• Ottoman Empire Enthronement Ceremony


    Enthronement Ceremony of Sultan Mehmed VI, Mehmed Vahideddin, the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
    The enthronement ceremony (Cülus töreni) of the new Sultan was the most important and magnificent ceremony. Until the mid-eighteenth century, the first step in the enthronement ceremony took place in the Apartments of the Holy Mantle (where the personal relics of the Prophet Muhammad were kept at the Topkapi Palace). The new Sultan would be escorted by the chief eunuch of the harem and the arms bearer.

    The Apartments of the Holy Mantle room in the Topkapi Palace, where the Sacred Trusts (Mukaddes Emanetler) of the Prophet Muhammad were housed.
    Firstly, the Grand Vizier and the Sheikh-ul-Islam would take the oath of allegiance. Afterwards, the Sultan would put on the turban of the Prophet Joseph, which was one of the Sacred Trusts brought from Egypt by Sultan Selim I to Istanbul.

    Turban of the Prophet Joseph (Yusuf, in Arabic)

    Ottoman miniature painting outlining the Enthronement Ceremony of Kanuni Sultan Suleyman
    Then, the rest of the statesmen would take the oath of allegiance, one by one. The Sheikh-ul-Islam would then pray for the new Sultan's success. The new Sultan would put on a special sable coat and perform two units (raka'at) of prayer. Please watch this video to see Sultan Mehmed VI, the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, ascending to the throne at his Enthronement Ceremony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MVDrMc7vvY

    Sultan Mehmed VI, the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, greeting the Shiekh-ul-Islam, the Grand Vizier, and other Pashas and dignitaries.
    After that, the Sultan would come out from the Gate of Felicity. Good wishes and invocations would be exclaimed throughout the ceremony. The Sultan would also be warned by chants of "Don't be proud, my Sultan. Allah (God) is greater than you!" The Mehter Takimi (Military Band) would also play mehter marches at this time.

    Topkapi Palace - Gate of Felicity 
    After the enthronement ceremony, the new Sultan would join the funeral prayer of the deceased Sultan -- who was either his father, uncle, or brother -- and return to the Enderun. Carrying out the enthronement and the funeral within the same day had a two-fold benefit. Firstly, the new Sultan would remember death and keep in mind that he would be called to account before Allah; secondly, no administrative gap was left in the monarchical system. Finally, enthronement bonuses would be distributed to the soldiers. After this point in the ceremony, the Sultan would begin his duties as the new Caliph and Sultan of Islam and the Ottoman Empire.

    Sultan Mehmed VI, the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, who reigned from 3 July 1918 – 19 November 1922.

    Source: Topkapi Palace, Ilber Ortayli.

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