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Encyclopedia > Viziers

A Vizier (وزير, sometimes also spelled Wazir) is an Arabic term for a high-ranking religious and political advisor, often to a king or sultan. During the days of the Ottoman Empire the Grand Vizier played the role of a pseudo-prime minister in the Sultan's court and was the leader of the Divan, the Imperial Council.

In some societies, unsuccessful viziers were commonly put to death. This was particularly common during much of Ottoman history; for example, one of the most brutal sultans, Selim I, had seven viziers executed during his eight-year rule.

In ancient Egypt the second important person after the pharaoh was the vizier as a general governor. Among the Huns, the vizier was the second in rank officer after the great king. Attila the Hun's vizier was Onegesius.

In contemporary literature, the "Grand Vizier" is a character stereotype and is usually portrayed as a scheming backroom plotter and the clear power behind the throne of a usually bumbling or incompetent monarch. A well-known example of this is the sinister character of Jafar in the Disney movie Aladdin who plots to take over the entire Kingdom of Agraba under the nose of the nation's na´ve sultan. Others include the villains of the video games Prince of Persia and King's Quest 6.

Perhaps the origin of this character archetype is the biblical account of Esther. The book details the rise of a Jewish woman to Queen of Persia, and her role in stopping the plot of Hamman, chief advisor to the Persian king, to wipe out all Jews living in Persia.

Throughout history the notion of the sinister Grand Vizier has often been evoked when a political leader appears to be developing a cozy relationship with a spiritual advisor of questionable scruples or talents.

  Results from FactBites:
VizieR Service (269 words)
VizieR provides access to the most complete library of published astronomical catalogues and data tables available on line, organized in a self-documented database.
VizieR is a joint effort of CDS (Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg) and ESA-ESRIN (Information Systems Division).
Note that VizieR does not contain all available online catalogues; some catalogues are not suitable and some less frequently used catalogues have not yet been incorporated into the VizieR database.
Vizier - LoveToKnow 1911 (149 words)
The office of vizier, which spread from the Arabs to the Persians, Turks, Mongols, and other Oriental peoples, arose under the first Abbasid caliphs (see Mahommedan Institutions, and Caliphate, C § I) and took shape during its tenure by the Barmecides.
The vizier stood between sovereign and subjects, representing the former in all matters touching the latter.
This withdrawal of the head of the state from direct contact with his people was unknown to the Omayyads, and was certainly an imitation of Persian usage; it has even been plausibly conjectured that the name is but the Arabic adaptation of a Persian title.
  More results at FactBites »



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