Ukrainian Woman Which Was A Slave Became A First Lady Of State

Here is a real story (historical fact!) how Ukrainian woman which was a slave became a first lady of empire.
The woman who would one day be known throughout Europe as Roxolana (Roxelana, Roksolana) was born as Anastasia Lisovska in the town of Rohatyn (nowadays Ivano-Frankivsk region, West Ukraine) in 1505. Her father Havrylo Lisovskyy was a local priest.
At the age of 15 (at her wedding day!) Anastasia was captured by Crimean Tatars during one of their frequent raids into Western Ukraine and taken as a slave, probably first to the Crimean city of Kaffa, a major centre of the slave trade, then to Istandul, and was selected for Suleyman's harem, Wikipedia says.
Anastasia’s bubbly personality singled her out for the royal harem, where she was given the name Roxolana. Sultan Suleyman The First Magnificent was captivated by her infectious wit and shrewd intelligence, and gave her the pet name of "Hurrem" (the "Laughing One").
Hurrem's influence over the Sultan soon became legendary; she was to bear Suleyman five children and, in an astonishing break with tradition, eventually was freed and became his legal wife, according to the Wikipedia. The sultan also began to discuss affairs of state with Roxolana and to prefer her company over all others.
Roxolana strengthened her position in the palace and eventually led to one of her sons, Selim, inheriting the empire.
Roxolana died on April 18, 1558.

This video is a fragment of the movie “Roxolana”, filmed in Ukraine in 1996. Cast: Olga Sumska (Roxolana), Anatoliy Hostikoev (Sultan Suleyman).

The dialog between Roxolana and Sultan is in Ukrainian, but here is an English translation of the scene of Sultan Suleyman’s seduction of Roxolana.

Sultan: I have never seen you before... how long have you been here? (his 1st wife walks in. Roksolana is her maid at the time)… You haven't answered my question.
Roxolana: Three weeks.
Sultan: Why are you so scared?
Roxolana: I am not scared, I am just embarassed to be seen by your wife for I have don’t her wrong.
Sultan: Wrong? What wrong?
Roxolana: She waited for you for so long…
Sultan: You don’t have to see her again.
Roxolana: Now I would be hated by each of your wives.
Sultan: I guess you don't know that when Sultan at least touches a woman in his palace she will be taken into a separate room, given a title and maids and his wives have no say over it.
Roxolana: Koran forbids rape.
Sultan: What reason do you have to talk about rape? Wait, do you know Koran?
Roxolana: Yes.
Sultan: Who taught you?
Roxolana: Professor Abdulah in Kaffa's school for slaves, let Allah send many blessings on him and let him live long...
Sultan: He taught you well... So do you believe in the Prophet?
Roxolana: I am Christian.
Sultan: So why do you cite Koran?
Roxolana: But you do, and here you decide, not me.
Sultan: Ha-ha-ha!.. Where are you from? And what is your name?
Roxolana: Chervona Rus, Roxolana Hurem is what your people call me.
Sultan: Was you ever someone elses wife?
Roxolana: No. I was kidnapped on the day of my wedding and brought to your empire.
Sultan: Would you stay here at your own will?
Roxolana: You won't make me.
Sultan: Why not?
Roxolana: First of all, I am Christian, second of all, I am a maid.
Sultan: First of all, you are not a good maid.
Roxolana: And second?
Sultan: You haven’t said your third reason.
Roxolana: All right. My third reason is that I have to love a man to be with him and I won’t like him if he thinks he can have his way with me and do whatever he wants.
Sultan: You know, I could make you a slave for talking to me this way?
Roxolana: And than I would only be your slave.
Sultan: So as a woman wouldn't you want to have all my lands?
Roxolana: Not just your lands, your seas and pirates that I would stop from hurting peaceful travelers and battles.
Sultan: Without a battle you cannot even conquer a woman.
So can you fall in love for the second time?
Roxolana: I am to young to know, but I heard a Serbian song:
(She sings:)

The first love is like flowers,
the second is like sweet wine
and the third love is poison.

Sultan: I loved the first time and now I am falling in love for the second time, although I would not want it to turn into poison. Don't you want to ask me anything?
Roxolana: Why are your eyes so tired?
Sultan: You know, what they say, a strong horse has to pull more...
Roxolana: How can you do this with me when my professor said you have a loved wife Mahidevran? She is your chosen wife, the best wife and the favorite one.
Sultan: You are wrong, she is not my favorite. But looks like I will have one…

Bookmark and Share