Ahmed III

Ahmed III
احمد ثالث
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Kayser-i Rûm
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Caliph of Islam
23rd Ottoman Sultan (Emperor)
Reign 22 August 1703  1 October 1730
Predecessor Mustafa II
Successor Mahmud I
Born 30/31 December 1673
Dobrich, Ottoman Empire
Died 1 July 1736(1736-07-01) (aged 62)
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Consorts Mihrişah Kadın
Şermi Kadın
Hurrem Kadın
among others
Issue see below
Full name
Ahmed bin Mehmed
Dynasty Ottoman
Father Mehmed IV
Mother Emetullah Rabia Gülnuş Sultan
Religion Sunni Islam

Ahmed III (Ottoman Turkish: احمد ثالث, Aḥmed-i sālis) (30/31 December 1673  1 July 1736) was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and a son of Sultan Mehmed IV (r. 1648–87). His mother was Emetullah Rabia Gülnuş Sultan, originally named Evmania Voria, who was an ethnic Greek.[1][2][3][4][5] He was born at Hacıoğlu Pazarcık, in Dobruja. He succeeded to the throne in 1703 on the abdication of his brother Mustafa II (1695–1703).[6] Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Pasha and the Sultan's daughter, Fatma Sultan (wife of the former) directed the government from 1718 to 1730, a period referred to as the Tulip Era.


Ahmed III cultivated good relations with France, doubtless in view of Russia's menacing attitude. He afforded refuge in Ottoman territory to Charles XII of Sweden (1682–1718) after the Swedish defeat at the hands of Peter I of Russia (1672–1725) in the Battle of Poltava of 1709.[7] In 1710 Charles XII convinced Sultan Ahmed III to declare war against Russia, and the Ottoman forces under Baltacı Mehmet Pasha won a major victory at the Battle of Prut. In the aftermath, Russia returned Azov back to the Ottomans, agreed to demolish the fortress of Taganrog and others in the area, and to stop interfering in the affairs of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Forced against his will into war with Russia, Ahmed III came nearer than any Ottoman sovereign before or since to breaking the power of his northern rival, whose armies his grand vizier Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Pasha succeeded in completely surrounding at the Pruth River Campaign in 1711.[6] The subsequent Ottoman victories against Russia enabled the Ottoman Empire to advance to Moscow, had the Sultan wished. However, this was halted as a report reached Istanbul that the Safavids were invading the Ottoman Empire, causing a period of panic, turning the Sultan's attention away from Russia.

Sultan Ahmed III had become unpopular by reason of the excessive pomp and costly luxury in which he and his principal officers indulged; on September 20, 1730, a mutinous riot of seventeen Janissaries, led by the Albanian Patrona Halil, was aided by the citizens as well as the military until it swelled into an insurrection in front of which the Sultan was forced to give up the throne.

Ahmed voluntarily led his nephew Mahmud I (1730–54) to the seat of sovereignty and paid allegiance to him as Sultan of the Empire. He then retired to the Kafes previously occupied by Mahmud and died at Topkapı Palace after six years of confinement.

Ahmed III's rule

The reign of Ahmed III lasted for twenty-seven years and was not unsuccessful. The recovery of Azov and the Morea, and the conquest of part of Persia, managed to counterbalance the Balkan territory ceded to the Habsburg Monarchy through the Treaty of Passarowitz, after the Ottoman Empire was defeated in Austro-Turkish War of 1716–18. In 1716, he sent an army of 33,000 men to capture Corfu from the Republic of Venice but that expedition eventually failed,

Ahmed III left the finances of the Ottoman Empire in a flourishing condition, which had remarkably been obtained without excessive taxation or extortion procedures. He was a cultivated patron of literature and art, and it was in his time that the first printing press authorized to use the Arabic or Turkish languages was set up in Istanbul, operated by Ibrahim Muteferrika (while the printing press had been introduced to Constantinople in 1480, all works published before 1729 were in Greek, Armenian, or Hebrew).

It was in this reign that an important change in the government of the Danubian Principalities was introduced: previously, the Porte had appointed Hospodars, usually native Moldavian and Wallachian boyars, to administer those provinces; after the Russian campaign of 1711, during which Peter the Great found an ally in Moldavia Prince Dimitrie Cantemir, the Porte began overtly deputizing Phanariote Greeks in that region, and extended the system to Wallachia after Prince Stefan Cantacuzino established links with Eugene of Savoy. The Phanariotes constituted a kind of Dhimmi nobility, which supplied the Porte with functionaries in many important departments of the state.

Relations with the Mughal Empire

Jahandar Shah

In the year 1712, the Mughal Emperor Jahandar Shah, a grandson of Aurangzeb sent gifts to the Ottoman Sultan Ahmad III and referred to himself as the Ottoman Sultan's devoted admirer.[8]


The Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar a grandson of Aurangzeb, is also known to have sent a letter to the Ottomans but this time it was received by the Grand Vizier Nevşehirli Damad Ibrahim Pasha providing a graphic description of the efforts of the Mughal commander Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha against the Rajput and Maratha rebellion.[9]


  • Emetullah Kadın (died 1739, buried in Eyüp Sultan Mosque);
  • Rukiye Kadın;
  • Mihrişah Kadın (died 1732, buried in New Mosque, Istanbul);
  • Şermi Kadın (died 1732, buried in New Mosque, Istanbul);
  • Ümmügülsüm Kadın (died 1768, buried in New Mosque, Istanbul);
  • Hurrem Kadın died (1760 in Moscow , buried in Haseki Sultan Complex , Istanbul);
  • Hatice Kadın (buried in New Mosque, Istanbul);
  • Fatma Kadın (1732, buried in New Mosque, Istanbul);
  • Emine Kadın (1757, buried in New Mosque, Istanbul);
  • Hanife Kadın (1750, buried in New Mosque, Istanbul);
  • Musli Kadın;
  • Şehzade Mehmed (25 November 1705 - died young);
  • Şehzade Isa (23 February 1706 - 25 May 1706); son of Hurrem Kadın
  • Şehzade Ali (18 June 1706 - 12 September 1706);
  • Şehzade Selim (6 September 1707 - 4 May 1708); son of Hurrem Kadın
  • Şehzade Murad (4 February 1708 - 1 April 1708);
  • Şehzade Abdülmelik (12 December 1709 - 23 March 1711);
  • Şehzade Süleyman (25 August 1710 - 11 December 1732), son of Mihrişah Kadın;
  • Şehzade Mehmed (17 October 1712 – 15 July 1713), son of Hurrem Kadın
  • Şehzade Mehmed (1 January 1717 - murdered 22 December 1756);
  • Mustafa III (28 January 1717 - 21 January 1774), son of Mihrişah Kadın;
  • Şehzade Bayezid (4 October 1718 - 25 January 1771);
  • Şehzade Abdullah (18 December 1719 - 19 December 1719); son of Hurrem Kadın
  • Şehzade Orkhan (born and died 1722), son of Hurrem Kadın
  • Şehzade Numan (22 February 1723 - 29 December 1764);
  • Abdul Hamid I (20 March 1727- 23 April 1789), son of Şermi Kadın;
  • Şehzade Seyfeddin (3 February 1728 – 1732);
  • Șehzade Hüseyin (2 January 1729 - 1730);
  • Fatma Sultan (22 October 1704[10]  3 January 1733), daughter of Emetullah Kadın.
  • Hatice Sultan (21 January 1707[11]  1708);[12]
  • Rukiye Sultan (3 May 1707[13]  29 August 1707);[14]
  • Zeynep Sultan (1708  5 October 1708);[15]
  • Ümmügülsüm Sultan (1708  November 1732);[16]
  • Zeyneb Sultan (5 January 1710[17]  1 August 1710);[18]
  • Hatice Sultan (27 September 1710[19]  1738), daughter of Rukiye Kadın;
  • Atike Sultan (1712  1737);
  • Ayşe Sultan (1713  3 October 1776), daughter of Emine Kadın;
  • Saliha Sultan (20 April 1715[20]  11 October 1778);
  • Zeynep Sultan (1715  25 March 1774);
  • Rabia Sultan (19 November 1719[21]  died in infancy)
  • Emetullah Sultan (23 December 1719[22]  5 February 1720);[23]
  • Ümmüseleme Sultan (died 1732);[16]
  • Emine Sultan (died 1732);[16]
  • Naile Sultan (15 February 1725[24]  10 December 1726);[25]
  • Nazife Sultan (May 1525[26]  died in infancy);
  • Esma Sultan (14 March 1726[27]  13 August 1788), daughter of Hanife Kadın;
  • Sabiha Sultan (26 November 1726  3 December 1726);[24]
  • Rebia Sultan (4 August 1727[28]  4 April 1728);[29]
  • Zübeyde Sultan (29 March 1728 - 4 June 1756), daughter of Musli Kadın.

In fiction

In Voltaire's Candide, the eponymous main character meets the deposed Ahmed III on a ship from Venice to Constantinople. The Sultan is in the company of five other deposed European monarchs, and he tells Candide, who initially doubts his credentials:

I am not jesting, my name is Achmet III. For several years I was Sultan; I dethroned my brother; my nephew dethroned me; they cut off the heads of my viziers; I am ending my days in the old seraglio; my nephew, Sultan Mahmoud, sometimes allows me to travel for my health, and I have come to spend the Carnival at Venice."

This episode was taken up by the modern Turkish writer Nedim Gürsel as the setting of his 2001 novel Le voyage de Candide à Istanbul.

In fact, there is no evidence of the deposed Sultan being allowed to make such foreign travels, nor did Voltaire (or Gürsel) assert that it had any actual historical foundation.

See also


  1. Freely, John (2001). The lost Messiah. Viking. p. 132. ISBN 0-670-88675-0. He set up his harem there, his favourite being Rabia Giilniis Ummetiillah, a Greek girl from Rethymnon on Crete
  2. Bromley, J. S. (1957). The New Cambridge Modern History. University of California: University Press. p. 554. ISBN 0-521-22128-5. the mother of Mustafa II and Ahmed III was a Greek
  3. Sardo, Eugenio Lo (1999). Tra greci e turchi: fonti diplomatiche italiane sul Settecento ottomano. Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche. p. 82. ISBN 88-8080-014-0. Their mother, a Greek, lady named Rabia Gülnûş, continued to wield influence as the Valide Sultan - mother of the reigning sultan
  4. Library Information and Research Service (2005). The Middle East. Library Information and Research Service. p. 91. She was the daughter of a Greek family and she was the mother of Mustafa II (1664–1703), and Ahmed III (1673–1736).
  5. Baker, Anthony E - Freely, John (1993). The Bosphorus. Redhouse Press. p. 146. ISBN 975-413-062-0. The Valide Sultan was born Evmania Voria, daughter of a Greek priest in a village near Rethymnon on Crete. She was captured by the Turks when they took Rethymnon in 1645.
  6. 1 2  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ahmed III.". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 431.
  7. Chisholm 1911.
  8. Farooqi, N.R. (1989). Mughal-Ottoman relations: a study of political & diplomatic relations between Mughal India and the Ottoman Empire, 1556-1748. Idarah-i Adabiyat-i Delli.
  9. Mughal-Ottoman relations: a study of political & diplomatic relations ... - Naimur Rahman Farooqi. Books.google.com. 1989. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
  10. Râşid 2013, p. 735.
  11. Râşid 2013, p. 773.
  12. Râşid 2013, p. 788.
  13. Râşid 2013, p. 777.
  14. Râşid 2013, p. 785.
  15. Râşid 2013, p. 796.
  16. 1 2 3 Efendi, Subhi Mehmed; Aydıner, Mesut; Şâkir, Hüseyin (2007). Subhî tarihi: Sâmî ve Şâkir tarihleri ile birlikte 1730-1744 (inceleme ve karşılaştırmalı metin). Kitabevi. p. 178.
  17. Râşid 2013, p. 829.
  18. Râşid 2013, p. 838.
  19. Râşid 2013, p. 842.
  20. Râşid 2013, p. 898.
  21. Râşid 2013, p. 1170.
  22. Râşid 2013, p. 1334.
  23. Râşid 2013, p. 1387.
  24. 1 2 Râşid 2013, p. 1422.
  25. Râşid 2013, p. 1529.
  26. Râşid 2013, p. 1437.
  27. Râşid 2013, p. 1483.
  28. Râşid 2013, p. 1564.
  29. Râşid 2013, p. 1589.


  • This article incorporates text from the History of Ottoman Turks (1878)
  • Târîh-i Râşid ve Zeyli (Râşid Mehmed Efendi ve Çelebizâde İsmaîl Âsım Efendi) (1071-1141/1660-1729) Cilt I-III. 2013. ISBN 978-6-055-24512-2. 

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Works written by or about Ahmed III at Wikisource

Ahmed III
Born: 30 December 1673 Died: 1 July 1736[aged 62]
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Mustafa II
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
22 August 1703  1/2 October 1730
Succeeded by
Mahmud I
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Mustafa II
Caliph of Islam
22 August 1703  1/2 October 1730
Succeeded by
Mahmud I
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