Yesterday I saddened the shit out of my haremi by recounting the story of shahbaba, and then showing the picture ; we're reversing the polarities here.
So this fellow was born years ago to an Abkhazian slave-princess. No, I mean it literally. And they were happy together for a short time, because soon thereafter she died, as was the habit at the time for young women having children. So he was left alone. No, I mean it literally -- his father had other shit to do.
Little Shah Baba grew up alone in the world's only leprosorium orphanage. He didn't literally have leprosy, as in "active infection -- mycobacterium leprae". He had Kafes instead, which is practically the same thing.
So, by the time he was 13, they kicked him out of the harem, to go live where Ottoman princes lived, in seclusion, awaiting to be either strangled or put on the throne, whichever. It's a dismal affair, you wouldn't pay to rent it, two rooms and a cut stone courtyard, no blade of grass in sight, not a single tree, just the boxwood latticework on half a dozen small windows. That's it.
At 13 a sultan's education was complete, not like he still had to read or anything. So he just... sat... there. Waiting. Isn't having nothing left to do a wonderful thing ?
They married him no less than five times, but he never had any children because... well because as per long standing tradition leprosy princes could only marry barren women. Isn't tradition a fabulous thing ?
Eventually, at the age of 56, so after nigh on forty years of this nonsense, they finally put him on the throne -- because his third older brother (Resat Mehmed) killed himself in delight. It was 1918, the "great empire" had just had its ass handed to it during World War I, possibly not the best time to be sitting down on that throne. The entire arrangement survived until 1922, when the Republic was proclaimed. It's not altogether clear Sad Daddy had anything to do with anything in the interval (the US used him as a hand puppet, but remarkably their correspondence doesn't thank him as the saviour of however many tens of thousands of troops and gold coins in the Pinoy lands -- instead it thanks whatever ESL weasel).
The proper title, if it does anything for you, was
Osmanlı Ailesi’nin hükümdarı, Sultân-es Selâtin (Sultânların Sultânı), Kağan (Hanların Hanı), Müminlerin Halifesi, Mekke, Medine ve Kudüs şehirlerinin hizmetçisi, Kayser-i Rum, İstanbul, Edirne ve Bursa başkentlerinin, Şam ve Mısır’ın, tüm Azerbaycan’ın, Mägris’in, Barkah’ın, Kayravan’ın, Halep’in, Irak’ın, Arabistan’ın ve Ajim’in, Basra’nın, Lahsa Eyaleti’nin, Dilen’in, Rakka’nın, Musul’un, Partlar’ın, Diyarbakır’ın, Kilikya’nın ve Erzurum, Sivas, Adana, Karaman, Van, Barbarya, Habeş, Tunus, Trablusgarp, Şam, Kıbrıs, Rodos, Girit, Mora vilayetlerinin, Bahr-i Sefidii, Bahr-i Siyahiii, Akdeniz’in, Karadeniz’in, Anadolu’nun, Rumeli’nin, Bağdat’ın, Kürdistan’ın, Yunanistan’ın, Türkistan’ın, Tartarî’nin, Çerkesya’nın, Kabarda’nın iki bölges inin, Gürcistan’ın, Kıpçaklar ovasının, Tatarlar’ın, Kefe’nin ve tüm komşu ülkelerin, Bosna’nın, Belgrat’ın, Sırbistan’ın, Arnavut’un, Eflak’ın ve Boğdan’ın, bunların yanı sıra tüm bağlı yerler ve sınırlar, ve birçok ülke ve şehirler’in padişahı.
which even says something about Moldavia (the part-of-Romania historical item, not the "we don't like Romanian dick up our ass" Russian 1900s invention), but which pretty much nobody ever seriously used. Does it do anything for you ?———
There's this tradition (an item of purely and unmistakably Romanian origin) of sad storytelling firmly entrenched in the venerable institution. So recognizedly overpowering is in fact this metaphorical chilera that its indomitable teary magic long ago became a subject of metagaming itself. Like... I'd ask "do you want to hear a sad story ?" and the implicitly obvious answer (yes -- much like fucking goes, see ?) would go unvoiced, replaced instead by lateral "is it about animals ?" "why, you only care about animals ?" "is it a sad story about you ?!" and so on.
- Mediteranean! [↩]
- And Black sea! [↩]