Great Sultan

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Great Sultan is one of various informal titles, such as Grand Turk, used to refer to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Sultan is known in the Ottoman Turkish language as Padishah, Hünkar or Hakan, the sovereign of the Ottoman dynasty.

Etymology

Ottoman rulers were often styled Ulugh Sultan, a Turkic term meaning "Great Sultan". Orhan, the second of the Ottoman Sultans, used an Arabic derivative of this title, Al-sultan al-azam.

More appropriate would be to use the style Sultan, or rather Sultan of Sultans (Sultan us-Selatin in Ottoman Turkish or Sultan es-Salatin in Arabic), one of the various official titles used by the Ottoman Sultans.

Like Great Khan instead of Khagan, such translations do not render the subtle complexities of the original phrases. However, the usage is so frequent since centuries that it can be considered an established convention.

A curious circumstance is that the Ottoman dynastic tradition was to give the title of sultan (elsewhere a Muslim ruler) to princes and princesses, merely as close relatives of the ruling Padishah, without an appanage (as the empire was indivisible).

References