Sultan Cem or Cem Sultan (December 22, 1459 – February 25, 1495) (pronounced [ˈd͡ʒem sulˈtɑːn]; Ottoman Turkish: جم), also referred to as Jem Sultan, or Jem Zizim by the French, was a pretender to the Ottoman throne in the 15th century.
Cem was the third son of Sultan Mehmed II and younger half-brother of SultanBayezid II, and thus a half-uncle of Sultan Selim I of Ottoman Empire.
After being defeated by Bayezid, Cem went on exile in Egypt and Europe, under the protection of the Mamluks, the Knights Hospitaller of St. John on the island of Rhodes, and ultimately the Pope.
Cem was born on 22 December 1459 in Edirne. His mother, Çiçek Hatun(Çiçek Khātūn), was probably of Serbian origin. In accordance with the custom for an Ottoman prince (şehzade, şehzāde), Cem was appointed to a provincial governorship of Kastamonu in 1469. In December 1474, Cem replaced his deceased brother Mustafa as governor of Karaman in Konya.
At the death of Mehmed the Conqueror, on May 3, 1481, Bayezid was the governor of Sivas, Tokat and Amasya, and Cem ruled the provinces ofKaraman and Konya. With no designated heir after Mehmed, conflict over succession to the throne erupted between Cem and Bayezid.
Contrary to Islamic law, which prohibits any unnecessary delay in burial, Mehmed II's body was transported to Constantinople, where it lay three days. His grand vizier Karamanlı Mehmet Pasha – believing himself to be fulfilling the wishes of the recently deceased Sultan – attempted to arrange a situation whereby the younger son Cem, whose governing seat at Konya was closer than his brother Bayezid's seat at Amasya, would arrive in Constantinople prior to his older sibling and be able to claim the throne.
However, Bayezid had already established a political network of influential pashas ( two of whom were his sons in law), the janissaries, and those opposed to the policies of Mehmed II and the grand vizier. In spite of Karamanlı Mehmet Pasha's attempts at secrecy, the Sultan's death and the grand vizier's plan were discovered by the Janissary corps, who supported Bayezid over Cem and had been kept out of the capital after the Sultan's death. As a result, the Janissary corps rebelled, entering the capital, and lynched the grand vizier.
After the death of Karamanlı Mehmet Pasha, there was widespread rioting among the janisseries in Constantinople as there was neither a sultan nor a grand vizier to control the developments. Understanding the danger of the situation, former grand vizier Ishak Pasha took the initiative of beseeching Bayezid to arrive with all due haste. In the meantime, Ishak Pasha took the cautionary measure of proclaiming Bayezid's 11-year-old son, Sehzade (prince) Korkut, as regent until the arrival of his father.
Prince Bayezid arrived at Constantinople on May 21, 1481 and was declared Sultan Bayezid II. Only six days later, Cem captured the city of Inegöl with an army of 4,000. Sultan Bayezid sent his army under the command of vizier Ayas Pasha to kill his brother. On May 28, Cem had defeated Bayezid's army and declared himself Sultan of Anatolia, establishing his capital at Bursa. He proposed to divide the empire between him and his brother, leaving Bayezid the European side. Bayezid furiously rejected the proposal, declared that "between rulers there is no kinship," and marched on to Bursa. The decisive battle between the two contenders to the Ottoman throne took place on June 19, 1481, near the town of Yenişehir. Cem lost and fled with his family to the Mamluk Cairo.
The Mamlūk sultan Qāʾit Bāy (r. 1468–96) received Cem with honour in Cairo, and Cem took the opportunity to go on pilgrimage to Mecca. (He is the only Ottoman prince to have made the pilgrimage).
In Cairo, Cem received a letter from his brother, offering Cem one million akçes (the Ottoman currency) to stop competing for the throne. Cem rejected the offer, and in the following year he launched a campaign in Anatolia under the support of Kasım Bey (Qāsım Beğ), heir of the ruling house of Karaman, and the sanjek bey of Ankara. On May 27, 1482, Cem besieged Konya but was soon defeated and forced to withdraw to Ankara. He intended to give it all up and return to Cairo but all of the roads to Egypt were under Bayezid's control. Cem then tried to renegotiate with his brother. Bayezid offered him a stipend to live quietly in Jerusalem but refused to divide the empire, prompting Cem to flee to Rhodes on 29 July 1482.
Upon arriving at Rhodes, Cem asked the protection of the French captain of Bodrum Castle. Pierre d'Aubusson, grand master of the Knights of St. John, the Latin Catholic order on the island. On July 29, Cem arrived at Rhodes and was received with honor. In return for the overthrow of the new sultan Bayezid, Prince Cem offered perpetual peace between the Ottoman Empire and Christendom if he regained the Ottoman throne. However, Pierre d'Aubusson realized that conflict with Bayezid would be imprudent, so he secretly approached Bayezid, concluded a peace treaty, and then reached a separate agreement on Cem's captivity in March 1483. D’Aubusson promised Bayezid to detain Cem in return for an annual payment of 40,000 ducats for his maintenance.
Therefore, the Knights took the money and betrayed Cem, who thereafter became a well-treated prisoner at Rhodes. Afterwards, Cem was sent to the castle of Pierre d'Aubusson in France.
Cem had reached Nice on 17 October 1482, en route to Hungary, but the Knights were playing for time. After the agreement about his confinement was finalised, he became a hostage, as well as a potential tool. Some hoped to use his name and person to foment turmoil in the Ottoman realm, including the Mamlūk sultan Qāʾit Bāy, the king of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus, and Pope Innocent VIII. Others, such as the Knights of Saint John, the Venetians, the king of Naples, and Popes Innocent VIII and Pope Alexander VI, viewed his presence in Europe as a deterrent to Ottoman aggression against Christendom and an opportunity for profit. For his part, Bayezid II dispatched ambassadors and spies to the West to assure that his rival was detained indefinitely, and he even attempted to eliminate him through assassination.
Cem spent a year in the Duchy of Savoy. After the death of King Louis XI of France (30 August 1483), who had refused to accept a Muslim in his lands, the Knights of Saint John transferred him to Limousin (D’Aubusson’s birthplace). Cem spent the next five years there, mostly at Bourganeuf. He was well treated, but essentially a captive (a fortified tower was constructed to house him). Bayezid II negotiated both with D’Aubusson, to have Cem returned to Rhodes, and with representatives of the new French monarch, Charles VIII, to have him kept in France. When the king of Hungary and Pope Innocent VIII sought custody of the prince, the Pope prevailed, and Cem arrived in Rome on 13 March 1489.
Innocent VIII rebuffed overtures from the Mamlūks and prepared to launch a crusade against the Ottomans, but it was postponed when Matthias Corvinus of Hungary died on 6 April 1490. These developments worried Bayezid, who contacted D’Aubusson and also sent Mustafa Bey (later a grand vizier) to Rome, to conclude a secret agreement, in December 1490. The sultan promised not to attack Rhodes, Rome, or Venice, as well as to pay Cem’s allowance of 40,000 ducats to the Pope (10,000 of which were earmarked for the Knights of Saint John), in return for the prince’s incarceration. Apparently, Cem found life in Rome more pleasant than in France, and he had lost hope of seizing the Ottoman throne, but he wanted to die in a Muslim land. His wish would not be realized.
Pope Innocent VIII unsuccessfully attempted to use Cem to begin a new crusade against the Ottomans. The Pope also tried to convert Cem to Christianity, without success. Cem's presence in Rome was useful nevertheless, because whenever Bayezid intended to launch a military campaign against Christian nations of the Balkans, the Pope would threaten to release his brother.
In exchange for maintaining the custody of Cem, Bayezid paid Innocent VIII 120,000 crowns (at the time, equal to all other annual sources of papal revenue combined), a relic of the Holy Lance (which allegedly had pierced the side of Christ), one-hundred Moorish slaves, and an annual fee of 45,000 ducats. Much of the costs associated with the Sistine Chapel were paid with funds from the Ottoman ransoms.
In 1494, Charles VIII invaded Italy, to take possession of the kingdom of Naples, and announced a crusade against the Turks. He compelled Pope Alexander VI to surrender Cem, who left Rome with the French army on 28 January 1495. The prince died in Naples on 24 February. Some accounts attribute his death to poison, but he probably succumbed to pneumonia.
Cem died in Capua on February 25, 1495, while on a military expedition to conquer Naples under the command of KingCharles VIII of France. Sultan Bayezid declared national mourning for three days. He also requested to have Cem's body for a Muslim funeral, but it was not until four years after Cem's death that his body was finally brought to the Ottoman lands because of attempts to receive more gold for Cem's corpse. He was buried in Bursa.
In the 1490s, a book in Latin was written about Cem's life. It was illustrated by Guillaume Caoursin, vice-chancellor of theKnights Hospitaller. It was published in several European cities that possessed printing capability: Venice, Paris, Bruges,Salamanca, Ulm and London. The many illustrations in the book are the first accurately described representations in Western Europe of costumes and weapons of the Turkish people.
An account of Cem's captivity—and of the political machinations that kept him captive—forms the basis of the historical novel, Francesca: Les Jeux du Sort (1872), written by the Haitian writer and political exile, Demesvar Delorme.
Cem's life also served as inspiration for a character in the book The Damned Yard (1954) by Ivo Andrić.
Bulgarian historian Vera Mutafchieva, inspired by Cem Sultan's importance in European politics of the 15th century, wrote a novel (The Cem case)(1967) about him. The book follows closely the historical facts and was translated and printed into Russian, Turkish, German, Hungarian and Estonian languages.
Line of succession to the former Ottoman throne
From The Ottoman Dynasty had unusual succession practices compared to other monarchies. Those succession practices changed over time, and ultimately the sultanate was abolished in 1922.
In the early period (from the 14th through the late 16th centuries), the Ottomans practiced open succession, or what historian Donald Quataert has described as "survival of the fittest, not eldest, son." During their father's lifetime, all of the adult sons of the reigning sultan obtained provincial governorships. Accompanied and mentored by their mothers, they would gather supporters while ostensibly following a Ghazi ethos. Upon the death of their father, the sons would fight among themselves until one emerged triumphant. How remote a province the son governed was of great significance. The closer the region that a particular son was in charge of the better the chances were of that son's succeeding, simply because he would be told of the news of his father's death and be able to get to Constantinople first and declare himself Sultan. Thus a father could hint at whom he preferred by giving his favourite son a closer governorship. Bayezid II, for instance had to fight his brother Cem Sultan in the 1480s for the right to rule. Occasionally, the half-brothers would even begin the struggle before the death of their father. During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (1520–1566), strife among his sons Selim and Mustafa caused enough internal turmoil that Suleiman ordered the death of Mustafa and Bayezid, leaving Selim II the sole heir.
With Suleiman and Selim, the chief consort (haseki) of the Sultan achieved new prominence. Gaining power within the harem, the favourite was able to manoeuvre to ensure the succession for one of her sons. This led to a short period of effective primogeniture. However, unlike the earlier period, when the sultan had already defeated his brothers (and potential rivals for the throne) in battle, these sultans had the problem of many half-brothers who could act as the focus for factions that could threaten the sultan. Thus, to prevent attempts upon his throne, the sultan practiced fratricide upon ascending the throne. The practice of fratricide, first employed by Murat I in 1362, soon became widespread. Both Murad III and his sonMehmed III had their half-brothers murdered. The killing of all the new sultan's brothers and half-brothers (which were usually quite numerous) was traditionally done by manual strangling with a silk cord. As the centuries passed, the ritual killing was gradually replaced by lifetime solitary confinement in the kafes ("Golden Cage"), a room in the Imperial Haremfrom where the sultan's brothers could never escape, unless perchance they became next in line to the throne. Some had already become mentally unstable by the time they were asked to reign.
Mehmed III, however, was the last sultan to have previously held a provincial governorship. Sons now remained within the imperial harem until the death of their father. This not only denied them the ability to form powerful factions capable of usurping their father, but also denied them the opportunity to have children while their father remained alive. Thus when Mehmet's son came to the throne as Ahmed I, he had no children of his own. Moreover, as a minor, there was no evidence he could have children. This had the potential to create a crisis of succession and led to a gradual end to fratricide. Ahmed had some of his brothers killed, but not Mustafa (later Mustafa I). Similarly, Osman II allowed his half-brothers Murad and Ibrahim to live. This led to a shift in the 17th century from a system of primogeniture to one based on agnatic seniority, in which the eldest male within the dynasty succeeded, also to guarantee adult sultans and prevent both fratricides as well as the sultanate of women. Thus, Mustafa succeeded his brother Ahmed; Suleiman II and Ahmed II succeeded their brotherMehmed IV before being succeeded in turn by Mehmed's son Mustafa II. Agnatic seniority explains why from the 17th century onwards a deceased sultan was rarely succeeded by his own son, but usually by an uncle or brother. It also meant that potential rulers had to wait a long time in the kafes before ascending the throne, hence the old age of certain sultans upon their enthronement. Although attempts were made in the 19th century to replace agnatic seniority with primogeniture, they were unsuccessful, and seniority was retained until the abolition of the sultanate in 1922.
List of heirs since 1922
The Ottoman dynasty was expelled from Turkey in 1924 and most members took on the surname Osmanoğlu, meaning "son of Osman." The female members of the dynasty were allowed to return after 1951, and the male members after 1973.Below is a list of people who would have been heirs to the Ottoman throne following the abolition of the sultanate on 1 November 1922. These people have not necessarily made any claim to the throne; for example, Ertuğrul Osman said "Democracy works well in Turkey."
• Mehmed VI, last Ottoman Sultan (1918–1922) then 36th Head of the House of Osman in exile (1922–1926).
• Abdülmecid II, last Ottoman Caliph (1922–1924) then 37th Head of the House of Osman following Mehmed VI's death (1926–1944).
• Ahmed IV Nihad, 38th Head of the House of Osman (1944–1954), grandson of Sultan Murad V.
• Osman IV Fuad, 39th Head of the House of Osman (1954–1973), half-brother of Ahmed IV Nihad.
• (Mehmed) Abdülaziz II, 40th Head of the House of Osman (1973–1977), grandson of Sultan Abdülaziz I.
• Ali I Vâsib, 41st Head of the House of Osman (1977–1983), son of Ahmed IV Nihad.
• (Mehmed) Orhan II, 42nd Head of the House of Osman (1983–1994), grandson of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.
• Ertuğrul Osman V, 43rd Head of the House of Osman (1994–2009), grandson of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.
• (Osman) Bayezid III, 44th Head of the House of Osman (2009–present), great-grandson of Sultan Abdülmecid I.
Current line of succession
According to genealogies of the House of Osman, there would hypothetically be 25 princes now in the line of succession after Bayezid Osman, if the sultanate had not been abolished. They are listed as follows; the succession law used isagnatic seniority, with the succession passing to eldest male dynast.
• Mahmud II (1785-1839; 30th Sultan and 23rd Ottoman Caliph: 1808-1839)
• Abdülmecid I (1823-1861; 31st Sultan and 24th Ottoman Caliph: 1839-1861)
• Murad V (1840-1904; 33rd Sultan and 26th Ottoman Caliph: 1876)
• Prince Şehzade Mehmed Selaheddin Efendi Hazretleri (1861-1915)
• Ahmed IV Nihad (1883-1954; 38th Head of the House of Osman: 1944-1954)
• Ali I Vâsib (1903-1983; 41st Head of the House of Osman: 1977-1983)
• (3) Prince Şehzade Osman Selaheddin Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 1940)
• (11) Prince Şehzade Orhan Murad Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 1972)
• (19) Prince Şehzade Turan Cem Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 2004)
• (20) Prince Şehzade Tamer Nihad Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 2006)
• (16) Prince Şehzade Selim Süleyman Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 1979)
• (22) Prince Şehzade Batu Bayezid Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 2008)
• Osman IV Fuad (1895-1973; 39th Head of the House of Osman: 1954-1973)
• Abdul Hamid II (1842-1918; 34th Sultan and 27th Ottoman Caliph: 1876-1909)
• Prince Şehzade Mehmed Selim Efendi Hazretleri (1870-1937)
• Prince Şehzade Mehmed Abdülkarim Efendi Hazretleri (1906-1935)
• (1) Prince Şehzade Dündar Aliosman Efendi Hazretleri (born 1930)
• (2) Prince Şehzade Harun Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 1932)
• (9) Prince Şehzade Orhan Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 1963)
• (18) Prince Şehzade Yavuz Selim Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 1989)
• (15) Prince Şehzade Abdulhamid Kayıhan Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 1979)
• (21) Prince Şehzade Muhammed Harun Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 2007)
• (25) Prince Şehzade Abdülaziz Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 2016)
• Prince Şehzade Mehmed Abdülkadir Efendi Hazretleri (1878-1944)
• (Mehmed) Orhan II (1909-1994; 42nd Head of the House of Osman: 1983-1994)
• Prince Şehzade Necib Ertuğrul Efendi Hazretleri (1914-1994)
• (6) Prince Şehzade Roland Selim Kadir Efendi Hazretleri (born 1949)
• (13) Prince Şehzade René Osman Abdul Kadir Efendi Hazretleri (born 1975)
• (14) Prince Şehzade Daniel Adrian Hamid Kadir Efendi Hazretleri (born 1977)
• Prince Şehzade Mehmed Burhaneddin Efendi Hazretleri (1885-1949)
• Ertuğrul Osman V (1912-2009; 43rd Head of the House of Osman: 1994-2009)
• Mehmed V (1844-1918; 35th Sultan and 28th Ottoman Caliph: 1909-1918)
• Prince Şehzade Mehmed Ziayeddin Efendi Hazretleri (1873-1938)
• Prince Şehzade Mehmed Nazim Efendi Hazretleri (1910-1984)
• Prince Şehzade Cengiz Nazim Efendi Hazretleri (1939-2015)
• (10) Prince Şehzade Eric Mehmed Ziyaeddin Nazim Efendi Hazretleri (born 1966)
• (5) Prince Şehzade Mehmed Ziyaeddin Efendi Hazretleri (born 1947)
• (17) Prince Şehzade Nazım Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 1985)
• Prince Şehzade Ömer Hilmi Efendi Hazretleri (1886-1935)
• Prince Şehzade Mahmud Namik Efendi Hazretleri (1913-1963)
• (4) Prince Şehzade Ömer Abdülmecid Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 1941)
• (12) Prince Şehzade Francis Mahmud Namık Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 1975)
• (23) Prince Şehzade Ziya Reşad Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 2012)
• (24) Prince Şehzade Cem Ömer Osmanoğlu Efendi Hazretleri (born 2015)
• Prince Şehzade Mehmed Burhaneddin Efendi Hazretleri (1849-1876)
• Prince Şehzade Ibrahim Tewfik Efendi Hazretleri (1874-1931)
• Prince Şehzade Burhaneddin Cem Efendi Hazretleri (1920-2008)
• (7) Prince Şehzade Selim Djem Efendi Hazretleri (born 1955)
• (Osman) Bayezid III (born 1924; 44th Head of the House of Osman: 2009–present)
• Mehmed VI (1861-1926; 36th and last Sultan and 29th Ottoman Caliph: 1918-1922; 36th Head of the House of Osman: 1922-1926)
• Abdülaziz I (1830-1876; 32nd Sultan and 25th Ottoman Caliph: 1861-1876)
• Abdülmecid II (1868-1944; 30th and last Ottoman Caliph: 1922-1924; 37th Head of the House of Osman: 1926-1944)
• Prince Şehzade Mehmed Şevket Efendi Hazretleri (1872-1899)
• Prince Şehzade Mehmed Celaleddin Efendi Hazretleri (1890-1946)
• Prince Şehzade Süleyman Sadeddin Efendi Hazretleri (1917-1986)
• (8) Prince Şehzade Orhan İbrahim Süleyman Saadeddin Efendi Hazretleri (born 1959)
• Prince Şehzade Mehmed Seyfeddin Efendi Hazretleri (1874-1927)
• (Mehmed) Abdülaziz II (1901-1977; 40th Head of the House of Osman: 1973-1977)
Excluded from the Imperial House]
• Mehmed Selim Orhan, (born in Paris, 3. October 1943), was the Biological or adopted Stepson of Prince (Mehmed) Orhan II and the American/French Actress Marguerite Irma Fournier - deprived since birth of title HIH Şehzade, by aMorganatic marriage.
• The descendants of Cem Sultan, because they are all Catholics.