National Geographic : 1987 Nov
FRIENDS BECAME FOES at the Srop of a hat in 16th-century urope, as feuding monarchs sught to protect and expand their domains and avoid annexationby the Ottomans. hief among Siileyman's ralswas CharlesV (below), absburgKing of Spain, oly Roman Emperor, and a fierce crusaderagainstIslam, who also struggled against the ProtestantReformation engendered by Martin Luther. FrancisI of France a lied himself with the Ottomans againstCharles. ngland's Henry VIII s esawed between Charles aid Francis,as did Pope Clement VII. Ivan the erriblepushed to the Cas pian in the 1550s, startinga l ng Muscovite expansion against the Ottomans.Jean Parisotde La Valette and his ights of Maltastood firm against Siileyman in 1565. 512 (Continuedfrom page 552) Constantine the Great 12 centuries before at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. "I know of no State which is happier than this one," reported the Venetian ambassador in 1525; "it is furnished with all God's gifts. It controls war and peace with all; it is rich in gold, in peo ple, in ships, and in obedience; no State can be compared with it. May God long preserve the most just of all Emperors." Stileyman was granted a remarkably long reign of 46 years, and 72 years of life, filled with triumphs-also darkened with tragedy. Duty drove him to execute his dearest friend. His greatest act of chivalry repaid him four decades later with his bitterest defeat. Bewitched, some claim, by the slave woman who enslaved him, he ordered his finest son and most promising suc cessor strangled in his presence with a bowstring. For months I traveled the length and breadth of the empire Stileyman ruled and where his ar mies and navies fought-from the Danube and Ukraine to the Nile, from the gates of the Atlantic to the monsoon shores of India. I often felt his presence. Top kapi Palace curators let me touch silken caftans Sileyman wore and hold in my hands a book of his poetry in his own calligraphy. Scholars in the Siileymaniye Li brary read to me from manuscript chronicles of his campaigns. Professor Aptullah Kuran gave shoe leather and soul to elucidate masterpieces of Sfileyman's court architect, Sinan. In his half cen CHARLESV, HOLY ROMANEMPEROR1520-1556 tury of architectural creation he built more mosques, baths, bridges, clinics, colleges, caravansaries, covered markets, and aqueducts than any other architect in history. Istanbul's crown ing glory, dominating the skyline of a city spiked with a thou sand prayers in stone, is his fulfillment of Siileyman's dream the mighty Siileymaniye Mosque. Around it and in it the living are served. In a garden tomb behind, the sultan lies at rest. As I flew over the Strait of Hormuz in an Omani Air Force he licopter, clambered the ramparts of Diu in India's Gujarat, ex plored Yemen's sleepy port of Mocha-which woke the world to its favorite beverage, coffee-and got arrested for photo graphing the 16th-century harbor at Algiers, I felt a shock of rec ognition. Terrorism, ransoms, contraband arms to enemies, funding subversives, duping allies, fear of encirclement, mar tyrdom-Siileyman's world had these too. "It is a pleasure to be martyred for Islam. Death is always to be treasured when met for the Almighty." Holy-war dogma of Sfileyman's day? Could be. But this is Ayatollah Khomeini of i .