Muhteşem Yüzyıl–Magnificent Century is a Turkish prime time historical soap opera television series. It was premiered on Jan 5th 2011 on Turkish television. It is based on the life of Suleyman I (also known as Suleiman the Magnificent), the longest reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. and Hürrem (a.k.a. Roxelana), the slave girl who became his wife.
At age of twenty-six, when his reign began, Sultan Süleyman sought to build an empire more powerful and more extensive than Alexander The Great and to render the Ottomans invincible. Throughout his 46-year reign, his fame as both the greatest warrior and ruler of his age spread both East and West.
The “Magnificent Century” refers to the period of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent’s reign, dramatizing the intrigues of his harem and court. Most of the incidents and action are based on fictional stories of the Ottomans, especially of Sultan Suleyman and his harem.
The television series shows Süleyman’s consolidation of his power: executing a corrupt vazir, reenforcing the rule of law throughout the empire, meeting foreign diplomats, and preparing for military campaigns.But the main focus is on the relationships between the members of the imperial household, especially romantic entanglements and rivalries. The animosity between Hürrem and Mahidevran and the role of Hafsa Sultan, the Valide Sultan (Mother Sultan); Hürrem’s rise as Süleyman’s favorite while pregnant with his son, her fall from favor after her son’s birth and her eventual return to grace; Pargalı İbrahim’s entanglement with the Sultan’s sister; all set against the backdrop of the tension between Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire.
There are rumors in some historical reference books that Pargalı İbrahim and Sultan Suleyman was sleeping in the same bed. (Of course these details are NOT featured in the Magficent Century Tv Series) It’s not so shocking for us because in many references Ottoman culture has a homosexual history. In the book which was recently published in Turkey, EŞCİNSELLİĞİN TOPLUMSAL TARİHİ-SOCIAL HISTORY OF HOMOSEXUALITY is also giving many examples about homosexualism, -especially sodomy- in Ottoman Empire (and also throughout all times and nations in the world history)
Magnificent Century is now screening in 42 countries with viewers over 200 millions. In some countries it’s banned and also frustrated some people for highligting the bravery of Turks.
This reactions seem normal compared to our Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Recently, he targeted “The Magnificent Century,” which depicts Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent’s personal life and the intrigues in the harem and royal family.
“We never knew such a Suleyman,” Erdogan said. “He spent three decades on horseback, not in the palace as we see from those series. I’m condemning both the director of that series as well as the owner of the television station before my nation. We have already alerted the authorities about this and we are still waiting for a judicial decision.”
Although some conservative circles think that the series undermines Turkish history by portraying Suleyman in a blasphemous way, “The Magnificent Century” remains a popular television show in Turkey and abroad.
The popularity of the series has inspired renewed interest in the Ottoman Empire, dubbed by some as “Ottomania,” arousing curiosity in history, jewelry, traditional food and the Ottoman way of life.
Erdoğan’s statement was unfortunate, after all, this show is only fiction inspired by historical events, and it should be perceived as fiction, that’s it.
According to the story of Turkish website SES Türkiye, Ahmet Kuyas, a historian at the Istanbul-based Galatasaray University, agreed:
“I find [Erdogan’s] involvement in that series wrong. He is not a historian and most probably he is approaching this subject from an ideological perspective,” he said.”Calling on the judiciary is an even more wrong thing to do,” he added. “In that case the day will come when books will be collected.”
Kuyas said that in the west there are series like “The Tudors,” which explain history in a fictional and glamourised way to attract viewers.
Government officials have taken action against the television programme.
Our TUDORS is having a hard time nowadays and we, Gays of Turkey are worried that we will lose our guilty pleasure on TV. We hope MAGNIFICENT CENTURY can last to it’s final season without any prevention.
Here’s the English trailer of MAGNIFICENT CENTURY
here’s a brilliant -unofficial- fan video made by MAGNIFICENT CENTURY scenes
You may also read yabangee.com’s article from here for a foreigner’s opinion on MAGNIFICENT CENTURY