Selim III (24 dicembre 1761 – 28 luglio 1808) fu sultano dell'Impero ottomano dal 1789 al 1807.
Secondo alcuni storici fu vittima della spregiudicatezza della politica estera di Napoleone[senza fonte].
Prima parte del regno
Selim era uno degli innumerevoli figli di Mustafa III (sul trono dal 1757 al 1774) e quindi nipote del di lui successore e fratello, Abdul Hamid I (sul trono dal 1774 al 1789). Quest'ultimo morì il 7 aprile 1789, e Selim gli successe al trono.
La politica estera
L'ormai decrepito impero doveva affrontare la minaccia diretta di due grandi potenze cristiane: l'Impero Austriaco e quello Russo. Ereditata dal predecessore la situazione di bellingeranza contro la Russia della Guerra russo-turca (1787-1792), il cui svolgimento era stato fino ad allora tutt'altro che favorevole all'Impero ottomano, vi pose fine con la Pace di Iaşi del gennaio 1792. Con questa si riconosceva alla Russia l'annessione del khanato di Crimea del 1793 e la fondazione, nel 1794, della città fortificata e base navale di Sebastopoli da parte del principe Grigori Potemkin.
La Russia ottenne inoltre la fortezza di Otchakov, situata sulla riva destra della foce del Dniepr (circa 90 km ad ovest di Kherson) ed il litorale del Mar Nero fra il fiume Bug Meridionale e la foce del Dniestr. Subito dopo, molto più a sud, l'Impero dovette subire, sostanzialmente inattivo la travolgente conquista napoleonica dell'Egitto, seguita dalla invasione della Siria meridionale.
La politica interna
La guerra aveva nuovamente messo in evidenza l'inferiorità del sistema politico e militare dell'Impero ottomano. Questo spinse il sultano Selim III a prendere provvedimenti drastici per migliorare l'amministrazione statale e le forze armate. Selim III approfittò infatti degli anni di pace che seguirono per introdurre alcune riforme al corpo militare dell'impero, dando luogo alla riforma delle forze armate e facendo armare nuove unità strutturate sul modello degli eserciti europei. Il sultano, in contatto con i circoli stranieri di Costantinopoli, era d'altronde conosciuto come un sostenitore della necessità delle riforme: abolì la amministrazione militare dei feudi, introdusse cambiamenti nella amministrazione fiscale, compì, addirittura, alcuni tentativi nell'educazione.
Questo cosiddetto Nuovo Ordine condusse ad un maggior carico fiscale. Inoltre le tradizionali unità di giannizzeri si sentirono trascurate. Tutto ciò provocò una pesante crisi negli anni 1807 e 1808. Egli continuò nella antica tradizione ottomana di arruolare ufficiali e tecnici europei come istruttori, i quali contribuirono alla istituzione del corpo dei Nizam-ı Cedid che avrebbe, anni più tardi, costituito il nerbo dell'esercito imperiale. La costituzione di un nuovo corpo era resa necessaria non solo a causa delle costanti minacce militari ma, anche, per poter disporre di uno strumento fedele da utilizzare per controllare l'assai più numeroso corpo dei giannizzeri, che già aveva rovesciato più di un sultano.
L'esperimento sembrava avere successo, tanto che Selim si spinse ad emettere un decreto che prevedeva una regolare integrazione, anno per anno, di un dato numero di giannizzeri nei ranghi della nuova milizia. Ciò causò un "pronunciamento" di 10.000 giannizzeri ad Adrianopoli, il che spinse il sultano a più miti consigli. Con la istituzione poi di ambasciate permanenti presso le capitali europee Londra e Vienna (1794), Parigi (1795) e Berlino (1796) l'Impero ottomano si allineò anche formalmente al sistema degli stati europei.
La rinnovata alleanza con la Francia
La forzata alleanza con la Russia
La situazione era, infatti, particolarmente delicata, dal momento che la campagna d'Egitto del Bonaparte aveva lasciato Costantinopoli orfana della unica alleanza stabile con una potenza europea. Selim non venne travolto, unicamente poiché Austria e Russia erano impegnate nella guerra contro la Francia rivoluzionaria prima e l'Impero napoleonico poi. E, il 2 dicembre 1805, avevano dovuto subire il disastro di Austerlitz, quando Napoleone, in quella che forse fu la sua più brillante battaglia, sbaragliò le forze austro-russe.
La guerra franco-russa
Il successivo round del conflitto venne nel 1807, nel contesto della guerra della quarta coalizione,che coinvolgeva Gran Bretagna, Prussia, Russia, Sassonia e Svezia. Prima a cadere fu la Prussia, sconfitta a Jena e ad Auerstädt, nell'ottobre del 1806. Dopodiché Napoleone occupò Berlino (il 25 ottobre) ed avanzò verso la frontiera russa.
La ambasciata del Sebastiani
In preparazione della immensa sfida, Napoleone, aveva inviato presso la cosiddetta Sublime Porta il corso Orazio Sebastiani, giunto sin dal 2 maggio, con l'obiettivo di rompere l'alleanza del Gran Turco con la Russia e la Gran Bretagna. Tenuto conto dei rilevanti interessi russi fra Carpazi e Balcani, la minaccia era assai grave. Primo a reagire fu lo zar Alessandro I, che inviò a Costantinopoli un altro corso, il Pozzo di Borgo, latore della richiesta di cacciare il Sebastiani.
Guerra alla Russia ed all'Inghilterra
Il 7 dicembre 1806, dichiarò guerra a San Pietroburgo. Al che Londra reagì, inviando sotto Costantinopoli una grande flotta, giunta nel gennaio 1807, per imporre una revisione degli accordi. Essa, nel successivo febbraio, venne respinta, nel corso di una singolare battaglia, dalle batterie costiere e fu costretta a ritirarsi.
La crisi del 1807-1808
Una cocente sconfitta diplomatica
Ma la vittoria si tramutò, assai presto, in un cocente scacco diplomatico: nel febbraio 1807 Napoleone sconfisse i Russi ad Eylau e poi, definitivamente, a Friedland, il 14 giugno. Tre giorni dopo la Russia chiese una tregua.
Seguì la Pace di Tilsit, del 7 luglio 1807: Napoleone impose alla Prussia la cessione di quasi metà del suo territorio, annesso al Regno di Vestfalia (governato da Gerolamo Buonaparte) e la creazione del Granducato di Varsavia, destinato ad essere uno dei più fedeli alleati dell'Imperatore dei Francesi. Inoltre, dovette impegnarsi con Alessandro I a rinunciare all'alleanza con l'Impero Ottomano nel contesto di una inedita mutua assistenza tra Francia e Russia, in chiave antibritannica ed antiturca. Sébastiani lasciò Costantinopoli il 27 aprile 1808, per ricevere la gran croce della Legion d'onore.
Finale: la rivolta dei giannizzeri
Gli effetti a Costantinopoli non tardarono a manifestarsi, prevedibilmente nelle forme di una rivolta dei giannizzeri e di una apposita fatwa emessa dallo Sheikh-ul-Islam (un'alta autorità religiosa), che consentì la cattura del sultano e l'insediamento del di lui cugino Mustafa IV.
Selim, tuttavia, era ancora vivo ed un suo forte sostenitore, Mustafa Bayrakdar, pascià di Ruse, radunò un'armata di 40.000 uomini e marciò sulla capitale. Come prevedibile, i rivoltosi reagirono con l'esecuzione di Selim. A quel punto solo due erano i superstiti discendenti maschi del ramo legittimo degli Osmanidi: Mustafa IV, appunto, e suo fratello, Mahmud. Il primo commise l'errore di non giustiziare anche il secondo e così, quando giunse Bayrakdar, Mustafa IV venne giustiziato e Mahmud divenne sultano (regnando sino al 1839).
Musicista e poeta
Grande amante della musica, il sultano Selim III fu un compositore ed un musicista di grande talento nell'ambito ottomano. Egli compose quattordici makam-s (melodie), tre delle quali sono ancora oggi utilizzate nella cultura araba. In totale si conoscono ad oggi sessantaquattro composizioni ad opera di Selim III, molte delle quali sono parte del repertorio regolare della musica classica turca. Oltre alla composizione musicale, Selim III suonava il ney (flauto a canna) ed il tanbur (liuto allungato).
L'interesse di Selim III per la musica inizio quando ancora era principe ereditario (shahzade) mentre si trovava a studiare sotto Kırımlı Ahmet Kamil Efendi e Tanburi İzak Efendi. Come patrono delle arti, Selim III incoraggiò i musicisti della sua epoca, tra cui spiccavano Dede Efendi e Baba Hamparsum, facendo rinascere il concetto della musica di corte ottomana. Selim III si dimostrò anche interessato alla musica occidentale e nel 1797 invitò una compagnia teatrale francese per la sua prima rappresentazione teatrale nell'Impero ottomano.
Sotto il nome d'arte di "İlhami″, Selim scrisse delle poesie oggi raccolte e che venivano lette pubblicamente a corte grazie alla complicità di Şeyh Galip, uno dei più importanti poeti della letteratura ottomana. Selim III fu membro della confraternita religiosa Mevleviyya e fu affiliato nella loggia di Galata col nome di ″Selim Dede″. Egli estese il suo patronato ad Antoine Ignace Melling, il quale venne nominato architetto di corte nel 1795. Melling costruì un gran numero di palazzi e altre strutture per il sultano e disegnò molte stampe della Costantinopoli a lui contemporanea.
Selim III (Ottoman Turkish: سليم ثالث Selīm-i sālis) (24 December 1761 – 28 July 1808) was the reform-minded Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1789 to 1807. The Janissaries eventually deposed and imprisoned him, and placed his cousin Mustafa on the throne as Mustafa IV. Selim was killed by a group of assassins subsequently after a Janissary revolt.
Selim III was the son of Sultan Mustafa III and his wife Mihrişah Sultan. His mother Mihrişah Sultan originated in Georgia and when she became the Valide Sultan, she participated in reforming the government schools and establishing political corporations. His father Ottoman Sultan Mustafa III was very well educated and believed in the necessity of reforms. Mustafa III attempted to create a powerful army during the peacetime with professional, well-educated soldiers. This was primarily motivated by his fear of a Russian invasion. During the Turko-Russian War he fell ill and died of a heart attack in 1774. Sultan Mustafa was aware of the fact that a military reform was necessary. He declared new military regulations and opened maritime and artillery academies.
Sultan Mustafa was very influenced by mysticism. Oracles predicted his son Selim would be a world-conqueror, so he organized a joyous feast lasting seven days. Selim was very well educated in the palace. Sultan Mustafa III bequeathed his son as his successor; however, Selim's uncle Abdulhamid I ascended the throne after Mustafa's death. Sultan Abdulhamid I took care of Selim and put great emphasis on his education.
After Abdulhamid's death Selim succeeded him on 7 April 1789, not yet 27 years old. Sultan Selim III was very fond of literature and calligraphy; many of his works were put on the walls of mosques and convents. He wrote many poems, especially about Crimea's occupation by Russia. He spoke Arabic and Persian fluently. Selim III was very religious, and very patriotic. He was a poet, a musician and very fond of fine arts.
Selim was a very modern man and a reformist ruler. He planned to modernize the Ottoman Empire. Prince Selim developed plans for modernizing the Ottoman Army. Selim came to the throne during the 1787–92 war with Austria and Russia and had to postpone serious reform efforts until its completion. Selim’s early efforts to modernize the Janissary corps created such opposition that thereafter he concentrated on creating a new European-style army, using modern weapons and European tactics. Officers and military experts sent by the different European powers trained in Constantinople and in a number of Anatolian provincial centers.
This new force never numbered more than 10,000 active soldiers. In order to avoid disrupting the established Ottoman institutions, it was financed by an entirely new treasury whose revenues came from taxes imposed on previously untaxed sources and from the confiscation whose holders were not fulfilling their military and administrative duties to the state. Under the guidance of European technicians, factories were erected to manufacture modern weapons and ammunition and technical schools were opened to train Ottoman officers. Limited efforts were also made to rationalize the Ottoman administrative machinery, but largely along traditional lines. The older military corps, however, remained intact and hostile to the new force, and Selim was therefore compelled to limit its size and use.
Plans of reforms
The talents and energy with which Selim III was endowed had endeared him to the people, and great hopes were founded on his accession. He had associated much with foreigners, and was thoroughly persuaded of the necessity of reforming his state.
However, Austria and Russia gave him no time for anything but defense, and it was not until the Peace of Iaşi (1792) that a breathing space was allowed him in Europe, while Napoleon's invasion of Egypt and Syria soon called for Turkey's strongest efforts.
Selim III profited by the respite to abolish the military tenure of fiefs; he introduced salutary reforms into the administration, especially in the fiscal department, sought by well-considered plans to extend the spread of education, and engaged foreign officers as instructors, by whom a small corps of new troops called nizam-i-jedid were collected and drilled in 1797. This unit was composed of Turkish peasant youths from Anatolia and supplied with modern weaponry.
These troops were able to hold their own against rebellious Janissaries in the Balkan provinces such as the Sanjak of Smederevo against its appointed Vizier Hadži Mustafa Pasha, where disaffected governors made no scruple of attempting to make use of them against the reforming sultan.
Emboldened by this success, Selim III issued an order that in future picked men should be taken annually from the Janissaries to serve in the nizam-i-jedid. Selim III was unable to integrate the nizam-i jedid with the rest of the army which overall limited its role in the defense of the state.
Reforms in law
Selim introduced domestic reforms to strengthen his government. He solicited suggestions throughout the governing institutions. As a basis for change: he created a new treasury, filled in large part from confiscatory punishment leveled at fief holders who had ceased to respect their military obligations, schools were opened, attention was given to printing and to the circulation of Western translations, and young Turks were sent to Europe for further study. The most significant reforms, however, involved the military. The navy was strengthened, and a navigation school was opened. The army commissariat was changed, officer training was improved, the Bosphorus forts were strengthened, the artillery was revitalized, and the new engineering school was reorganized. The major innovation was the founding of a new body of regular troops known as the Nizam-i-Cedid (new regulation), a term also applied to the reforms as a whole. A former Turkish lieutenant in the Russian army formed the first of these new units, uniformed, well disciplined and drilled, in 1792. Other units followed, involving, in some instances, extensive barracks building with related town facilities, such as the mosques and baths of Scutari. Such buildings constitute Selim's major architectural legacy.
Before the reforms, education in the Ottoman Empire had not been a state responsibility but had been provided by the education for Muslims. The first inroads into the system had been made with the creation of naval engineering, military engineering, medical and military science colleges. In this way specialized Western-type training was grafted onto the traditional system to produce specialists for the army. Similar institutions for diplomats and administrators were founded, including the translation bureau and the civil service school the latter was reorganized and eventually became the political science department of the University of Ankara and the major training center for higher civil servants.
The first comprehensive plan for state education was put forward. It provided for a complete system of primary and secondary schools leading to the university level, all under the Ministry of Education. A still more ambitious educational plan, inaugurated in 1869, provided for free and compulsory primary education. Both schemes progressed slowly because of a lack of money, but they provided a framework within which development toward a systematic, secular educational program could take place. There were more than 36,000 Ottoman schools, although the great majority were small, traditional primary schools. The development of the state system was aided by the example of progress among the non-Muslim millet schools, in which the education provided was more modern than in the Ottoman schools included more than 1,800 Greek schools with about 185,000 pupils and some 800 Armenian schools with more than 81,000 pupils. Non-Muslims also used schools provided by foreign missionary groups in the empire.
Selim III ascended the throne only to find that the Ottoman Empire of old had been considerably reduced due to conflicts outside the realm. From the north Russia had taken the Black Sea through the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca in 1774. Selim realized the importance of diplomatic relations with other nations, and pushed for permanent embassies in the courts of all the great nations of Europe, a hard task because of religious prejudice towards Muslims. Even with the religious obstacles, resident embassies were established in Britain, France, Prussia and Austria. Selim, a cultured poet and musician, carried on an extended correspondence with Louis XVI. Although distressed by the establishment of the republic in France, Ottoman government was soothed by French representatives in Constantinople who maintained the goodwill of various influential personages.
On 1 July 1798, however, French forces landed in Egypt, and Selim declared war on France. In alliance with Russia and Britain, the Turks were in periodic conflict with the French on both land and sea until March 1801. Peace came in June 1802, The following year brought trouble in the Balkans. For decades a sultan's word had had no power in outlying provinces, prompting Selim's reforms of the military in order to reimpose central control. This desire was not fulfilled. One rebellious leader was Austrian-backed Osman Pazvantoğlu, whose invasion of Wallachia in 1801 inspired Russian intervention, resulting in greater autonomy for the Dunubian provinces. Serbian conditions also deteriorated. They took a fateful turn with the return of the hated Janissaries, ousted 8 years before. These forces murdered Selim's enlightened governor, ending the best rule this province had had in the last 100 years. Neither arms nor diplomacy could restore Ottoman authority.
French influence with the Sublime Porte (the European diplomatic designation of the Ottoman state) did not revive but it then led the Sultan into defying both St. Petersburg and London, and Turkey joined Napoleon's Continental System. War was declared on Russia on 27 December and on Britain in March 1807.
The Sultan's most ambitious military project was the creation of an entirely new infantry corps fully trained and equipped according to the latest European standards. This unit, called the nizam-i jedid (the new order), was formed in 1797 and adopted a pattern of recruitment that was uncommon for the imperial forces; it was composed of Turkish peasant youths from Anatolia, a clear indication that the devshirme system was no longer functional. Officered and trained by Europeans, the nizam-i jedid was outfitted with modern weapons and French-style uniforms. By 1806 the new army numbered around 23,000 troops, including a modern artillery corps, and its units performed effectively in minor actions. But Selim III's inability to integrate the force with the regular army and his reluctance to deploy it against his domestic opponents limited its role in defending the state it was created to preserve.
From the start of Selim's reign, the Janissaries had viewed this entire program of military reform as a threat to their independence, and they refused to serve alongside the new army in the field. The powerful derebeys were alarmed by the way in which the sultan financed his new forces—he confiscated timars and directed the other revenue toward the nizam-i jedid. Further opposition came from the ulama and other members of the ruling elite who objected to the European models on which Selim based his military reforms.
Led by the rebellious Janissaries, these forces came together in 1806, deposed Selim III, and selected a successor, Mustafa IV, who pledged not to interfere with their privileges. The decree of deposition accused Selim III of failing to respect the religion of Islam and the tradition of the Ottomans. Over the course of the next year, the embassies in Europe were dismantled, the nizam-i jedid troops were dispersed, and the deposed sultan, whose cautious military reforms were intended to do no more than preserve the tradition of the Ottomans, was murdered.
Austro-Turkish War (1787–1791)
The Austro-Turkish War of 1787 was an inconclusive struggle between the Austrian and Ottoman Empires. It took place concomitantly with the Russo-Turkish War of 1787-1792 during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Selim III.
The first major Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774) began after Turkey demanded that Russia’s ruler, Catherine II the Great, abstain from interfering in Poland’s internal affairs. The Russians went on to win impressive victories over the Turks. They captured Azov, the Crimea, and Bessarabia, and under Field Marshal Pyotr Rumyantsev they overran Moldavia and also defeated the Turks in Bulgaria. The Turks were compelled to seek peace, which was concluded in the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca. This treaty made the Crimean khanate independent of the Turkish sultan advanced the Russian frontier. Russia was now in a much stronger position to expand, and in 1783 Catherine annexed the Crimean Peninsula outright.
War broke out in 1787, with Austria again on the side of Russia. Under General Alexander Suvorov, the Russians won several victories that gave them control of the lower Dniester and Danube rivers, and further Russian successes compelled the Turks to sign the Treaty of Jassy on 9 Jan. 1792. By this treaty Turkey ceded the entire western Ukrainian Black Sea coast to Russia. When Turkey deposed the Russophile governors of Moldavia and Walachia in 1806, war broke out again, though in a desultory fashion, since Russia was reluctant to concentrate large forces against Turkey while its relations with Napoleonic France were so uncertain. But in 1811, with the prospect of a war between France and Russia in sight, the latter sought a quick decision on its southern frontier. The Russian field marshal Mikhail Kutuzov’s victorious campaign of 1811–12 forced the Turks to sign the Treaty of Bucharest on 18 May 1812. Ending the war that had begun in 1806, this peace agreement established the Ottoman cession of Bessarabia to Russia.
The Russians also secured amnesty and a promise of autonomy for the Serbs, who had been rebelling against Turkish rule, but Turkish garrisons were given control of the Serbian fortresses. Implementation of the treaty was forestalled by a number of disputes, and Turkish troops invaded Serbia again the following year.
Relations with Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan was an independent ruler of the Sultanate of Mysore, with high regards of loyalty to the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II. He had urgently requested Ottoman assistance during the Third Anglo-Mysore War, in which he had suffered an irreversible defeat. Tipu Sultan then began to consolidate his relations with France. In an attempt to junction with Tipu Sultan, Napoleon invaded Ottoman Egypt in the year 1798, causing a furor in Constantinople.
The British then appealed to Selim III to send a letter to Tipu Sultan requesting the Sultanate of Mysore to halt its state of war against the British East India Company. Selim III then wrote a letter to Tipu Sultan criticizing the French, and also informed Tipu Sultan that the Ottomans would act as intermediary between the Sultanate of Mysore and the British. Tipu Sultan wrote twice to Selim III, rejecting the advice of the Ottomans, unfortunately before most of his letters could arrive in Constantinople, the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War broke out and Tipu Sultan was killed during the Siege of Seringapatam (1799).
At the same time the 30-year-old Napoleon Bonaparte, a general of the French Republic, returned from his ill-fated Egyptian Campaign. The French seizure of Egypt had produced results contrary to those which Napoleon had intended. Instead of striking a blow at the colonial power of Britain, the invasion had alarmed the Ottoman Porte and driven it into an alliance with the British as well as the long-standing enemy of the Turks, Russia. Yet, by 1802, the Peace of Amiens would put an end to the war between France and the Second Coalition. The Peace would give Napoleon, who was now the First Consul of France, a respite during which he could begin to mend French relations with the Ottoman Empire.
The years 1802-1807 would witness a decidedly pro-Turkish policy on the part of Napoleon. For him, this slowly deteriorating empire would come to play, in these years, an integral role in his European diplomatic strategy. Friendship and alliance with the Ottoman Empire could serve him not only as a useful tool against the commercial power of his greatest enemy, Britain, but even more so (by 1805) as a means to bend Russia and its Tsar to his will. In his goal to rebuild and strengthen Franco-Turkish relations, Napoleon benefited from two things. The first factor riding in his favor was the long history of diplomatic and economic relations that had existed between France and the Ottoman Empire - since the 16th Century. While many European nations had, over the centuries, made agreements and sent ambassadors to the Turkish court, the French had been one of, if not the most highly favored nation. The French were the first to conclude a commercial treaty with the Turks. French businessmen invested heavily in the Ottoman Empire and by the late 18th Century, all Roman Catholics in the Ottoman Empire were placed under French protection. A second factor which benefited Napoleon was that the Ottoman sultan, Selim III, had, for most of his life, been somewhat disposed towards the French.
As the nephew of the Sultan Abdul Hamid, Selim had ascended to the throne in the same year that revolution had exploded in France: 1789. Since the time that he had been a young prince, secluded in the palace, Selim had apparently developed a personal taste for things European. Though he had a fondness for Western European theater, music, art and poetry, his greatest interest was in European military institutions and practices. Even before he became sultan, he had secretly written to the French court of Louis XVI requesting advice on how to build up the Ottoman armed forces to the level of those in Europe. This early desire for military reform would come to fruition after he became sultan, when the wars between the Ottoman Empire and the ambitious Catherine the Great of Russia had revealed the overall weakness, lack of discipline and lack of training among the Ottoman forces.
After the Peace of Jassy in 1792, which ended the war between the Ottoman Empire and Russia, Selim had hoped to stay out of the European conflicts that had arisen as a result of the French Revolution, though he personally sympathized with the French in their struggle. Selim's desire for neutrality stemmed from his wish to have time in which to implement his plans for military reform. One of the most important of these was to be the reform of the unruly janissary corps. Selim also had other grand designs such as the creation of an entirely new military force, the Nizam-i-Cedid (or "new order"), which was to be equipped, clothed, drilled and instructed in a totally European manner with rank to be based on ability. To aid him in these reforms, Selim at first utilized the skills of General Albert Dubayet, French ambassador to the Porte in 1796. Dubayet had brought with him several model artillery pieces as well as French artillery officers, drill sergeants and engineers to aid the sultan in bringing his army up to date. Selim wished to reform the janissaries along the same lines as the Nizam-i-Cedit, trained, equipped and clothed in the European manner. In the end Selim's efforts were not overly successful. The janissaries bitterly opposed the reforms and refused to be trained in the manner of Europeans. In addition they did all that they could to hamper the creation of the Nizam-i-Cedit. Except for some marked improvements in the artillery corps, by the end of his reign, Selim's forces remained at the same low level as they had been when he first became sultan.
This period of reform was interrupted, however, as Selim found himself forced to take sides in the European conflict when General Bonaparte's forces invaded Egypt and Syria. As a result, Selim would declare war on France on 11 September 1799. In doing so, he not only allied himself to England, but also with his oldest and most important enemy - Russia. As it is well known with the death of Catherine the Great in 1796, her son Paul I became tsar. He made overtures for rapprochement with the Turks in order to secure, via the alliance signed with the Turks in 1799, the right for Russian warships to pass through the Straits. He also gained concessions on the issue of the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia (which will be discussed later). Selim would be troubled by these alliances in the years to come. Yet, Russia withdrew from the anti-French coalition not long after signing the alliance with the Porte and by 1801, Britain had agreed to negotiate a peace with France. In June 1802, a formal peace treaty was signed between Britain and France at Amiens. Among the many articles in this treaty, Article 8 stated that the possessions and
integrity of the Ottoman Empire were to be preserved as they were before the war. More importantly, the Turks decided to enter into a separate peace with France, in conjunction with Amiens - a peace for which they received little British or Russian support. Through this agreement, France regained her former privileges (such as capitulations and as the protectors over the sultan's Catholic subjects) and for the first time, the Porte gave French merchant vessels the right to trade freely on the Black Sea. With this treaty, Napoleon restored many of the rights that had been enjoyed prior to the Revolution and set the Ottoman Empire and France on the road to rebuilding their diplomatic relations. In addition, Napoleon had opened up new markets by which France could trade with Russia, the Balkans and even into Persia. These new markets, he hoped, would rival and perhaps surpass British commercial interests in the East.
For Napoleon, his signature on the Peace of Amiens did not mean that he had suddenly abandoned all his plans to destroy Britain's commercial and naval supremacy, nor did mean that he had forgotten his territorial ambitions for France in the realm of the Ottoman Empire. Napoleon especially desired to regain French control over the Ionian Islands (which he won in 1797, but lost to Russia after 1799) and also had his sights set on controlling key areas on the Adriatic Coast in the Balkans. The key point in his future plans was Constantinople, now Istanbul. In reality, Amiens (for both France and Britain) was regarded as more of truce than a definite termination to their conflicts. Not only did Napoleon continue to concern himself with plans for Britain, but he soon found his attentions turned more seriously towards Russia as well.
In 1801, a new tsar, the young Alexander I, had ascended to the Russian throne, after assassination of his father Paul I. Like his grandmother Catherine, Alexander held definite designs for the European provinces of the Ottoman Empire, which lay south of his realm. He especially desired to control the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, the Dardanelle and naturally set his sights at the historical goal of Russia - the acquisition of Constantinople. But, Alexander's ambitions did not lead him to take rash actions. Instead, he decided it best, for the moment, to approach the Porte in a cautious and amicable manner. Only in this way could he maintain the privileges, which Russia still enjoyed from the 1799 alliance (The Porte was at this time still permitting Russian ships to pass through the straits and to continue to hold a protectorate over the Ionian Islands) and keep his influence with the Porte strong enough to rival any ambitions of Napoleon.
Downfall and assassination
Selim III was, however, thoroughly under the influence of French ambassador to the Porte Horace Sébastiani, and the fleet was compelled to retire without effecting its purpose. But the anarchy, manifest or latent, existing throughout the provinces proved too great for Selim III to cope with. The Janissaries rose once more in revolt, induced the Sheikh ul-Islam to grant a fetva against the reforms, dethroned and imprisoned Selim III, and placed his cousin Mustafa on the throne, as Mustafa IV (1807–08), on May 29, 1807
The ayan of Rustchuk, Alemdar Mustafa, a strong partisan of the reforms, collected an army of 40,000 men and marched on Constantinople with the purpose of reinstating Selim III, but he came too late. The ill-fated reforming Sultan had been stabbed in the seraglio by the Chief Black Eunuch and his men.[unreliable source] Upon his arrival in the capital, Bairakdar's only resource was to wreak his vengeance on Mustafa IV and to place on the throne Mahmud II (1808–1839), the sole surviving member of the house of Osman.
Another version about his murder states that at the time of his deposition, Selim was staying at the Harem. The night of Thursday, 28 July 1808, he was with his favourite wife, Empress Re’fet Kadın, and a lady-in-waiting Pakize Hanım in attendance. Alemdar Mustafa Pasha, a loyalist of Selim, was approaching the city with his army to reinstate Selim. Therefore, Mustafa IV gave orders to murder him and his brother Prince Mahmud.
The assassins were apparently a group of men, including the Master of the Wardrobe called Fettah the Georgian, the Treasury steward Ebe Selim, and black eunuch named Nezir Ağa. Selim apparently knew his end was coming when he saw their swords drawn. Pakize Hanım threw herself between them and her lord, she was cut in her hand. Re’fet Kadın started screaming in terror, another slave girl who rushed in fainted when she saw what was about to happen. A struggle ensued and the former sultan was cut down and murdered, his last words apparently being "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great").
Re’fet Kadın threw herself on the body but was dragged away. The body was quickly wrapped in a quilt. The assassins moved on to find Prince Mahmud and attempt to murder him too, he was more fortunate though and later ordered the assassins to be executed. Selim III would be the only Ottoman sultan to be killed by the sword. He was buried in Laleli Mosque near his father's tomb.
Interest in poetry and arts
A great lover of music, Sultan Selim III was a composer and performer of significant talent. He created fourteen makam-s (melodic types), three of which are in current use today. Sixty-four compositions by Selim III are known today, some of which are part of the regular repertory of Turkish classical music performerance. Aside from composing music, Selim III also performed on the ney (reed flute) and tanbur (long-necked, fretted lute).[page needed]
Selim III's interest in music started in his days as a prince (shahzade) when he studied under Kırımlı Ahmet Kamil Efendi and Tanburi İzak Efendi. He was especially respectful of Tanburi İzak Efendi, and it is recounted that the Sultan rose in respect when Tanburi İzak Efendi entered the court.
As a patron of the arts, Selim III encouraged musicians of his day, including Dede Efendi and Baba Hamparsum. The Hamparsum notation system that Selim commissioned became the dominant notation for Turkish and Armenian music. His name is associated with a school in Classical Turkish Music due to the revival and rebirth of music at his court. Selim III was also interested in western music and in 1797 invited an opera troupe for the first opera performance in the Ottoman Empire.
Writing under the nom de plume ″İlhami″, Selim's poetry is collected in a divan. Among regular attendees of his court were Şeyh Galib, considered one of the four greatest Ottoman poets. Galib is now considered to have been not only an intimate friend of the Sultan, as they were both quite close in age, but through Galib's poetry you find an overwhelming support for his new military reform[page needed]
Selim III was a member of the Mevlevi Order of Sufi Whirling Dervishes, and entered into the order at the Galata Mevlevihanesi under the name ″Selim Dede". He was a renowned composer, creating many musical compositions, including a Mevlevi ayin, a long and complex liturgical form performed during the semâ (religious ceremonies) of the Mevlana (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi) Tariqah of Sufi Whirling Mystics, in makam Suzidilara.
He extended his patronage to Antoine Ignace Melling, whom he appointed as the court architect in 1795. Melling constructed a number of palaces and other buildings for the Sultan and created engravings of contemporary Constantinople.
Selim had seven wives:
Nefizar Kadın (died 30 May 1792, buried in Mustafa III Mausoleum, Laleli Mosque, Istanbul);
Zibifer Kadın (died March 1817, buried in Selimiye Mosque, Üsküdar, Istanbul);
Tabısafa Kadın (died 15 March 1855, buried in Mustafa III Mausoleum, Laleli Mosque, Istanbul);
Refet Kadın (died 22 October 1867, buried in Mihrişah Sultan Mausoleum, Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul);
Nurișems Kadın (died May 1826, buried in Mustafa III Mausoleum, Laleli Mosque, Istanbul);
Hüsnümah Kadın (died 1813, buried in Mustafa III Mausoleum, Laleli Mosque, Istanbul).
"Coins of Selim III"
Unknown - Helmolt, H.F., ed. History of the World. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1902. Copied from University of Texas Portrait Gallery, direct link.
Selim III (1761-1808)
Ha-Mizgaga Museum, kibutz Nahsholim, Israel. Ottoman cannon from Selim III's reign. Was cast into sea by Napoleons's army during the retreat from Acre.
Bukvoed - Own work
Konstantin Kapidagli - Bilkent University, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
Tughra (i.e., seal or signature) of Selim III, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1789-1807).
Sultan Selim III holding an audience in front of the Gate of Felicity. Courtiers are assembled in a strict protocol. Oil on canvas. Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi, Istanbul (Inv. 17/163)
Konstantin Kapıdağlı - Badisches Landesmuseum
English: firman (decree) by Sultan Selim III appointing F.C.H.L. Pouqueville as representative of France to the court of Ali Pacha of Janina
Français : firman (decret) par le Sultan Selim III acceptant F.C.H.L. Pouqueville en tant que representant de la France a la cour d'Ali Pacha de Janina
Joseph Warnia-Zarzecki - Sultan Selim III - Google Art Project
Joseph Warnia-Zarzecki 1850 (French) Born in Nantes, France.
Portrait Of Sultam Selim III
Portrait of Selim III, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1789-1807). The portrait has been printed using the Giclée process.
John Young (1755-1825) - A Series of Portraits of the Emperors of Turkey Embedding
Taming of the shrew: —Katharine & Petruchio; —The modern Quixotte, —or, what you will— SUMMARY: Cartoon shows Catherine II, faint and shying away from William Pitt, who appears as Petruchio, and Don Quixote on horseback (a lean and scarred George III whose authority has been usurped by Pitt), seated behind Pitt are the King of Prussia and a figure representing Holland as Sancho Panza, Selim III kneels to kiss the horse's tail; a gaunt figure representing the old order in France and Leopold II render assistence to Catherine by preventing her from falling to the ground. MEDIUM: 1 print : etching, hand-colored. CREATED/PUBLISHED: [London] : Pubd. by S.W. Fores, 1791 April 20th. According to Wright & Evans, Historical and Descriptive Account of the Caricatures of James Gillray (1851, OCLC 59510372), p. 33, "On the attempted intermediation of Great Britain, backed by Prussia and Holland, between Russia and Turkey, in the spring of 1791. Austria and France are giving encouragement to the Empress Catharine. Turkey, which was suffering severely, takes shelter behind Pitt and his supporters, who have ridden rather roughly the Hanoverian horse."
James Gillray - Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
A target stone (Nişan Taşı). This stone was erected in commemoration of a record rifle shot by Selim III (1789-1807) in 1790. It was brought to the palace from Levend in the 1930's.
Gryffindor - Own work
Bulgarian Archives State Agency