Free «The Reign of Sultan Suleiman» UK Essay Paper
The Ottoman Empire represents the world power both from the military side and the political one as well as from the side of universal sovereignty. One of the most momentous people in the Ottoman Empire was Sultan Suleiman. He was a real leader since he independently led the army and was personally responsible for all the state issues. In addition, Sultan created a new legal system in the state. The period of Sultan Suleiman’s rule is considered to be “the Golden Age” since it is considered to be period of the greatest flowering of art and culture as well as a solid economic and political development.
Sultan Suleiman created his image himself by decorating the capital and inventing many magnificent titles that reflected his successes on the battlefield and the defeat of rivals. Thus, Suleiman suppressed the uprising in Syria, attacked Hungary, and captured the city fortress in Belgrade. His opponents underestimated the power of Suleiman. For instance, “using the fleet which his father had created in the last year of his reign, he besieged and captured Rhodes, expelling the Knights of St John” (Imber, 2010). These victories were symbolic and strategic. The conquest of Belgrade made possible the Ottoman invasion of the kingdom. Instead, the Rhodes capture enabled Sultan Suleiman to command a sea-lane between Istanbul and Egypt. These victories have created a great reputation of Suleiman as his mediators were unable to conquer neither Belgrade nor Rhodes.
A series of victories of Sultan Suleiman were important for the Ottoman Empire. For example, the Ottoman victory in the Battle of Mohacs led to the capture of the Danube. Later, Venice was captured, and North Africa to the Moroccan border opened under the Ottoman conquest where the governors in Algerian, Tunisian, and Tripoli elect sultans. In addition, conquest in Persia gave way to the Persian Gulf where there was a see war with the Portuguese. These conquests strengthened the Ottoman Empire and the authority of Sultan Suleiman.
The nature of the war was decisive for the period of the reign of Sultan Suleiman. Sultan himself was present in all battles. It seemed that his presence had a totemic significance for the victory. Additionally, the sultan's campaigns were relatively short. For instance, “until the mid-century, military campaigns had normally lasted a year: Suleiman’s campaign against the Safavids between 939/1533 and 943/1536 had been as much a royal progress” (Imber, 2010). Therefore, it was normal for the visors and the canal to accompany him throughout the campaign. Such actions and skills of Suleiman created a positive attitude and honor towards the ruler.
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During the reign of Sultan Suleiman, the Ottoman Empire was a universe power. Most of the great Islamic cities were under the control of the southern sultan. Moreover, the port exercised control over many states including Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. Many domestic rulers were vassals of the Sultan. Such power has made the Sultan a powerful and well-known ruler.
The Golden Age of the Ottoman Empire is striking by its achievements in weapons. The Empire enjoyed its advantages over rivals in the presence of malleries for the war. There was a slight deficit. For instance, the items of need “were tin for the casting of bronze cannon, sulfur for the manufacture of gunpowder and, to a lesser degree, hemp for the manufacture of rope needed for the fleet” (Imber, 2010). However, deficits have always been resolved by imports; thus, they did not pose problems.
In addition, the empire had more human resources than its opponents and had the best administrative resources to mobilize troops for the war. Registered books allowed the government to estimate the number of people available for war and facilitated their gathering. The skill and tactical abilities of the Ottomans in this period contributed to the three victorious wars.
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During the reign of Sultan Suleiman, the Ottoman army became the master of a siege war. Moreover, the Ottomans had a successful technique in the sea battles. Marine victories enabled them to dominate in the eastern Mediterranean for some time. These factors allowed consolidating the power status of the Ottoman Empire.
Actions related to the release of prisoners captured by his father and compensation for goods merchants gave Suleiman the title of the legislator. In addition, Shariah was at a higher degree than in other Muslim cities. It was practiced in all courts. The courts were fair and made a connection between the local people and the sultan. For the most cases, people were lucky to live by such laws.
In addition, Suleiman fought corruption, reformed and simplified the legal system. He passed laws that reduced unfair actions against Christians. One of his decisions reformed the law regulating fees and taxes that were paid by different regions. This raised the status of people over serfdom. The Sultan also played an important role in the pursuit of Jewish subjects for many years. Suleiman even issued a decree that formally condemned the bloodshed against the Jews. He issued a new law imposing fines for specific offenses and reduced the number of deaths and injuries. Additionally, sultan abolished some cruel punishments. Such actions simplified the life of people and made it more comfortable.
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Education was the weighty area for the sultan. Schools opened at mosques and financed by religious foundations provided mostly free education for Muslim boys. In his capital, Suleiman created several schools that taught students to read and write as well as the basic principles of Islam. Young people who wanted to continue education could study at the medres. Studies in such institutions provided knowledge in different spheres. Educational centers often surrounded the mansions of mosques and included libraries, fountains, kitchen cabinets, and clinics for people’s well-being.
Under the direction of the Sultan Suleiman, the Ottoman Empire experienced the Golden Age of its cultural development. Hundreds of art societies worked to paint the Ottoman Empire. After graduation, the masters were able to get a bigger salary, which was received quarterly. The sultan allured the most talented artisans to his empire. They were representatives of both the Islamic world and the conquered territories. This explains Arab, Jewish, and European cultures. Among the artisans, there were painters, jewelers, and fur craftsmen. Thus, the Ottoman Empire created its own cultural heritage.
Suleiman was a successful lyricist and wrote in Persian and Turkish. Some of his poems are Turkish adjectives. Additionally, Suleiman was also famous for a series of monumental architectural developments in his empire. The Sultan sought to transform Constantinople into the center of the Islamic world through many projects. Suleiman brilliantly distinguished skills and personal abilities and applied them for the greatest profit of the state. He intended military pioneer Mimar Sinan as a royal architect who continued creating some of Istanbul's most famous buildings. Through construction, the Ottoman Empire reached its cultural zenith. Suleiman reclaimed the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the walls of Jerusalem city. Moreover, he ordered the rebuilding of the Ka'aba and the Mekas; also, the Damascus complex was built in that period.
The most famous Synan’s building is the Suleiman's mosque. The building is located on the top of one of the seven hills of Istanbul and dominates the city's horizon. Its minarets can be seen from many sides of the town. It is a well-planned architectural element built in a classical Sinan’s style that combines Islamic and Byzantine architectural grounds. Like other imperial mosques in Istanbul, Suleimaniye was designed as a complex of buildings including “a hospital, a school, a hammam, a school of the Koran, a row of shops, and public cuisine for feeding the poor” (Nacipoglu, 1985). The most pathetic addition to the mosque were two mausoleums in which the graves of Suleiman and his wife Hurrem Sultan are located. The building fascinates by its majesty and beauty.
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Suleimaniye represents the standard types of buildings and functional schemes. The mosque itself is the result of previous experiments. However, the Suleimaniye differs from the monuments of its time. For instance, another is “the way these traditional architectural motifs are used in a creative synthesis and monumentalization of architectural forms that had accumulated since the reign of Murad II” (Necipoglu, 1985). The great feature is the adaptation of the terrace to the sloping terrain. Moreover, its monumental scale and the use of a multi-colored stone for construction are impressive. Colossal barns and large arches separated by their scenery and structure speak of royal power.
Early Ottoman complexes in Bursa and Edirne consisted of freestanding deposits with flank hostels that were used for informal gatherings. Not far from the mosque of Suleiman, there is another Synan’s architectural element with a sorrowful history. The Sehzade Mosque was built on the orders of Suleiman to honor the memory of his son Mehmed. This building is a magnificent piece of art. Along with this mosque, several small mosques looked like toy construction compared to the Sehzade one. In the Sehzade complex, the hostel is separated from the mosque and is installed as a dependency. This reflects the diminished role of the Sufi Sheikhs during the reign of Mehmed. The geometric plan of this building provided the centralizing tendencies of the Ottoman Empire. This complex impresses with its pride because the following were not similar to it. For instance, “neither Bayezid's three complexes in Istanbul, Edirne, and Amasya (1481-1512), nor Selim's modest complex in Istanbul approach its grand scheme” (Necipoglu, 1985). It was the biggest building before the Suleiman mosque was created.
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The Mosque of Rustem Pasha is among the colossal buildings in Istanbul. The mosque is famous for its interiors and tiled intricate patterns. There is a curious entrance to the castle through a small window. Despite not big size of the mosque, it is filled with the spirituality of Islam.
Ottoman art flourished during the reign of Sultan Suleiman. The courtiers created fine examples of illuminated and illusory manuscripts, objects of gold, silver, jade, and rock crystal. This period is also known for the production of ceremonial and functional weapons and armor as well as satin and velvet cafeteria and furniture, flat and nude fork. Ceramic vessels and tiles are also interesting examples of those years. The artists and their works created unique and indigenous features and techniques that characterize the artistic style of this period and had a long-lasting influence on the Turkish art.
The Sultan personally examined the work of the artists and rewarded them for outstanding work. The most prominent artists belonged to the studio of imperial painting where hundreds of religious and secular manuscripts were issued. The primary task of the artists was to cover copies of the Sultan's library. They redefined the existing themes and experimented with new ideas.
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One of the styles of this period was saz. At first, it was used in drawings where fierce creatures were depicted in the battle including lions, dragons, Phoenix bird, as well as four-legged creatures. In these drawings, large flowers and long leaves were depicted as well. Another common style advocated for a naturalistic approach that depicts spring flowers such as tulips, cloves, and roses growing among the flowering fruit trees. Similar topics have been used to decorate the Koran. This style characterized the reign of Sultan Suleiman as the best years of the Emperor.
The power of Sultan Suleiman was represented by a fantastic headgear. Thus, “promoting the ideal of magnificence as an indispensable Cairo included a gold cup inlaid with enormous diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and pearls worth 200,000 ducats” (Necipoglu, 1989). The meaning of the crown of Suleiman can be explained by the historical context. Its name resembles helmets worn by the ancient monks of the Near East as well as Alexander the Great in the Ottoman miniature. That is why Ibrahim Pasha called him a trophy of Alexander of Macedon. In this case, it is perceived as the legendary mirror of Alexander, which reflected the whole world and was associated with universal sovereignty. For instance, “its extra fourth crown added to the traditional three tiers of crowns could only be read as a statement of superiority to the two allied heads of Christendom” (Necipoglu, 1989). It is exactly what the sultan intended about universal sovereignty.
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In conclusion, Sultan Suleiman achieved significant success in all spheres of his rule. Victory campaigns and battles increased the territory of the Ottoman state. Furthermore, his changes in laws have improved the lives of people. The period of the reign of Sultan Suleiman is characterized by the development of art. Buildings of that period are the pride of the empire. Moreover, books as well as patterns are a Golden Age breakthrough.
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