Archives reveal truth about Ottoman sultans

Archives reveal truth about Ottoman sultans

ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Archives reveal truth about Ottoman sultans

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The fourth-generation grandchild of Abdülhamid has teamed up with a scent expert and sociologist to conduct archival research that is revealing interesting personal details about the Ottoman sultans.

“The archival work will be very important for the next generations since we are learning different things about our ancestors. We are at the beginning of the research. I am sure that we will find important archival records in this research, which will take many years,” said Nurhan Osmanoğlu, a direct descendent of the sultans.

Archives reveal truth about Ottoman sultans Osmanoğlu said they had found information about the medicine used in the palaces and preparations before campaigns. She also said Abdülhamid liked to have coffee to start the day, followed by eggs and onion for breakfast.

Osmanoğlu, who is conducting the research with scent expert and sociologist Bihter Türkan Ergül, said the entire family had given support for the archival research.

“We not only revealed the scents our grandfathers used, but we learned about the methods in their daily life for a healthy living. For example, I did not see my grandfather and did not feel his warmth, but I smell his scent. As a fourth-generation grandchild, I can say that it is very exciting. Concubines in the seraglio and the sultans’ sisters used the scent of jasmine and flowers. These scents were also used in the palace as medicine because they are good for depression. Those with migraines generally scrubbed their temporal lobes with basil. Clove oil was used for toothaches, mouth sores and bad breath,” she said.

The researchers also said they had learned that Süleyman the Magnificent had instructed his soldiers to eat blue cheese before going into battle because the cheese was antiseptic. 

“One week ahead of the month of Ramadan, all Ottoman sultans used to have the domes of the Eyüp Sultan Mosque washed with saffron, rose and amber water. The reason was that they wanted nice and fresh scents to come from the domes in daylight,” she also said.

Speaking of a tradition started by Yavuz Sultan Selim, Osmanoğlu said: “Before going on a campaign, janissaries used to drink rainwater in the octagonal pool of the lodge. Rainwater was believed to have prevented diseases during the war.” 

She provided the following information about the archive research: 

“Sultan Abdülhamid’s horse, named Ferhan, was cured with rose oil before a campaign. Rose oil mixed with blood especially in horses and made it more energetic. Rosemary oil was put in in the nape of concubines in the palace to prevent them from being infested with lice. This oil was also used as a medicine. Ahmet I, Murat IV and Kösem Sultan used to add cinnamon in their morning tea because it stopped them from feeling cold,” Osmanoğlu said.

Sultans’ scents were registered 

Ergül, the scent expert and sociologist, said they had applied to register the sultan’s scents before conducting the research. “We succeeded in receiving the fruits of our labor. The sultans’ scents are now registered. The fact that the scents were also used as treatment methods led our research in a different direction.”