Turkish Odyssey

Contents
of this Page

. Pre-Anatolian Turks

The Seljuk Period

. The Crusades

The Beyliks (Principalities) Period

The Ottoman Period

History of Turkey Part 3
Turkish Period

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PRE-ANATOLIAN TURKS

 

Turks, or Turkic peoples, are the principal descendants of large bands of nomads who roamed in the Altai Mountains (and thus are also called the Altaic peoples) in northern Mongolia and on the steppes of Central Asia during the early centuries of the Christian era. Their language is a branch of the Ural-Altaic family. Physically, most of the Turkic peoples resemble the Mongols, although those of the West have been so mixed with native peoples that they cannot be distinguished from other Mediterranean ethnic groups.

The original Central Asian Turkic nomads established their first great empire in the 6CAD, a nomadic confederation that they called Gokturk meaning "Sky Turk".

Shamanistic in religion and tribal in organization, Gokturks broke up in the 7C. The Eastern part of the confederation became assimilated with the Chinese civilization and gave rise to the Mongols. The Western part contracted and was ultimately influenced by the Islamic civilization of the Middle East.

The Uighur remained in northern Mongolia and the Kirgiz wandered in the steppes to the north. The Oguz Turks, called the Turkmen (Turkoman) in Europe, dominated the area between Mongolia and Transoxiania, where contacts with Moslem missionaries, merchants and warriors led to further assimilation.

Under the leadership of the Seljuk warrior family, the Oguz tribes entered Iran and then other parts of the Middle East. They went as raiders and mercenaries in service of the weakening Abbasid caliphs and also were hired by many towns to provide defenses against the anarchical conditions of the time.

In the meantime, in Central Asia the Kirgiz pushed the Uighur out of Mongolia in the late 9C. The Uighur moved south, into northern China and west into Transoxiania. The Kirgiz also moved, finally settling in the mountains of what is now the Commonwealth of Independent States, where they remain today. The Mongols of northern China were formed into a powerful military confederation under the leadership of Genghis Khan about 1200 AD. They conquered China and the Asian steppes between northern China and Transoxiania and by the middle of the 13C had invaded and conquered the Seljuk-Abbasid Middle East as well as Anatolia. The Mongols brought substantial devastation while at the same time, however, they introduced Christian and Buddhist elements from Central Asia and established trade and cultural relations between the Middle East and China.

 
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THE SELJUK PERIOD  
Seljuk Turks Period (1071-1243 AD)  
   
The Oguz Turks, under the leadership of Tugrul Bey and Cagri Bey, (the grandsons of Seljuk), subdued Horasan and defeated the Ghaznavids in the Dandanakan Battle and established the Great Seljuk Empire in 1040 AD. In 1071 Alparslan defeated the Byzantine emperor in the Battle of Manzikert which marked the beginning of the period of Turks and that of Islam in Anatolia. It was following this date that the Turks fully conquered the whole of Anatolia and established the Anatolian Seljuk State as part of the Great Seljuk Empire.

The Turks were the first people who invaded Anatolia completely. The previous invading peoples captured only parts of Anatolia. Although Persians and Romans invaded completely, they kept it under their political control rather than settling.

Turks came to Anatolia in migrations. Before coming they were Moslems and mixed with those of the local people who accepted being Moslem.

It is wrong to believe, as many have, that the pursuance of an Islamic policy and of conquest in Anatolia led the Seljuks to persecute the Christians. Inside the Seljuk Empire, as soon as order was restored, the lot of Christians was much the same as it had been before: the crusaders, who thought it must be otherwise, were judging conditions in Jerusalem by those prevailing in Anatolia.

After 1150 AD Seljuk weakness enabled various Turkoman leaders to establish their own principalities along the fringes of the Empire. They acted as gazis, or fighters for the faith of Islam against the infidels. The Great Seljuks defended Syria and Palestine against incursions during the Crusades, limiting the domination of the Crusaders to the coastal areas. Contact between Islam and the crusading representatives of Christianity was largely limited to military matters and trade.

The Seljuks understood the importance of transit trade and adjusted their military and economic policies accordingly. It was very interesting that, for the first time in history, Seljuks created state insurance for the losses of tradesmen. For the caravans, they developed the kervansaray (caravansary) which was designed to meet the needs of any trader on the account of the state.

Parallel to well-organized international trade, cities in this period developed in wealth and population. That period also recorded universal teachings of enlightened sages like Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi or Yunus Emre. They taught about unity with God through devotion.

The Arabic language was used by scholars, Persian was the state language and Turkish was the daily or business language. Seljuk art blended those of Central Asia, Islamic Middle East and Anatolia.

The shamanistic Gokturks, before burying their dead, mummified and kept them in a tent for six months. This Central Asian tradition gave way to the rise of domed tombs, turbe, in Anatolia.

Lions and bulls, double-headed eagles, dragons, astrological motifs like planets and the Tree of Life were common in Seljuk decorative arts. These symbols come from Anatolian culture or perhaps from pre-Islamic shamanism.

Another innovation and artistic achievement was the production of tiles.

THE CRUSADES

The Crusades were Christian military expeditions undertaken between the 11C and 14C to recapture the Holy Land from the Moslems. The word crusade, which is derived from the Latin crux "cross", is a reference to the biblical injunction that Christians carry their crosses. Crusaders wore a red cloth cross sewn on their tunics to indicate that they had assumed the cross and were soldiers of Christ.

Causes

The Crusaders continued the older tradition of Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which was often imposed as a penance; however, they also assumed a dual role as pilgrims and warriors. Such an armed pilgrimage was regarded as a justifiable war, because it was fought to recapture the places sacred to Christians.

For Christians, the very name of Jerusalem evoked visions of the end of time and of the heavenly city. To help rescue the Holy Land would fulfill the ideal of the Christian knight. Papal encouragement, the hope of eternal merit and the offer of indulgences motivated thousands to enroll in the cause.

Political considerations were also important. The Crusades were a response to appeals for help from the Byzantine Empire, threatened by the advance of the Seljuk Turks. The year 1071 AD had seen both the capture of Jerusalem and the decisive defeat of the Byzantine army at Manzikert, creating fear of further Turkish victories. In addition, the hopes of the Papacy for the reunification of East and West, the nobility's hunger for land at a time of insufficient crop, population pressure in the West and an alternative to warfare at home were major factors.

Equally, the Crusades were a result of economic circumstances. Many participants were lured by the fabulous riches of the East; a campaign abroad appealed as a means of escaping from the pressures of feudal society, in which the younger sons in a family often lacked economic opportunities. On a larger scale, the major European powers and the rising Italian cities (Genoa, Pisa and Venice) saw the Crusades as a means of establishing and extending trade routes.

Campaigns

Out of all of the Crusades the first and the forth are the most important from an Anatolian point of view. In general, the others were not as successful as these two. Some of them came out to be the Children's Crusade (1212 AD), in which thousands of children perished from hunger and disease or were sold into slavery on their way to the Mediterranean.

The First Crusade

(1096-99 AD) The main army, mostly French and Norman knights assembled at Constantinople and proceeded on a long, arduous march through Anatolia. They captured Antioch (June 3, 1098) and finally Jerusalem (July 15, 1099) in savage battles.

The Fourth Crusade

(1202-04 AD) The Crusaders first attacked the Christian city of Zara in Dalmatia. Then, they sailed on to lay siege to Constantinople. The Byzantine capital fell on April 13, 1204; it was looted, particularly for its treasures and relics and made the residence of a Latin emperor, with Baldwin, Count of Flanders, as the first incumbent. A Greek army, almost casually, recaptured the city in 1261 AD.

The sacking of the wealthy city of Constantinople in three days by this fourth crusade was so tragic that a Christian high official declared, "it would be better to see the royal turban of the Turks in the midst of the city than the Latin miter".

Consequences

The results of the Crusades are difficult to assess. In religious terms, they hardened Moslem attitudes toward Christians. At the same time, doubts were raised among Christians about God's will, the church's authority and the role of the papacy. Religious fervor yielded to disinterest, skepticism and a growing legalism although the Crusades did stimulate religious enthusiasm on a broad scale. Knowledge, through contact with the Moslem world, replaced ignorance about other cultures and religions, and earned them a certain respect. The idea of religious conversion by force gave way to a new emphasis on apologetics and mission. The Koran was translated into Latin in 1143 AD.

Politically, the Crusades did not effect much change. The Crusader states and the Latin Empire of Constantinople were short-lived. The almost endless quarrels among rival lords in the Levant exposed a fatal weakness of the West and strengthened the Moslem conviction that the war could be carried farther west. In this sense, the Crusades led directly to the Turkish wars of later centuries, in which the Ottoman Empire expanded into the Balkans and threatened the very heart of Europe. Today, only the ruins of Crusader castles remain as evidence of the knights' presence in the East during which more than 100 castles and fortresses were built.

Through the Crusades, Islamic science, philosophy and medicine deeply influenced intellectual life in the West.

 
 
 
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THE BEYLIKS (PRINCIPALITIES) PERIOD  
   
 

Political unity in Anatolia was disrupted with the collapse of the Anatolian Seljuk state at the beginning of the 14C. As a result, some regions fell under the domination of Beyliks (Principalities) until the beginning of the 16C.

The Ottoman Empire is an extension of one of these principalities.

 

 

 

 

 
 
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THE OTTOMAN PERIOD  
Ottoman Turks Period (1299-1923)  
   
1299 Establishment of the Ottoman Principality by Osman Bey in Sogut and Domanic (east of Bursa)
1326-1362 Orhan Bey period. Accepted as the real founder of the Ottoman State by his military and administrative organization and forming the divan. The first ruler to use the title of sultan.
1326 Ottomans under Sultan Orhan take Bursa and establish their first capital there
1364 Turks under Sultan Murat I capture Adrianople (Edirne) and establish Ottoman capital there
1389 Murat I wins the Kosova I Battle; He establishes the Janissary Corps
1396 Ottoman force led by Bayezit I defeats Crusader army at Nicopolis (Nigbolu)
1397 First Ottoman siege of Constantinople
1402 Tamerlane defeats Ottomans under Bayezit I at Ankara; the Sultan is captured and eventually commits suicide. Mongols overrun Anatolia, and Ottoman power in the subcontinent is temporarily crushed
1413-1421 Reign of Mehmet I; revival of Ottoman power in Anatolia
1421-1451 Reign of Murat II; Ottoman armies sweep through the Balkans and also regain lost territory in Anatolia
1451-1481 Reign of Mehmet II, the Conqueror
1452 He builds the Rumeli Fortress on the Bosphorus
1453
(May 29)
Turks under Mehmet II conquer Constantinople, which becomes the fourth and last Ottoman capital under the name of Istanbul; he is entitled as the conqueror
1453-1579 Rise in the Ottoman Empire
1481-1512 Reign of Bayezit II
1512-1520 Reign of Selim I; Battles of Caldiran, Mercidabik, Ridaniye
1517 Selim I captures Cairo and adds the title of caliph to that of sultan
1520-1566 Reign of Suleyman the Magnificent (the longest in the Ottoman Empire; 46 years); zenith of Ottoman power; because he organizes the state by making new laws, he is called Kanuni meaning law-giver; the Mediterranean Sea becomes a Turkish lake with many captures
1526 Battle of Mohacs (Mohac) and the conquest of Buda and Pest (Peste)
1529 First and unsuccessful Siege of Vienna
1534-1535 Suleyman the Magnificient's expedition into Iran and Iraq
1538 Preveze naval battle, Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa (Barbarossa) becomes Kaptan-i Derya (Commander in chief of the fleet)
1566-1574 Reign of Selim II
1569 The great fire of Istanbul
1571 At Lepanto naval battle allied fleet defeat the Ottomans except one squadron of Kilic Ali Pasa.
1588 Death of Sinan
1579-1699 The rule of women. Ineffectual sultans give up control of Ottoman Empire to their women and grand viziers; Reforms and Renaissance in Europe
1607 Celali uprisings, rebellions against the land tenure system of the provincial fief-holding cavalry
1638 Murat IV captures Baghdad
1648 Great earthquake of Istanbul
1661 Another great fire in Istanbul
1666-1812 Period of intermittent wars between Turks and European powers; Ottoman Empire loses much power in southern Europe
1683 Second and unsuccessful Siege of Vienna by Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa Pasa of Merzifon
1686 Ottomans are forced to evacuate Hungary
1699 Treaty of Karlowitz (Karlofca); the first loss of territory by the Ottoman Empires
1699-1792 Decline of the Ottoman Empire
1711 Grand Vizier Baltaci Mehmet Pasa's battle of Pruth against Russians. According to a spicy tradition, Pasa surrounded Peter the Great's army but then let him avoid humiliation because he was persuaded by a secret nocturnal visit to his tent by the czar's mistress (later empress) Catherine
1718-1774 Treaties of Passarowitz (Pasarofca) and Belgrade with Austrians, Kucuk Kaynarca with Russians
1718-1730 Tulip period; Istanbul is decorated with beautiful palaces and gardens; the first printing house in Istanbul and the first paper factory in Yalova are set up
1750 Another great fire in Istanbul
1754 Major earthquake in Istanbul
1782 Fire in Istanbul
1789-1807 Recovery period; Selim III; education becomes obligatory, reform in the army; Nizam-i Cedit (organized army)
1790 Ottoman-Prussian alliance against Austria and Russia
1808-1839 Mahmut II period
1826 Mahmut II abolishes the Janissary Corps; Medical and military schools are opened; General Post Office is set up; Ministries are established instead of the Divan; Government officers obliged to wear trousers
1839-76 The Tanzimat Period; Mahmut II puts the westernizing Imperial Reform Decree of the Tanzimat into operation; Abdulmecit and Mustafa Resit Pasa prepare a new program of reform: laws are made instead of sultan's orders; equal rights for everybody; equal taxes according to incomes; no punishment without trials
1856 Paris Treaty: Ottoman Empire to be accepted as a European state
1876-1909 Reign of Abdulhamit II
1876-1877 Short-lived first Constitutional Regime
1876 First Constitution is prepared by Young Turks and the first Turkish Parliament is established
1877 Parliament is dissolved by Abdulhamit II
1877-1908 Autocracy of Abdulhamit II
1881 Birth of Mustafa Kemal in Salonika
1908 Constitutional Regime II
1908 Abdulhamit is forced to accept constitutional rule; parliament restored
1909 Abdulhamit deposed; Young Turks take power
1912-13 Balkan Wars; Turks lose Macedonia and part of Thrace
1914 Ottoman Empire enters World War I as an ally of Germany
1915 Turks, led by Mustafa Kemal, repel Allied landings on Gallipoli Peninsula
1918 Turks surrender to Allies; Istanbul occupied by Anglo-French Army
1919-1922 War of Independence
1914 Ottoman Empire enters World War I as an ally of Germany
1915 Turks, led by Mustafa Kemal, repel Allied landings on Gallipoli Peninsula
1918 Turks surrender to Allies; Istanbul occupied by Anglo-French Army
1919-1922 War of Independence
1919 Sivas Congress; Ataturk leads Turkish Nationalists to start the struggle for national sovereignty; Greek army lands at Smyrna
1920 Treaty of Sévres; Ottoman Empire dissolved
1920 Establishment of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey with Ataturk as the president
1922 Turks defeat Greeks and drive them out of Asia Minor; sultanate abolished
1923 Treaty of Lausanne establishes sovereignty of modern Turkey, defines its frontiers and arranges for exchange of minorities between Greece and Turkey; Turkish Republic is proclaimed; Mustafa Kemal is elected president; Ankara replaces Istanbul as the capital

The Ottoman Empire was a Moslem Turkish state that encompassed Anatolia, Southeastern Europe, the Arab Middle East and North Africa from the 14C to the early 20C.

The Ottoman Empire succeeded both the Byzantine Empire (1453) and the Arab Caliphate, the mantle of descent from Mohammed after the conquest of Egypt (1517).

Expansion of the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Turks were descendants of Turkoman nomads who entered Anatolia in the 11C as mercenary soldiers for the Seljuks. At the end of the 13C, Osman I (from whom the name Ottoman is derived) asserted the independence of his small principality in Sogut near Bursa, which adjoined the decadent Byzantine Empire.

Gazis from all over Anatolia hitched themselves to Osman's rising star, following the usual custom of adopting the name of their leader and thus calling themselves Osmanli. Their fight for their religion, holy war, was called gaza, and was intended not to destroy but to subjugate the non-Moslem world.

Within a century the Osman Dynasty had extended its domains into an Empire stretching from the Danube to the Euphrates. In Bosnia, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia the conquered Christian princes were restored to their lands as vassals, while the subjects were left free to follow their own religions in return for loyalty. The Ottomans accepted submissive local nobility and military commanders into their service, along with their troops, instead of killing them.

The empire was temporarily disrupted by the invasion of the Tatar conqueror Timur, who defeated and captured the Ottoman Sultan Bayezit I at the Battle of Ankara (1402). However, Mehmet I (1389-1421), the Restorer, succeeded in reuniting much of the Empire and it was reconstituted by Murat II and Mehmet II. In 1453, Mehmet II conquered Constantinople, the last Byzantine stronghold.

During the reigns of Murat II and Mehmet II the devsirme system of recruiting young Christians for conversion to Islam and service in the Ottoman army and administration was developed. The Christians in the army were organized into the elite infantry corps called the Janissaries. Urban families, those with particular skills vital to the local economy, or families with only one son were excluded in this devsirme system. From the poor families' point of view, it was a great chance for their sons to be offered a high level of education especially in the palace which would provide good future prospects.

The empire reached its peak in the 16C. Sultan Selim I (r. 1512-20) conquered Egypt and Syria, gained control of the Arabian Peninsula and beat back the Safavid rulers of Iran at the Battle of Caldiran (1514). He was succeeded by Suleyman I (the Magnificent, r. 1520-66), who took Iraq, Hungary and Albania and established Ottoman naval supremacy in the Mediterranean. Suleyman codified and institutionalized the classic structure of the Ottoman state and society, making his dominions into one of the great powers of Europe.

Decline of the Ottoman Empire

The decline of the empire began late in the 16C. It was caused by a myriad of interdependent factors, among which the most important were the flight of the Turco-Islamic aristocracy and degeneration of the ability and honesty both of the sultans and of their ruling class. The devsirme divided into many political parties and fought for power, manipulated sultans and used the government for their own benefit. Corruption, nepotism, inefficiency and misrule spread.

Reform Attempts

Sultan Selim III (r. 1789-1807) attempted to reform the Ottoman system by destroying the Janissary corps and replacing it with the Nizam-i Cedit (new order) army modeled after the new military institutions being developed in the West. This attempt so angered the Janissaries and others with a vested interest in the old ways that they overthrew him and massacred most of the reform leaders. Defeats at the hands of Russia and Austria, the success of national revolutions in Serbia and Greece and the rise of the powerful independent Ottoman governor of Egypt, Mohammed Ali, so discredited the Janissaries, however, that Sultan Mahmut II was able to massacre and destroy them in 1826.

Mahmut then inaugurated a new series of modern reforms, which involved the abolition of the traditional institutions and their replacement with new ones imported from the West. This affected every area of Ottoman life, not just the military. These reforms were continued and brought to their culmination during the Tanzimat reform era (1839-76) and the reign of Abdulhamit II (1876-1909). The scope of government was extended and centralized as reforms were made in administration, finance, education, justice, economy, communications and army.

Financial mismanagement and incompetence, along with national revolts in the Balkans and eastern Anatolia, the French occupation of Algeria and Tunisia, the takeover by the British in Egypt and the Italians in Libya, threatened to end the very existence of the Empire, let alone its reforms. By this time the Ottoman Sultanate was known as the "Sick Man of Europe," and European diplomacy focused on the so-called Eastern Question how to dispose of the Sick Man's territories without upsetting the European balance of power. Abdulhamit II, however, rescued the empire, at least temporarily, by reforming the Ottoman financial system, manipulating the rivalries of the European powers and developing the pan-Islamic and pan-Turkic movements to undermine the empires of his enemies. The sultan granted a constitution and parliament in 1876, but he soon abandoned them and ruled autocratically so as to achieve his objectives as rapidly and efficiently as possible. He became so despotic that liberal opposition arose under the leadership especially in the palace which would provide good future prospects.

The empire reached its peak in the 16C. Sultan Selim I (r. 1512-20) conquered Egypt and Syria, gained control of the Arabian Peninsula and beat back the Safavid rulers of Iran at the Battle of Caldiran (1514). He was succeeded by Suleyman I (the Magnificent, r. 1520-66), who took Iraq, Hungary and Albania and established Ottoman naval supremacy in the Mediterranean. Suleyman codified and institutionalized the classic structure of the Ottoman state and society, making his dominions into one of the great powers of Europe.

Decline of the Ottoman Empire

The decline of the empire began late in the 16C. It was caused by a myriad of interdependent factors, among which the most important were the flight of the Turco-Islamic aristocracy and degeneration of the ability and honesty both of the sultans and of their ruling class. The devsirme divided into many political parties and fought for power, manipulated sultans and used the government for their own benefit. Corruption, nepotism, inefficiency and misrule spread.

Reform Attempts

Sultan Selim III (r. 1789-1807) attempted to reform the Ottoman system by destroying the Janissary corps and replacing it with the Nizam-i Cedit (new order) army modeled after the new military institutions being developed in the West. This attempt so angered the Janissaries and others with a vested interest in the old ways that they overthrew him and massacred most of the reform leaders. Defeats at the hands of Russia and Austria, the success of national revolutions in Serbia and Greece and the rise of the powerful independent Ottoman governor of Egypt, Mohammed Ali, so discredited the Janissaries, however, that Sultan Mahmut II was able to massacre and destroy them in 1826.

Mahmut then inaugurated a new series of modern reforms, which involved the abolition of the traditional institutions and their replacement with new ones imported from the West. This affected every area of Ottoman life, not just the military. These reforms were continued and brought to their culmination during the Tanzimat reform era (1839-76) and the reign of Abdulhamit II (1876-1909). The scope of government was extended and centralized as reforms were made in administration, finance, education, justice, economy, communications and army.

Financial mismanagement and incompetence, along with national revolts in the Balkans and eastern Anatolia, the French occupation of Algeria and Tunisia, the takeover by the British in Egypt and the Italians in Libya, threatened to end the very existence of the Empire, let alone its reforms. By this time the Ottoman Sultanate was known as the "Sick Man of Europe," and European diplomacy focused on the so-called Eastern Question how to dispose of the Sick Man's territories without upsetting the European balance of power. Abdulhamit II, however, rescued the empire, at least temporarily, by reforming the Ottoman financial system, manipulating the rivalries of the European powers and developing the pan-Islamic and pan-Turkic movements to undermine the empires of his enemies. The sultan granted a constitution and parliament in 1876, but he soon abandoned them and ruled autocratically so as to achieve his objectives as rapidly and efficiently as possible. He became so despotic that liberal opposition arose under the leadership of the Young Turks, many of whom had to leave the country from Abdulhamit's police.

Overthrow of the Ottoman Empire

In 1908 a revolution led by the Young Turks forced Abdulhamit to restore the parliament and constitution. After a few months of constitutional rule, however, a counterrevolutionary effort to restore the sultan's autocracy led the Young Turks to dethrone Abdulhamit completely in 1909. He was replaced by Mehmet (Resit) V (r. 1909-18), who was only a puppet of those controlling the government.

Rapid modernization continued during the Young Turk era (1908-18), with particular attention given to urbanization, agriculture, industry, communications, secularization of the state and the emancipation of women.

The empire was involved in World War I to take sides with Germany and Austria-Hungary. The defeat of these Central Powers led to the breakup and foreign occupation of the Ottoman Empire.

The Administration

The head of the empire was the sultan and the sultanate passed from father to son. The orders of the sultan were accepted as laws. His three major duties were commanding the army, appointing the statesmen and supervising the Divan, today's Cabinet. Members of the Divan were the chief vizier (prime minister), viziers (state ministers), kazasker (minister responsible for the military), two defterdars (finance ministers), nisanci (general secretary), seyhulislam (authorized head of the religious matters) and kaptan-i derya (Commander in chief of the fleet).

The functions of the ruling class were limited to exploiting the resources of the empire, largely for their own benefit; expanding and defending the state and maintaining order and preserving the faith and practice of Islam as well as the religions of all the subjects of the sultan.

The vast class of subjects were left to carry out all other functions of the state through autonomous religious communities, artisans' guilds, popular mystic orders and confederations, which together formed a substratum of popular society.

The Use of Land

In the Ottoman Empire the lands belonged to the state. The right to use the land was given to people and some revenue from the income received was given to the state. However, when people failed to use their land effectively for three consecutive years it had to be returned.

The lands in general were divided into two categories; Vakif and Dirlik. Vakif estates were spared for charity institutions and public use like mosques, hospitals, caravansaries and suchlike. Dirlik (fief) lands were given to statesmen according to their incomes; each of these lands was classified as Has, Zeamet, or Timar. Owners used some part of them for themselves and spared other parts for the expenses of a certain number of soldiers. With this system, the state had a powerful army without costs.

The Army

The Ottoman army was mainly divided into three classes:

a) Kapikulu soldiers were professionals who acted directly under the strict command of the sultan. They were not even allowed to marry. They did not have any connection to the land holding system as they worked for salaries. Ulufe was the name given to their salaries which they received every 3 months. The majority of these Kapikulu soldiers consisted of janissaries. There were both foot-soldiers and cavalrymen.

b) Eyalet soldiers were Dirlik-holding soldiers. The majority of the Ottoman army were Eyalet soldiers. They were the front line soldiers and like Kapikulu soldiers they were divided into both foot-soldiers and cavalrymen.

c) Reinforcements were soldiers who came from annexed rulers.

Education

The two main arteries of education were Enderun and Medrese.

Enderun was a royal school with a very high level of education. The aim of this school was to educate statesmen. Students were treated with considerable discipline and by the age of 30 approximately, they finished their schooling and attained their posts.

Although the medrese was originally a theological school, in the Ottoman period, education in the medrese was conducted in four faculties; 1-religion and law, 2-language and literature, 3-philosophy, 4-basic sciences. The language of education was Arabic. There was no set period, students had to finish particular books rather than years. Students lived in cells, ate in imarets (kitchens for the public, generally the poor) and received some pocket money from the school Foundations.

images/g0006t.jpg
Miniature Depicting Ottoman Army
 
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Contents
of this Page

Pre-Anatolian Turks

The Seljuk Period

. The Crusades

The Beyliks (Principalities) Period

The Ottoman Period