Sinan Pasha

Sinan Pasha

Sinan Pasha (1506-April 3, 1596) was an Albanian born Ottoman military commander ("pasha") and statesman.

In 1569, he was appointed governor of Ottoman Egypt, and was subsequently involved until 1571 in the conquest of Yemen. In 1574 he commanded the great expedition against Tunis, which, in spite of the resistance of the Spanish garrison, was added to the Ottoman Empire.

In 1580, Sinan commanded the army against the Safavids in the Ottoman-Persian wars, and was appointed grand vizier by Sultan Murad III. He was, however, disgraced and exiled in the following year, owing to the defeat of his lieutenant Mehmed Pasha, at Gori (during an attempt to provision the Ottoman garrison of Tbilisi).

He subsequently became governor of Damascus and, in 1589, after the great revolt of the Janissaries, was appointed grand vizier for the second time. He was involved in the competition for the throne in Wallachia between Mihnea Turcitul and Petru Cercel, and ultimately sided with the former (overseeing Petru's execution in March 1590). Another revolt of Janissaries led to his dismissal in 1591, but in 1593 he was again recalled to become grand vizier for the third time, and in the same year he commanded the Ottoman army against the Habsburgs ("see Battle of Sisak").

In spite of his victories he was again deposed in February 1595, shortly after the accession of Mehmed III, and banished to Malghara; in August, Sinan was in power again, called on to lead the expedition against Prince Michael the Brave of Wallachia. His defeat in the Battle of Călugăreni and the series of unsuccessful confrontations with the Habsburgs (culminating in the devastating siege and fall of Ottoman-held Esztergom), brought him once more into disfavour, and he was deprived of the seal of office (November 19).

The death of his successor, Lala Mehmed Pasha, three days later, was looked on as a sign from heaven, and Sinan became grand vizier for the fifth time. He died suddenly in the spring of 1596, leaving behind a large fortune.

Sinan Pasha is remembered with disdain by the Serbs for ordering, in 1595, that the relics of Saint Sava, the founder of the independent Serbian Orthodox Church in the 12th century, be taken from their depository and burned as a revenge for Serbs siding with the Habsburgs in the preceding border skirmishes. Only the saint's right hand which was kept elsewhere remains. Today there stands the grandiose Cathedral of Saint Sava on the spot of the bonfire.



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