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Selim I

Selim I (reigned 1512–20) was an Ottoman sultan. The son of Sultan Bayazid II, Selim was the ninth Ottoman sultan. Demonstrating military prowess, he was favored by the army over his elder brother Ahmed to succeed his father. He succeeded within a short time to ward off the Safavid (Persian) menace and to destroy the Mamluk Sultanate, annexing Syria and Egypt and the Muslim holy places in Mecca and Medina to his domains. Through these conquests, the Ottoman Empire became the leading Muslim power.

Jewish exiles from Spain and Portugal were welcomed by the Ottoman sultans. Joseph Hamon (d. 1518) became Selim's physician. The sultan displayed a benevolent attitude towards the Jews and permitted the construction of new synagogues. Elijah Mizrachi was the chief dayyan of Constantinople and in Selim's time there existed the office of kahya, i.e., a liaison officer between the Jewish communities and the government, among whose functions was the collection of taxes.


S. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, vol.1 (1976), 79–86; M. Rosen, A History of the Jewish Community in Istanbul, 1: The Formative Years, 14531566 (2002), index; H. Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire the Classical Age 13001600 (1973), index.

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.