Roxelana is probably most famously connected to Hurrem Sultan, the wife of the Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent who ruled over the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. She was originally a slave and concubine but later became his wife, breaking tradition- sultans never married their concubines. She also became a close confident and advisor in all matters of the state, becoming one of the most powerful and influential woman of her time. As for her name, it’s a little less certain. Very little is known about her early life and even her birth name is uncertain, linked to either Anastasia or Alexandra. Roxelana comes from a Turkish nickname meaning “Ruthenian”, referring to the region she was from. Ruthenia was used to refer to several East Slavic regions at the time and it seems likely that she came from what is today modern Ukraine. It comes from the Latin form of Rus, a name of uncertain origin though it could be derived from Ruotsi, the Finnish name for Sweden which comes from an Old Norse term, Róðrsland, meaning the land of rowing”, via Old Norse róður (rowing) from Proto-Germanic *rōaną (to row) derived from a PIE root word.