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As the youngest of the Sultan's five sons, Prince Selim grew into adulthood with little hope of ever achieving his father's blessed position. But by 1509, his fortunes had changed considerably. Two of his brothers were dead and a third - Kolkut - was too ineffectual and politically isolated to pose a threat. Only Ahmet, the Sultan's favored son, stood in his way. A grim but canny man, bursting with ambition and a love for the craft of war, Selim weighed his options for some time before making his move.

Gathering an army, Selim formulated a plan to attack Constantinople from the north. With his ailing father Bayezid II residing in Edirne to the northwest, he assumed the Janissaries would welcome him into the city and demand that Bayezid step aside. What he did not count on, however, was his father's sudden and renewed vigor for battle. Leaping to defend his throne - and by proxy Ahmet's future as Sultan - Bayezid commanded his own army to stop Selim's advance, which they did with stunning speed. Flustered, Selim retreated to Kefe, north of the Black Sea, to regroup and rethink his strategy, more determined than ever to assume the reins of the Empire.

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