Selim II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

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About Selim II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Selim II Sarkhosh (Ottoman Turkish: سليم ثانى Selīm-i sānī, Turkish:II.Selim) (Manisa or Constantinople, 28 May 1524 – Topkapi Palace, Contantinople,[1] 12 December/15 December 1574), also known as "Selim the Sot (Mest)" or "Selim the Drunkard", was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1566 until his death. He was a son of Suleiman the Magnificent and his fourth and favourite wife Hürrem Sultan, originally named Roxelana, a Ruthenian.


In 1545, at Konya, he married Nurbanu Sultan, originally named Cecilia Venier-Baffo, a Venetian noblewoman, and mother of Murad III, who later became the first Valide Sultan who acted as co-regent with the sultan in the Sultanate of Women.


After gaining the throne after palace intrigue and fraternal dispute, succeeded as Sultan on 7 September 1566, Selim II became the first Sultan devoid of active military interest and willing to abandon power to his ministers, provided he was left free to pursue his orgies and debauches. Therefore, he became known as Selim the Drunkard or Selim the Sot (Turkish:Sarhoş Selim).[2] His Grand Vizier, Mehmed Sokollu, a Serbian devsirme from what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina, controlled much of state affairs, and two years after Selim's accession succeeded in concluding at Constantinople an honourable treaty (17 February 1568) with the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian II, whereby the Emperor agreed to pay an annual "present" of 30,000 ducats and essentially granted the Ottomans authority in Moldavia and Walachia.

Sultan Selim II receiving the Safavid ambassador in the palace at Edirne in 1567.Against Russia Selim was less fortunate, and the first encounter between the Ottoman Empire and her future northern rival gave presage of disaster to come. A plan had been prepared in Istanbul for uniting the Volga and Don by a canal, and in the summer of 1569 a large force of Janissaries and cavalry were sent to lay siege to Astrakhan and begin the canal works, while an Ottoman fleet besieged Azov. But a sortie of the garrison of Astrakhan drove back the besiegers; a Russian relief army of 15,000 attacked and scattered the workmen and the Tatar force sent for their protection; and finally, the Ottoman fleet was destroyed by a storm. Early in 1570 the ambassadors of Ivan IV of Russia concluded at Constantinople a treaty which restored friendly relations between the Sultan and the Tsar.

16th century copy of the 1569 Capitulations between Charles IX and Selim II.Expeditions in the Hejaz and Yemen were more successful, but the conquest of Cyprus in 1571, which provided Selim with his favourite vintage, led to the calamitous naval defeat against Spain and Italian states at Lepanto in the same year, freeing the Mediterranean Sea from corsairs.

The Empire's shattered fleets were soon restored (in just six months; it consisted of about 150 galleys and 8 galleasses) and the Ottomans maintained control of the Mediterranean (1573). In August 1574, months before Selim's death, the Ottomans regained control of Tunisia from Spain who had controlled it since 1572.

Marks of decay

Lord Patrick Kinross' account of Selim's reign is how he starts a chapter of his book called "The Seeds of Decline". He sees the massive outlay for the fleet-rebuilding following the Battle of Lepanto as the start of the Empire's slow decay. Kinross also says that Selim's reputation for drunkenness was solidified in his decision to invade Cyprus rather than supporting the Morisco Revolt in Granada as well as in the manner of his death; Selim died after a period of fever brought on when he drunkenly slipped over on the wet floor of an unfinished bath-house (Kinross 1977, p. 273).


1.^ Finkel, Caroline, Osman's Dream, (Basic Books, 2005), 57;"Istanbul was only adopted as the city's official name in 1930.."

2.^ New international encyclopedia, Vol.20, (Dodd, Mead and Company, 1916), 684.


■Finkel, Caroline, Osman's Dream, Basic Books, 2005.

■New International Encyclopedia, Vol.20, Dodd, Mead and Company, 1916.

Further Reading

■Ancestry of Sultana Nur-Banu (Cecilia Venier-Baffo) (

■Patrick Balfour Kinross, Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire (1977), ISBN 0-688-08093-6

■John Julius Norwich, A History of Venice (1989), ISBN 0679721975

■John Julius Norwich, A History of Venice (1989), ISBN 0679721975


О {profile::pre} (Русский)

Селим II, наричан по прякор Пияницата, е 11-ият султан на Османската империя. Завзел е Йемен и о-в Крит. По негово време флотът претърпява поражение в битката при Лепанто.Той е син на Сюлейман Великолепни или Сюлейман Законодател (на турски Кануни). През 1545 година в Кония се жени за Nurbanu Sultan (Cecilia Venier-Baffo). Най-любимата му съпруга била четвъртата Hurrem Sultan (сменила името си на Рокселана).

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Selim II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire's Timeline

May 28, 1524
Istanbul, Turkey
July 4, 1546
Age 22
Маниса, Turkey
Age 21
December 5, 1574
Age 50
Istanbul, Turkey