Upwards till Lepanto


By Sarah Newman, published 29th April 2008

Ottoman society centred on the Sultan. He was lawgiver, religious official, leader in battle-and until the late sixteenth century an active field commander on campaign. The Law of Fratricide of Mehmet (Mohammed) II, 1451-81, urged each new Sultan to kill his brothers in order to produce a capable ruler and avoid civil war. The Sultan did not marry but mated with the slaves in his harem to produce sons. All his sons were in theory equal. When he died those sons, probably all rulers of provinces (with...

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