Roksoliana

Image - Roksoliana, the wife of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificient (16th-century portrait). Image - Roksoliana, the wife of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificient.

Roksoliana [Roksoljana] (née Nastia Lisovska), b 1505 in Rohatyn, Galicia, d 15 April 1558 (other sources cite 1561) in Istanbul. (Portrait: Roksoliana.) Ukrainian wife of the Ottoman sultan Süleyman I Kanuni. She was captured by Crimean Tatars in 1520 and sold into slavery. In Süleyman's harem she was given the name Roksoliana. Captivated by her personality and intelligence, the sultan made her his only wife, and he frequently consulted her regarding matters of state. A district in old Istanbul retains the name Khurrem (‘laughing one’), Süleyman's pet name for Roksoliana. Their sons, Selim and Bayezid, were rivals to the throne, and Roksoliana eventually maneuvered the elder, Selim, into the position of heir apparent. Roksoliana became a legendary figure among Ukrainians and the subject of an opera by Denys Sichynsky (1908), a play by H. Yakymovych (1869), and literary works by Osyp Nazaruk (1930), Mykola Lazorsky (1965), and Pavlo Zahrebelny (1980).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]


Image - Monument to Roksoliana in Rohatyn.


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