No not the BBC three part series, the long running Turkish ‘serial’  The Magnificent Century, it’s a visual feast  based on historic events & padded out with Sultan’s Sulieman’s private life, the presentation is now into it’s 100th episode !

I have been watching via Youtube,purely to get into the history of these fascinating people,but mostly for the grandeur & sheer opulence of how they lived. The clothes are stunning with the most beautiful breathtaking rich fabrics & that’s for the men !!

The Sultans family , with the exception of an adorable 5 year old son called Mustapha [ who steals every scene he’s in] all characters consist of beautiful well dressed women,all have long luxurious hair , live above the harem , wear  lovely clothes & the jewels of course, but the women in the harem are all dressed pretty much like slave girls,in plain but floaty pretty robes.

What has not shocked me about the set up , is the not the obvious jealousy between all the concubines but the shocking factor is the violence between the women of all levels,someone is always being slapped,punched, poisoned committing suicide or murdered .

The loyalty of staff is under the spotlight too,one kills for the Sultana & gets away with it , the Sultan sends for the lead concubine ‘Hurrem’s’ closest friend & attendant….for his pleasure of course …just after she, Hurrem, has born the Sultan a son, so when she finds this out & after a fit of jealous rage she presents her attendant with a fur wrap as a conciliatory gesture, but this fur cape is laced with a chemical to burn her skin………this at first is seen as an allergy,but the truth surfaces…and so the series continues…………

I am now on the 26th episode & gripped, just as apparently the Arab & muslim world is too.

Last nights episode was all about the siege of Rhodes,which was very visual ,the Sultan is his gorgeous robes making the Christians look like paupers, then Suliemans return home & what he saw as the betrayal of his most trusted servant, Ibrahim, it ended with him on his knees & a knife hovering above the poor mans head………….

The kicker here is, I’m watching the series in Arabic,……..I watched the first three episodes in Turkish with English subtitles,but they are few so now it’s in Arabic, can’t wait to see what happens to Ibrahim tonight, does he live or die ?


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