Suleiman the magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman empire (1494-1566)
You hear a lot about Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Napoleon. Don’t get me wrong these 3 people where awesome. They are all iconic national heroes in their own countries view. But what about Suleiman the magnificent? One of the greatest leaders the middle east ever knew.
Suleiman of the house Osman was born in 1494. Like any Ottoman prince he was sent to a school to study science, maths and millitary tactics. He befriended a slave called Pargali Ibrahim. Who would later become the sultans most trusted adviser. Suleiman had little ruling experience before he became sultan. He had been appointed governor of Theodosia by his father. However when his father died in 1520. Suleiman was sat on the throne at the age of 26. Suleiman was looked an as more of a domestic king than a foreign powerhouse and an envoy of venice said that “all men would benefit from his rule”.
Contrary to popular opinion Suleiman embarked on a campaign to conquer hungary and only a year later he captured Belgrade in 1521 and Rhodes in 1522. He was stopped at Vienna in 1529. But soon the Ottoman fleet dominated the red sea and soon the whole Mediterranean, waging war on the coasts of North Africa, Italy and Dalmatia. Suleiman doubled the empires terriotry and launched it into being a serious power player in the game of empires.
At home Suleiman was a great reformer. He started his modern vision of an empire by appionting the Grand vizier of the Ottoman empire as Pargali Ibrahim (that slave he met in school). Bascially making him head of government and making him the most second most powerful man in the empire.
Suleiman Ensured new dams, aqueducts and theological schools were built across the empire. Suleiman reformed the judicial system by adding in laws to prevent corruption and limit tax collector which resulted in many tax breaks for the working class. He made sure every prisoner had human rights and this earned him the name law giver.
Culturally his one of the greatest poets in the islamic world and oversaw the “Golden age of the ottoman empire”. When artists flourished in their new social houses and the sultan kept many artists at court. Suliemans great architectural achievements included restoring the old walls of jerusalem and the dome of the rock which was sacred to all not only muslims but christians and jews aswell.
As a poet Suleiman was admired. His greatest verse being
The people think of wealth and power as the greatest fate,
But in this world a spell of health is the best state.
What men call sovereignty is a worldly strife and constant war;
Worship of God is the highest throne, the happiest of all estates
Suleiman died in 1520. It took get 300 years worth of decadent and incapable heirs to destroy what he had created.