Selim I: Wikis


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Osmanli-nisani.svg    Selim I
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
I Selim.jpg
Tughra of Selim I.JPG
Period Growth of the Ottoman Empire
Coronation 1512
Full Name Yavuz Sultan Selim
Predecessor Bayezid II
Successor Suleiman I
Royal House House of Osman
Dynasty Ottoman Dynasty
Father Bayezid II
Religious beliefs Sunni Islam

Selim I (Ottoman Turkish: سليم اوّل, Modern Turkish: I.Selim), also known as "the Excellent," "the Brave" or the best translation "the Stern", Yavuz in Turkish, the long name is Yavuz Sultan Selim; (October 10, 1465/1466/1470 – September 22, 1520) was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1512 to 1520.[1] He was also the first Ottoman Sultan to assume the title of Caliph of Islam.

Selim carried the empire to the leadership of the Sunni branch of Islam by his conquest of the Middle East. He represents a sudden change in the expansion policy of the empire, which was working mostly against the West and the Beyliks before his reign.[2] On the eve of his death in 1520, the Ottoman empire spanned almost 1 billion acres (trebling during Selim's reign).



Born in Amasya, Selim dethroned his father Bayezid II (1481–1512) in 1512. Bayezid's death followed immediately thereafter.[3] Like his grandfather Mehmed II (1451–81), Selim put his brothers and nephews to death upon his accession in order to eliminate potential pretenders to the throne. This fratricidal policy was motivated by bouts of civil strife that had been sparked by the antagonism between Selim's father Beyazid and his uncle Cem, and between Selim himself and his brother Ahmed.

He married Valide Sultan (1520) Hafsa Hatun Sultan, (Turkish: Ayşe Hafsa Sultan ), who died in 1534, mother of Suleiman I. Selim's mother was Ayşe Hatun, from Dulkadir. Selim was described as being tall, having very broad shoulders and a long mustache. He was skilled in politics and was said to be fond of fighting.[4]


Conquest of the Middle East

For Selim, one of the first challenges as the Sultan was the conflict between his empire and the powerful Safavid Empire of Persia. Shah Ismail had a Kurdish[5] and Azeri[6] ancestry and was patron of Shia Islam in the region, a situation which was a threat against the Sunni rulers of the Ottoman Empire. Selim had to eliminate the risk of a westward attack from Iran to Anatolia while he was attacking the Mamluks of Egypt. Therefore, Selim assembled his army and marched to Iran in 1514 and delivered a devastating blow to Safavids and Shah Ismail at the Battle of Chaldiran, a battle of historical significance. The Ottoman army thereafter paraded in the capital of the Safavid Empire, Tabriz.[7]

Then, Selim attacked and destroyed the Mamluk Sultanate first at the Battle of Marj Dabiq and then at the Battle of Ridanieh, which led to the annexation of Syria, Palestine and Egypt. He also extended Ottoman power to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Rather than style himself the Hakim ul Haremeyn, or The Ruler of The Two Holy Shrines, he accepted the more pious title Khadim ul Haremeyn, or The Servant of The Two Holy Shrines.[3][8]

After the conquest of Egypt and the Holy Cities in 1517, Selim induced Al-Mutawakkil III (1509–17), the last in the line of Abbasid caliphs who resided in Cairo since 1261 as nominal rulers legitimizing the de facto rule of the Mamluk sultans over the Mamluk Sultanate [9], to formally surrender the title of Caliph and its emblems, the sword and the mantle of Muhammad.[2] These are kept in the Topkapi Palace Museum at Istanbul, Turkey.


After his return from his Egyptian campaign, Selim began to prepare for an expedition which is believed to be against Rhodes. This campaign was cut short when he was overwhelmed by sickness and subsequently died in the ninth year of his reign. He was about fifty-five years of age. It is said that Selim succumbed to sirpence, a skin infection which he developed during his long campaigns on horseback. (Sirpence was an anthrax infection sometimes seen among leatherworkers and others who worked with livestock). Some historians claim that he was poisoned by the doctor tending to his infection[1] and some historians claim that the disease he suffered from was skin cancer. He died at Corlu, Tekirdağ.


After claiming the Caliphate, Selim assumed the title Malik ul-Barreyn, wa Khakan ul-Bahrayn, wa Kasir ul-Jayshayn, wa Khadim ul-Haramayn - that is, King of the Two Lands (continents Europe and Asia), Khagan of the Two Seas (Mediterranian and Indian Seas), Conqueror of the Two Armies (European and Safavid armies), and Servant of the Two Holy Shrines (Mecca and Medina). This title alludes to his dominions in Africa and Asia (namely, Egypt, Anatolia, and much of the Fertile Crescent), his control over the Mediterranean and Black seas, his defeat of both the Mamluk and Safavid armies, and his guardianship of the shrines of Mecca and Medina.


By most accounts, Selim had a fiery temper and full-blooded personality like a hero. He seems to have had high expectations of his subordinates, and executed many of his own viziers (one vizier playfully asked for advance notice of his own execution, so that he could put his affairs in order, to which Selim replied that he had indeed been thinking for a while of having him executed but hadn't found a suitable replacement, but that as soon as he did, he would be happy to oblige).

Accordingly, his court was dynamic, with the rewards as great as the risks. He was possibly very energetic and effective, though sometimes cruel, ruler. His reign was short, but may have prepared the Ottoman empire for its zenith under the achievements of his son.[10] A popular legend has it that Selim had filled the royal treasury to the brink and locked it with his own seal. He decreed that "he who will fill the treasury more than this, may use his seal to lock it." The treasury remained locked with Selim's seal until the collapse of the Empire 400 years later.

Selim was also a distinguished poet who wrote both Turkish and Persian verse under the nickname mahlas Selimi; collections of his Persian poetry are extant today.[10] In one of his poems, he wrote;

A carpet is large enough to accommodate two sufis, but the world is not large enough for two Kings.

Yavuz Sultan Selim


  1. ^ a b Yavuz Sultan Selim Biography Retrieved on 2007-09-16
  2. ^ a b The Rise of the Turks and the Ottoman Empire Retrieved on 2007-09-16
  3. ^ a b The Classical Age, 1453-1600 Retrieved on 2007-09-16
  4. ^ Sultan Selim the Excellent
  5. ^ Roger M. Savory. "Safavids" in Peter Burke, Irfan Habib, Halil İnalcık:"History of Humanity-Scientific and Cultural Development: From the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century", Taylor & Francis. 1999. Excerpt from pg 259: "From the evidence available at the present time, it is certain that the Safavid family was of indigineous Iranian stock, and not of Turkish ancestry as it is sometimes claimed. It is probable that the family originated in Persian Kurdistan, and later moved to Azerbaijan, where they adopted the Azari form of Turkish spoken there, and eventually settled in the small town of Ardabil sometimes during the eleventh century."
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Morgan, David. Shah Isma'il and the Establishment of Shi'ism
  8. ^ Yavuz Sultan Selim Government Retrieved on 2007-09-16
  9. ^ Thompson, J., A History of Egypt, AUC Press 2008, p. 194; Vatikiotis, P.J., The History of Modern Egypt, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992, p.20
  10. ^ a b Necdet Sakaoğlu, Bu Mülkün Sultanları, pg.127

External links

Selim I
Born: October 10, 1465 Died: September 22, 1520
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Bayezid II
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Apr 25, 1512 – Sep 22, 1520
Succeeded by
Suleiman I
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Bayezid II
Caliph of Islam
Apr 25, 1512–1517
He became Caliph in 1517
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Al-Mutawakkil III
Caliph of Islam
1517 – Sep 22, 1520
Succeeded by
Suleiman I

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SELIM I. (1465-1521) succeeded in 1 512 his father Bayezid II., whom he dethroned, and whose death, following immediately afterwards, gave rise to suspicions which Selim's character certainly justified. He signalized his accession by putting to death his brothers and nephews; and gave early proof of resolution by boldly cutting down before their troops two officers who showed signs of insubordination. A bigoted Sunni, he resolved on putting down the Shiite heresy, which had gained many adherents in Turkey: the number of these was estimated as high as 40,000. Selim determined on war with Persia, where the heresy was the prevalent religion, and in order that the Shiites in Turkey should give no trouble during the war, "measures were taken," as the Turkish historian states, which may be explained as the reader desires, and which proved fully efficacious. The campaign which followed was a triumph for Selim, whose firmness and courage overcame the pusillanimity and insubordination of the Janissaries. Syria and Egypt next fell before him; he became master of the holy cities of Islam; and, most important of all, he induced the last Caliph of the Abbasid dynasty formally to surrender the title of caliph (q.v.), as well as its outward emblems, viz. the holy standard, the sword and the mantle of the prophet. The dignity with which the Ottoman sultans have thereby become invested lends them that prestige throughout the Mussulman world which is of such importance to the present day, and which has thrown into oblivion the condition that the caliph ought to be an Arab of the tribe of Koreish. After his return from his Egyptian campaign, he was preparing an expedition against Rhodes when he was overtaken by sickness and died, on the 22nd of September 1521, in the ninth year of his reign, near the very spot where he had attacked his father's troops, not far from Adrianople. He was about fifty-five years of age. He was bigoted, bloodthirsty and relentless, though one Turkish historian praises his humanity for having forbidden the cutting up alive of condemned persons, or the roasting of them before a slow fire; and at one time he was with difficulty dissuaded from ordering the complete extirpation of all the Christians in Turkey. His ambition was insatiable; he is said to have exclaimed when looking at a map that the whole world did not form a sovereignty vast enough for one monarch. His four months' victorious campaign against Persia was undertaken and successfully carried through contrary to the advice of his ministers, several of whom he executed for their opposition to his plans; and he achieved an enterprise which neither Jenghiz Khan nor Timur was able to carry out. It is said that he contemplated the conquest of India and that he was the first to conceive the idea of the Suez Canal.

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