Suleiman the Magnificent, most glorious of the Ottoman sultans, kept Europe atremble for nearly half a century. In a few years he led his army as far as the gates of Vienna, made himself master of the Mediterranean and established his court in Baghdad. Faced with this redoubtable champion, who regarded it as his duty to extend the boundaries of Islam farther and farther, the Christian world struggled to unite against him.
‘The Shadow of God on Earth’, but also an expert politician and allpowerful despot, Suleiman ruled the state firmly with the help of his viziers. He extended the borders of the empire beyond what any of the Ottoman sultans had achieved, yet it is primarily as a lawgiver that he is remembered in Turkish history.
His empire held dominion over three continents populated by more than thirty million inhabitants, among whom nearly all of the races and religions of mankind were represented. Prospering under a well-directed, authoritarian economy, Suleiman’s reign marked the apogee of Ottoman power. City and country alike experienced unprecedented economic and demographic growth. Istanbul was the largest city in the world, enjoying a remarkable renaissance of arts and letters; a mighty capital, it was the seat of the Seraglio and dark intrigue.
About the Author
André Clot (1909–2002) was a French historian and journalist. He lived in Turkey and the countries of the Near and Middle East for many years and was an expert on Islam. His works include Suleiman the Magnificent and Harun al-Rashid and the World of the Thousand and One Nights, both by Saqi Books.
‘Clot’s informed and intelligent study is to be commended … Brings back to life a man, an empire and an era.’
Digest of Middle East Studies
‘Excellent … The best book from which to gain an introduction to Suleiman’s era.’
Middle East Journal
‘Thought provoking and most informative.’
Middle East International