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harem

Suleiman the Magnificent

Suleiman the Magnificent's Journey from Life to Death

The reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, spanning 46 years, reshaped the Ottoman Empire through both conquest and unconventional personal choices. Unlike his predecessors, Suleiman pursued a different...
Chinese emperor. Source:

Weird Things That Were Normal for Chinese Emperors (Video)

In the rich tapestry of Chinese imperial history , the idiosyncrasies of emperors present a captivating tableau. These divine sovereigns, reigning over China for millennia, engaged in customs that...
Night view of Topkapi Palace from across the Bosphorus (Lefteris Papaulakis  / Adobe Stock)

Topkapi Palace, Showcasing Ottoman Splendor And Opulence

Centuries before Versailles, Buckingham Palace and the Kremlin Palace, on the shore where the Western world meets the East, cupped by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus Strait and the Golden Horn,...
The Urdubegis were female warriors tasked with protecting the Mughal emperor and his harem. Representational image. Source: Public domain

Urdubegis: The Forgotten Female Fighters of the Mughal Empire

When we think of the empowerment of women, we usually think about Western culture. Nevertheless, the East has had its fair share of female role models. While Islam has historically given men the role...
The Romance of Hurrem, The Slave Empress And Suleiman The Magnificent

The Romance of Hurrem, The Slave Empress And Suleiman The Magnificent

During the 16th century a Christian slave, captured when only 15-years-old, shattered the traditional rules of the Ottoman Empire and through her intelligence and charm became its first Empress,...
The Erechtheion temple on the Athens acropolis with the six “mistaken” Ottoman harem caryatids on the right side a bit back from the front of the temple.		Source: Jebulon / CC0

The Erechtheion Temple of the Acropolis Was Not a Harem After All!

The Greek term “ karyatides ” means “maidens of Karyai,” which was an ancient town on the Peloponnese in southern Greece. A “ caryatid ” is a sculpted female figure that forms an architectural...
Zeb-un-Nisa: Mughal Princess and Rebel Poetess

Princess Zeb-un-Nisa: Rebel Sufi Poetess and her Gilded Garden Prison

Sitting alone in her quiet gardens, reciting verses of poetry and waiting for the end to come. This is how Princess Zeb-un-Nisa spent the final years of her life. Zeb-un-Nisa means “jewel among women...
Woman of the Harem

Imperial Harem of the Ottoman Empire Served the Sultan in More Ways Than One

The imperial harem of the Ottoman era was the collection of wives, servants, and concubines of the Sultan, who sometimes numbered in the hundreds. Some were mere playthings or used for the production...
Jahanara and Roshanara: Rival Princesses of the Mughal Empire

Jahanara and Roshanara: Rival Princesses of the Mughal Empire

The Mughal Empire has been filled with remarkable women , but the most understated of them are two princesses - two sisters - who played a very crucial role during the reign of Shah Jahan and the war...
Take an Eye-Opening Journey into the Past: Top 10 Historical TV Series

Take an Eye-Opening Journey into the Past: Top 10 Historical TV Series

Ancient history and some of its famous faces have inspired countless TV series over recent years, ranging from drama and action, to fantasy and sci-fi. We all know that “based on actual events” or “...

Sultans Raised in ‘Cages’: Overprotection Turned to Madness

In the world of nobility, aristocracy, and famous ruling dynasties, the issue of succession was always a problem. When several sons seek the prospect of a vacant throne, the greed and desire can...
Topkapi Palace.

Topkapi – A Palace of Dreams and Tears from the Ottoman Empire

The palace of Topkapi near the Bosphorus strait witnessed the greatest glories and the most heartbreaking tragedies in the history of the Ottoman Empire . Currently the Topkapi palace is a museum but...
Chinese concubines in a harem

20,000 Women and 100,000 Castrated Men to Serve the Emperor: The Imperial Harem of China

In Imperial China, one of the important tasks that the emperor needed to do was to ensure the continuation of the dynasty, which was achieved by the production of a male heir. For this purpose, the...
Ten Unusual Ancient Traditions that Would Not Thrive Today

Ten Unusual Ancient Traditions that Would Not Thrive Today

Cultures evolve or change over the ages; this is an undeniable fact. However, many of the practices of ancient people and cultures would be practically incomprehensible for most people today. Be they...
‘The Harem’ by Gustave Boulanger

In a Forbidden Place: Hidden Lives in a Harem

The term harem comes from the Arabic haram meaning forbidden place . This defines the sphere of women in a polygynous household and makes reference to their enclosed quarters being forbidden to men...
Famous and Powerful Eunuchs of the Ancient World

Famous and Powerful Eunuchs of the Ancient World

A eunuch is a castrated man who was usually forced to undergo such a procedure without consent. This was done so that the person might perform a specific social role such as harem servant, guardian...
Rosa Solymanni uxor. (16th century).

Hurrem Sultan, the Cheerful Rose of Suleiman I and a Powerful Woman of the Ottoman Empire

Hürrem Sultan appeared in Topkapi Palace as a slave, but in a very short time she became one the most influential women of the Ottoman Empire . The name Hürrem was given her by the Sultan Suleiman I...