mainly from the Balkans. Christian families were required to hand over young boys to government, where they received training, and they were converted to Islam.The Ottomans were tolerant people. They had to accommodate the diverse cultures and religions of their people. Many different races and religions all coexisted under his rule. The population was divided into several classes: the sultan's family, the sultan, and high government officials, then the nobility, and finally the lowest class, which was also the largest, was comprised of the peasants. The government made specific laws affecting those who didn't practice Islam. Non-Muslims could practice as they wished, but had to pay a tax. Religious groups could also run their own affairs in communities called millets. They gave many religious groups freedom to practice their religion without problems."The Ottoman culture greatly benefited the Muslims, who were exempt from taxation, and enjoyed the greatest landholdings, as well as civil and political power." (Gilbert) As a result, aspiring Non-Muslims converted to Islam. Those that didn't often migrated to the cities where they enjoyed greater commercial freedom. The remaining Non-Muslims were treated with respect, subject to both their own and Muslim laws, although they were in many respects second-class citizens.Suleiman I was known as "Kanui," or the...

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