May 9, 2021

Al-Tikriti Pens Editorial on Süleyman the Magnificent for ‘Great Lives’ Lecture

Süleyman the Magnificent

Süleyman the Magnificent

Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti penned an editorial on Ottoman Empire Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent in advance of his Great Lives lecture on Tuesday Jan. 26, at 7:30 pm on Zoom, as part of UMW’s “Great Lives” series. It can be accessed at umw.edu/greatlives.

IN 2011, Turkish television launched a new series, entitled “Magnificent Century / Mühteşim Yüzyıl.” An instant hit, this flashy soap opera offered a highly dramatized version of Sultan Süleyman’s palace personna, family drama, and harem dynamics.

Over four seasons this bodice ripper, centered largely on the rivalry between his wife, Hürrem, and his earlier prime concubine, Mahidevran, was screened by over 200 million viewers in over 50 countries.

Why were so many hooked on a fanciful dramatization of this celebrated sultan who died over 450 years ago?

The real Süleyman (d. 1566) ruled over the Ottoman Empire during what most consider the peak of its power. Even though the empire continued to expand for several decades after his death, and remained the most powerful force in Europe for well over another century, when denizens of Western civilization consider this empire at all, it is usually in the same breath as they contemplate the reign of its most famous ruler. Read more.