The Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I, ("The Magnificent”, “The Law Giver”) had fallen deeply in love with Herenzaltan, a harem girl of Ruthenian birth, the minute he set eyes upon her... Western diplomats called her Russelazie or Roxelana, referring to her Slavic origins. She was the daughter of an Orthodox Ukrainian priest. She was presented to, and rose swiftly through the ranks of, the Harem to become the Sultan's favourite. Breaking with an centuries-old Ottoman tradition, a former concubine for the first time became the legal wife of the Sultan... Suleiman arranged for Hürrem Sultan to remain with him at the Seraglio for the rest of her life, and thus broke another tradition, which demanded that when a Şehzade (an imperial heir) reached a certain age, he be sent to some remote province of the Empire along with his mother, who could only come back to the imperial capital only if her son ever succeeded his father as Sultan.
CLICK HERE to find a translation of a poem the Sultan composed -- under his pen name Muhibbî -- for his beloved Hürrem.
[Click HERE to find out about the term "Ruthenian"]