Daily Archives: Sunday, 7 December, 2008

The Reading is Coming Along

I’m about 1/4 of the way through Andre Clot’s Suleiman the Magnificent. You don’t expect a nonfiction book to be very readable, especially when it’s been translated from another language, but this book really is entertaining.
It looks like the last 1/4 is appendices and explanatory notes, so I’m in effect 1/3 of the way through.
So far what I’m reading would make a great TV series in the spirit of The Tudors. I’d love to read the same history but as a novel. Perhaps The Sultan’s Harem will be all that it should be.
So far some things that would make a TV series or a great novel: Suleiman’s father, Selim, or perhaps Suleiman himself, killed off Suleiman’s brothers. This was time-honored tradition and legal, and Selim had already done in his own brothers.
Suleiman had a well-trusted slave advisor, Ibrahim, whom he elevated to Grand Vizier. Apparently the Ottoman historians found the whole thing unseemly enough that they avoided mention of it.
Suleiman didn’t have to marry anybody, since he had a harem of available women, but he was enamored enough of or manipulated enough by a Russian slave named Roxelana that he married her.
Oh yeah, and there are riches and sparkley jewels and sumptuous costumes and the world’s largest navy; sieges, defeated cities, humiliated diplomats, humongous piles of severed heads…lots and lots of good stuff for a story.

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