Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rusyn Women

Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent
While researching the famous Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent for Pitt's nationality rooms, I discovered a surprising connection with our people.   Suleiman, who conquered Belgrade, Buda, Transylvania, Rhodes, Baghdad and twice besieged Vienna had a Rusyn (Ruthenian) wife.  Her name was Alexandra Lisovska.

Alexandra Lisovska*

The daughter of an Orthodox priest, she was captured by Crimean Tartars in the 1520s, sold to the Turks and finally added to the Sultan's harem.  With true Rusyn resourcefulness, she became the first legal sultan's wife in two centuries.  Her works included sponsoring mosques, soup kitchens for the poor and founding a women's hospital in Constantinople.

As for the Tartars, it was strongly recommended that they curtail their raiding activities in Ruthenia.  Or else.  The moral of the story is that if you know what is good for you, you don't mess with our women.  But you husbands already knew that.
*Also known as Roxelana = "The Ruthenian One"

Written by:  Maryann Sivak.  Email:

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