Roxelane as a Figment of the Imagination: An Analysis of the Contemporary Imagery of a Sultana

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FOLKLOR/EDEBIYAT-FOLKLORE/LITERATURE, vol.26, no.1, pp.211-221, 2020 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.22559/folklor.1012
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Directory of Open Access Journals, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.211-221
  • Keywords: Roxelane, imagery, societal imagery, la magnifique, unofficial Hurrem
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


As important figures of the Ottoman history since the 16th century Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxelane, have become fundamental referents feeding societal imagery. This study focuses on the analysis of the 'imagery' of Roxelane; a woman who was able to hold power and attain a place in societal imagery in an age and setting where the role of women was extremely limited. A strong female archetype, a 'ruler' in an Empire where women did not rule and wield power, is created in the works studied through this imagery. The imagery associated with `strong females' like Catherine de Medicis, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth Tudor who ruled their respective countries in the 16th century, has gained a distinctive place in social memory. The imagery has found a wide audience, especially in its manifestation in fiction. The following study uses J.J. Wunenburger's definitions of imagery to examine the imagery of Roxelane and the ways in which it is recreated and re-used for differing functions in societal memory in two contemporary literary works.