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Hurrem (Roxelana): Courage, Love and Ambition

Who is Hurrem or Who is Roxelana? What makes Hurrem different from any Ottoman Princess? How Hurrem lived and died? In this post, we will answer various questions about Hurrem’s life.

Some people alter the course of history with their courage and cunning. It is even more astonishing when the changers of the customs are from the suppressed class. Hürrem Sultan was a woman who surprises the historians even today.

Hürrem Sultan, also known as Hurrem, was Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent’s wife. Her story is incredible and unbelievable.

Early life:

A Ukrainian girl who was kidnapped from her hometown was sold as a slave. After changing a few hands, the beautiful girl came to the harem of Ottoman palace. This girl came to be known as Hurrem or Hürrem Sultan.

Encounter with the love of her life:
Suleiman was not a Sultan when he met this pretty girl in harem. She became one of his favourite concubines. Suleiman became Sultan in 1520.

The other favourite concubine was Gulbahar. On account of a brawl, that took place between the two of Suleiman’s beloveds, Gulbahar was thrown out of the harem. This made Sultan’s preference for Hurrem obvious.

Cheerful nature:
Hürrem Sultan ruled Sultan’s heart with her cheerful and happy nature. She gave happiness and laughter to his dull, politics-surrounded life.

Sultan Suleiman’s love for her:
Sultan loved the woman immensely. He proved his dedication to her by going against traditions and marrying her. Later, he resigned from the harem which was not the way of Sultans of Ottoman Empire.

He also used to write poetry for her under a pseudonym, Muhibbi. A verse is being quoted here:

“My woman of the beautiful hair, my love of the slanted brow, my love of eyes full of mischief...

I'll sing your praises always

I, lover of the tormented heart, Muhibbi of the eyes full of tears, I am happy.”

Broken traditions:
Hurrem was a cause of various broken customs that had been held sacred at the Ottoman Palace for centuries.

Hürrem Sultan gave five sons and a daughter to the Sultan. While the custom was that no concubine was allowed to give birth to more than one sons.

The concubines were never allowed to reside inside the palace unless their sons ascend to the throne. Hürrem Sultan came to live in the palace because the harem burned down.

Sultan Suleiman married Hürrem Sultan, the concubine, after freeing her. Ottoman Emperors were not allowed to marry concubines.

Political involvement:
Hurrem’s influence on Sultan was more than within the confines of their personal lives. Hurrem was intelligent and Sultan Suleiman admired as well as acknowledged this fact. She advised him in matters of court and politics and he used to heed her words.

Hurrem's works  left behind:
Hürrem Sultan was more than a political figure. She did a lot of charity work. She built mosques, Koran schools, bath houses, fountains, and public kitchens for needy people.

Like all mortals, this powerful, intelligent, beautiful and ambitious woman also bid her farewell to this world. She died in 1558; eight years before her beloved Sultan joined her on the eternal journey.

She is buried in a tomb near Sultan’s eternal resting place.

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