Benjamin Arbel

Keywords: Nûr Bânû, Venetian, Murad III, Ottoman


The origins of Nûr Bânû, first consort of Selim II and mother of Murad III, have been a subject of many speculations and much confusion. Modern historiography produced two contrasting versions about the early life of this influential personality: whereas most scholars have regarded her as a Venetian patrician, she is considered as Corfiote in Greece. A reconsideration of the question, supported by archival documents, though not leading to a definite solution, presents the Greek version as more plausible, while analyzing the various factors which may explain the elusiveness characterizing Nûr Bânû's identity.