An outbreak of plague in late sixteenth-century Istanbul was described in vivid detail from its outset by the contemporary historian Selaniki Mustafa Efendi (d. after ). After plague struck the city in , Mehmed III (–) ordered a communal prayer for the lifting of the plague. Prayers for the deceased followed for three weeks, during which time victims included one of the sultan’s favourite concubines, a son of the vezir Halil Paşa, and sixteen of the daughters of Murad III (–). More than  people died in the Old Palace alone. Although the outbreak seems to have continued into the following year, it must have abated considerably in early autumn, as the sultan returned to the New Palace from his Bosphorus retreat in Küçüksu in October .1