- "Behold! This is my banner! Anyone who loves me will follow me!"
All praise to you, Suleiman the lawgiver, rightly called Magnificent! Master of the sublime house of Osman, your loyal servants stand ready to carry your commands to the farthest corner of your mighty land, while your foes tremble at the sight of your armies. Sultan of Sultans and Khan of Khans, lead your people to greatness.
Their Great Turkish Bombard ability allows the Ottoman to siege even the most powerful city in short order and should ensure those cities remain under Ottoman rule. The unique governor Ibrahim assists these conquests and eases the concerns of foreign powers. Through the Grand Bazaar the Ottomans can gain additional resources, helping their armies and cities grow even while conquering. With two unique units available in the Medieval and Renaissance periods, those times often coincide with the primary wave of Ottoman conquests.
Agenda-based Approval: You, too, must possess the wisdom of Solomon, for your nation is made of many people who live in harmony.
Agenda-based Disapproval: If you would be master of the world, you must first be master of your people—and you show no signs of mastery in this master.
Attacked: Good. The world shall witness the incontestable might of my armies and the glory of the Empire.
Declares War: Your continued insolence and failure to recognize any preeminence leads us to war.
Defeated: Ruin! Ruin! Istanbul becomes Iram of the Pillars, remembered only by the melancholy poets.
Greeting: From the magnificence of Topkapi, I, Suleiman, Kayser-I Rum, bestow upon you my welcome.
Delegation: I send you gifts of rubies, emeralds, goldwork, and many delicacies, as well as a chesnidjibashi who will taste them for poison on your behalf.
Denounced: You are the liege of the viper, the jackal, the vulture, the hyena, the rat—all things hateful and spiteful claim you as their ruler.
Denunciation: Your insolence and effrontery are permitted only inasmuch as they are a lesson to the world in how not to treat me.
Invitation to Capital: If you tell me of the location of your capital, I shall make a gift of my capital's location, as a sign of my generous intent.
Invitation to City: I would welcome your representatives to take in the sight of my palace and my capital, that they may be awed by its majesty.
The greatest of the Ottoman Sultan, a titan of law, culture, and war, Suleiman's reign saw the conquest of Persia and European territory, while at the same time laws were reformed and culture went through a period of exceptional flourishing and monumental building. A competent ruler who surrounded himself with advisors and counsellors of superior skill, his reign was widely praised as the Golden Age of the Ottoman Empire.
He was the only son of his father, Selim I (himself an exceptionally energetic, conquering Sultan), and ascended to the throne in 1520, and immediately began a campaign against the kingdoms of Europe. He conquered Belgrade and the mighty crusader fortress of Rhodes, but the most consequential of his victories was likely the Battle of Mohacs, at which Suleiman's janissaries and artillery destroyed the Hungarians, plunging that nation into a long period of decline. During the course of his campaigns in the west, he was able to lay siege to Vienna, but could not conquer it. Central Europe became a long-simmering conflict zone under threat from the Ottomans from the Balkans to Poland.
Three campaigns over twenty years against the Safavid Persians resulted in the Ottomans taking possession of most of Mesopotamia, including the rich prize of Baghdad. Ottoman naval forces, led by competent admirals, were able to control the entirety of the Eastern Mediterranean (although the Knights of St. John were able to hold onto Malta) and the Barbary corsairs were able to wreak considerable damage along the south coast of Europe.
Suleiman was surrounded by a cadre of excellent advisors, most famous of which was his Grand Vizier, Pasha Ibrahim, who had been raised as Suleiman's slave from their youth, and who came to become the most important man in the empire after the sultan. His wife, Roxelana, was another canny advisor who served as a diplomat and a manager of intrigue at Topkapi Palace. The architect and builder Mimar Sinan oversaw the construction of the majestic Selimye and Suleiman mosques (as well as hundreds of other monumental buildings), and Istanbul acquired much of its new, Islamic architectural style, merging with the old Byzantine styles. There were countless other lesser viziers, military officers, admirals, and academics whose competent contributions greatly enriched Suleiman's kingdom.
His epithet “the Lawgiver” refers to his efforts to reform the administration of the state. In this, he codified secular Ottoman law to run parallel to existing Islamic systems of jurisprudence, working with the Hanafi scholar Ebusuud Efendi. The happy result of their efforts was an Ottoman Empire which was, in comparison to some Christian states of the region, a relatively tolerant, religiously pluralistic state. There are accounts of serfs and Jews fleeing the kingdoms of Europe to come and live under the relatively benevolent Ottomans.
Craftsmen and artists received special recognition of the state. Suleiman himself wrote poetry in Persian under a pseudonym (much of it is very good). He constructed schools to teach both religion and philosophy. Religious buildings and shrines throughout his empire received special attention, including the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the Kaaba in Mecca.
During Suleiman's lifetime, the Ottomans were able to secure a series of alliances with European powers (most notably France) due to their ability to influence the course of affairs in Central Europe. A great deal of the political actions of the states of Europe during his lifetime can be seen as in response to the growing power, prestige, and wealth of the Ottoman Empire.
The end of Suleiman's reign was troubled. Pasha Ibrahim, his trusted advisor, was executed for conspiracy. Suleiman's succession was particularly fraught. Suleiman's son Mustafa was executed for attempting to seize power, and his other sons Selim and Bayezid began a succession war before their father died (Bayezid lost, and was executed). Suleiman himself died on campaign in Hungary.
The Ottoman Empire never again ascended to the heights he brought it. Future sultans would focus on the intrigue of their courts, leaving the administration of their empire to advisors and beys who would work at cross-purposes. No other sultan was capable of uniting powerful subordinates in a common cause, nor would they achieve military conquests on his scale. He was a rare kind of leader—one who achieves greatness in multiple domains, and encourages his subordinates to excellence in their own discipline.
- As of the release of Gathering Storm, Suleiman is one of nine returning leaders from Civilization V and its expansions (along with Dido, Gandhi, Genghis Khan, Montezuma, Pedro II, Alexander, Shaka, and Pachacuti).
- Suleiman's diplomacy screen shows a garden overlooking the Hagia Sophia.
- Suleiman's leader ability is the title given to any "prime minister" in the Ottoman Empire, and references the man who occupied the position for much of Suleiman's rule, while his leader agenda is one of his titles.
Win a game as Suleiman The Magnificent