Valide Sultans (Mothers of Sultans) of the Ottoman Empire:
  • Gül-Çiçek Khātûn - Wife of Murad I, mother of Bayezid I. GREEK.
  • Amina Gul-Bahar (also known as Kül-Bahār Khātûn or Gülbahar Hatun) - Wife of Mehmed II, adoptive mother of Bayezid II. ALBANIAN.
  • Cecilia Venier-Baffo, Afife Nur-Bânû - Wife of Selim II, mother of Murad III. KIKE. [*]
  • Sofia Baffo - Safiye - Wife of Murad III, mother of Mehmed III, VENETIAN-KIKE or CHRISTIAN ALBANIAN [**].
  • Helena, Handan - Wife of Mehmed III, mother of Ahmed I and Mustafa I. GREEK.
  • Marija or Mariza, Mâh-Firûze Hatice (Khadija) - Wife of Ahmed I, mother of Osman II. SERBIAN.
  • Anastasia, Mâh-Peyker Kösem - Another wife of Ahmed I, mother of Murad IV and Ibrahim I. GREEK.
  • Nadya, Turhan Hatice - Wife of Ibrahim I, mother of Mehmed IV. RUTHENIAN.
  • Katarina, Saliha Dilashub (or Saliha Dilâşub) - Another wife of Ibrahim I, mother of Suleiman II. SERBIAN.
  • Evmania Voria, Mâh-Pârā Ummatullah (Emetullah) Râbi'a Gül-Nûş - Wife of Mehmed IV, mother of Mustafa II and Ahmed III. GREEK.
  • Jelizabeta, Saliha Sabkati - Wife of Mustafa II, mother of Mahmud I. SERBIAN.
  • Velinka, Shehsuvar - Another wife of Mustafa II, mother of Osman III. SERBIAN
  • Agnes, Mîhr-i Şah - Wife of Mustafa III, mother of Selim III. GENOESE.
  • Sonija, Ayse Seniyeperver (also known as Aishā Sina Pervar or Ayşe Seniyeperver) - Wife of Abdul Hamid I, step-mother of Mustafa IV. BULGARIAN.
  • Nakş-î-Dil Haseki - Another wife of Abdul Hamid I, and adoptive mother of Mahmud II. (speculation that she was a cousin of Napoleon's wife Josephine)
  • Bezm-î-Âlem (or Bazim-î Alam) - The first wife of Mahmud II, mother of Abdülmecid I. KIKE.
  • Pertav-Nihâl (Pertevniyal) - Wife of Mahmud II, mother of Abdülaziz. ROMANIAN.
  • Shevkefza - Wife of Abdülmecid I, mother of Murad V. MINGRELIAN.
  • Rahîme Piristû (Perestû) - Wife of Abdülmecid I, adoptive mother of Abdul Hamid II. CIRCASSIAN.

* Kikepedia:

There exist two theories about the ethnicity of Nurbanu:


Yosef (Joseph) de Nasi, Duke of Naxos was the son of Samuel de Nasi, and the grandson of Yosef de Nasi, who was a tax farmer (collector) from Spain. Samuel de Nasi had a brother also named Yosef de Nasi who moved to Paros in the Greek islands. At the time the Greek islands were under Venetian rule until the Muslim invasion of 1537. The connections is revealed by the relationship of Rachel Olivia de Nasi who was born in Venice in 1525 to Yosef de Nasi, son of Samuel de Nasi, which places Rachel and Joseph de Nasi as second cousins, who was in a very close relationship with Nurbanu's husband. Rachel was therefore related to Doña Gracia Mendes Nasi also known by her Christianised name Beatrice de Luna. During the 1537 war on Páros, the Venetian born Rachel Olivia de Nasi was abducted and taken to the royal harem of Ottoman Prince Selim II in Istanbul and became his favourite wife. She was renamed "Afife Nurbanu Sultan". Being Jewish, she gave priorities to the Jewish people of Istanbul and Manisa. The fact remains that Rachel was Nasi, which is proved by relationships.


There has been some debate as to whose daughter Rachel Olivia de Nasi was. The Venetian claimed she was the daughter of Nicolò Venier whose brother Sebastiano Venier (1496-1578), who became Doge of Venice between 1577 and 1578. While the Turkish Muslims recorded that she was the natural daughter of Venetian Judean named Yosef de Nasi and Violanta Baffo, who ended up marrying Nicolò Venier. Other entries confirm that Voilanta Baffo was a mistress to Nicolò Venier, yet Yosef de Nasi is also recorded as the husband of Voilanta Baffo. More likely Nasi died and Nicolò Venier then married Baffo, which is proven by relationships. Joseph de Nasi, Duke of Naxos, fled Venice to the Ottoman Empire of Prince Selim II and Rachel de Nasi. This relationship unequivocally confirms that Rachel was the daughter of Yosef Nasi, brother of Benedetto de Nasi, which directly links the two Nasi families to Joseph de Nasi and Doña Gracia Mendes Nasi.

Nurbanu became the most favored consort of Ottoman Sultan Selim II, who was put on the throne in 1566, and the mother of Murad III. She had been the head of his princely harem, however, when he became sultan, she was not head of the imperial harem, as that was a position taken by Selim's elder sister, the acting Valide Sultan, Mihrimah Sultan. Even after Selim began to take other concubines, she persisted as a favorite for her beauty and intelligence. As mother of the heir-apparent, she acted as an advisor to her husband. Although it was far from normal at the time, Selim II would often ask Nurbanu for her advice on various subjects because of his respect for her good judgment. Jacopo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador reported:

"The Haseki is said to be extremely well loved and honored by His Majesty both for her great beauty and for being unusually intelligent."

She was a devoted wife and a very loyal mother as later events would prove. The Ottoman Empire was far from being very stable at the top and clashes over the imperial throne were common. It was also not uncommon for the loser to have his entire family massacred along with him to prevent any future challenge. Nurbanu Sultan was determined, however, that when the time came for her son to succeed his father, nothing would interfere with that.

Prince Murad had been sent to serve as Governor of Manisa on the Aegean coast and was there when Sultan Selim II died in 1574. This would have been the prefect opportunity for someone to seize power with the Sultan dead and his son away from the capital. Nurbanu realized this as much, if not more, than anyone and took quick action. Security and privacy in the harem were the most strict anywhere and no one knew when Selim II had actually died. Nurbanu told no one and hid the dead body of her husband in an icebox and sent to Manisa for her son to come to Constantinople immediately. All the while no one was the wiser that Sultan Selim II had actually departed this life. It was not made known publicly until twelve days later when Murad arrived and Nurbanu delivered up the body of her late husband. Her son became Sultan Murad III and Nurbanu became Valide Sultan (effectively “Queen Mother”), the highest position a woman could hold in the Ottoman Empire. However, once again, she was not completely in charge until the death of Mihrimah Sultan, four years after Selim's. When she did though, she became a formidable figure with far-reaching influence.
Foreign politics

After Nurbanu became the valide sultan to her son Murad III, she effectively managed the government together with the Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, who acted as co-regent with the sultan during the Sultanate of Women. Her intermediary to the world outside the harem was her "kira", Esther Handali. "Kira" was so popular means of communication with the outside world when Nûr-Banû was the Valide Sultan that the two women were said to have been lovers. She corresponded with the queen Catherine de' Medici of France. Venetian accounts are the most prolific in describing Nurbanu Sultan as a woman who never forgot her Venetian origins.

During her nine years of regency (1574–1583), her politics were so pro-Venetian that she was hated by the Republic of Genoa. Some have even suggested that she was poisoned by a Genoese agent. In any case, she died at the palace in the Yenikapı Quarter, Istanbul on 7 December 1583. Moreover, it has been said that Nurbanu was related to Safiye Sultan, who was born Sofia Baffo, married Murad III, and consequently became the next valide sultan of the Ottoman Empire when her own son Mehmed III acceded to the throne. On the other hand, the Ottoman records claim that the Republic of Venice became highly dependent on the Ottoman Empire during the regency of Nurbanu because her policies were allegedly extremely pro-Jewish.

During her nine years of regency, Nurbanu ordered the renowned Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan to build the Atik Valide Mosque and its surrounding külliye at the district of Üsküdar in Istanbul, where previously a "Jewish bath" was located. The construction of the külliye was completed and put in commission at the end of 1583, just before the demise of Nurbanu on 7 December 1583. She was buried at the mausoleum of her husband Selim II located inside the Hagia Sophia (then a mosque).

** Kikepedia:

The identity of Safiye has often been confused with that of her Venetian mother-in-law Nurbanu, leading some to believe that Safiye was also of Venetian descent, descended from Venetian Governor of Corfu, captured by Muslim pirates and presented to the Sultan's harem in 1562. However, Safiye was Albanian, from the village of Rezi in the Ducagini mountains.

In 1563, at the age of 13, she was presented as a slave to the future Murad III by Mihrimah Sultan daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent.[8] Given the name Safiye ("the pure one"), she became a concubine of Murad (then the eldest son of Sultan Selim II). In 1566, she gave birth to Murad's son, the future Mehmed III.

Safiye had been Murad's only concubine prior to his accession, and he continued having a monogamous relationship with her for several years into his sultanate. His mother Nurbanu advised him to take other concubines for the good of the dynasty, which by 1581 had only one surviving heir, Murad and Safiye's son Mehmed. In 1583, Nurbanu accused Safiye of using witches and sorcerers to render Murad impotent and prevent him from taking new concubines. This resulted in the imprisonment and torture of Safiye's servants. Murad's sister Esmehan presented him with two beautiful concubines, which he accepted. Cured of his impotence, he went on to father twenty sons and twenty-seven daughters.

Venetian reports state that after an initial bitterness, Safiye kept her dignity and showed no jealousy of Murad's concubines. She even procured more for him, earning the gratitude of the Sultan, who continued to value her and consult her on political matters, especially after the death of Nurbanu. During Murad's latter years, Safiye returned to being his only companion. However, it is unlikely that Safiye ever became Murad's wife—though the Ottoman historian Mustafa Ali refers to her as such, he is contradicted by reports from the Venetian and English ambassadors.

Ottoman Sultan Mehmed III, to whom Sāfiya was a Valide sultan during 1595–1603.

When Murad died in 1595, Safiye arranged for her son Mehmed to succeed as sultan, and she became the valide sultan—one of the most powerful in Ottoman history. Until her son's death in 1603, Ottoman politics were determined by a party headed by herself and Gazanfer Ağa, chief of the white eunuchs and head of the enderun (the imperial inner palace).

Safiye eventually enjoyed an enormous stipend of 3,000 aspers a day during the latter part of her son's reign. When Mehmed III went on the Eger campaign in Hungary in 1596, he gave his mother great power over the empire, leaving her in charge of the treasury. During her interim rule she persuaded her son to revoke a political appointment of the judgeship of Istanbul and to reassign to the grand vizierate to Damat Ibrahim Pasha, her son-in-law.

During this period, the secretary of the English ambassador reported that while in the palace, Safiye "espied a number of boats upon the river [the Bosphorus] hurrying together. The Queen Mother sent to enquire of the matter [and] was told that the Vizier did justice upon certain chabies [kahpe], that is, whores. She, taking displeasure, sent word and advised [the Vizier] that her son had left him to govern the city and not to devour the women; [thus] commanding him to look well to the other business and not to meddle any more with the women till his master's return."

The greatest crisis Safiye endured as valide sultan stemmed from her reliance on her kira, Esperanza Malchi. A kira was a non-Muslim woman (typically Jewish) who acted as an intermediary between a secluded woman of the harem and the outside world, serving as a business agent and secretary. In 1600, the imperial cavalry rose in rebellion at the influence of Malchi and her son, who had amassed over 50 million aspers in wealth. Safiye was held responsible for this, along with the debased currency the troops were paid with, and nearly suffered the wrath of the soldiers, who brutally killed Malchi and her son. Mehmed III was forced to say "he would counsel his mother and correct his servants." To prevent the soldiers from suspecting her influence over the Sultan, Safiye persuaded Mehmed to have his decrees written out by the Grand Vizier, instead of personally signing them.

Safiye was instrumental in the execution of her grandson Mahmud in 1602, having intercepted a message sent to his mother by a religious seer, who predicted that Mehmed III would die in six months and be succeeded by his son. According to the English ambassador, Mahmud was distressed at "how his father was altogether led by the old Sultana his Grandmother & the state went to Ruin, she respecting nothing but her own desire to get money, & often lamented thereof to his mother," who was "not favored of the Queen mother." The sultan, suspecting a plot and jealous of his son's popularity, had him strangled.

Mehmed III was succeeded by his son Ahmed I in 1603. One of his first major decisions was to deprive his grandmother of power—she was banished to the Old Palace in January 1604.

All succeeding sultans were descended from Safiye.

Safiye, like Nurbanu, advocated a generally pro-Venetian policy and regularly interceded on behalf of the Venetian ambassadors, one of whom described her to the senate as "a woman of her word, trustworthy, and I call say that in her alone have I found truth in Constantinople; therefore it will always benefit Your Serenity to promote her gratitude."

Safiye also maintained good relations with England. She persuaded Mehmed III to let the English ambassador accompany him on campaign in Hungary. One unique aspect of her career is that she corresponded personally with Queen Elizabeth I of England, volunteering to petition the Sultan on Elizabeth's behalf. The two women also exchanged gifts. On one occasion, Safiye received a portrait of Elizabeth in exchange for "two garments of cloth of silver, one girdle of cloth of silver, [and] two handkerchiefs wrought with massy gold." In a letter from 1599, Safiye responds to Elizabeth's request for good relations between the empires:

"I have received your letter...God-willing, I will take action in accordance with what you have written. Be of good heart in this respect. I constantly admonish my son, the Padishah, to act according to the treaty. I do not neglect to speak to him in this manner. God-willing, may you not suffer grief in this respect. May you too always be firm in friendship. God-willing, may [our friendship] never die. You have sent me a carriage and it has been delivered. I accept it with pleasure. And I have sent you a robe, a sash, two large gold-embroidered bath towels, three handkerchiefs, and a ruby and pearl tiara. May you excuse [the unworthiness of the gifts]."

Safiye had the carriage covered and used it on excursions to town, which was considered scandalous. This exchange of letters and gifts between Safiye and Elizabeth presented an interesting gender dynamic to their political relationship. In juxtaposition to the traditional means of exchanging women in order to secure diplomatic, economic, or military alliances, Elizabeth and Safiye's exchange put them in the position of power rather than the objects of exchange.

An unusual occurrence in Safiye's relationship with England was her attraction to Paul Pindar, secretary to English ambassador and deliverer of Elizabeth's coach. According to Thomas Dallam (who presented Elizabeth's gift of an organ to Mehmed III), "the sultana did take great liking to Mr. Pinder, and afterwards she sent for him to have his private company, but their meeting was crossed."

The Yeni Mosque in Eminönü, Istanbul, (Her construction was begun by Sāfiya Valida Sultânā and completed during the regency of Turhan Hatice, the mother of Mehmed IV).

The türbe of Safiye is located next to that of Murad III in the courtyard of Hagia Sophia.

Safiye is also famous for starting the construction of Yeni Mosque, the "new mosque" in Eminönü, Istanbul, in 1597. Part of Istanbul's Jewish quarter was razed to make way for the structure, whose massive building costs made Safiye unpopular with the soldiery, who wanted her exiled. At one point Mehmed III temporarily sent her to the Old Palace.[25] Though she returned, she did not live to see the mosque completed. After Mehmed died, Safiye lost power and was permanently exiled to the Old Palace. The mosque's construction was halted for decades. It was finally completed in 1665 by another valide sultan, Turhan Hatice, mother of Mehmed IV. The Al-Malika Safiye Mosque in Cairo is named in Safiye's honor.

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