Selim I

Selim I

Infobox Monarch
name =Selim I
title = Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

caption = Portrait of the Sultan
reign = 1512–1520
coronation = 1512
full name = Yavuz Sultan Selim
predecessor = Bayezid II
successor = Suleiman I
suc-type = Heir Apparent
royal house =House of Osman
father =Bayezid II
othertitles = Ottoman Sultan,
"Kayser-i Rûm" (Roman Caesar),
The Servant of The Two Holy Shrines

Selim I (Ottoman: "سليم الأول", Turkish:"I.Selim"; also known as "the Grim" or "the Brave", "Yavuz" in Turkish, the long name is "Yavuz Sultan Selim"; October 10 1465ndash September 22, 1520) was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1512 to 1520. [ [ Yavuz Sultan Selim Biography] Retrieved on 2007-09-16]

Selim's father was Bayezid II and his mother was a convert of Greek ethnicity who took the name "Aysha Hatun"

Selim carried the empire to the leadership of the Sunni branch of Islam by his conquest of the Middle East. He represents a sudden change in the expansion policy of the empire, which was working mostly against the West and the Beyliks before his reign. [ [ The Rise of the Turks and the Ottoman Empire] Retrieved on 2007-09-16] On the eve of his death in 1520, the Ottoman empire spanned almost 1 billion acres (trebling during Selim's reign).


Selim dethroned his father Bayezid II (1481–1512) in 1512. Bayezid's death followed immediately thereafter. [ [ The Classical Age, 1453-1600] Retrieved on 2007-09-16] Like his grandfather Mehmed II (1451–81), Selim put his brothers and nephews to death upon his accession in order to eliminate potential pretenders to the throne. This fratricidal policy was motivated by bouts of civil strife that had been sparked by the antagonism between Selim's father Beyazid and his uncle Cem, and between Selim himself and his brother Ahmed.

Conquest of the Middle East

For Selim, one of the first challenges as the Sultan was the conflict between his empire and the powerful Safavid Empire. Shah Ismail was a patron of Shia Islam in the region, a situation which was a threat against the Sunni rulers of the Ottoman Empire. Selim had to eliminate the risk of a westward attack from Iran to Anatolia while he was attacking the Mamluks of Egypt. Therefore, Selim assembled his army and marched to Iran in 1514 and defeated Shah Ismail at the Battle of Chaldiran. Ottoman army paraded in the capital of the Safavid Empire, Tabriz. [ [ Morgan, David. "Shah Isma'il and the Establishment of Shi'ism"] ]

Then, Selim attacked and destroyed the Mamluk Sultanate first at the Battle of Marj Dabiq and then at the Battle of Ridanieh, which led to the annexation of Syria, Palestine and Egypt. He also extended Ottoman power to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Rather than style himself the "Hakim ul Haremeyn", or "The Ruler of The Two Holy Shrines", he accepted the more pious title "Khadim ul Haremeyn", or "The Servant of The Two Holy Shrines". [ [ Yavuz Sultan Selim Government] Retrieved on 2007-09-16] [ [ The Classical Age, 1453-1600] Retrieved on 2007-09-16]

After the conquest of Egypt and the Holy Cities, Selim induced the vanquished Al-Mutawakkil III (1509–17), the last ruler of the Mamluk Sultanate, to formally surrender the title of Caliph and its emblems, the sword and the mantle of Muhammad. [ [ The Rise of the Turks and the Ottoman Empire] Retrieved on 2007-09-16] These are kept in the Topkapi Palace Museum at Istanbul, Turkey.


After his return from his Egyptian campaign, Selim began to prepare for an expedition which is believed to be against Rhodes. This campaign was cut short when he was overwhelmed by sickness and subsequently died in the ninth year of his reign. He was about fifty-five years of age. It is said that Selim succumbed to sirpence, a skin infection which he developed during his long campaigns on horseback. (Sirpence was an anthrax infection sometimes seen among leatherworkers and others who worked with livestock). Some historians claim that he was poisoned by the doctor tending to his infection [ [ Yavuz Sultan Selim Biography] Retrieved on 2007-09-16] and some historians claim that the disease he suffered from was skin cancer.


After claiming the Caliphate, Selim assumed the title "Malik ul-Barreyn, wa Khakan ul-Bahrayn, wa Kasir ul-Jayshayn, wa Khadim ul-Haramayn" - that is, "King of the Two Lands (continents Europe and Asia), Khagan of the Two Seas ( Mediterranian and Indian Seas), Conqueror of the Two Armies (European and Safavid armies), and Servant of the Two Holy Shrines". This title alludes to his dominions in Africa and Asia (namely, Egypt, Anatolia, and much of the Fertile Crescent), his control over the Mediterranean and Black seas, his defeat of both the Mamluk and Safavid armies, and his guardianship of the shrines of Mecca and Medina.


By most accounts, Selim had a fiery temper and full-blooded personality. He seems to have had high expectations of his subordinates, and executed many of his own viziers (one vizier playfully asked for advance notice of his own execution, so that he could put his affairs in order, to which Selim replied that he had indeed been thinking for a while of having him executed but hadn't found a suitable replacement, but that as soon as he did, he would be happy to oblige).

Accordingly, his court was dynamic, with the rewards as great as the risks. He was possibly very energetic and effective, though sometimes cruel, ruler. His reign was short, but may have prepared the Ottoman empire for its zenith under the achievements of his son. ["Necdet Sakaoğlu", "Bu Mülkün Sultanları", "pg.127"] A popular legend has it that Selim had filled the royal treasury to the brink and locked it with his own seal. He decreed that "he who will fill the treasury more than this, may use his seal to lock it." The treasury remained locked with Selim's seal until the collapse of the Empire 400 years later.

Selim was also a distinguished poet who wrote both Turkish and Persian verse under the nickname "mahlas Selimi"; collections of his Persian poetry are extant today. ["Necdet Sakaoğlu", "Bu Mülkün Sultanları", "pg.127"] In one of his poems, he wrote;


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