Valide Sultan of Mustafa I

Valide Sultan
Mahd-i Ulya Sultanat
Valide Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
(first tenure)
Tenure 22 November 1617 – 26 February 1618
Predecessor Handan Sultan
(second tenure)
Tenure 19 May 1622 – 10 September 1623
Successor Kösem Sultan
Born c. 1571
Died c. 1623 (aged 52)
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Burial Istanbul
Spouse Mehmed III
Issue Mustafa I
Religion Sunni Islam

The Valide Sultan of Mustafa I (c. 1576 – c. 1623)[1] was a consort of Ottoman sultan Mehmed III and the mother of Mustafa I. She was de facto co-ruler as the Valide Sultan from 22 November 1617 to 26 February 1618 and again from 19 May 1622 to 10 September 1623. While she, as the concubine of Mehmed III, had suffered the same obscurity as Handan Sultan, she was clearly able to command greater status as Valide Sultan than her fellow consort had. This was probably in large measure because she exercised power more directly, acting as regent for her mentally incompetent son. His mental condition made him a puppet, controlled by both her and her son-in-law, the grand vizier Kara Davud Pasha.[2]

Early life

Her name remains unknown,[3] but she is usually known by the name Halime (Ottoman Turkish: حلیمه, meaning gentle, kind) or Alime (Ottoman Turkish: عالمه; meaning learned, cultured, or wise). She was of Abkhazian origin.[3][4][5] Between Mehmed's death and Mustafa's enthronement her stipend consisted of 100 aspers a day.[6]


Together with Mehmed, she had two children:

As Valide Sultan

First tenure

When Mustafa ascended the throne in 1617 she became the Valide Sultan as well as a regent and wielded a great power. No one had expected that Mustafa, who suffered from severe emotional problems, would become sultan, and so she had not enjoyed a position of much status within the imperial harem. She received 3,000 aspers although her mother-in-law Safiye Sultan was still alive.[7]

She had a potential ally in Kara Davud Pasha, but during Mustafa's first reign which lasted for only three months, she was unable to exploit her relationship by appointing Davud Pasha vizier. One of the few political alliances the valide was able to forge with her son's sword-bearer, Mustafa Agha, a high ranking inner palace officer, who was brought out of the palace and awarded the prestigious and strategically vital post of governor of Egypt on condition that he would marry the Sultan's wet nurse.[8] Within a few moths the pasha was brought back to Istanbul as grand vizier.[9][10][11]

Osman's enthronement

Later, Mustafa was dethroned and his nephew Osman II ascended the throne due to Mustafa's mental condition. Mustafa was sent back to the kafes and she to the Old Palace.[2] However, she received only 2,000 aspers during her retirement to the Old Palace between her son's two reigns; during the first months of her retirement Safiye was still alive, perhaps a neighbour in the Old Palace, receiving 3,000 aspers a day.[2] From her location in the Old Palace, she was a key figure in the deposition and assassination of Osman II and showed that she was no stranger to the art of damat politic.[12]

Second tenure

Later on 18 May 1622 Osman was again dethroned and the rebels, meanwhile, broke into the imperial palace and freed Mustafa from his confinement and acclaimed him as their master. She once again returned from the Old Palace and became the Valide Sultan. Some of the janissaries consulted with her about the appointments to be made and it was in fact her son-in-law, Kara Davud Pasha, who became the grand vizier. The faction committed to the cause of Mustafa and she could not feel secure while Osman II was alive. Their uneasiness was well grounded, since some of the rebels wished to spare Osman, hoping no doubt to make no use of him for their own ends at some future date. Kara Davud Pasha had recourse, therefore to the last extreme measure on 20 May 1622, Osman II was strangled in the prison of Yedikule in Istanbul.[13][14][15]

Murad's enthronement

After Osman's death, the governor general of Erzurum, Abaza Mehmed Pasha, decided to advance to Istanbul to settle the score with the murderers of Osman II. Kara Davud Pasha was chosen as a scapegoat and was executed in an attempt to modify the discontent and preempt the rebellions that were building up in the empire, but to no avail: Mehmed Pasha, despite the offers made by the emissaries from the capital, continued his advance. Faced with an ever deepening crises, clerics petitioned her to agree to the deposition of her son in favour of eleven year old Şehzade Murad, the oldest surviving son of Ahmed I. She concurred, only pleading that her son's life be spared. Accordingly, Mustafa was dethroned and incarcerated again.[4]

In the 2015 TV series Muhteşem Yüzyıl: Kösem, she is given the name of "Halime Sultan" and is portrayed by Turkish actress Aslıhan Gürbüz.

See also


  1. "Turkey: The Imperial House of Osman". Archived from the original on May 2, 2006. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 Leslie P. Peirce (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford University Press. pp. 126–127. ISBN 978-0-195-08677-5.
  3. 1 2 Leslie P. Peirce (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford University Press. pp. 127 and n.58 p.315. ISBN 978-0-195-08677-5.
  4. 1 2 Ga ́bor A ́goston, Bruce Alan Masters. New York: Facts on File (January 1, 2009). Günhan Börekçi. "Mustafa I." Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. Infobase Publishing. p. 409. ISBN 978-1-438-11025-7.
  5. M. Sadık Bilge (2005). Osmanlı devleti ve Kafkasya: Osmanlı varlığı döneminde Kafkasya'nın siyasî-askerî tarihi ve idarî taksimâtı, 1454-1829. Eren Yayıncılık.
  6. Peirce 1993, p. 129.
  7. Peirce 1993, p. 127.
  8. Peirce 1993, p. 145.
  9. Dorothy O. Helly, Susan Reverby (1992). Gendered Domains: Rethinking Public and Private in Women's History : Essays from the Seventh Berkshire Conference on the History of Women. Cornell University Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-801-49702-5.
  10. Stern (August 21, 2013). Scented Garden. Routledge. p. 397. ISBN 978-1-136-20632-0.
  11. Anne Walthall (2008). Servants of the Dynasty: Palace Women in World History. University of California Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-520-25444-2.
  12. Gabriel Piterberg (2003). An Ottoman Tragedy: History and Historiography at Play. University of California Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-520-93005-6.
  13. Elli Kohen (2007). History of the Turkish Jews and Sephardim: Memories of a Past Golden Age. University Press of America. p. 211. ISBN 978-0-761-83600-1.
  14. Gabriel Piterberg (2003). An Ottoman Tragedy: History and Historiography at Play. University of California Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-520-93005-6.
  15. A History of the Ottoman Empire to 1730. CUP Archive. p. 137.



Ottoman royalty
Preceded by
Handan Sultan
Valide Sultan
22 November 1617 – 26 February 1618
and 19 May 1622 – 10 September 1623
Succeeded by
Kösem Sultan
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