Empress of the East

Empress of the East

How A European Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman Empire

Book - 2017
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"FROM CHRISTIAN MAIDEN TO MUSLIM QUEEN: Roxelana was born in Ruthenia, possibly the daughter of a priest but more likely into an average family, facing a hardscrabble life. She was captured by slavers around age 12 and taken to the Ottoman court. Her trajectory was extraordinary--she became a favored concubine and then the first, and only, Ottoman Queen. From rags to riches, her life is one of political maneuvering, rule breaking, and forbidden love. A Christian slave girl ripped from her homeland who, against all odds, rose to become the only queen in the history of the Ottoman Empire, Roxelana has long been accused of witchcraft and blamed for turning the sultan Suleyman's head--even preventing him from reaching his full potential as a ruler. But the truth is even more remarkable: the first (and only) Queen in Ottoman history, Roxelana was a diplomat, an administrator, and a modernizer who helped Suleyman keep up with the changing world. She is a remarkable figure whose fascinating story warrants retelling, and whose life will shed new light on the history of the Ottoman Empire. Soon after Roxelana entered Suleyman's harem, however, Suleyman set aside all others, breaking centuries of tradition in favor of the laughing Ruthenian maiden, who he would eventually free and marry. Controversial from the outset, Roxelana has remained so for historians. Both in life and in death, she has been a lightning rod for virtually all of Suleyman's unpopular acts, including a series of controversial executions. This greatest of Ottoman sultans has himself been sold short by the myth of his susceptibility to Roxelana's charms"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Basic Books,, 2017
ISBN: 9780465032518
Call Number: B H941p
Characteristics: 359 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm


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Sold into slavery as a child, Roxalana became a favored concubine and the only Ottoman queen.

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Oct 23, 2017

High commendations to Ms. Peirce on both the rigor of her scholarship and her ability to bring this exotic woman to life. It is tempting to make assumptions about a subject's thoughts, emotions, and motivations, a trap into which Ms. Peirce never falls. Her speculations are always clearly noted as such, and are firmly based on the source material. This is a terrifically readable book about a very singular woman as well as being the source of considerable information about the inner workings of the Ottoman Empire. Very highly recommended.


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