Empress of the East

Empress of the East

How A European Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman Empire

Book - 2017 | First edition
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"The extraordinary story of the Russian slave girl Roxelana, who rose from the role of concubine to become the only queen in Ottoman history. In Empress of the East, historian Leslie Peirce tells the remarkable story of a Christian slave girl, Roxelana, who was abducted by warriors at age twelve from her Ruthenian homeland, and brought to the harem of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in Constantinople. Suleyman became besotted with her, and forsook all other mistresses. Then, in an unprecedented step, he made her the first and only queen in the Ottoman court. Although shrouded in scandal, the canny and sophisticated Roxelana became a shrewd diplomat and administrator, who helped Suleyman keep pace with a changing world in which women--from Queen Elizabeth to Catherine de Medici--increasingly held the reins of power. In Empress of the East, Pierce reveals the true history of an elusive figure who pushed the Ottoman Empire towards modernity"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780465032518
Branch Call Number: 956.015092 H941P 2017
Characteristics: viii, 359 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm


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Dec 19, 2018

Well written and thoroughly researched history of an interesting, take-charge queen that disrupted many nasty traditions of the Ottoman Empire, if only for the duration of the reign of a single sultan. A former slave, Roxelana was a powerful, family oriented sultana that established philanthropic traditions for the Ottoman Empire, but she could not overcome the murderous ways of the royal families of the Ottoman sultans that would be the reason the empire rotted from the top down.

Jun 25, 2018

She puts Roxelana into the context of world-wide events and Ottoman politics. I won't be able to watch Aladdin with the same understanding of what a vizier is.

Oct 23, 2017

High commendations to Ms. Peirce on both the rigor of her scholarship and her ability to bring this exotic woman to life. It is tempting to make assumptions about a subject's thoughts, emotions, and motivations, a trap into which Ms. Peirce never falls. Her speculations are always clearly noted as such, and are firmly based on the source material. This is a terrifically readable book about a very singular woman as well as being the source of considerable information about the inner workings of the Ottoman Empire. Very highly recommended.


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