Women in Harem

Woman in Harem




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Harem Women and Politics

The excessive interference of the harem women in state politics was instru- mental in the decline and fall of the empire. Ironically , such meddling began during the reign of Suleyman the Magnifıcent, the most powerful period in the empire's history (l520-66). It was then that the women moved with Roxalena from the Old Palace, built by Mehmed the Conqueror, to the Seraglio harem ( l 541 ) , and approached the seat of power .This marked the beginning of the Sultanate, of the Reİgn of Women, which lasted a century and a half, until the end of the struggle between Kösem and Turhan sultanas (1687).

After Suleyman's death, the sultans no longer led their armies in campaign or in battle, retiring instead to the womb of the harem. They detached themselves from world affairs and spent most of their time in the company of women. This royal seclusion greatly diminished their ability to govern, and in varying degrees, sultanas began wielding influence over state officials, with bribery and patronage supplanting promotion on the basis of merit. A succession of child sultans and mentally deranged ones after Mehmed III's death in 1603 made women the power behind the throne.

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