Selim I

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Selim I

(Selim the Grim) (sĕlĭm`), 1467–1520, Ottoman sultan (1512–20). He ascended the throne of the Ottoman Empire by forcing the abdication of his father, Beyazid IIBeyazid II,
1447–1513, Ottoman sultan (1481–1512), son and successor of Muhammad II to the throne of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). With the help of the corps of Janissaries he put down the revolt of his brother Jem.
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, and by killing his brothers. A religious controversy (see SunniSunni
[Arab. Sunna,=tradition], from ahl al-sunnah wa-l-jamaa [Arab.,=the people of the custom of the Prophet and community], the largest division of Islam. Sunni Islam is the heir to the early central Islamic state, in its ackowledgement of the legitimacy of the order of
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 and ShiitesShiites
[Arab., shiat Ali,=the party of Ali], the second largest branch of Islam, Shiites currently account for 10%–15% of all Muslims. Shiite Islam originated as a political movement supporting Ali (cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam) as the
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) and Persian support for his brother Ahmed led Selim, a Sunni, to attack Persia. In 1514 he defeated the Shiite conqueror of Persia, Shah Ismail, annexing Diyarbekir and Kurdistan. This began the enduring rivalry between Persians and Ottomans. Aided by his superior artillery, Selim defeated (1516–17) the Mamluks in Syria and Egypt, which he added to the Ottoman Empire. By assuming the caliphatecaliphate
, the rulership of Islam; caliph , the spiritual head and temporal ruler of the Islamic state. In principle, Islam is theocratic: when Muhammad died, a caliph [Arab.,=successor] was chosen to rule in his place.
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, Selim made himself and his successors spiritual as well as temporal heads of the empire and gained control over the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Selim died while preparing the conquest of Rhodes. Under him the Ottoman Empire entered the period of its greatest power. His son, Sulayman I, succeeded him.