All About Turkey

Sultan Selim II

Sultan Selim IIIn the decline of the Ottoman Empire, Selim II (1566-1574) was the son of Süleyman I. It's clear that Selim was the first disinterested sultan among the Ottomans. Addicted to sexual and alcoholic pleasures, passing most of his time in the harem, Selim, known in the history as "Selim the Drunk", retired almost completely from the decision- making and administrative apparatus of the Ottoman state.

The process of the Sultan's disengagement with government actually began with Süleyman. Towards the end of his succesful life, weary, tired, and broken by the executions of his two favorite sons, Süleyman withdrew into his great Topkapi palace and handed the reigns of government over to his Grand Vizier (sort of a prime minister). This was the model that his son would follow. In addition, however, Süleyman abandoned with his son Selim a tradition among the Ottoman Sultans: raising his child to become Sultan. The sons of the Sultan were expected to participate in government and military training and campaigns; only this period of apprenticeship would make them worthy of the Sultanate. Süleyman had done this with his older children, particularly with Mustafa. But Mustafa and Bayezid betrayed him. Selim, then, lived a very isolated existence in the harem of Topkapi palace. He was not trained in government or military affairs, so there was little reason for him to take any interest in them.

Selim II reigned for only eight years, but he set the precedent for Ottoman rule for the next two centuries and the great Empire, the great Caliphate that stood as a lion before the advancing mercantile and military expansion against Europe, slowly crumbled under European pressure. After his death, his son, Murad III, became the next ottoman sultan.

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