Grown resentful ofhis influence and jealous
of Süleyman's affection for him, Roxalena set out to orchestrate
his death. She took advantage of every bit of gossip and information
to inflame Süleyman's mind against his friend. One night, when Ibrahim
was in the Seraglio as a privileged friend of the sultan, the deaf-mute
guards strangled him in his sleep. Roxalena may have been responsible
for Ibrahim's assassination, and there are many who have accused
her of it, but there is no conclusive evidence.
Some time after this, Süleyman declared to Roxalena that he wanted
to build her a new palace. She feared that putting her out of sight
might mean putting her out of mind and, eventually, out offavor.
To distract Süleyman, she came up with a more challenging project:
a mosque to be built by the greatest architect of the time, Sinan,
and to be named after the sultan himsel the Süleymaniye, the Mosque
of Süleyman the Magnifıcent. Once again she triumphed. The year
was l 549.
As Roxalena's sons grew older, Prince Mustafa
loomed as a greater and greater obstacle. He was an able and intelligent
prince, much admired by the people and the army. He was also Süleyman's
favorite son. How to cause his fall from grace?
A forged letter supposedly written by Mustafa to the shah of Persia,
declaring that he wanted to dethrone his father and asking for the
shah's assistance, turned father against son and provoked battle
on the plains of Ereğli. It is said that several times both Süleyman
and Mustafa tumed back as they rode to the fıeld, but fate urged
them forward: history had already been written by kismet.
Mustafa ran to his father , alone, unarmed, to redeem himself. He
reached the sultan's tent, going through four partitions. When he
came to the fıfth, his cries echoed through the plains. It is said
that Süleyman shed tears for the son he had ki11ed, and for the
father who could kill such a son.
Of Roxalena 's four sons, Mehmed died young
of natural causes; Cihan- gir , possessed of a brilliant mind, was
deformed and epileptic; Beyazit was able but cruel. Selim was her
choice as heir, because she was convinced that his soft nature would
not allow him to murder his brothers. She also knew that Selim drank
to dull his prophetic awareness of impending death. Risk- ing Süleyman's
wrath, she was not reluctant to supply the wine to ease her son's
pain. He became known as Selim the Sot.