The extraordinary story of the Russian slave girl Roxelana, who rose from the role of concubine to become the only queen in Ottoman historyIn 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. Suleiman 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.
Empress of the East Review
- January 1, 1970LauraleeRoxelana is one of history’s most controversial figures. She was an unlikely girl who rose at great odds to become Suleyman’s wife. However, Roxelana has been known for her ruthlessness and was the cause of many of her rivals’ deaths. However, in Empress of the East, Peirce has contradicted many of the rumors that have circulated about Roxelana for centuries, and she has given us a portrait of the true Ottoman queen. Roxelana was a young girl from Ruthenia who was captured by slave traders. She Roxelana is one of history’s most controversial figures. She was an unlikely girl who rose at great odds to become Suleyman’s wife. However, Roxelana has been known for her ruthlessness and was the cause of many of her rivals’ deaths. However, in Empress of the East, Peirce has contradicted many of the rumors that have circulated about Roxelana for centuries, and she has given us a portrait of the true Ottoman queen. Roxelana was a young girl from Ruthenia who was captured by slave traders. She was given as a gift to the Ottoman sultan, Suleyman. Roxelana, with her beauty, intelligence, and vibrant personality, quickly caught Suleyman’s eye. It was not long until she became his favorite. Suleyman broke the the tradition of the Ottoman harem by forswearing all other concubines. Roxelana gave Suleyman six children. Suleyman eventually freed her and married her. As queen, Roxelana became the most powerful woman in the Ottoman empire. She was a politically-adept diplomat and a philanthropist. Many of her philanthropist works would become her lasting legacy. Peirce does a great job in portraying Roxelana. Roxelana was a woman that knew how to make the best of her situation. She was determined and ambitious. She could also be jealous and temperamental. Despite these flaws, Peirce emphasizes Roxelana intelligence and her charitable work. She had an interest in the poor and the hungry. She was also very religious in her new faith and built many mosques. Therefore, Peirce brought out a balance in Roxelana’s character between the questionable and the positives. Overall, this was a fascinating biography of Roxelana. Roxelana’s story is very intriguing, and her rise to be empress was eye-opening. Empress of the East made for compelling reading, and it gave me a deep understanding of the Ottoman empire. Roxelana’s contemporaries were Isabella of Hungary, Catherine de Medici, and Elizabeth I. It is sad that she is often overlooked during a time of great queens. I recommend Empress of the East, not only to people interested in the Ottoman Empire or the Renaissance, but also to people who admire these other women as well. Roxelana has been maligned by her contemporaries. Hopefully, by reading Empress of the East, we can see her in a more positive light.(Note: This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)more
- January 1, 1970Rubyi loved this book. it was everything i've ever wanted and i literally devoured it in 4 days.although i had read "the imperial harem", "empress of the east" contained a lot of new information and anecdotes-- which are the best thing in a history book, imoi loved this book so much that now i wish there was one about kosem sultan or emetullah rabia gulnus sultan. or about every single woman of the sultanate of women. we really need more books about these incredible ladies!!more
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