History Talks: Selim as Saint
The Memory of Sultan Selim I (R.152-1520) as a divinely ordained monarch in Ottoman dream narratives
Speaker: H. Erdem Çıpa (University of Michigan, Department of History)
History Talks are organized by İstanbul Bilgi University Department of History.
Date: April 16, 2018
Place: santralistanbul Campus, E2-221
The language is English; there will be no translation.
Among the sultans of the Ottoman ‘Classical Age,’ Selim I is the sole monarch to have gained the dubious honor of posthumously acquiring an unflattering epithet. Ottoman chronicles remember Selim’s forefathers by honorific titles such as “Warrior of Faith” (Gazi), “Lord” (Hüdavendigar), “Thunderbolt” (Yıldırım), “Conqueror” (Fatih), “Saint” (Veli), and “Devout” (Sofu). In European sources Selim’s own son, Süleyman, is frequently dubbed “the Magnificent” while in Ottoman chronicles he is praised as “the Lawgiver” (Kanuni). However, due to his controversial rise to the Ottoman throne and his iron-fisted style of rule, Selim is less laudably remembered as “the Grim” (Yavuz).
Yet, Selim is represented differently in various genres of Ottoman historical writing—as a legitimate, idealized, and divinely ordained monarch. This talk addresses the development of Selim's textual iconography as a sultan who ruled by divine decree by exploring his image in dream narratives recorded in contemporaneous petitions addressed to his court during his sultanate and in historical works produced after his reign.