Charles XII marries an Ottoman Princess c. 1711

This could be fascinating. If only for the fact that a) Carl XII would likely have an heir; b) the nightmare of how places like Austria and Russia (traditionally anti-Ottoman) would view such a marriage

To Austria this isn't the biggest issue, to Russia this is an actual problem.

For Austria this would be a problem if your replaced Sweden with Prussia.
 
First off, this book is fictional, right? I’m not finding any evidence of this ever being considered, or a daughter of Sultan Ahmed III named Asiye Sultan (There was one, but she was the daughter of Ahmed II, and died in childhood)

Now, if this somehow happened, and this daughter actually existed, and the Sultan Ahmed III wanted her to marry Charles XII, there lies several problems.

First being Charles XII himself. Charles XII wanted to marry for love, not political gains, and he was really serious about this, as he dismissed a bunch of marriages with Princesses from Denmark and England. So, this Asiye Sultan would have to get on Charles XII good side, so they love each other on a personal level, not a political level. If this doesn’t happen, yet Charles XII was forced to agree with this marriage, he would do it at best reluctantly and then never consummate it, or at worst outright refuse it, being insulted.

Second problem, and probably the biggest, literally no one in early 18th century Sweden, or early 18th century Europe would ever accept this arrangement. In Sweden, people would probably accuse Charles XII being a Turkophile (even if the Princess converted to the Church of Sweden), and if a child is formed from this marriage, Charles XII would probably be forced by Swedish nobility to declare it morganatic, meaning thats this son of an Swedish King and Ottoman Princess would never become King of Sweden (Maybe a title, but never any so high)

On a European scale, Russia would fear from this marriage the thought of an Ottoman-Swedish Alliance, which could surround them from the North and South. This also could potentially make HRE/Austria and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth scared of such an alliance as well (The Great Turkish War finished a decade ago), as they two potentially have powerful enemies in the North and the South. This could make Sweden out to be an ally with the Turks. This could potentially bring the Austrians into the Great Northern War.

Although an interesting idea, it has a lot of hurdles to jump over to be successful
Why would this be a problem? People back in the days are easier to manipulate. If you can convince the people that the Ottoman Princess accepted "the word of God" and accepted baptism, wouldn't that be seen as a good thing? I think it would be. Turk was seen as equal as being Muslim, thus turkophile = muslimophile. If she is Christian she wouldn't be a "Turk".

The Swedish nobility would threaten the King if the Princess would remain a Muslim and thus risk influencing the heir away from Christianity. There is no risk of that if the Princess is a Christian now. Discriminating the Princess? Sure. Actually threatening the King? Doubt it.
 
Charles would have to convert to marry a Muslim woman and thus would end up being deposed. Surely a Muslim cannot allowed to preside over the Church of Sweden. I seriously doubt Ahmed III as the Caliph would dare break that rule. I just don't find this plausible.

You bring up the Shia beys in Iraq and admittedly I don't know much about that. However I must point out that things were different during Orhan's reign. The Ottoman state was still cobbled together and a large portion of landowners and soldiers were Greek-speaking Christians who were important to bring alongside. There is more freedom for pragmatism in times like that than during the still-powerful Ottoman Empire of the 17-18th centuries.

Well Sarthaka has explained it how it would develop and he mentions nothing of Charles converting.
 
While I doubt Karl XII wanted to marry at that point, claiming he was "married to the army" until the war had been brought to a successful conclusion (which never happened OTL), as long as the Ottoman princess converts and any children are raised in the protestant faith, there's no need to declare the marriage morganic. And even if the nobility wanted to, as long as Karl XII is alive, they have no way to force him - his grip on the reins of the state are too strong. The nobility could only move on Ulrika Eleonora because she was a woman and ascended the throne in coup-like circumstances.

Race was not a big factor in Sweden during the 18th century, religion was. Besides, a lot of the women of the Ottoman harems were christian Greeks, Serbs, Bulgarians or Armenians, or Ukrainians taken by the Crimeans in their "harvesting the steppe" slave raids. The children of the Sultan could be pretty light-skinned.
Not that Armenians and Georgians are really the average European looking people, it is worth to say that by the late 17th century most harem slaves were either from the Ukraine, Caucasus (Circassia/Georgia) or Greeks from Venetian possessions. One of the consort of Ahmed II being Rabia Sultan being born around 1670 would likely be outside the Venetian-Ottoman War so I'd say Ukrainian or Circassians.

Which would make the children of Ahmed II look like your average Serb/Hungarian/Romanian.
 
I am still sceptical about this. I won't dismiss it as impossible (I haven't read the book you described nor found it) as it isn't impossible, but unlikely.

However...

This has quite some effects in the long term. For example, the first real marriage between an Ottoman Princess and a Christian Monarch that is documented, with the princess even converting.

Militarily speaking the Ottomans cannot do much to reverse Russian Conquest of the Baltics. The Ottomans can however distract the Russians when the Swedes are also at war. For the Ottomans, winning battles against Russia, getting war bounty from the Russian enemy, keeping them away from the Black Sea region and the Caucasus is a success.

But the goal of keeping Russia away from the Black Sea does not require any war: Russia is bottled in a Sea of Azov with the Ottomans controlling Kerch. Pruth Treaty rolled back even that: Azov is returned, Taganrog destroyed, Azov fleet either destroyed or sold to the Ottomans.
War bounty? From where? The Tatars can raid Ukraine but this would not be Ottoman’s bounty. The Ottomans hardly could realistically get far beyond the “no man zone” separating them from Russia.
The Ottoman territories on Caucasus are not under the Russian attack, yet (BTW, it seems that the locals were not uniformly aware of the fact that they are the Ottoman subjects until the Ottomans ceded North Caucasus area to Russia 🤗).
Winning battles? Sounds nice but even Pruth campaign is not encouraging: the Ottoman losses are high, the Janissary attacks failed (*), Brailov capitulated and this is while they were fighting on their own (vassal) territory. Invasion is much more difficult logistically and the Swedish example is anything but encouraging.

So post-Pruth war gives nothing to the Ottomans except for the losses and expenses and it is worth noticing that the treaty was lacking any Sweden-related items except for Charles’ safe passage (it seems that by this time he already overstayed his welcome) even if Peter was ready to make serious concessions on the Baltic coast (you can compare the conditions in Shafirov’s instructions with the Treaty). Neither did the Ottoman Empire show any enthusiasm of joining Charles when he stayed in Ukraine before Poltava. Ditto for going into the war after Charles arrived. Only when Peter launched his absolutely unprovoked (and quite foolish) invasion, the Ottoman Empire reacted.

Of course, we can assume that the Sultan is going to fundamentally change his policies just because he got a bellicose sin-in-law but it does not look convincing.

(*) Running with the swords against chevaux de frise was definitely a show of bravery but it did not work.
The military can be paid and a paid soldier is a happy soldier.

Paid out of what? If the war continues, the only source of money is loot and there is not too much of it to be obtained in Southern Ukraine. Besieging border fortresses in the Southern Russia is a tedious task with not too much loot either. The Tatars may benefit from the raids but how the slaves captured by them are going to end as the money in janissary pockets?

The best the Ottomans can actually do is trying to halt increasing Russian influence in Poland-Lithuania, which is more important than trying to conquer Ukraine or even raiding it.

And for this the war is counterproductive: increased Russian influence in the PLC almost automatically produces pro-Ottoman sympathies (as was proven during the reign of CII). But at that time a meaningful Russian influence in the PLC is a matter of unpredictable future.

Sweden and the Ottoman Empire remain more in touch as allies, this is even likelier if Ahmed II's son Ibrahim lives beyond 1714 and becoming the next Sultan instead of Mahmud I. Russia tried to avoid several wars with the Ottomans OTL. In this scenario, the Russians will realize they risk a war with both the Swedes and Ottomans at the same time, which will discourage them even more.

Not sure which period you are talking about but definitely not immediate post-Pruth/post-GNW. The obvious problem with the plan you described is readiness for war. Sweden suffered terrible losses in GNW so a new war with Russia was not possible in a near future. It took a couple decades before Sweden risked a new war with Russia (Hat’s War) and it was beaten. The Ottomans already had been beaten in 1730’s and kept being beaten in the following wars.A simultaneous Swedish-Ottoman war with Russia eventually happened in the late XVIII and it ended up with the Ottoman defeat and confirmation of status quo on the Baltic.
What I do wonder is what the result would be if Peter the Great was captured in the Pruth Campaign or died, with this marriage happening. I wonder if Charles XII would try for the reconquest of the Baltics (without St. Petersburg) while the reforms of Peter the Great are reversed. This is something worth for a TL...

Most probably died. The decision was, in the case peace terms are rejected, “to break through not giving a mercy and not asking for it”. Based upon the later Russian-Ottoman experience, if implemented this decision may easily result in the Russian victory: see the Battle of Stavuchany as closest example.

As for the rest, Charles is going to do his reconquest with what? He lost his army and Sweden is hard pressed to bring the new troops. Saxony and the PLC are back (for whatever they worth) and so is Denmark. Even at its best times Swedish army is not well-equipped for taking the fortified cities and all Baltic fortresses are in the Russian hands while countryside is devastated both by the Russians and Swedes (look at Levenhaupt’s difficulties to gather supplies).

Then, a popular but rather unfounded misconception is that with Peter’s death the reforms are reversed. AFAIK, the main and only base for this theory are confessions of Tsarevich Alexey extracted under the torture with a stated goal to show that he was plotting to do this. While Alexey was not sharing all ideas and preferences of his father, he was, if anything, more truly “Westerner” by education and culture than his father.

But the marriage has some consequences: "If the Swedish King can marry an Ottoman Princess, maybe we can too". In the 18th century, despite being trashed in the Great Turkish War the Ottoman Empire was still a respectable State and potentially a valuable ally, until the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-74. After Sweden, a few German, Italian and Polish-Lithuanian Rulers may try to go for a marriage alliance too. Mostly for the sake of alliances against Austria or Russia.
Value of the marriage-based alliances is overstated. Marriage may serve as a formal link when there are tangible mutual interests.

Of course, matrimonial link to one of the European Great Powers could be attractive for the lesser players but what would be in that schema for the Ottomans? Just as with CXII: OK, he is marrying Sultan’s daughter and the Sultan is marching to war for no obvious reason just because his son in law already lost his army and wants more soldiers and money to keep playing his games from which the Ottoman Empire is not going to benefit? The “PLC rulers”? really, who cares when they can’t control their own country. German and Italian? What’s the purpose?
 
Not that Armenians and Georgians are really the average European looking people, it is worth to say that by the late 17th century most harem slaves were either from the Ukraine, Caucasus (Circassia/Georgia) or Greeks from Venetian possessions. One of the consort of Ahmed II being Rabia Sultan being born around 1670 would likely be outside the Venetian-Ottoman War so I'd say Ukrainian or Circassians.

Which would make the children of Ahmed II look like your average Serb/Hungarian/Romanian.

Even if she looked fully Middle Eastern it wouldn’t really be a problem. It’s not that looking racial different couldn’t be a problem, but Middle Easterners is not really that alien looking and she would mostly be seen as exotic and if she have converted she would be a good marriage as she came with a good alliance.
 
I really don't think what she looks like would matter at all. The House of Osman's harem practices would mean that the royal house skews paler than their Mediterranean subjects anyways, nor is Sweden's queen not looking like she comes from 'good Anglo-Saxon stock' gonna matter worth a dime so long as she can appease the religious elements of her role and the monarchy's power is able to weather dissenting opinions
 
Don't get me wrong, I don't think Carolus Rex marrying an Ottoman princess is ASB or anything. A timeline where Charles decides it's better to be a Muslim and governor of some relatively peaceful and secure area in the Ottoman Empire than a Christian monarch of Sweden could be quite interesting if done correctly. However I cannot see this happening in a timeline where Charles remains the King of Sweden.
 
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Don't get me wrong, I don't think Carolus Rex marrying an Ottoman princess is ASB or anything. A timeline where Charles decides it's better to be a Muslim and governor of some relatively peaceful and secure area in the Ottoman Empire than a Christian monarch of Sweden could be quite interesting if done correctly. However I cannot see this happening in a timeline where Charles remains the King of Sweden.
Well, Charles converting into the Islam, marrying Sultan’s daughter and making a brilliant career all the way to Seraskier would make for the exciting scenario giving him a chance to face Prince Eugene in the Austrian-Turkish War of 1716-18. The main problem with such a scenario is that even the most benevolent Sultan would hardly make him a Grand Vizier (position which required a considerably greater intelligence than Charles possessed by that time) thus depriving Charles Deli Pasha of the supreme command. Well, we can of course came with a scenario in which Sultan makes it just a war time appointment and when the dust settles orders to strangle him (just to avoid a need of talking to this maniac on a regular basis). Probably this would provide a great basis for some obnoxiously romantic tragedy by Schiller, von Kleist (Heinrich, not Paul) or Hugo. 😂😂😢😂
 
Well, Charles converting into the Islam, marrying Sultan’s daughter and making a brilliant career all the way to Seraskier would make for the exciting scenario giving him a chance to face Prince Eugene in the Austrian-Turkish War of 1716-18. The main problem with such a scenario is that even the most benevolent Sultan would hardly make him a Grand Vizier (position which required a considerably greater intelligence than Charles possessed by that time) thus depriving Charles Deli Pasha of the supreme command. Well, we can of course came with a scenario in which Sultan makes it just a war time appointment and when the dust settles orders to strangle him (just to avoid a need of talking to this maniac on a regular basis). Probably this would provide a great basis for some obnoxiously romantic tragedy by Schiller, von Kleist (Heinrich, not Paul) or Hugo. 😂😂😢😂
I was thinking more that it would provide a great basis for some bodice-ripper romance novel paperback I'd see waiting in the checkout aisle at my local grocery store :p
 
If assume the marriage happened and Karl makes peace afterwards and returns to Sweden I be curious how future Swedish culture will develop. It is said that meatballs and the words for taxi and kiosk came to Sweden once Karl XII returned. I'm thinking that this princess could bring in more cultural habits into the Swedish court?
 
But the goal of keeping Russia away from the Black Sea does not require any war: Russia is bottled in a Sea of Azov with the Ottomans controlling Kerch. Pruth Treaty rolled back even that: Azov is returned, Taganrog destroyed, Azov fleet either destroyed or sold to the Ottomans.
War bounty? From where? The Tatars can raid Ukraine but this would not be Ottoman’s bounty. The Ottomans hardly could realistically get far beyond the “no man zone” separating them from Russia.
The Ottoman territories on Caucasus are not under the Russian attack, yet (BTW, it seems that the locals were not uniformly aware of the fact that they are the Ottoman subjects until the Ottomans ceded North Caucasus area to Russia 🤗).
Winning battles? Sounds nice but even Pruth campaign is not encouraging: the Ottoman losses are high, the Janissary attacks failed (*), Brailov capitulated and this is while they were fighting on their own (vassal) territory. Invasion is much more difficult logistically and the Swedish example is anything but encouraging.

So post-Pruth war gives nothing to the Ottomans except for the losses and expenses and it is worth noticing that the treaty was lacking any Sweden-related items except for Charles’ safe passage (it seems that by this time he already overstayed his welcome) even if Peter was ready to make serious concessions on the Baltic coast (you can compare the conditions in Shafirov’s instructions with the Treaty). Neither did the Ottoman Empire show any enthusiasm of joining Charles when he stayed in Ukraine before Poltava. Ditto for going into the war after Charles arrived. Only when Peter launched his absolutely unprovoked (and quite foolish) invasion, the Ottoman Empire reacted.

Of course, we can assume that the Sultan is going to fundamentally change his policies just because he got a bellicose sin-in-law but it does not look convincing.

(*) Running with the swords against chevaux de frise was definitely a show of bravery but it did not work.


Paid out of what? If the war continues, the only source of money is loot and there is not too much of it to be obtained in Southern Ukraine. Besieging border fortresses in the Southern Russia is a tedious task with not too much loot either. The Tatars may benefit from the raids but how the slaves captured by them are going to end as the money in janissary pockets?



And for this the war is counterproductive: increased Russian influence in the PLC almost automatically produces pro-Ottoman sympathies (as was proven during the reign of CII). But at that time a meaningful Russian influence in the PLC is a matter of unpredictable future.



Not sure which period you are talking about but definitely not immediate post-Pruth/post-GNW. The obvious problem with the plan you described is readiness for war. Sweden suffered terrible losses in GNW so a new war with Russia was not possible in a near future. It took a couple decades before Sweden risked a new war with Russia (Hat’s War) and it was beaten. The Ottomans already had been beaten in 1730’s and kept being beaten in the following wars.A simultaneous Swedish-Ottoman war with Russia eventually happened in the late XVIII and it ended up with the Ottoman defeat and confirmation of status quo on the Baltic.


Most probably died. The decision was, in the case peace terms are rejected, “to break through not giving a mercy and not asking for it”. Based upon the later Russian-Ottoman experience, if implemented this decision may easily result in the Russian victory: see the Battle of Stavuchany as closest example.

As for the rest, Charles is going to do his reconquest with what? He lost his army and Sweden is hard pressed to bring the new troops. Saxony and the PLC are back (for whatever they worth) and so is Denmark. Even at its best times Swedish army is not well-equipped for taking the fortified cities and all Baltic fortresses are in the Russian hands while countryside is devastated both by the Russians and Swedes (look at Levenhaupt’s difficulties to gather supplies).

Then, a popular but rather unfounded misconception is that with Peter’s death the reforms are reversed. AFAIK, the main and only base for this theory are confessions of Tsarevich Alexey extracted under the torture with a stated goal to show that he was plotting to do this. While Alexey was not sharing all ideas and preferences of his father, he was, if anything, more truly “Westerner” by education and culture than his father.


Value of the marriage-based alliances is overstated. Marriage may serve as a formal link when there are tangible mutual interests.

Of course, matrimonial link to one of the European Great Powers could be attractive for the lesser players but what would be in that schema for the Ottomans? Just as with CXII: OK, he is marrying Sultan’s daughter and the Sultan is marching to war for no obvious reason just because his son in law already lost his army and wants more soldiers and money to keep playing his games from which the Ottoman Empire is not going to benefit? The “PLC rulers”? really, who cares when they can’t control their own country. German and Italian? What’s the purpose?
As long as Russia has Azov there will always be paranoia about Russia threatening Ottoman position in the Black Sea

War bounty that is promised by the Grand Vizier and the Sultan. Not that there is guaranteed something, by fighting in Russian-Ukraine. Though if the fight is in Polish-Lithuanian territory...

About pro-Ottoman feeling in the Commonwealth, Russian Influence can increase that. But the Sultan didn't know or care enough hence why he declared war in 1768 (and probably regretted it).
 
If assume the marriage happened and Karl makes peace afterwards and returns to Sweden I be curious how future Swedish culture will develop. It is said that meatballs and the words for taxi and kiosk came to Sweden once Karl XII returned. I'm thinking that this princess could bring in more cultural habits into the Swedish court?

What I am sure is that Pan-Turkist theorists will look for ties between Turks and Swedes, probably the theory of Sweden being originally descendants of Huns and whatever.
 
Don't get me wrong, I don't think Carolus Rex marrying an Ottoman princess is ASB or anything. A timeline where Charles decides it's better to be a Muslim and governor of some relatively peaceful and secure area in the Ottoman Empire than a Christian monarch of Sweden could be quite interesting if done correctly. However I cannot see this happening in a timeline where Charles remains the King of Sweden.

I am also sceptical about it. From the part of the princess converting to her husbands religion to Charles converting to Islam and abandoning his throne in Sweden to be a commander of the Ottoman Forces, or even be a Grand Vizier.


The marriage with the princess departing for Sweden is definitely not impossible (though again, unlikely)

Charles staying in the Ottoman Empire and converting is very much unlikley though still not impossible.
 
I really don't think what she looks like would matter at all. The House of Osman's harem practices would mean that the royal house skews paler than their Mediterranean subjects anyways, nor is Sweden's queen not looking like she comes from 'good Anglo-Saxon stock' gonna matter worth a dime so long as she can appease the religious elements of her role and the monarchy's power is able to weather dissenting opinions

Considering there is no family relations with the Ottoman Empire and the rest of European Dynasties (only far away Roman dynasties maybe...), it may be better than marry a relative from Germany and risk unhealthy offspring.
 
As long as Russia has Azov there will always be paranoia about Russia threatening Ottoman position in the Black Sea

It seems that the Ottomans had been OK with the Azov fleet and when Azov was restored to Russia after the was of 1737-39, there were no problems either. Kerch was controlling exit out of the Sea of Azov and, my personal impression, is that the Ottomans did not care too much about the area until the wars of CII. At least the fortresses had been in the dilapidated state and the garrisons had been minimal.

War bounty that is promised by the Grand Vizier and the Sultan. Not that there is guaranteed something, by fighting in Russian-Ukraine. Though if the fight is in Polish-Lithuanian territory...

To promise something to the Janissary and not to deliver was a dangerous policy. Not too much could be obtained on the Left Bank Ukraine: it was. systematically destroyed by the continued wars starting from mid-XVII and all the way to the GNW. The PLC territory was a different issue but area easily accessible for the Ottomans, Podolia, was not too promising either.
About pro-Ottoman feeling in the Commonwealth, Russian Influence can increase that. But the Sultan didn't know or care enough hence why he declared war in 1768 (and probably regretted it).
By 1768 Sultan was already hosting the Bar confederates and Russian attack on their base in Balta (Ottoman territory) triggered the war of 1768. So the Sultan could not be unaware of the Polish sentiments. What he was clearly unaware of had been the Ottoman unpreparedness to the modern war (perhaps based upon the earlier war with the Austrians). The Ottoman army was considerably bigger than Russian (*) but it’s weapons and tactics had been obsolete. Their only friend was a logistics of the chosen theater.

(*) It is quite possible that the numbers routinely produced are exaggerated but even then the Ottomans had serious numeric advantage.
 
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