I got this from a Quora answer:

1)When Taimur won war with Ottoman emperor Bayezid, he had emperor put in a cage like animal. He also made empress of Bayezid serve wine naked in his court. There was so much psychological trauma on Ottoman royal family that after that event no Ottoman emperor married so as to avoid shame of humiliation of empress in case such situation occurs again. Ottoman emperors just had concubines but no empress thereafter.

Note: Having concubines seems to be against Islamic teaching of not having sex outside marriage.

Wikipedia takes a differing view (without clear references to support it):

Many writers claim that Bayezid was mistreated by the Timurids. However, writers and historians from Timur's own court reported that Bayezid was treated well, and that Timur even mourned his death.

  • 2
    A Quora answer with only 2 upvotes isn't very notable. Can we find another source (even if it isn't definitive) making the same claim?
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 18 '15 at 14:40
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    This might be better on the history stack exchange.
    – Murphy
    Aug 18 '15 at 15:24
  • Sources of claim: http://www.san.beck.org/1-10-Ottoman1300-1730.html http://burnpit.legion.org/2012/07/part-ii-battle-angora
    – Jonathon
    Aug 18 '15 at 18:44
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    I sort of agree that this should be in history stackexchange. The unusual claim is that otoman empire do not have wives after that and have concubines instead. That seems to be pretty unusual and most likely false.
    – user4234
    Aug 19 '15 at 5:15
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    @SharenEayrs: Having concubines is perfectly valid according to Fiqh as long as those concubines are technically slaves. Though the claim itself is wrong since Ottoman sultans continued to have wives up till the end of the Ottoman empire.
    – slebetman
    Aug 19 '15 at 6:21

This does appear to be somewhat credible though may not be true.

We're not going to settle it on stack-exchange as it appears to be something for historians to argue about.


Footnote #2: Shortly after fleeing the battlefield, Sultan Bayezid was captured by Timurid forces. Bayezid was brought before Tamerlane, some sources say in an iron cage. At first, Timur treated the captured Turkish ruler well. But, as he was making other plans of military conquest, Timur began to ignore Bayezid, or even treat him with a certain cruelty. One chronicler reports that Timur held a feast – with Bayezid present – and forced Bayezid's wife Despina to serve the guests completely naked. This was too much for the Ottoman ruler. He suffered a stroke, and died in March of 1403.

The author of The Foundation of the Ottoman Empire is skeptical but noted it as one of the claims.


"Many authorities declare that Bayezid committed suicide by striking his head against the bars of his cage, being unable to support the sight of his wife's disgrace. The humiliation to which Despina was subjected was often given in later times by the Osmanlis themselves as a reason why the house of Osman does no contract marriages."

  • What about some primary sources?
    – fdb
    Aug 21 '15 at 20:58
  • @fdb 600 year old original Turkish documents are hard to come by.
    – Murphy
    Aug 21 '15 at 22:07
  • Most mediaeval texts have been published and are easily accessible in academic libraries.
    – fdb
    Aug 21 '15 at 22:11
  • Despina is Despina Hatun, born MIleva Olivera Lazarevic, daughter of Prince Lazar of Serbia. She is listed as one of the four wives of Sultan Bayezid I,was captured in 1402 and released by Timur in 1403. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivera_Despina May 17 '18 at 20:07

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