Selim I (1470 – 1520), born Selim bin Bayezid and also known as Yavuz Sultân Selim Khan, Hâdim-ül Haramain-ish Sharifain, Selim the Steadfast and Selim the Grim (Turkish: I. Selim), was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1512 until his death in 1520.
- "Selim understands our plight. The Byzantines, the Mamluks, the Safavid. Only he has the courage to face these threats."
- ―A Janissary's opinion of Selim.[src]
Selim was born as the youngest son of Sultan Bayezid II. As he was last in line for the throne, he had little hope of ever achieving his father's blessed position. By 1509, two of his brothers were dead and Korkut was too ineffectual and politically isolated to pose a threat, leaving Ahmet as his only opposition to the throne.
Selim decided to secretly gain the support of the Janissaries, the protectors of the Sultanate. The Janissaries held him in high regard, and frowned upon Bayezid's decision to have Ahmet as his successor, saying that he had "chosen a cat over a lion."
Selim was a fierce and determined man, hungry for war, and loyal to the Ottoman Empire. He was eager to see his father's Empire expand into all of the known world.
Rise to the Sultanate
- Ahmet: "Soldiers! Selim is not your master! You serve the Sultan! You carry out his command alone! Where is he? Where is our Sultan?"
- Selim: "He stands before you, brother. Father made his choice."
- —Selim to Ahmet.[src]
For the "glory of the Empire", Selim rallied an army against his father in order to gain the throne. He marched to attack Constantinople from the north, taking advantage that his father was residing in Edirne in the northwest. Selim expected support from the Janissaries and that they would welcome him into the city and demand that Bayezid step aside. However, Bayezid was able to discover his plot and commanded a large army to stop Selim's advance, which he did so with speed. Selim was was forced to withdraw to Kefe to rethink his strategy.
Despite suffering heavy losses, in 1512, Selim dethroned his father as Sultan, and took the title for himself. As he led his forces back to Constantinople, Selim found his brother Ahmet facing off against the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze and Sofia Sartor.
Selim revealed that his father had ultimately chosen him as his successor, and began to strangle Ahmet; knowing of Ahmet's betrayal of the Ottomans, and his alliance with the Byzantine Templars. During this struggle, Selim eventually pushed his brother off a nearby cliff, killing him.
Selim then turned to Ezio, who had watched the scene unfold, and told the Assassin that his son Suleiman spoke quite highly of him. He mentioned that it was only due to his son's respect for the Assassins that he would spare Ezio's life, though he told the Assassin to leave Constantinople and to never return. Ezio responded by advancing towards Selim with his sword drawn, though he was stopped by Sofia. Selim then continued his march towards Constantinople, laughing as he left.
Selim's reign was the first in the history of the Ottoman Empire where the succeeding Sultan was chosen by the Janissaries, and not by the current Sultan.
- Selim is a Turkish variant of the Arabic name Salim, derived from the word سلم (salima), "to be safe."