Empress of the East

Empress of the East

How a European Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman Empire

The extraordinary story of the Russian slave girl Roxelana, who rose from concubine to become the only queen of the Ottoman empire

In Empress of the East, historian Leslie Peirce tells the remarkable story of a Christian slave girl, Roxelana, who was abducted by slave traders from her Ruthenian homeland and brought to the harem of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in Istanbul. Suleyman became besotted with her and foreswore all other concubines. Then, in an unprecedented step, he freed her and married her. The bold and canny Roxelana soon became a shrewd diplomat and philanthropist, who helped Suleyman keep pace with a changing world in which women, from Isabella of Hungary to Catherine de Medici, increasingly held the reins of power.

Until now Roxelana has been seen as a seductress who brought ruin to the empire, but in Empress of the East, Peirce reveals the true history of an elusive figure who transformed the Ottoman harem into an institution of imperial rule.
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Genre: Nonfiction / History / Modern / 16th Century

On Sale: September 19th 2017

Price: $19.99

Page Count: 368

ISBN-13: 9780465093090

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"Peirce chronicles the remarkable life and times of Roxelana, the Eastern European slave girl who reshaped her own destiny after being kidnapped and inducted into the harem of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent...Wielding her power during a juncture in history distinguished by many strong female leaders, her exceptional accomplishments are especially noteworthy considering her humble origins and all that she overcame."
"Fascinating from beginning to end, Peirce's telling of Roxelana's story illuminates her remarkable life and the evolution of the long-lived empire that straddled two continents."
Publishers Weekly
"Leslie Peirce, one of the world's foremost historians of the Ottoman empire, has created a brilliant, absorbing, and profoundly insightful account of one of the most enigmatically interesting figures of the sixteenth century: Roxelana, the captive slave who ultimately reigned alongside Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.Muslim Middle East."
Larry Wolff, author of The Singing Turk
"A riveting story of power, patronage and harem politics in sixteenth century Istanbul. Roxelana, the slave who became a sultana, deserves to figure at least as prominently in the annals of women's history as her famous European contemporaries."
Sarah Gristwood, author of Game of Queens
"Leslie Peirce is uniquely qualified to tell the story of one of the greatest royal love affairs in world history.... Roxelana has at last found the biographer she deserves."

Caroline Finkel, author of Osman's Dream
"A brilliant book that restores one of the most fascinating women in Islamic history to prominence. Leslie Pierce, the foremost authority on the Ottoman imperial harem, has done her subject justice in this exquisitely crafted biography."
Eugene Rogan, author of The Fall of the Ottomans