Mahidevran Sultan

Is your surname Osmanoğlu?

Research the Osmanoğlu family

Mahidevran Sultan's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Mahidevran Gülbahar Osmanoğlu, Sultan

Lithuanian: Mahidevran Giulbahar Osmanoğlu, Pagrindinė sugulovė, Russian: Гюльбаха́р Osmanoğlu, Махидевра́н Султа́н, Turkish: Gülbahar Osmanoğlu, Sultan
Also Known As: "Malhurub Baharay or Rosne Pravane", "Malkhurub Bahar Idarovna / Малхуруб-Бахарей Идaровна / Mahidevran Gülbahar Hatun)"
Birthdate: (81)
Birthplace: Karachay-Cherkessia, Russia
Death: February 3, 1581 (77-85)
Bursa, Osmangazi, Bursa Province, Turkey
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Mirza Abdullah Haydar Bey Idar of Kabardia and Nazan Begum / Hatun Giray
Partner of Suleiman the Magnificent
Mother of Şehzade Mustafa; Şehzade Ahmed; Raziye Sultan and Mustafa Osmanoğlu
Sister of Fatu Idarovna Cherkassy; Maremiho / Murzakan Mirza Cherkassy; Aslangome Idarovna Cherkassy and Berezhan Idarovna Cherkassy
Half sister of Temruk Mirza Cherkassy; Kambulat Mirza Cherkassy and Zhelegot Mirza Cherkassy

Managed by: Noah Tutak
Last Updated:

About Mahidevran Sultan

Mahidevran Sultan (Ottoman Turkish: ماه دوران سلطان, c. 1500[1] – 3 February 1580, birth name Malhurub Baharay or Rosne Pravane, other names Gülbahar, Gülbehar, Gülfrem, Gülden) was a wife of Suleiman the Magnificent[2][3] and the mother of Şehzade Mustafa, Şehzade Ahmed and Raziye Sultan.


  • 1 Etymology
  • 2 Origins and early life
  • 3 Life with Suleiman
  • 4 Mustafa's provincial posts
  • 5 Later years and death
  • 6 Depictions in literature and popular culture
  • 7 See also
  • 8 Further reading
  • 9 References


Mahidevran’s name (Turkish pronunciation: [ˌmaːhidevˈɾan], Ottoman Turkish: ماه دوران) means "one who is always beautiful", "one whose beauty never fades" or "beauty of the times". Another meaning of her name is "Moon of Fortune."[4] It was Suleiman who named her Gülbahar (Turkish pronunciation: [ɟylbaˈhaɾ]), with gül meaning 'rose' and bahar meaning 'spring' in Turkish and Persian.

Origins and early life

Little is known of Mahidevran’s early life. Her ethnical background is a matter of controversy. She was either an Albanian or Circassian,[3][4] Theories of her origins are:

  • According to one source, she was originally named Rosne Pranvere and the daughter of Abdullah Recai, a wealthy Albanian musician.[5] Turkish drama Muhteşem Yüzyıl, also supports this view.[6]
  • According to an interview with Saide Perizat Temrukoğlu, a descendant of Mahidevran, Mahidevran was the daughter of Mirza Haydar Temruk Bey, a 16th-century Kabarday prince and his Crimean Tartar wife Princess Nazcan Hatun, the daughter of Meñli I Giray.[7] This interview supports the Caucasus-origin theory. Other sources, including André Clot also support the Caucasian-origin theory and say that she was married to Suleiman in January or February of 1512 in Crimea. According to the following sources she was of Circassian origin,[8][9][10][11][12][13] the daughter of Mirza Abdullah Haydar Bey,[7][14] a 16th-century Kabarday prince from the princely family of "Cherkassy-Temruko"[7] and his Crimean Tartar wife Nazcan Hatun, the daughter of Meñli I Giray.[15][16][17][18] She had three sisters Fatma Şahıdevran, Akile Rühşah and Belkıs Hüsnümah Hatun and a brother, Mustafa Pasha. She also had three half brothers, Mirza Temruk Bey, Mirza Kambulat Bey and Mirza Şelegot Bey. She was descendant of Prince Inal, a fifteenth century Kabarday prince. She was the niece of Ayşe Hafsa Sultan and Ayesha Begum, through her mother and the aunt of Maria Temryukovna through her half brother, Temruk Bey. She was also related to Şemsiruhsar Hatun, Mahfiruz Hatice Sultan and Saçbağli Hatun the wives of Sultans Murad III, Ahmed I and Ibrahim, through her brother, Mustafa Pasha.

Life with Suleiman

At the age of fourteen, Mahidevran married Suleiman, on 5 January 1512 at, Istanbul. When Selim I died in 1520, Suleiman moved to Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, along with his family to ascend the throne. Between 1512 and 1525 she bore her husband three children, Şehzade Mustafa in 1515 and Şehzade Ahmed in 1517 and Raziye Sultan in 1525. In 1521 Suleiman lost his two other sons, nine year old Mahmud and the toddler Murad, Mustafa became the eldest of his princely generation.[4] In the Istanbul harem, Mahidevran Sultan had a very influential rival, Hürrem Sultan, who soon proved to be Suleiman’s favorite consort (first Haseki Sultan) as well as his legal wife.[4]

Hürrem gave birth to her first son Mehmed in 1521 (who died in 1543) and then Selim (future sultan Selim II) in 1524, destroying Mahidevran’s status of being the mother of the sultan’s only son.[19] The rivalry between the two women was partially suppressed by Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, Suleiman’s mother,[20] but after her death in 1534, as a result of the bitter rivalry a fight between the two women broke out, with Mahidevran beating Hürrem. This angered Suleiman, who subsequently sent Mahidevran to live with her son.[4]

Foreign observers of the Ottomans, especially the ambassadors of the Venetian Republic followed Ottoman dynastic politics closely.[4] Their comments about Mahidevran glimpses of the vital role played by a prince's mother and of her necessary devotion to this welfare.[4] Pietro Bragadin, ambassador in the early years of Suleiman's reign, reported that while both were still resident in the imperial palace in Istanbul, Mustafa was his mother's "whole joy".[4]

Mustafa's provincial posts

According to Turkish tradition, all princes were expected to work as provincial governors (Sanjak-bey) as a part of their training. Mustafa was sent to Manisa in 1533, in the formal ceremony and Mahidevran accompanied him.[4] Describing his court at Kara Amid (Diyarbakır) near the Safavid border, Bassano wrote around 1540 that the prince had "a most wonderful and glorious court, no less than that of his father" and that "his mother, who was with him, instructs him in how to make himself loved by the people."[4] At some point Mustafa returned to Manisa, and in 1542 he moved to Amasya.[4] By 1546 three more of Suleiman's sons were in the field, and the competition for the succession began among the four princes, although the sultan would live for another twenty years.[4] The ambassador Bernado Navagero, in a 1553 report, described Mahidevran's efforts to protect her son: "Mustafa has with him his mother, who exercises great diligence to guard him from poisoning and reminds him everyday [sic?] that he has nothing else but this to avoid, and it is said that he has boundless respect and reverence for her."[4]

Mustafa was an immensely popular prince. When he was only nine, that Venetian ambassador had reported that "he has extraordinary talent, he will be warrior, is much loved by the Janissaries, and performs great feats."[4] In 1553, when Mustafa was thirty eight years old, Navagero wrote, "It is impossible to describe how much he is loved and desired by all as successor to the throne."[4] Towards the end of Suleiman’s long reign, the rivalry between his sons became evident. Furthermore, both Hürrem Sultan and the grand vizier Rüstem Pasha turned him against Mustafa and Mustafa was accused of causing unrest. During the campaign against Safavid Persia in 1553, Suleiman ordered the execution of Mustafa.[21] According to a source he was executed that very year on charges of planning to dethrone his father; his guilt for the treason of which he was accused has since been neither proven nor disproven.[4]

Up until the very end of her son's life, Mahidevran endeavored to protect Mustafa from his political rivals, and most probably maintained a network of informants in order to do so.[4] The ambassador Trevisano related in 1554 that on the day Mustafa was executed, Mahidevran had sent a messenger warning him of his father's plans to kill him. Mustafa unfortunately ignored the message; according to Trevisano, he had consistently refused to heed the warnings of his friends and even his mother.[4]

Later years and death

For several years after her son’s execution, Mahidevran lived a troubled life.[4] Mahidevran went to Bursa, where her son was buried and became the last woman to retire to Bursa.[4] Less fortunate than her predecessors and presumably disgraced by her son's execution, she was unable to pay the rent on the house in which she lived, and her servants were taunted and cheated in the local markets.[4] Mahidevran's situation improved towards the end of Suleiman's reign when her debts were paid at the sultan's orders and a house was purchased for her, possibly by Suleiman's sole surviving son, Mustafa's half brother Selim.[4]

Her last years, however, were not in poverty, for Selim II, the new sultan after 1566 as well as her stepson, put her on a salary.[4] Her rehabilitation may have been possible only after the death of her rival, Hürrem, in 1558.[4] Financially secure at last, Mahidevran had enough income to create an endowment for the upkeep of her son's tomb, which was built by Selim.[4] She died in 1580 and was buried in Mustafa's tomb.[19]

Depictions in literature and popular culture

In the 2003 TV miniseries, Hürrem Sultan, Mahidevran was played by Turkish actress Hatice Aslan. In the 2011-2014 TV series Muhteşem Yüzyıl, Mahidevran Sultan is portrayed by Turkish actress Nur Fettahoğlu.

See also

Further reading

  • Peirce, Leslie P., The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire, Oxford University Press, 1993, ISBN 0-19-508677-5 (paperback).
  • Yavuz Bahadıroğlu, Resimli Osmanlı Tarihi, Nesil Yayınları (Ottoman History with Illustrations, Nesil Publications), 15th Ed., 2009, ISBN 978-975-269-299-2 (Hardcover).


view all

Mahidevran Sultan's Timeline

Karachay-Cherkessia, Russia
Age 15
Age 15
Manisa, Manisa, Manisa Province, Turkey
Age 17
Manisa, Manisa, Turkey
Age 25
Istanbul, İstanbul, Turkey
February 3, 1581
Age 81
Bursa, Osmangazi, Bursa Province, Turkey