Who Is Sultan Bahti?
S ultan Bahti is the sone of Mehmed III and Handan Sultan. He was born during Mehmed III’s governorship of Saruhan in 998 (After Hijrah)/1590 CE in Manisa. After the passing of his father, he ascended to the throne as the 14th Ottoman sultan in 1012 (After Hijrah)/1603 CE.
Sultan Bahti passed away 14 years after becoming the sultan when he was 27 years old after 51 days of a stomach disease according to some sources, while other records say it was due to carbuncle. The sultan, who was dearly loved by his people, was interred into his burial chamber near the Sultanahmet Mosque.
Why Did Sultan Ahmed Use the “Bahti” Alias?
Bahti means one who is blessed with good fortune. Also the sum of the numbers corresponding to the letters in this name according to the abjad calculation method equals the year in which the sultan took the throne. Sultan Ahmed wrote numerous Turkish and Persian poems with the alias Bahti, and created a short divan with them.
Yusuf Ağa, one of the close aides of Sultan Ahmed, relates the following anecdote:
Whenever the sultan made wudu, I would pour the water for him. The sultan wanted to make wudu with cold water even on the coldest winter days. When, one day, I was about to pour water for him, he jokingly said, “Aren’t my feet huge like those of a porter?” And I said, “My sultan, it is widely known that he who has big feet is also has good fortune.” The sultan replied with a hearty laugh and said: “Yes, I know. That is why I took on the alias Bahti.”
What Kind of Sultan Was Sultan Ahmed?
Sultan Ahmed made significant achievements despite taking the throne at a very young age and made sure to assign duties to those who deserved the assignment. The Sultan Ahmed period was a period of stability that saw long-lasting wars come to a close. The Celali rebellions, which arose from the start of the 16th century, were suppressed thanks to the potent measures taken by Kuyucu Murad Pasha during the Ahmed I period, leading to a time of peaceful tranquility within and without the borders.
The sultan served his state and people remarkably in many ways. Although he was harsh and adamant in matters of the state, sources indicate that he was a person of charitable and religious nature, and that he preferred a humble life. Sultan Ahmed was a generous sultan who guarded and watched over scholars and artists.
The Story of the Sultanahmet Mosque
The Sultanahmet Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmed I and built by Sedefkar Mehmed Ağa, a student of Mimar Sinan, between 1609 and 1617 on the historic peninsula in Istanbul.
The Sultanahmet Mosque and its surrounding complex are one of the most significant masterpieces in Istanbul. This complex consists of the mosque, madrasas, the sultan’s pavilion, bazaar, stores, bathhouse, fountain, sebils (kiosks for water distribution), burial chamber, hospital, elementary school, soup kitchen and rooms for rent. Some of these structures unfortunately didn’t survive to this day.
The most significant and noteworthy aspect of the structure from an architectural and artistic perspective is the fact that it has been adorned by over 20.000 İznik ceramic tiles. These tiles feature traditional floral motifs with tones of yellow and blue and the interior of the mosque is arrayed with more than 200 pieces of colored glass for lighting. Due to the dominant blue hue inside the mosque, it is also known by tourists as the Blue Mosque.
Sultan Bahti the Divan Poet
Sultan Ahmed began to write poetry at a very young age and used the alias Bahti in his poems. Sultan Ahmed has a short divan and its only copy is located in the National Library known as Millet Kütüphanesi. Written on thin yellow sheets with an average of ten couplets on each page in legible and elegant rik’a calligraphy, the divan consists of forty four pages. The intensity of internal and external unrest during his rule and his early death kept him from occupying himself with poetry to a greater extent.
He featured elements of tasawwuf, history, mythology and astronomy within the framework of the general attributes of the old art culture. In addition to this, it is often seen that he has ventured outside that framework and utilized new concepts of imagination especially in ghazals by drawing on sceneries from the daily life and real life experiences. For this reason, his poetry style is clear of complex literary and stylistic devices, plain, simple and unadorned.
The Divan of Sultan Ahmed
Sultan Ahmed’s divan can be separated into two categories in general. The first is comprised of religion and history-themed poems, which is where we witness the true identity and personality of Sultan Ahmed. The tasawwuf-oriented content is especially prominent in the supplications in this section. This is because the concepts he utilizes are mainly elements of the tasawwuf literature.
These are usually employed in their primary senses. The language he uses is clear, uncluttered and easy-to-understand Turkish. Poems with the themes love and beloved can be evaluated as the second section. The poems in this section contain love-themed similes of divan poetry. These are based on love, the lover, and the beloved.