None of Suleiman’s successors proved worthy of the legacy bequeathed by the sultan appropriately named “the Magnificent.” The first of these, Selim II “the Sot” (1566–1574), mounted the throne without challenge since he had succeeded in eliminating his brother Bayezid four years earlier with the assistance of the Safavids. Bayezid, who was seeking Persian assistance in his long struggle with Selim in anticipation of the forthcoming succession to the Ottoman throne, was killed in Persia on July 23, 1562, with the collusion of Tahmasp. Since the shah had little to gain from any direct intervention in the conflict, which had developed into a veritable civil war that kept the Ottomans preoccupied and therefore served his interests, it seems quite evident that his cooperation commanded a significant price from Selim. Thus, it appears that Selim, in addition to his reconfirmation of the Treaty of Amasya, also promised to turn over Kars and some other territories to Tahmasp. This was in addition to a one-time payment to the shah of some 400,000 pieces of gold, a commitment that was fulfilled soon after Selim became sultan. The very manner by which Selim reached the throne earned him many domestic enemies, and he proceeded to deal with this problem through the lavish use of bribery. He thereby established a pattern of expectations that seriously eroded the internal discipline of the regime, and undermined its capacity to maintain the territorial integrity of the far-flung empire against the several forces that worked to tear it apart.
The first serious challenge to Selim’s dominion came in the Yemen, where Ottoman rule had never been fully established in the interior of the country. That region had come under the control of the indigenous Zeydis, who were “Fivers,” that is, proponents of a form of Shiism that involved the fifth imam, Zeyd ibn Ali. Suleiman had divided the Yemen into two prov-
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Publication information: Book title: The Islamic World in Ascendancy:From the Arab Conquests to the Siege of Vienna. Contributors: Martin Sicker - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 211.
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