Mustafa I (1591 – January 20, 1639) (Ottoman Turkish: مصطفى اول), often called Mustafa the Mad, was the son of Mehmed III and was theSultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1617 to 1618 and from 1622 to 1623.
He was born in the Manisa Palace, as the younger brother of Ahmed I(1603–17). His mother was an Abkhazian concubine whose name is lost.
Before 1603 it was customary for an Ottoman Sultan to have his brothers executed shortly after he gained the throne (Mustafa's fatherMehmed III had executed 19 of his own brothers). But when the thirteen-year-old Ahmed I was enthroned in 1603, he spared the life of the twelve-year-old Mustafa.
Mustafa might have been left alive because Ahmed had not yet produced any sons, so at the time Mustafa was his only heir. Though Ahmed went on to father several sons, he did not execute Mustafa, perhaps because of his brother's apparent mental problems. Another factor in Mustafa's survival is the influence of Kösem Sultan (Ahmed's favorite concubine), who may have wished to preempt the succession of Osman, Ahmed’s first-born son from another concubine. If Osman became Sultan, he would likely try to execute his half-brothers, the sons of Ahmed and Kösem. This scenario later became a reality whenOsman II executed his brother Mehmed in 1621.
Until the death of Ahmed in 1617, Mustafa was confined to the palace, in the virtual imprisonment of a system called the Kafes ("the cage"). Fourteen years in this condition may have further damaged his mental health and made him fearful of execution.
First reign (1617-1618)
Ahmed's death created a dilemma never before experienced by the Ottoman Empire. Multiple princes were now eligible for the Sultanate, and all of them lived in Topkapı Palace. A court faction headed by the Şeyhülislam Esad Efendi and Sofu Mehmed Pasha (who represented the Grand Vizier when he was away from Istanbul) decided to enthrone Mustafa instead of Ahmed's son Osman. Sofu Mehmed argued that Osman was too young to be enthroned without causing adverse comment among the populace. The Chief Black Eunuch Mustafa Agha objected, citing Mustafa's mental problems, but he was overruled. Mustafa's rise created a new succession principle of seniority that would last until the end of the Empire. It was the first time an Ottoman Sultan was succeeded by his brother instead of his son.
It was hoped that regular social contact would improve Mustafa's mental health, but his behavior remained eccentric. He pulled off the turbans of his viziers and yanked their beards. Others observed him throwing coins to birds and fish. The Ottoman historian İbrahim Peçevi wrote "this situation was seen by all men of state and the people, and they understood that he was psychologically disturbed."
Mustafa was never more than a tool of court cliques at the Topkapı Palace. In 1618, after a short rule, another palace faction deposed him in favour of his young nephew Osman II (1618–22), and Mustafa was sent back to the Kafes. The conflict between the Janissaries and Osman II presented him with a second chance. After a Janissary rebellion led to the deposition and assassination of Osman II in 1622, Mustafa was restored to the throne and held it for another year.
Second reign (1622-1623)
His mental condition unimproved, Mustafa was a puppet controlled by his mother and brother-in-law, the grand vizierKara Davud Pasha. He believed that Osman II was still alive and was seen searching for him throughout the palace, knocking on doors and crying out to his nephew to relieve him from the burden of sovereignty. "The present emperor being a fool" (according to English Ambassador Sir Thomas Roe), he was compared unfavorably with his predecessor.
Political instability was generated by conflict between the Janissaries and the sipahis (Ottoman cavalry), followed by theAbaza rebellion, which occurred when the governor-general of Erzurum, Abaza Mehmed Pasha, decided to march to Istanbul to avenge the murder of Osman II. The regime tried to end the conflict by executing Kara Davud Pasha, but Abaza Mehmed continued his advance. Clerics and the new Grand Vizier (Kemankeş Kara Ali Pasha) prevailed upon Mustafa's mother to allow the deposition of her son. She agreed, on condition that Mustafa's life would be spared.
The 11-year-old Murad IV, son of Ahmed I and Kösem, was enthroned on September 10, 1623. In return for her consent to his deposition, the request of Mustafa's mother that he be spared execution was granted. Mustafa was sent back into palace confinement and died in 1639. He was buried in the courtyard of Haghia Sophia.
The Ottoman Sultan Mustafa (1592-1639) may have been retarded from birth, but the years he spent in the "Cage", a large building without windows, worsened his mental condition. While giggling like an imbecile, he was declared Sultantwice. He ran through the palace corridors, crying out to his murdered nephew to relieve him from the burden of sovereignty.
When Sultan Ahmed I (1590-1617) came to the throne in 1603, he left his 11-year-old brother Mustafa in the "Cage", and he had a wall built to block the entrance. Mustafa was possibly already mentally retarded before he was incarcerated and the psychosocial depravation he experienced in the "Cage" can only have worsened his mental condition. He is described as a "paranoid", because he was overwhelmed by fear that he would be deposed or murdered - in itself no strange behaviour considering his circumstances.
Sultan Ahmed I used to take a different woman to his bed each night, although he subsequently favoured two women: Hadice and Kösem (1589-1651). Hadice was the mother of Osman II (1604-1622) and Kösem gave birth to Murad IV (1612-1640), Bayezid and Mad Ibrahim (1615-1648). When Ahmed died of typhus in November 1617, at the age of 28, his most powerful concubine, Kösem, opposed the succession of his eldest son, Osman, because she was afraid that Osman would execute her sons. It was due to her influence that the completely insane Mustafa was released from the "Cage" and declared Sultan. It was said that he had visions and some saw in him a holy man. However, it soon became clear that Mustafa was incapable of governing. He appointed two favourite young pages as governors of Cairo and Damascus and replaced one of his high officers by a farmer who had offered him something to drink when he was out hunting. After only three months, Mustafa was dethroned by the eunuch corps and again imprisoned in the "Cage" accompanied by two female slaves *.
Mustafa I was succeeded by Ahmed I's eldest son, 13-year-old Osman II (to the right). Young Osman was very fond of archery - especially with living targets, like prisoners-of-war or his own pages. Before setting out on a military campaign in Poland, Osman ordered the execution of his brother Mehmed in January 1621. Despite his youth, Osman soon managed to increase his power, replacing Vezirs and banishing Mustafa's supporters. He forbade the consumption of wine and tobacco and had drunken soldiers sent to the galleys as slaves. Also, he attempted to reform the Janissaries, the Sultan's special elite corps. He tried to curb their power, because in his opinion they had performed badly in the Polish campaign. In 1622 Osman announced his intention to leave the city for a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Janissaries suspected he had another destination in mind, because he seemed to prepare for taking his jewels and treasures with him. Enraged they stormed the palace and captured Osman. They made him ride on a cripple horse amidst the insults of the crowds before he was locked up in the prison of the Seven Towers. When they tried to kill him, Osman fought with the strength of a madman and killed six of his attackers before he was overpowered. Young Osman was put to death by a combination of strangulation and compression of his testicles. His ear was cut off and presented to his mother, Hadice, as an affront. Although fratricide was common in the Ottoman Empire, this was the first act of regicide.
This time Mustafa refused to leave the "Cage" or even to open its door. So the Janissaries made a hole in the "Cage"'s roof. They saw Mustafa sitting with the two women and they claimed that he was "giggling like an imbecile". He was severely weakened, because no one had cared to serve him any food or drink for tree days. After bringing him water, they had the frightened Sultan hoisted up with curtain cords through the hole in the roof. Mustafa was placed back on the Ottoman throne, although he was still unable to rule effectively. He executed all those who had overthrown his nephew. But later mad Mustafa had forgotten that Osman was dead and ran in search of him through the palace, knocking on doors and crying out to his nephew to relieve him from the burden of sovereignty.
Grand Vezirs followed one another in rapid succession and a donkey driver was appointed as muezzin for the Aya Sofya mosque. Throughout the realm governors refused to obey orders issued in the Sultan's name or send taxes to Istanbul. Soon the Janissaries, who could not be paid, began rebelling. In August 1623, the eunuch corps intervened, when Mustafa ordered the execution of his late brother Ahmed's other sons. The Grand Mufti stated that nobody who was mentally unbalanced could ever execute the duties of Sultan. Mustafa renounced his throne in favour of his nephew, Murad IV. This time Mustafa remained in the "Cage" until he died at the age of 47.