The Ottoman state was a total monarchy in most of it years while in existence. The sultan was at the top of hierarchical ottoman governance with political, judicial, social, military, and religious capacities executing services under different titles. Religiously, as the chief executor, he was accountable only to God’s law- sharia. This paper seeks to compare and contrast the character/characteristics and policies of Mehmet II, Selim I and Suleyman I.
The Janissaries comprised of young Christians who were rewarded handsomely to keep the loyalty to the Sultan. Mehemet certified independent religious communities to give its members freedom religiously and gain the endorsement of their religious leaders. Administrative systems and evenhanded tax were developed, and justice for all was stressed. He had subsequently surmounted Serbia and Morea in 1459 and 1460 respectively. Just when plans were underway to capture southern Italy and Rhodes, Mehemet II passed on and was succeeded by his son Bayezid II (McCarthy, 80).
Selim I, on the other hand reined the Ottoman Empire as from 1512 to 1518. Accounts have it that Selim had very high expectations of his subjects and remarkably had a fiery temper. Some of his viziers were executed for different reasons. A well-known anecdote refers to how a joking vizier asked the Sultan for a preface notice of his downfall so that he might have time to put dealings in order. The Sultan giggled and admitted that he was thinking of having the vizier killed. Trouble is there was no one who could fit in the vizier’s shoes that made the sultan pardon him.
Selim’s era was characterized by rapid change in the empire’s expansion policy, which was operating mostly against the Beyliks and the West before he got into power. On the day of his death in 1520, the empire had spanned close to a billion acres, having tripled in size in Selim’s era.
Lastly, Suleyman I who reigned from 1520-1566 was known as kanuni meaning the lawgiver by his subjects from Muslim society because of a fresh codification of the seriat embarked on during his reign. He was fairly famous in Europe known for his prowess by those afraid of it- this led to the branding of his name Suleyman the Magnificent. He triumphant over Christian powers when it came to war and took over many territories like the Greek island of Rhodes. He is considered the most just Islam ruler of all time. He developed his territory with great architectural buildings like the mosque in Sinan (McCarthy, 90).
In conclusion, all the rulers in the Ottoman Empire tried the level best to deliver. In spite of all these Suleyman reign still stands out.
McCarthy, Justin. The Ottoman Turks: an introductory history to 1923. London: Longman, 1997. Print.