Monday, October 1, 2007


Valide Sultan

Kosem was the Valide Sultan or Queen Mother of the Turkish ruler of Constantinople. She was a wily member of harem politics and intrigue when her husband, the Sultan Ostman II was on the throne. She was the mother of the Sultan Murad II (r.1623-1640) and the Sultan Ibrahim (r. 1640- ).

After the death of her husband Sultan Ostman II (1622), his uncle succeeded as Mustapha I (1622-1623). Mustapha was quite mad, and was deposed. Kosem's son, Murad, aged 13yo succeeded (1623). Kosem dominated her son during his minority and came to influence the politics of the court.

However, this was not a period of calm and prosperity. Military riots turned on the palace (1631), and there was a rapid succession of Grand Viziers (Prime Ministers) - and so no stability within the fragile government. Murad was succeeded by his brother (her son) Ibrahim (1640).

Kosem finally lost her grip on power (1651) when Constantinople slipped into complete anarchy. She was eventually hunted down in her private apartments, where she hid. However, she was discovered after a lengthy search, hiding under a pile of quilts. Kosem was assaulted and stripped of her clothes and jewels. She was dragged into the "Cushana" by her feet, where she was strangled by a piece of rope (which had to be found). Kosem was over 80yo, but fought back. It took four men quite a while to manually strangle her. It was only when she was completely still was her death proclaimed to the Sultan. Kosem was not dead but still alive, and so once again she was strangled and killed.

So great was this women that three days of mourning followed.

~~~ Melisende (first pub: 1998 Women of History)

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