Why Was Suleiman So Magnificent?

By | November 15, 2019

test article image
Suleiman the Magnificent receiving Sigismund, Prince of Transylvania and son of King John Zapolya, miniature from History of the Hungarian Campaign Undertaken by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1566. Source: (gettyimages.com)

Of epithets applied to rulers “the Great” is usually the one given to exceptional monarchs. Yet there is one epithet which lends a more glamorous, fanciful air -- “the Magnificent.” There are only a handful of people who received the title and of these, the most well-known is the Ottoman ruler, Suleiman the Magnificent.

So how does one get to be Magnificent?

test article image
The Topaki Palace is today a museum in Istanbul. Source: (Wikipedia)

Suleiman (sometimes Süleyman) was the Sultan, or ruler of the Ottoman Empire which had come onto the scene first around the year 1299 in Anatolia. The Ottoman state expanded, conquered the last remnants of the old Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) in 1453 and set up its capital in its former capital of Constantinople (today’s Istanbul). By the time of Suleiman’s birth to Sultan Selim I on November 6, 1494, the Ottoman Empire had expanded to dominate much of the eastern Mediterranean basin and southeast Europe.

Suleiman was schooled at the Topaki Palace in Constantinople before being appointed in various posts as a governor. After the death of his father, Suleiman ascended to the throne on September 30, 1520.