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Ottoman Periods Overview

Michael Johnathan McDonald
Berkeley History 144A
Dr. Leslie Peirce
Kubad’s Significance                                      November 22, 2005

The Story of Kubad deepened my understanding of the Ottoman Empire enormously as I was flabbergasted at the revelation that a raw material (alum), an ingredient used for making gunpowder, and appeared with the conspicuous  term ‘entrusted’ in the narrative, was traded between the two enemy states. This trade deal, which we find out the Sultan’s materials were some how lost by a Venetian Jewish merchant, led to a bound six month capitulation negotiated by the Venetian bailo and his representatives in the shair’ah courts for their liability to some Ottoman citizens of the same Jewish merchant family which they all had loyalties to their own high officials of their own respective states. This then lead to an excuse to go to war after the six month default period by a factional war party in the divan. This, of course, was compounded by the lone grand viser’s disposition of not provoking a Holy European Alliance against the Ottomans in which the story takes a unique twist.

This not only showed me of the weakened position of the grand viser, the Sultans authoritative absence, and the factions that arose within the imperial state council but this then led me to understand an Islamic band substance, albeit played off as rumor, traded by this family and controlled by the war party was the reason for two island conquests and two Sultan’s imbibing desires (penchant for alcohol).  Shocking to say the least, I learned further how our imperial courier Kubad (çuvaş diplomat-like) benefited financially through double agency and how he manipulated situations to his own views rather then his master the grand viser for whom he felt sorry for because of his political cautions.  This deepened my understanding to question why Selim II was the first Sultan to give up important military decisions to his ministers. Furthermore, I learned how significant Ottoman political marriages played important roles in shifting leadership appointments. Not to least diminish the plot intrigue of how Kubad kept the Venetian controllers convinced that Christian pirates were the reason the Ottomans waged war against them all those years. Fascinating to say the least, I also learned our protagonist spent time, while not imbibing himself, possibly conversing with, William Harborne or Thomas Dallam or other trade representatives of Queen Elizabeth I on the shores of the Golden Horn. I learned how the Sephardic Jews knowing of Getto Novo preferred refuge in Venice over the Ottoman empire and through Kubad’s eyes how the Ottomans viewed Europe as a primal and a high risk ideologue.
McDonald 2


Kubad a fictional story by Daniel Goffman deepened my understanding in many more ways, but this paper’s breath is too limited to further go into detail. Goffman surely would receive heat from the “Kemalist positivism” crowed and for that matter the strict disciplinary Ottoman academy that sees no basis for a fictional interpretation whatsoever. However, I’m not convinced this strict adherence is the only way to write history. I’m keenly aware in History of how subjugated knowledges pass through the apex of erudite knowledges  which appear as representative of genealogies that are nothing more than grey areas of truths. In basic language – we don’t know. Therefore, Goffman’s treatment of the Ottomans in this light is only subsequent to understanding the political and social nuances of other great civilizations and states have gone through. The Ottoman Empire appears no different in operation then their contemporary counter part the European states, or for that matter, even American political scheming and closed perspective outlook today. Thus being said, the discursive knowledges of President Bush’s motives for going to war with Iraq, not to free a country from subversion but to benefit his oil buddies, are no different then of Goffman’s sultanic speculations for the reasons to take Rhodes and Cyprus.
For a first time reader of the Ottoman genre I recommend reading Kubad for its visuals and emotional characterizations of places, people and the inner subtitles of an historical period.  The Narrative in the third person limited omniscient,  gives the reader at times nearly a first person viewpoint of the main character and Goffman presents it well which is to say that it is also entertaining and a joy to read. The limited biographies and lack of memoirs, letters, and diaries until the late Ottoman empire gives us limited insight to a factual understanding of what went on in the Ottoman Empire. Truly opening up the very oft times reiterated lest studied civilization in history to a fresh Hollywoodish approach of historical story telling can give us two desired results in the Ottoman genre. First a more entertaining way to learn history in which draws in more audience numbers for the author and second, a backlash by punctilious historian’s clamoring to the Turkish repository to transcribe the overwhelming large Ottoman  archives to try to debunk the story. In this case, both sides benefit with the pursuit remaining on the Ottomans.

Michael Johnathan McDonald
Berkeley History 144A
Friday 18, 2005                        Non-Muslim Women’s Ottoman Agency

“A  [ Ottoman] slave was a human chattel whos person, body, and fruits of labor were appropriated by the owner, ” Marc Baer tells us in his work  ‘Gender and History: Islamic Conversion Narrative of Women’. This was no more apropos then for non-Muslim women in the Ottomans society. “Issues of class, gender and religion merged in non-Muslim slave women, who occupied the most disadvantage position in every social interaction and had no control over their sexuality.” Women’s use of shari’ah courts gave them an important leverage in negotiating familial and social relations. Women’s inheritance laws under the Shari’ah favored them compared to their community courts, and the Shari’ah became a haven for women to seek divorce form their husbands through conversion.  Women had more control over their lives in the mid-16th century Ottoman empire, according to Baer. However,  he says converted non-Muslim women to Islam only gained them partial liberation in a shari’ah law that held Muslim men as dominant figures in the Muslim way of life. Finally, women “converted into a religion that upheld the slave system that had originally oppressed them.” If she again has another non satisfactory marriage, the converted women again appeals to the shari’ah court in which Baer doesn’t elaborate any further.

Michael J McDonald

110 Ottomans
Dis: Friday class
Paper 9/9/05


Mehmed would finally make Bosnia submit to Islam in continued efforts to get strategically close to Europe to make the final world Islamic assault upon Europe.  The result of Bosnia Islamicisation by Mehmed still reverberates today and was seen (similarly) in a conflict of 1999 Kosovo war between Islam and the Christians.  Still this was an economic issue to the Ottomans as much as it was spiritual (islamicisation). For example,  Mehmed won a strategic waterway separating Asia Minor from Europe  called Dardanelles, in which he then built two fortresses to protect his interest on both sides of the river. The significance of is that he now controlled a vital seaway for strategic commerce.


Personal Tax ( Jizya) were taxes on the Jews, Christians, but not Muslims.

16th Century
1. 16th Century. Governors and controlling positions in the Ottoman Empire began to slowly change from military men to higher clergy and business men. They focused on stricter laws of the Muslim codes.
2. Spain had kicked out the Umayyad dynastic control and began to modernize its naval power. They challenged the Ottomans on the western control of the Mediterranean. Eventual stalemate and the fact that Spain turned westward toward the new world left the two at a truce. Yet, a little later the Silver Spain brings back causes inflation, those effects all the way to Anatolia. The Ottoman Empire suffered from severe inflation, as did all of Europe, as New World silver flooded in.
3. black plague, had came from the Silk road ( modern scientists conclude; first thought to be from India- which was also a tributary of the silk road from ancient times) Even though Europe saw some its worse stages in the 15th Century, the Black plague moved to Egypt in the 16th Century. This had a coupled effect with the reforms of farm-tax because the Ottoman rules wanted more tax money. This resulted in new imports from the Italians renaissance which created an imbalanced trade deficit.
4. Algiers was the seat of Ottoman Sea Power which defended Ottoman interests in the western Mediterranean and engaged in privateering against European merchant ships in time of war.
5. --Selim and Suleyman’s (16th c.) victory over Safavid Shi’ism began an intellectualism decline. Ottomans consolidated Sunni orthodoxy, which relied on strictest of Islamic Law, including ‘kafr’ laws, that they restricted a tolerance for outsiders coming in and doing business as equals. The big thrust in Europe was the further efforts to separate Church and State which propelled new thought and new inspiration of materialism. This drive out of the Catholics and Protestants, created one of the points of Calvin, fights brought people who focused on their own talents to improve humanism, another theme that Europe was experiencing. At the same moment, the Arabs were advancing backwards into how to restrict humanism to only a select group of people, namely the Islamists. Intellectually challenging and stimulating conflict between the Shiites ( The more freedom oriented at the time) and the Sunni ( The more dogmatic – restrictive at the time) was shut down by the Ulamma ( Higher Clergy) who had taken more control of the civic offices in the Ottoman Empire. Muslim scholars were forced to be intellectually resistant to new ideas other than puritanical Arabism. The Ulamma now controlling the civic offices were convinced of the superiority of Muslim / Ottoman civilization, they were seemingly oblivious to the advances being made in the infidel West. Sufi orders, once freer thinkers in the Abbasid period changed to fundamentalism and many branches separated into their own sects.

17th Century
1. Tripoli the Janissaries revolted and set up an intern government.
2. Set up commercial shipping
3. Tunis, Janissaries revolted and set up an intern government ending Ottoman rule.
4. Safavids of Iran want now to encroach upon Anatolia. They are Shiite, and the Ottomans are strict Sunni.
5. Russia looks for eyeing the Black Sea area.
6. Catholic powers in the west view western Mediterranean struggle for dominance ( Short lived as Spain then focused on the new world).
7. Russia, now taking the Orthodox role wants to be the new Byzantine of the east.
8. Industrial revolution is paramount.
9. The Ottomans made a mistake by not changing with the current (adapting) with the industrial revolution. Much of the old Military men who were replaced by ‘ulema and other higher clergy who enforced stricter laws on the Arabs ( this meant that they were to distain advanced technology and live like the days of the Hegira ( this is an extreme outlook, but was part of the problem that they fell) .
10. British East India Company, formed in 1600s, although in direct competition with French and Dutch interests until 1763, extended its control over almost the whole subcontinent of India.

18th Century

1. The Muslim religious elite reached the apex of their power. In the last quarter of the century,
2. 2. Catherine the Great resumed Russian expansion southward; her ” Greek Scheme " aimed to put her grandson, Constantine, on the throne of a neo-Byzantine Empire with its capital at Constantinople.
3. 3. Tulip Period ( 1718-30 ) The Tulip Period ( 1718-30 ) marks the first conscious borrowing ( first - Ibrahim Pasha and the Hapsburgs, via Suleyman 4-crowned European style helmet) of European culture and art. The term tulipomania (alternatively tulip mania) is used metaphorically to refer to any large economic bubble. The term originally came from the period in the history of the Netherlands during which demand for tulip bulbs reached such a peak that enormous prices were charged for a single bulb. It took place in the first part of the 17th century.
4. 4. Napolean. But Selim’s failure to prevent Napoleon’s invasion of the rich Ottoman province of Egypt in 1798 revealed to Europeans as never before that the balance of power had now shifted decidedly in their favor.
5. Who would divide the spoils when the Ottoman Empire collapsed? ). To counter this, the Tanzimat period (1839-76) saw reforms center around a new concept of justice (adalet): equality before the law for all Ottoman subjects, Muslim and non- Muslim alike.
6. This concept was fundamental to the prevalent ideology of the Tanzimat, Ottomanism ( patriotism but not yet nationalism). In the 1850s-60s, intellectuals known as the New Ottomans” engaged in a liberal critique of Tanzimat policies with emphasis on fatherland (vatan), freedom (hurriget), and constitutionalism. The Tanzimat reforms culminated in the constitution and parliament of 1876, but the 1877-78 war with Russia and the Treaty of Berlin, by which most of the Ottoman lands in Europe were lost and the European powers laid claim to spheres of influence in the Middle East, allowed Sultan Abdulhamid II to bring an end to " liberalism” and proceed with reforms under an autocratic- regime. By the 1880s Germany under Kaiser Wilhelrn had replaced France and Great Britain as friend and military advisor of the Ottoman Empire, and new ideologies were challenging Ottomanism. Abdulhamid embraced Pan-Islamism; his opponents, known collectively as Young Turks, were drawn to a secular Ottoman pseudo-nationalism and some to Pan-Turkism. (

7. The Hamidian despotism was ended by the Young Turk Revolution(1908-09) and replaced by constitutional, parliamentary government under the Young Turk Committee of Union and Progress. Their policies reflected a growing sense of Turkish nationalism. But in the five years preceding World War I, two Balkan wars and a war with Italy, which had invaded Libya, brought the military element of the Young Turk movement to the fore and resulted in the domination of the Istanbul political scene by the Young Turk Triumverate ( Enver, Talat, and Jemal Pashas) . Under their leadership, the Ottomans entered World War I on the side of Germany. The victors dictated the peace to end all peace at Paris in 1919. With even the heartlands of the Empire partitioned and Istanbul occupied by the victorious allies, the Turks of Anatolia under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) rejected the terms of the dictated Treaty of Sevres. Again they took up arms, fought successfully for their independence, and --- bringing to an end the 600 + year-old Ottoman Empire –- negotiated the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 which granted international recognition to the boundaries of the new Republic of Turkey.

Tsar Nicholas waited for nine years hoping that Britain would change her policy towards Turkey, l'homme malade, --- the "sick man" of Europe. Exasperated by the attitude of the British Government and tired of waiting, the Tsar finally took the matter into his own hands. The result was the Crimean War of 1854-1856. The Treaty of Paris which ended the Crimean War in 1856 guaranteed "the Independence and the Territorial Integrity of the Ottoman Empire". Russia was once more prevented from achieving her favorite object of conquering Istanbul. "This declaration of the independence of Turkey", wrote the Duke of Argyll "was the best form in which they (the Powers) could repel and condemn the attempt of Russia to establish the special dependence of Turkey upon herself..."

The twenty years which followed the Crimean War were a period of comparative calm in the field of international rivalry in the Ottoman Empire, with two exceptions: the civil war of 1860 in Lebanon and the sanguinary insurrections of 1866-1868 in Crete, an island with a Christian majority of Greeks and a privileged Muslim minority. The events in Lebanon led to the intervention of five Powers in Istanbul. These Powers, Great Britain, Russia, France, Austria and Prussia submitted a "Protocole" to the Porte which was accepted by the latter. According to this "Protocole", Mount Lebanon was detached from the vilayet of Syria and became an autonomous Province (Sanjak) ruled over by a Christian Governor (Mutasarrif) and an Administrative Council of twelve members. This led to the further weakening of the government machinery of the Ottoman Empire.

The Decline in faith and State period 1566-1792

Sulyman “ the Magnificent”
Expanded the Empire to the eastern Europe and the greatest Arab empire after the Umayyad and Abbasid periods.
a) Ottomans and Turks are full citizens. Sulyman overthrew the intellectual Shiites who were promoting the equality of Jews, Christians and Muslims in adherence to rightly defined ‘shari’ah.’ He issued a stricter adherence to Sunni fundamentalism, that would later backfire as it did in the Abbasid period after Caliph Haran.
b) Broke tradition by razing slaves up to powerful positions, including some of the Christian conscripts.
c) Introduction of fratricide comes a little later on and implemented the Harem system that untimely created weaker leaders.

1500 Henry the Navigator of Portugal began to figure out trade routs around the Ottoman Empire. Sulyeman had created the supreme navy port at Algiers (N. Africa). About 1550s Portugal had found its way around the Cape of Arfica and close to Madagasscar, found a Arab to show them the way to India. The Portugal went to Mulaccas, and Canton. About the 1600 England had beaten the Spanish navy well enough that they started to create a shipping empire. They followed the Dutch, and Portugal to India and set up their East-India Company in order to open up trade with the east. At first the Arab ( Mughals dynasty of India) ) didn’t want to trade and thus the British had to fight a decisive battle at Plassey in 1757 to gain control of India. The East-India Company also went as far as Canton China. Here the Chinese didn’t want as much cotton as the tea they had discovered in China that their country fell in love with. After about a few decades of paying silver for tea the Chinese hooked up with the Indians to sell opium to China for tea. Tea was so big that it was 10% of their entire economy. The opium farms were stationed in India and soon they employed cheap labor in a new imperialism venture. This unheard of wealth began a system to send diplomats and officers into the Middle east looking for other areas to exploit as they were technologically superior both toward the Chinese and The Arabs.,

Meanwhile, the French Revolution had begun Nationalism on a stage and eventual feeling of recovering their Christian brothers in the Ottoman Empire. The population was still exploding in Europe because of them coming out of the dark ages. The plague had rote its havoc upon the Europeans, but it waited until the 17th Century to invade parts of the Ottoman Empire.

Meanwhile, Europe had changed from Feudalism to land reform and renaissance in Italy had sparked new freedoms and drives for wealth by merchants. The Spanish had initially tried to take the western Mediterranean, to no avail and switched over to bring in vast amounts of Silver into Europe. This caused an inflation that affected the entire Middle East – especially the Balkans area controlled by the Ottomans.

In 1756 the Seven Years War ( Actually nine years) had seen the Ottomans fall into complacency,. They thought they were the hot stuff of the world. However, Selim III knew what was coming after news of the French Revolution. The French began first to issue new modern warfare tactics, of organization, discipline, and technology. Muhammad Ali, was a young soldier when Napoleon showed up in the Ottoman Empire to do battle with the Arabs, in Egypt. The Mamalukes were so over confident that they proclaimed they would stomp the Franks to death underneath their “ hooves.” Muhammad Ali first hand saw what it means to have not followed the industrialization and modern warfare techniques of Europe – as Napoleon (1798) severely embarrassed the Mamuluks – thus the Ottomans. Muhammad quickly rose up the ranks to become governor of Egypt and separate himself from Muhamud II and razing a peasant army. He embraced the French with their scientist and experts in all forms of fields.

He would help out his old boss Muhamud II fight the Greeks and a few other wars, yet ask a fee in which Muhamud II never paid up. With this intention, he issued his own autonomous rule in Egypt inviting the foreigners into modernize Egypt. This is what happened, but the English began to grow and ship cotton to mills in England. In 1826 Mahumud II massacred the Janissaries and proclaimed continuing reforms of Selem III and eradicating the conscript system.

The successor of Mahumad II al-Madjid issued a decree about the decline in the army and policies of the now shrinking Ottoman Empire. The decree claimed that the Ottoman’s had not been following the ‘ shariah’ for 150 years. That is to say that the partitioning and subjugation of Jews and Christians as second class citizens was in fact a bad policy. He issued the Tanzimat system in which modern reforms focused on resorting the glory of the ottomans by allowing full citizenship to Jews, Christians along with the always Turks and Ottoman Muslims. They allowed Jews to own their own land and more freedoms for all.

Still by this time France was getting into the game of colonization and the new imperialism. Under Muhamud II, the Tzar of Russia, Alexandre II , (1818-1881),,heard Alexandre Gorchakov , the chancellor proclaimed to him: l’homme malade de l’Europe, The Sick man of Europe. The Ottomans struggle which allowed the Greeks to win their freedom opened up more holes in the Ottoman Empire and the question became “The Eastern Question.” The question was now what to do about the ‘sick man of Europe?’ This caused the British to back the Ottomans in the Crimean war (1853-1856).

The Balkan showed signs of winning autonomy now and the British were furiously sending in their agents to ascertain business contracts for the new banking system that was now evident in the world. The Russians did the same. It would be a race of who would win control of the Sick mans lands. Loaning and debiting became international words, as elites began to invest in large projects that made them rich, while getting the weak-minded Sultan administration to go along, which was in essence a scheme to make England have the Middle East become indebted to them, as they were doing in China.

Cotton and wool production was now in full swing in Egypt, and being carried to mils in Lancashire industrial region in England. The English then sent white lined in bulk to Arab countries which undercut their own businesses. This played an effect on the new imperialism. As money was controlled by the elite business man of the Ottoman Empire the Sultans tried to curb them, yet the English would place their armies in these production zones to safeguard their interests, and also keep out other hungry imperialist from taking the peace of the Pie. Yet, Italy, France had their own imperial zones: Tunisia was a French protectorate along with Algeria and Morocco; Italy was protectorate of Libya. They all had a hand of investing and using cheap labor then taking the money to their own countries.

Hamid’s reign saw the fall of these places into European hands. He then tried to force a quick dictatorship and raise an army to take back the lands. Too little to late, the English had the Young Turks on their side who wanted western reforms, and Hamid was a racist and wanted strict Muslim rule that segregated Jews and Christian powers in the Empire as they once were. At the time he had granted construction of large projects that he banded. He suspended the Constitution and Parliament and went forth on a tyrannical tangent that placed his officers in secretarial positions. Thus they bitterly opposed him. He was thus placed under house arrest in the place of Yidiz. He apologized and tried to correct his ways but it was too late. He sided with German financers and their side in a treaty if a coming world war would erupt. The British and French were already began secret discussions on the Eastern Question and ultimately what to do with Russia and the l’homme malade.

Arab traders brought ... production in the Industrial Revolution enabled cotton to supersede flax and wool textiles. Cotton has played a significant role in history

The decay of Turkey was far advanced by 1871

Mahmud II (July 20, 1785 - July 1, 1839) was the sultan of the Ottoman empire from 1808 to 1839.

a) Greeks began their revolution with ushered in the beginning stages of the Eastern Question as Russia and Catherine the Great became involved in the “Grand Scheme.”
b) Battle of Navarino in 1827 and a Russo-Turkish War in 1828-1829, Mahmud was forced to grant Greece its independence in 1832.
c) Sent Muhammad Ali to Egypt as a governor. He turned around and became independent by making a peasant army.
d) Mahmud became involved in disputes with his ambitious vassal Mehemet (Muhammad ) Ali, Wali (Governor) of Egypt.
e) Muhammad Ali, helped out againt a few wars with Mahmud .for a fee, and Muhmud did not pay up so Muhammad Ali went to war with him and won autonomous rule in Egypt, further weakening the Ottoman Empire.
f) Got rid of Janissaries.
g) Moved on reforms started by Selim III.

The Crimean War lasted from 1854 to 1856. It was fought between Russia and an alliance of the United Kingdom, France, the Ottoman Empire joined somewhat tardily by Piedmont-Sardinia. The majority of the conflict took place around the Crimean peninsula on the Black Sea.

Abdul Hamid II
a) Abd-ul-Hamid II also Abdulhamid, Abdul Hamid, Abd al-Hamid II, or Abdul-Hamid (September 21, 1842 - 1918) was the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from August 31, 1876 - April 27, 1909.
b) The Young Turk revolution broke out
c) Employed Germans for refinancing Empire
d) Attempted to be dictator
e) Financial embarrassment forced him to give up much power to foreigners.
f) His dictatorial was cased his ministers to reject his rule.
g) Signed new western cinstatution, that took away much of his powers – turned againt it and invoked extreme oppositions. Officers demoted to secretarial positions. Held for a time at Yidez.
h) Young Turks wanted western laws and systems. A total revamping of the soon to be Turkey.
i) Abd-ul-Hamid had always resisted the pressure of the European powers to the last moment, in order to seem to yield only to overwhelming force, while posing as the champion of Islam against aggressive Christendom
j) Tried to kick out foreigners out of the Ottoman Empire.
k) The Young Turk revolution broke out
l) Employed Germans for refinancing Empire
m) Attempted to be dictator
n) Financial embarrassment forced him to give up much power to foreigners.
o) His dictatorial was cased his ministers to reject his rule.
p) Restoration of the suspended constitution of 1875
q) Dignified Exile

Kemal Atatürk
(Redirected from Mustafa Kemal Ataturk)

a) Turkish soldier and statesman, was the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey.
b) He soon joined a secret society of reform-minded officers called Vatan (Fatherland) and became an active opponent of the Ottoman regime.
c) The Young Turks seized power from the Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1908, and Kemal, became a senior military figure.
d) The Republic of Turkey was founded on October 29, 1923, and Kemal was elected the republic's first president.
e) Kemal's most lasting legacy was the campaign of secularization, modernization and westernization which he imposed on a sometimes reluctant Turkish nation.
f) Forcibly changed Arabic into a Latin Alphabet for easier writing. Wore western style hat and banned the ( fez) traditional head dress fez (the Ottoman hat). Was regarded as a hero to many Turks, but despised in the stricter Islamic states.
g) The veil for women was banned and women were encouraged to wear western dress and enter the work force. In 1928 the government decreed that the Arabic script be replaced by a modified Latin alphabet, which was easier to learn and teach and made publishing much easier. All citizens from six to 40 years of age were made to attend school and learn the new alphabet. The Turkish language was "purified" by the removal of many Arabic and Persian words and their replacement by new Turkish ones.
h) Atatürk gave Turkey a new prestige in the international field

The McMahon – Husayn Letters ( Corrs.)

a) "Sir Henry McMahon (1862-1949), British High Commissioner in Cairo, negotiated in 1915-16 with Husain Ibn Ali, the Sherif of Mecca. The British government promised to support his bid for the restoration of the Caliphate (and leadership in the Arab world)...."
b) To restore the Caliphate and beat the Ottoman Empire – end it.
c) Arab force recruited by deserters of the Ottoman Empire.
d) This was in hope of a “ Semitic Agglomeration” of a new Arabic nation.
e) Problems encountered was that Henry was not in contact with Mark Skyes in Cairo who was running the Skyes-Picot agreement to divide up the middle east into four main regions (states ). Troubles also ran into the Balfour Declaration to start a homeland just for the Jews.
f) San Remo conference of 1920 ( Churchill With paper of 1922) usurer in the Skyes-Picot agreement and ended the correspondence tentative agreements.
g) “ I meant to make a new nation , to restore a lost influence.” ( The Seven Pillars of Wisdom) T.E. Lawrence.
h) Arab support against the Ottoman Empire.
i) The implied promise is of British support of an independent Arab state.

The Eastern Question

a) The Eastern Question is as old as the history of Eastern Europe. When Europe began to see ancient peoples heritages stand up and battle the Ottoman Empire then the Eastern Question came back into vogue. The Modern Eastern Question arose first in 1821 when the Greeks mounted an insurrection against the Turks ( ottomans) The Greek Revolution. English Foreign Office, still less did the English public, begin to take a sustained interest in the development of events in South-Eastern Europe. The eastern Question was so important that it was the Balkan Area that was the flashpoint for both World Wars.
b) The Modern Eastern Question arose first in 1821 when the Greeks mounted an insurrection against the Turks
c) What to do about the Sick Man of Europe?
d) The 1870 Franco-Prussian War
e) The rebirth of Greece, Roumania, Serbia, and Bulgaria – Who was going to dominate them.
f) Gulhane decree was the “ Concert of Europe” to regain the rights of their Christian people still in the ottoman regions.
g) Crimean War L’homme malade ( The Sick man) The Tsar of Russia said in response what are the western powers going to do with the Balkan regions.
h) It has arisen from the clash in the lands of South-Eastern Europe between the habits, ideas, and preconceptions of the West and those of the East.


Skyes-Picot Agreement

a) The vast area between the border of India/Pakistan and the Mediterranean atTel Aviv and Gaza is an ethnic fabrication. What we now call the Middle East is the creation of British and French bureaucrats who cobbled together the maps in an agreement called the Skyes-Picot pact.
b) Secret understanding between France and England and was finally leaked by Lenin to the public
c) France: Syria-Lebanon, Northern Iraq France ( France got the better deal)
d) England : Southern Iraq, parts of Palestine
e) This agreement laid the groundwork and ground rules for the way that Britain and France carved up the Ottoman Empire between them, prior to its demise in the latter stages of the First World War.
f) This agreement laid the groundwork and ground rules for the way that Britain and France carved up the Ottoman Empire between them, prior to its demise in the latter stages of the First World War. It paved the way for subsequent development in the region, including the establishment of Iraq, Palestine,Trans-Jordan (invented by Winston Churchill one afternoon in 1922), Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia as distinct political entities and, in theory, nation states.
g) Today’s American Iraqi war has caused a feeling of :Increasingly it looks as though the invasion and conquest of Iraq has triggered a process whereby the entire Sykes-Picot structure will crumble and disappear.

Ayatollah Khumayni

a) Born in 1901 AD his birthday coincides with the anniversary of the auspicious birth of Hadrat Fatima (SA), the most revered and highly respected woman in Islam.
b) Led an Islamic revolution in Iran.
c) Fifteen years in exile, Imam Khomeini, wrote, spoke out, lectured, informed and amassed public fervor against tyrannical regime in Iran.
d) Forced the ousted Reze Shah (ousting of the Pahlavi regime )who was on the side of the west and pro-western living.
e) 20/80 British oil deal and nationalism promoted by Khumayni to take back the oil fields.
f) 'Dawn of an Islamic Revolution.'
g) Called America ( The west the great Statan) later retracted.
h) In a speech about the former ruler: "As regards oil, it has been given totally to foreigners whether to America or other countries.....If. God forbid, that man had remained on the throne for several more year.' our oil reserves would have been exhausted...
i) His Hero: In the 1950s, Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, more intemperately, initiated a fierce campaign of Arab nationalism aimed at eradicating the vestiges of Western colonialism from the Arab world.
j) Imam khumayni (a) was born at a time when iran was going through one of the hardest periods in its history.

T.E. Lawrence

a) Col. Thomas Edward Lawrence (August 16, 1888 - May 18, 1935), also known as Lawrence of Arabia, became famous for his role as a British liaison officer during the Arab Revolt of 1916-1918.

b) tyranical wife to live with the maid with whom he had five sons very close to each other. He graduated with First Class Honours largely as a consequence of the submission of an outstanding thesis entitled The influence of the Crusades on European Military Architecture – to the end of the 12th century.

c) His fame as a soldier was largely promoted by U.S in Hollywood.

d) He worked briefly with William Flinders Petrie at Kafr Ammar in Egypt. At Carchemish he was to work with Leonard Woolley.
e) October. 1914 enlisted into the Army.
f) During the war, he fought with Arab irregular troops under the command of Emir Feisal, a son of Sherif Hussein of Mecca, in extended guerrilla operations against the Ottoman Empire. The guerrilla operations were adapted from Boer tactics used during the Boer War.
g) Lawrence was involved in the capture of Damascus in the final weeks of the war.
h) Supported the return of the Caliphate along with the McMahon-Husayn Correspondence.
i) In December 1910 he sailed for Beirut, and on arrival went to Jebail where he studied Arabic.
j) Wrote books one about the war in the Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
k) He especially became known for wearing white Arabian garb (given to him by Prince Feisal, originally wedding robes given to Feisal as a hint) and riding on a horse in the desert. During the closing years of the war he sought to convince his superiors in the British government that Arab independence was in their interests, to mixed success.

Muhammad Ali:
Was an Albanian Muslim, around thirty at the turn of the century, when he fought as an officer in the Ottoman army against Napoleon's army in Egypt.

a) Muhammad `Alî (many spelling variations, included Turkish Mehmet Ali, are encountered) (1769-1849), was a viceroy of Egypt, and is sometimes considered the founder of modern Egypt.
b) He introduced sweeping reforms to Egypt: he built an army from Egyptian peasants through conscription, using this force to expand Egypt's borders; he built much infrastructure, such as canals and roadways; and he established Egypt as one of the world's largest cotton producers. Muhammad `Alî also introduced significant social reforms, including the creation of modern educational institutions. Most of his efforts, however, were focused on his successful strengthening of Egypt's armed forces.
c) While throughout his reign he was the nominal vassal of the Ottoman sultan, he acted independently. While he aided the sultan in fighting in the Greek War of Independence and put down a Wahhabi revolt in Arabia for him, later the two fell out. Under his son Ibrahîm Pasha, Muḩammad `Alî's armies seized Palestine and Syria and were within a few days march of Constantinople. European intervention led to a negotiated solution, however; and after Muḩammad `Alî fell out with his son, the gains were lost.
d) While throughout his reign he was the nominal vassal of the Ottoman sultan, he acted independently. While he aided the sultan in fighting in the Greek War of Independence and put down a Wahhabi revolt in Arabia for him, later the two fell out. Under his son Ibrahîm Pasha, Muḩammad `Alî's armies seized Palestine and Syria and were within a few days march of Constantinople. European intervention led to a negotiated solution, however; and after Muhammad `Alî fell out with his son, the gains were lost. Muhammad `Alî was succeeded by two of his sons—Ibrahîm and `Abbâs—but both were weak rulers, and, in large part because of his excesses, the country fell under the domination of Europeans.

Ottoman Decline period is usually dated from 1566-1792. It has been described as “The Decline of Faith and State.”

Süleyman I and nicknamed the Lawgiver or the Magnificent (in Turkish he is called Kanuni—the Lawgiver), was the sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566 and successor to Selim I. He was born at Trabzon, Turkey. ((November 6, 1494 - September 5/6, 1566)

Süleyman was considered by Europeans ‘great’ or ‘ Magnificent’ because of his powerful rule and the fact that the Ottoman Empire reached its zenith under his reign. This did not mean that he was vied as ‘great’ or ‘ Magnificent’ by his own people and historians of the Ottoman Empire.

“After succeeding his father on his death, Süleyman began a series of military conquests, starting with the captured of Belgrade in 1521. In 1522 he captured Rhodes after a siege, allowing the Knights of St. John to evacuate to Malta. On August 29, 1526 Süleyman defeated Louis II of Hungary at the battle of Mohacs, occupying most of Hungary before giving it to John Zápolya, prince of Transylvania to govern. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and his brother Ferdinand Archduke of Austria retook Hungary, in response to which Süleyman twice tried to re-invade, twice being beaten by the weather after reaching Vienna in 1529 and 1532. In 1533 a treaty was signed with Ferdinand, splitting Hungary between the Hapsburgs and Zapolya. On Zapolya's death, Ferdinand was left the Hungarian territories, prompting Süleyman to annex Hungary, resulting in several struggles and peace treaties restoring the status-quo. In the following two decades, huge territories of North Africa west to Morocco and all Middle East north to Persia were annexed. This quick expansion was associated with naval dominance for a short period in the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and Persian Gulf. In 1562 he conquered Transylvania. (Suleiman the Magnificent).

For the Ottomans made up of Turkks and Arabs as full citizens, they loved their leader and system. Yet, inside the closed nit administration of Süleyman was another story behind the man. During the Cultural Revolution Mao Tse-tung became paranoid to the point that he began to imprison and execute long-time loyal party members in the Chinese Communist Party CCP. The paranoia that Mao had experienced was mostly made up. He just could not handle any type of criticism that his policies were having on China. This paranoia drove Mao to make further mistakes in patch-policies that nearly destroyed China as a civilization, until Mao had a relapse of sanity and called back many of his loyalists from exile. Süleyman, on the other hand, went through a paranoia stage that cost the Ottoman Empire its continual success. Süleyman was never able to change the drastic decisions he put into place out of his made up fear of being assasinatied by one of his sons. Mao had the same fear, yet this turned out to be fully false. This seems to be the case with Süleyman.

It all started before Süleyman was born. The first ten leaders of the Ottoman Empire had a system that was second to none win it came for electing the strongest leader to head up the Empire. This system was unique in some aspects that it theoretically guaranteed the strongest leader would take over the reigns of the Empire after the former had passed on. These leaders were called Sultans. The Head Sultan was like a King who had autonomous power over all the regions who were governed by normal Sultans ( lik governors) who had to answer to the Head Sultan. When the Sultan made his Emperoric duty by having a son, and in many cases sons, the law would state that those sons leave their fathers house about the age of fourteen and join a province which included an entire administration for ruling, including a full size army. The son would have his mother go with him and be given full servants, military teachers, school teachers and staff. He would learn everything by hands on process how to run his selective province. This was the case in the first nine Sultans of the Ottoman Empire.

Most Sultans had harems, in which they had many wives. Under Islamic law one can have four legal wives, yet concubines were also competing with the Sultans affection. They also had the same rights to have their sons placed in the same system. When the sons grew up they became masters of their regions. They had learned hands on how to govern and administer law. They also were the heads of their own armies. They practices and even went out plundering in new conquest campaigns. Upon reaching the time of the death of the Sultan the sons were then, according to law, pitted to war against each other. Their armies in full tow battled to the death. The last one standing was declared the winner, and thus the next Sultan. This was crude, and cruel system, but it produced the most ‘fit,’ as to say, leader for the Ottomans.

This system had shown proof that it worked by the extremely strong leaders it fostered for the first nine Ottoman leaders. The people of the Empire were, in fact, happy with the results. Süleyman broke with convention. This is where Süleyman caused the Empire to begin its fall – he changed the system. Like Mao, Süleyman began to get paranoid that one of his sons was about to assassinate him and take control of the Empire. This was possibly made up in his own mind. This brings up the new Ottoman politics of what is called the ranks of the “Harem System,” Which Süleyman would unsure in as the new policy for the next leader of the Ottomans.

The Harem was what it means. It was the place where many women were kept for the pleasures and recline time of the leader. Here, many women pleased her master, and in turn he would give them gifts and privledges. In effect, they were slaves, and or high-class prostitutes who could some day become the most powerful women in the Empire.

“Süleyman broke with convention by raising two slaves to positions of power. One, Ibrahim Pasha (Ýbrahim Paþa) was to rise to become Grand Vizier for 13 years. The other, a captured Ukrainian and daughter of a Russian Orthodox priest, Aleksandra Lisowska (also known by several other names including Khourrem), was to rise through the ranks of the Harem to become his favorite wife, to the surprise of the empire and the international community. By her he had one daughter, Mihrimar (Mihrumâh), and the sons Mehmed (who died young), Selim, Bayezid and Cihangir (born physically disabled). In power struggles apparently instigated by Khourrem, Süleyman had Ýbrahim (a supporter of Süleyman's firstborn son Mustafa) murdered and replaced with her son-in-law Rustem Pasha (Rustem Paþa). Later, apparently believing that his popularity with the army threatened his own position, he had Mustafa strangled too, leaving the way clear for one of Khourrem's sons” (Suleiman the Magnificent).

Süleyman or history could never prove the plot and this policy created the taboo Fratricide (killing of a child by his or her parent),)policy that ultimately put the Empire on the slow decline in history. The significance was the Süleyman changed the laws so that the system of sending sons into their own training administration where they would eventual fight it out to see who became Head Sultan was banished for good. Now the sons were kept in seclusion and plied with indulgences that would complanate (docile) his will for power. This caused a myriad of problems. First he was fashioned with exorbitant pleaser that was like a drug to a child. Second, he was not allowed hands on experience in running his own province. Thirdly, by the time it came to take the throne of the Ottoman Empire, their was no guarantee anymore that this chosen son was a strong leader. This would be evident now in a sting of powerful, then weak Head Sultans, who would take the thrones from this point in history onward. This was Süleyman great mistake. It was ultimately his paranoia, not unlike Chairman Mao, who had brought this upon his own people. Yet, Mao, unlike Süleyman was able to reverse his decision and thus China did not go into a decline period.

The Ottomans first of all refuse to progress with the world. This is seen as the same fundamentalism that had happened under the Ayatollah Rohollah Khomeini in Iran. At one point the Ayatollah ordered all the women in the kitchens to tear up the linoleum because in c. 600 AD the Arabs knew not of the plastic floor covering. This same type of mentality bogged down the entire society of the Ottomans. By the middle of the 16th Century Europeans had found a way around the Cape in South Africa and had opened up trading ports in India, and Canton (China). The shipping empires would prosper the Europeans and usher in the industrial revolution in the west. The Ottomans, however, were at a stage of being closed in and didn’t focus on navy power as their ancestors conquered by horse and on foot.

The Janissaries (or janizaries; in Turkish: Yeniçeri, meaning New Troops) comprised infantry units that formed the Ottoman sultan's household troops and bodyguard. The force originated in the 14th century and disbanded in 1826. Bey Murad I of the fledgling Ottoman Empire founded the corps around 1330. It was initially formed of non-Muslim, especially Christian youths and prisoners-of-war, reminiscent of mameluks. Murad may have also used futuwa groups as a model. Such janissaries became the first Ottoman standing army, replacing forces mostly composed of tribal warriors whose loyalty and morale could not always be trusted. Besides, no self-respecting free warrior would have agreed to serve as a lowly infantryman” (Janissary).

After the 1380s Sultan Selim I began a program when the Ottomans conquered a territory. They would round up all the young boys, usually Christians ( they were conquering Europe at the time) who were from the ages of 7- 14 years old. They pick the best fit looking and haul them off the “ Place School.” They were slaves, of coerce, and were forced to learn and practice Islam. They would make up the corps of the Ottoman Army that would go out and conquer their own relatives. It was a sickening system, yet eventually became a way of life for the Europeans. The boys, once in the Palace School, converted to Islam, and proclaimed Allah as their Lord. Then they went through years of strict training to eventually fight their own Christian fellow citizens and kill them and take their belongings away from them. Also, if a boy rebelled he would be tortured beyond belief. This was a barbaric age and barbaric system, but the Ottoman Empire, at first, relished the idea they did not have to go out and do the dirty-work.
The Slave Core ( Janissaries) were taught to consider the corps as their home and family and the sultan as their de facto father. disciplined with hard labor and in practically monastic conditions in acemi oglan schools, where they were expected to remain celibate. At the age of 24 – 25 the ones not tortured or executed for weakness or refusal were sent into battle against their parents, relatives so to speak. In return for their loyalty and their fervor, as there careers began in war Janissaries gained privileges and benefits. They received pay only in wartime, were constantly watched over by the Turkish Military and forced to only live in barracks. For more than more than for hundred years they were captured humans who had to go kill their relatives. By the mid-18th century they could work as law-enforcers or as tradesmen in peaceful conditions. Still living in barracks and watched they sort of came out into the publics eye. As things like Sultan pitting of Turkish Army against the Janissaries to keep the Turkish Army under control ( remember that the Sultans are now weak because of the Süleyman Harem system) by forcing rivalries, brought the Janissaries out into the forefront of importance within the empire. Eventually they became powerful with this policy of pitting one against the other and the Janissaries would eventually make plays on revolts against the Sultan. By this time, things were in such a decline in the Ottoman Empire that it could be advantageous to become a Janissary. By this time the position brought enough opportunity and power that a mother may think about allowing her son into the Janissaries. One of the reasons for this is that the Mother would be a slave under the Ottoman Empire without any opportunity for advancement and she, being a concerned mother, could see that this was the only opportunity for one person in her family to get out of extreme poverty.

“The Ottoman empire used janissaries in all its major campaigns, including the 1453 capture of Constantinople, the defeat of the Egyptian mameluks and wars in Austria. Janissary troops were always led to the battle by the sultan himself, and always had a share of the booty. Janissaries’ reputation increased to the point that by 1683 the sultan Mehmed IV could abolish the devshirmeh. Increasing numbers of originally Muslim Turkish families had already enrolled their own sons into the force. Every governor wanted to have his own janissaries” (Janissary).

filled their ranks with the results of taxation in human form called devshirmeh. The sultan’s men would conscript a number of non-Muslim, usually Christian, boys – at first at random, later by strict selection – and take them to be trained.


Janissary. Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia .04.15.04<>2004.

Suleiman the Magnificent. Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia. 04.19.2004

Abdul Hamid II: 1842-1918 Ottoman sultan (1876-1909); promulgated first Ottoman constitution; opposed from within by Young Turks (1896-1908). Later Ottoman ruler. He had the unfortunate place in history to rule when the Ottoman Empire was crumbling and the blame was placed on the foreigners living in the outdated Empire. (AKA) The period of the great debacle. His rule spanned the high profile problems. Pre WWI. Also, called the pay-back period. 1894-97 Great troubles periods. Genocides of Greeks and Armenians take place.
Akbar “The Great” was the most famous of the Moghul leaders. He was tolerant and allowed Buddhism to coincide with Islam. This created a happier place to be. India was rich in precious metals: Ruby’s; Diamonds and precious and semi-precious stones. One of the many sons of Akbar built the Taj Mahal.
Akhis: Guilds ; organized occupation brotherhoods. Even Sufis got into the game.
Akinjis: Scouts for the Ottoman Army
Ottoman army was consisted of Azabs, the armed infantry, and light riders called “Ghazi” and later “Akinji”, who were recruited only in times of war.

The Akinji weapons included sabers, lances, arrows, composite bows and sometimes small bucklers for protection. The Ottoman Army did not keep up with the current technology a must in history. They fell slowly to other armies as technology supplanted their abilities. All Moslems capable of bearing arms served as a kind of volunteer yeomanry known as akinjis. Akinjis tactics were to ambush the slower troops with arrows then charge the breaks in the enemy lines. They also got off their horses to fight.

Azabs: The armed infantry. These men followed the cannon fodder front liners who were made up or poor people ( Known in west as the front lines).

Beylerbey: Military Title. And former area known in Islam as emir was now a beylerbey of a general. Turkish rule in Northern Africa. Kahir-ed-Din one of the great heroes of Islam was one such person. 1534 seized Tunis.

Capitulation: to accept military defeat: In Arab history, the Capitulations were the nations who propped up the old, worn out Turkish Empire by supporting the local rulers so that a free for all from the larger nations like Russia or Austria would not take the Balkan lands. For example Britain played a heavy role in propping up the Turks in what is called the ‘ Sick Man” of Europe pre-World War I. The 17th Century definitions read: treaties granted by a state and conferring the privilege of extra-territorial jurisdiction within its boundaries on the subjects of another state. Also, one country loans out its property for cash and privilege. Cash if one country seeks this, but privilege would insist that the hosts country have special citizen privilege like the Canton system. In China, the Europeans did not have to live under the laws of the Chinese. If one of their citizens committed a crime they would only go before their own courts who would look with pity and privilege on them.

Crusades: 1st Crusade takes three years march to reach the Holy land. Pope Urban II decreed it in a speech at Clermont in France in November 1095. Many domestic problems created in Europe created infighting between much of the population. To curb the angst and aggressive anger the Church and some kings decided to put the aggression to good use and focus the anger against a common enemy. This was a kill two birds with one stone. The trade routs to the east were blocked by the Arabs and the Palestine area was key in opening up paths to the east. The thought was to conquer some territory in Palestine and created trading posts and land states. The Urban decree of Crusade was a political ploy to get the uneducated ruffians of the western world dark ages to march for three years to the Holy Land as nights of Jesus and to conquer a made up enemy of Arabs who occupied the region. To sell this to the [public religion was the easiest to get the ruffians to be enthusiastic. The result was that fighting stopped between the Europeans and focused on the Arabs who were partly to blame in that they didn’t want to incorporate the west in the world trade that they had dominated by strategic conquering of the Umayyad era. Some call it a great Christian expedition to free Jerusalem from the Seljuk Turks, a new Muslim power that had recently begun actively harassing peaceful Christian pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem.

“PETER THE HERMIT, a priest of Amiens, who may, as Anna Comnena says, have attempted to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem before 1096, and have been prevented by the Turks from reaching his destination. It is uncertain whether he was present at Urbans great sermon at Clermont ill 1095; but it is certain that he was one of the preachers of the crusade in France after that sermon, and his own experience may have helped to give fire to his eloquence. He soon leapt into fame as an emotional revivalist preacher: his very ass became an object of popular adoration; and thousands of peasants eagerly took the cross at his bidding. The crusade of the pauperes, which forms the first act in the first crusade, was his work; and he himself led one of the five sections of the pauperes to Constantinople, starting from Cologne in April, and arriving at Constantinople at the end of July 1096” (

“The Crusaders carved out feudal states in the Near East. Thus the Crusades are an important early part of the story of European expansion and colonialism. They mark the first time Western Christendom undertook a military initiative far from home, the first time significant numbers left to carry their culture and religion abroad“ (

Origins of the Crusades : After the death of Charlemagne, king of the Franks, in 814 and the subsequent collapse of his empire, Christian Europe was under attack and on the defensive. Magyars, nomadic people from Asia, pillaged eastern and central Europe until the 10th century. Beginning about 800, several centuries of Viking raids disrupted life in northern Europe and even threatened Mediterranean cities. But the greatest threat came from the forces of Islam, militant and victorious in the centuries following the death of their leader, Muhammad, in 632. By the 8th century, Islamic forces had conquered North Africa, the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, and most of Spain. Islamic armies established bases in Italy, greatly reduced the size and power of the Byzantine Empire (the Eastern Roman Empire) and besieged its capital, Constantinople. The Byzantine Empire, which had preserved much of the classical civilization of the Greeks and had defended the eastern Mediterranean from assaults from all sides, was barely able to hold off the enemy. Islam posed the threat of a rival culture and religion, which neither the Vikings nor the Magyars had done

1090-1094. First one successful in creating little Christian states.

3d Crusade was Richard the Lion heart. A bad ( lousy) king according to English History, yet he is the only who is first on the list of medieval knights who headed up a system for regaining the land for the Christians. He basically was trying to carve out a name for himself. He is depicted in the Robin Hood series as the evil king, yet it was more like a composite of many bad kings depicted as the villains in the tales. He made some bad decisions for personal glory which costs some key battles that turned the tide of European dominance in Palestine.

“In 1187, Saladin captured Jerusalem. Pope Gregory VIII preached a crusade, which was led by several of Europe's most important leaders: Richard I of England, Philip II of France and Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor. Frederick drowned in Cilicia in 1190, leaving an unstable alliance between the English and the French. Philip left in 1191 after the Crusaders had recaptured Acre from the Muslims, while Richard left the following year after establishing a truce with Saladin“ (

4th Crusade: 1202-1204 total disaster. On the way to Saninsid (SP?) Capital (originally designed to conquer Egypt , instead, in 1204, the troops became tired and decided to pick up loot at Constantinople. Sacked it. The vital crusading spirit was now dead.

The Devshirme: “Devshirmeh (Turkish devşirme) refers to the system used by the Ottoman sultans to tax newly conquered states, and build a loyal slave army and class of administrators: the Janissaries. The word literally means "gathering" in Turkish.
The devshirmeh system was similar to a system used by earlier Islamic dynasties, such as the Abbasids who used slaves to build armies that were thought to be loyal to the ruler and thus provide a steady pool of manpower that was outside of local politics. These descendents of these slaves would form the Mameluk dynasties” (

Fatimids: First successful rule in the middle east. First dynasty of Isma’ili Shi’a. The name Fatimid is derived from the name of daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, Fatima az-Zahra. The dynasty was founded when a local leader in eastern Algeria declared himself al-Mahdi, the "divinely guided one." The fatamids entered Egypt in 972 where they founded a new capital at al-Qahira ( Cairo). Fatimid advancement in state was based on Merit and not who was next in line from the descendent of Ali. Tolerance was extended even to non-Muslims, like Christians and Jews. The heading of Umar II realization had wonders. Tolerable was the key to a successful society that worked, played and lived in Harmony. This was accomplished by allowing Jews and Christians into high level offices in the state. Also, the Arab education was lacking and the books needed to be kept by the educated.

Fatwa: What a Mufti opinionates on a certain topic. Legal opinion; a legal opinion or decree handed down by an Islamic religious leader.

Ghazis: (Frontier) Holy warriors of the faith of Islam.

Isfahan (pron. esfahaan) A city of central Iran south of Tehran. An ancient town and capital of Persia from 1598 to 1722, it was long noted for its fine carpets and silver filigree; Architected jewel of Iran. Hosted a large Armenian quarter ( Neighborhood). Today it has textile and steel mills. Population: 1,220,595.

Istanbul: Formerly Constantinople.

Janissaries programs: Gather young men from conquered areas and adopt them into the Ottoman Military System. Raised and girded to become life long Ghazis ( Holy Warroris of the Faith) . The name Janissaries mean “new Recruits” this system was vital for the staying power of the empire. Not unlike the Mongols who employed somewhat similar systems. Christian youth who were gathered from the conquering towns of the Ottoman forced were lined up in the village picked out and sent to the “ Palace School” to be indoctrinated into Islam and will become the Janissary force when they finish their training. The Janissaries program , including the ajami or apprentices, did not exceed 20,000 until Murad III. (1574). In time of peace the janissary received no pay. This system was in use until 1826 when the standing army of the Ottoman empire was abolished for a more modern army structure. Some can say this was a slave army. However apologist like to point out that a lowly slave could rise up, not rule, but become rich within the Ottoman Empire.

Kanuns: Kanuns issued by the Sultan. Supplements the Shariah: An older case to refer too. Sultans published decrees. Suleiman’s epitaphs came from this.

Mongolian. They were the great horse back riding elite of the Ottoman Empire.

Moghuls: Decedents of Timur-Turks. Indian dynasty who are kindred to Tamerlane ( Turkish Moghāls). Protected the Silk Road. Created colleges and observatories for astronomy. Renaissance of great cities periods. Akbar “The Great” was the most famous of the Moghul leaders. He was tolerant and allowed Buddhism to coincide with Islam. This created a happier place to be. India was rich in precious metals: Ruby’s; Diamonds and precious and semi-precious stones. One of the many sons of Akbar built the Taj Mahal.

Mehmed ( Muhammad) II “ The Conqueror” (nicknamed el-Fatih, 'the Conqueror'). Conquered Istanbul (1453). A Watershed mark in Western History; Period of transfer of knowledge to the west. After the invasion of Constantinople other campaigns against small kingdoms in the Balkans and Turkic territories in Anatolia bestowed immense glory and prestige on the Ottoman State in which they started to be recognized as an empire for the first time. He kept Greek scholars at his court, and continued the Byzantine Church functioning, ordered the patriarch to translate the Christian faith into Turkish. Umar II of the Umayyad period realized that to take away the religion of the country or state you have conquered will not bode well for the future stabilization of that region. This was a factor in the Arab decisions later in their imperial periods. He is also recognized as the first sultan to codify criminal and constitutional law long before Süleyman the Magnificent (also "the Lawmaker") and he thus established the classical image of the autocratic Ottoman sultan (padishah).

Mufti: a professional jurist who interprets Muslim law. He makes opinion on a court case. He is a legal scholar, yet only some jurisdictions in Muslim courts allow his or her opinions. < > “in Islamic law, attorney who writes his opinion (futwa) on legal subjects for private clients or to assist judges in deciding cases. The recorded opinions of the muftis are a valuable source of information for the actual working of Islamic law as opposed to the abstract formulation.”

The Mutazilites belonged to very early school of thought (9th century CE) in Islam which stressed human free will and the justice of God. They attempted to find a "middle path" between the heretical Kharijites and more orothodox beliefs by asserting a "rationalist" method of interpretation. This rationalist method was, in turn, derived from the philosophical writings inherited from ancient Greece.

Ottomans: lasted from the 13c until the end of World War I, and was centered in what is now Turkey, and at different times reached into Europe and the Near East. Established by a tribe of Oghuz Turks in western Anatolia 1299. Osman I (Emir) ruled 1299-1326. Orkhan, son of Osman ruled 1326-1359. The system for the next rulership was a system of supremecy of the siblings. First, once the boy of the ruler became of teen age, he was given a army as a commander and administration. He was taught to administer his charges and learn rulership ability. By the time the ruler dies the many boys who all have the same circumstance war againt eachother and the last one standing becomes the next ruler. This implied that the systems survival laid in the hands of the strongest person in all aspects of living. Murad I , son of Orkan ruled from 1359-1389. From 1389 to 1403 ruled Bajazet ( Bayazid) I , son of Murad. His son, Suleiman I (also called Süleyman I and nicknamed the Lawgiver or the Magnificent (in Turkish he is called Kanuni—the Lawgiver) will bring the Ottoman Empire to its hight in power. This was after the Uniting of the Arab world aftter the European Crusades. The Ottoman Empire reached its zenith and became a world power during his reign. Although the empire continued to expand one century after his death, this period was followed by a very long decline.
“After succeeding his father on his death, Süleyman began a series of military conquests, starting with the captured of Belgrade in 1521. In 1522 he captured Rhodes after a siege, allowing the Knights of St. John to evacuate to Malta.

On August 29, 1526 Süleyman defeated Louis II of Hungary at the battle of Mohacs, occupying most of Hungary before giving it to John Zápolya, prince of Transylvania to govern. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and his brother Ferdinand Archduke of Austria retook Hungary, in response to which Süleyman twice tried to re-invade, twice being beaten by the weather after reaching Vienna in 1529 and 1532. In 1533 a treaty was signed with Ferdinand, splitting Hungary between the Hapsburgs and Zapolya. On Zapolya's death, Ferdinand was left the Hungarian territories, prompting Süleyman to annex Hungary, resulting in several struggles and peace treaties restoring the status-quo.

In the following two decades, huge territories of North Africa west to Morocco and all Middle East north to Persia were annexed. This quick expansion was associated with naval dominance for a short period in the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and Persian Gulf. In 1562 he conquered Transylvania” (

Prince Musa ruled 1411-1413 then Muhannad I, son of Bajazet took over from 1413-1421. He study Constantinople in order to take the Estern Roman Empire . They wanted to find a weak spot in one of the many layers of the walls that surrounded the city. Muhammad I, son of Bajazet scopes out the plans.

Sapahis: Turkish calvalry; Ottoman Cavalry. The people came out of the steeps. Part Turkish, Part Mongol. Inbreed as the Asians were more acceptable to intermarriage then the Semitic people; They came out of the Steeps ( possible mix with Mongols and Asians who intermix races) The elite force of the Ottoman Empire: “Their duties included, among others, to ride with the sultan on parades and as a mounted bodyguard. In times of peace they were also responsible for collecting taxes. The Spahis was the largest division of the six and was the mounted counterpart to the Janissaries, which always fought on foot. The Sipahis were probably founded during the reign of Mehmed II. Spahis had an important part in The Auspicious Incident, subjugating the last rebellion of Janissaries in 1826. However, two years later, sultan Mahmud II revoked also their privileges and dismissed them in favor of the more modern army structure.” (

Shah Abbas I “ The Great” : Shah Abbas I (1557-1629) was an influential Shah of Persia of the Safavid Dynasty. He was also known as Abbas the Great. In 1586 he became shah, by revolting against his father, Mohammad Mioza of Safavid. He chose Isfahan in 1598 as his capital. ( The great builder, trade proponent, Chnged to Sunni politics to appease much of the population. He was a cultural buff.

Seljuks: Organized Turkish Order. “The Seljuk Turks (Arabic: Saljūq; also Seldjuk, Seldjuq, Seljuq) were a major branch of the Oghuz Turks and a dynasty that occupied parts of Central Asia and the Middle East in the 9th to 13th century. The Seljuks migrated into Persia in the 10th century while fighting with various tribes on their way. They accepted Sunni Islam and established a state that eventually grew into an empire. The lands of the Seljuk empire, called the Great Seljuk, covered approximately today's Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, all of the Middle East and a part of the Arabian peninsula. An Oghuz bey called Seljuk (Saljūq) was the founder of the dynasty around year 1000. His son led the Seljuks south and his grandson, Toğrül (Tughril Beg), conquered Persia and occupied Baghdad. He established a capital at Nishapur and died in 1063 in favour of his nephew (the great-grandson of Seljuk), Alp Arslan, who invaded Anatolia at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. He also conquered Transoxiana “(

The Sublime Port: Equivalent to the White House in America. Literaly the gate of the supreme Sultan ( ruler) Where the petitions and decrees officially disseminated.

Suleiman II (April 15, 1642 - 1691) was the sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1687 to 1691. The younger brother of Mehmed IV, Suleiman had spent most of his life in the kafe (cage), a kind of luxurious prison for princes of the blood within the Topkapi Palace.
When he was approached to accept the throne in after his brother's death by assassination in 1687, Suleiman assumed that the delegation had come to kill him and it was only with the greatest persuasion that he could be tempted out of the palace to be ceremonially girded with the sword of the Caliphs ( .

Tamerlane: Mongolian conqueror who led his nomadic hordes from their capital at Samarqand in central Asia to overrun vast areas of Persia, Turkey, Russia, and India. “Timur Lenk, (also known as Timur i Leng (transl.: Timur the Lame - he was lame in the left foot since birth); or Tamerlane) (1336 - February 14, 1405) was a renowned 14th century Turkic conqueror and ruler in Central Asia, especially southern Russia and Persia. His father Teragai was head of the tribe of Barlas. Great-grandson of Karachar Nevian (minister of Chagatai, son of Genghis Khan, and commander-in-chief of his forces), and distinguished, among his fellow-clansmen as the first convert to Islam, Teragai might have assumed the high military rank which fell to him by right of inheritance; but like his father Burkul he preferred a life of retirement and study “(

1826, who was the brother of Mustafa, stopped the Janissaries program????

(MJM) The Sultan of Acheh could have integrated with the Portuguese and
Dutch but he didn't want too. So he called for a Jihad and patronized
the teachings of Islam in his domains.

Look Tony in history the Semetic people were the lest to intermarry
with other cultures. In fact, the Mongols and many Asians from history
did and had no prblem with this. The Europeans had no problem either.
In order to integrate one must allow to have intermarriages. I keep
hearing about Semitic people being killed for, either dating or
hooking up with non-Semitic people.

This has to change.

This is called assimilation and cultural toleration. It is not
happening in Iraq.

The bad guys have the weapons in Iraq and the leaders of
other Arab countries supplying them are scared to death of losing their
power to a global society so they are arming the Arabs terrorists.

were talking about global assimilation into a one world culture.

Is it a culture of Islam as its cultural base or a culture of Christianity.

Mostly from America military complex because we supplied Jaung kai-Shek ( peanut head).


BARBAROSSA (Redbeard), the name given by the Christians to a family of Turkish admirals and sea rovers of the 16th century, Arouj and Khizr (alias Khair-ed-Din) and Hassan the son of Khair-ed-Din. As late as 1840, Captain Walsin Esterhazy, author of a history ,of the Turkish rule in Africa, ventured the guess that Barbarossa was simply a mispronunciation of Bflbfl Arouj, and the supposition has been widely accepted. But the prefix Bbfl was not applied to Arouj by contemporaries. His name is given in Spanish or Italian form as Orux or Harrach or Ordiche. The contemporary Arab chronicle published by S. Rang and F. Denis in 1837 says explicitly that Barbarossa was the name applied by Christians to Khair-ed-Din. It was no doubt a nickname given to the family on account of their red or tawny beards (Lat. barba). The founder ofthe family was Yakub, a Roumeliot, probably of Albanian blood, who settled in Mitylene after its conquest by the Turks. He was a coasting trader and skipper, and had four sonsElias, Isaak, Arouj and Khizr, all said to have been born after 1482. Khizr became a potter and Isaak a trader. Elias and Arouj took to sea roving, in an action with a galley of the Knights of Saint John, then, established at Rhodes, Elias waskilled and Arouj taken prisoner; the latter was ransomed by a Turkish pasha and returned to the sea. For some time he served the Mamelukes who still held Egypt. During the conflict between the Mamelukes and the sultan Selim I., he considered it more prudent to transfer himself to Tunis. The incessant conificts among the Berber princes of northern Africa gave him employment as a mercenary, which he varied by piratical raids on the trade of the Christians. At Tunis he was joined by Khizr, who took, or was endowed with, the name of Khaired-Din. Isaak soon followed his brothers. Arduj and Khair-ed-Din joined the exiled Moors of Granada in raids on the Spanish coast. They also pushed their fortunes by fighting for, or murdering and supplanting, the native African princes. Their headquarters were in the island of Jerba in the Gulf of Gabes. They attempted in 1512 to take Bougie from the Spaniards, but were beaten off, and Arouj lost an arm, shattered by an arquebus shot. In 1514 they took Jijelli from the Genoese, and after a second beating at Bougie in 1515 were called in by the natives of Cherchel and Algiers to aid them against the Spaniards. They occupied the towns and murdered the native ruler who called them in. The Spaniards still held the little rocky island which gives Algiers its name and forms the harbour. In 1518 Arouj was drawn away to take part in a civil war in Tlemcen. He promptly murdered the prince he came to support and seized the town for himself. The rival party then called in the Spaniards, by whom Arouj was expelled and slain while fleeing at the Rio Salado. Khair-ed-Din clung to his possessions on the coast and appealed to the sultan Selim I. He was named beylerbey by the sultan, and with him began the establishment of Turkish rule in northern Africa. For years he was engaged in subduing the native princes, and in carrying on warfare with the Christians. In 1519 he repelled a Spanish attack on Algiers, but could not expel his enemies from the island till 1529. As a combatant in the forefront of the war with the Christians he became a great hero in Islam, arfd dreaded by its enemies undeihis name of Barbarossa. In I 534 he seized Tunis, acting as capitan pasha for the sultan Suleiman. The emperor Charles, V~ intervened on behalf of the native prince, retook the town, and destroyed great part of Barbarossas fleet. The corsair retaliated by leading what remained of his navy on a plundering raid to the Balearic Islands. During the remainder of his life till 1547Barbarossa, though still beylerbey of northern Africa, was mainly engaged as capitan pasha in co-operating with the armies of the sultan Suleiman in the east. He was absent from Algiers when it was attacked by Charles V. in 1541. In 1543-1544 he commanded the fleet which Suleiman sent to the coast of Provence to support Francis I. Barbarossa would not allow the bells of the Christian churches to be rung while his fleet was at anchor in the ports. He plundered the coast of Italy on his way back to Constantinople. When he died in his palace at Constantinople he was succeeded as beylerbey of Africa by his son Hassan. Hassan Barbarossa, like his father, spent most of his life in the Levant, but was occasionally in Africa when the influence of his family was required to suppress the disorders of the Turkish garrisons. He left it for the last time in 1567, and is said by Hammer-Purgstall to have been present at Lepanto in 1571 His last years are obscure.

AuTH0RITIEs.The History of the Ottoman Empire, by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (French translation J. J. Hellert, 1835-1843), contains accounts of the Barbarossas, but requires to be corrected by other authorities. See La Fondation de la rgence dAlger, histoire des Barberousse, chronique arabe du X VI~ sicle published by Sander Rang and Ferdinand Denis, Paris, 1837for a curious Moslem version of their story. H. D. de Grammont has collected later evidence in his Histoire dAlger (Paris, 1887); and he discusses the origin of the name in a paper contributed to the Revue Africaine, No. 171. Their campaigns are told in a readable way with the advantage of technical knowledge by Ad. Jurien de Ia Gravihre in Les Corsaires barbarecsques et Ia marine de Soliman le Grand (5887), and Doria et Barberousse (1886). The History of the Maritime Wars of the Turks, by Hajji Khalifa (translated by J. Mitchell for the Oriental Translation Fund, 1831), is said to have been founded on evidence collected by order of the sultan Suleiman.


Tamerlane, the name was derived from the Persian Timur-i lang, "Temur the Lame" by Europeans during the 16th century. His Turkic name is Timur, which means 'iron'. In his life time, he has conquered more than anyone else except for Alexander. His armies crossed Eurasia from Delhi to Moscow, from the Tien Shan Mountains of Central Asia to the Taurus Mountains in Anatolia. From 1370 till his death 1405, Temur built a powerful empire and became the last of great nomadic leaders.

Tamerlane who was already planning his campaign to control the Silk Road, restore the Yuan, equal Jenghiz Khan and surpass Alexander.



also called Porte, the government of the Ottoman Empire. The name is a French translation of Turkish Bâbiâli (“High Gate,” or “Gate of the Eminent”). which was the official name of the gate giving access to the block of buildings in Constantinople, or Istanbul, that housed the principal state departments. Early in the history of the Ottoman Empire, the grand viziers

PORTE, THE SUBLIME (Arab. babi-ali, the high gate, through the French translation la sublime porte), in Turkey, the official name for the government, derived from the high gate giving access to the building where the offices of the principal state departments are situated.
Sublime Porte: The synonym by which was once designated the government of the Sultan of Turkey. It is the French equivalent of Bab-i-Humayoon, "the high gate." The term contains an allusion to the Oriental custom of transacting public business at the principal gate of the city or palace, and from this practice the Sultan's government was styled in Turkey "the Sultan's gate."


When the Ottoman Empire was founded in 1299, it was made up of a small Turcoman tribe and its army was relatively small. During Osman Begh’s reign, the Ottoman army was consisted only from light riders called “Ghazi” and later “Akinji”, who were recruited only in times of war. When the war was over, these warriors returned to their everyday lives.

Good Article on Ottoman Warriors
Under the Ottoman's Egypt was divided into twenty-four districts and each had its own Mameluke bey, which was formerly called an emir. Each of these beys were governed by the sultan in Istanbul. The Mameluke beys surrounded themselves with slaves who collected taxes for them and had baronial authority. Tributes had to be paid to the Turks as well.

The Ottoman ruler, Sultan Selim liked to keep trouble brewing between the Mameluke beys so that he could keep them divided and controlled.

So they kept on fighting among themselves. The leader who was on top, so to speak, was called the Sheikh al Balad, which means "chief of the country". There were times where the Sheikh became more powerful than the sultan in Istanbul, although this only happened when the Turks had their attentions elsewhere, which was actually quite often. The Turks had set about stopping revolts in their empire or spreading their empire even further into the west. The were even able to reach the Danube and plundered every Venetian ship they ran across in the Mediterranean.
The Mutazilites belonged to very early school of thought (9th century CE) in Islam which stressed human free will and the justice of God. They attempted to find a "middle path" between the heretical Kharijites and more orothodox beliefs by asserting a "rationalist" method of interpretation.
This rationalist method was, in turn, derived from the philosophical writings inherited from ancient Greece. The Mutazilites urged Muslims to turn away from a strict, legalistic faith and instead transform Islam into a more humanistic religion. The Mutazilites were supported and encouraged by the leaders of the Abbasid Caliphate, but they also threatened the position and traditions of many religious leaders. These in turn eventually succeeding in suppressing the Mutazilite ideas, leaving Greek humanistic philosophy to European Christians to later develop and learn from - leading first to the Renaissance and later to the Enlightenment.

The Minaret plays an important role in religious architecture, standing as it does, like the letter "alef" as a symbol of the link between heaven and earth in the vertical axis and as the delimiting point on the horizontal one. More details of its role can be found under Fundamental Concepts.

HIGHLIGHTS captured by the Seljuk Turks, who made it (1051) the capital of their empire. In the early 13th cent. Esfahan was taken by the Mongols. Timur conquered the city in 1388 and, after its inhabitants rebelled, slaughtered c.70,000 persons in revenge; it is said that he built a large hill with the skulls of the dead.”
(ĕsfähän´) or Isfahan (ĭs´f hän) , anc. Aspadana, city (1991 pop. 1,127,030), capital of Esfahan prov., central Iran, on the Zayandeh River. The city is located on a high plain at the foot of the Zagros Mts., where the nearby peaks are c.1,400 ft (430 m) high. The Zayandeh River flows from the High Zagros to water an oasis, a large fertile plain c.20 mi (32 km) wide and 40 mi (64 km) long. An ancient and picturesque city, rich in history, Esfahan has long been known for its fine carpets, hand-printed textiles, and metalwork, chiefly silver filigree. It has modern textile and steel mills and oil refineries. A noteworthy city in Sassanid times, Esfahan passed to the Arabs in the mid-7th cent. and served as a provincial capital. In the 11th cent. it was captured by the Seljuk Turks, who made it (1051) the capital of their empire. In the early 13th cent. Esfahan was taken by the Mongols. Timur conquered the city in 1388 and, after its inhabitants rebelled, slaughtered c.70,000 persons in revenge; it is said that he built a large hill with the skulls of the dead. Under Shah Abbas I, who made (1598) Esfahan his capital, the city was embellished with many fine buildings–notably the beautiful imperial mosque, one of the masterpieces of world architecture; the lovely Lutfullah mosque; and a great royal palace. Shah Abbas founded the Julfa quarter, located across the Zayandeh River, by transferring Armenians from N Persia to that section. At its zenith, under the Safavid dynasty in the 17th cent., Esfahan had a population of c.600,000, making it one of the world's great cities of the time. However, the city declined rapidly after it was captured (1723) by the Afghans, who massacred most of its inhabitants. Russian troops occupied Esfahan in 1916. The city is the site of the Univ. of Esfahan. The name also appears as Ispahan.
mufti , in Islamic law, attorney who writes his opinion (futwa) on legal subjects for private clients or to assist judges in deciding cases. The recorded opinions of the muftis are a valuable source of information for the actual working of Islamic law as opposed to the abstract formulation. Only in the fields of marriage, divorce, and inheritance are the futwas binding precedents; on other subjects they might be set aside. In the Ottoman Empire the muftis were state officials, and the mufti of Constantinople was the highest of these. The British, who retained the institution in some Muslim areas under their control, gave to the office of Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, great political importance.

(MJM)France is placating the Arabs at the moment. They are in numbers about little less then 1/3 of the population. As the government keeps troops out of the War on Terrorism, they will not begin attacks against French buildings. However, what we do not hear is many Jewish business and worship buildings are attacked each month. The French government recently told the large Arab population not to wear certain culture attire which has enrage them. After them make considerable inroads in Europe they will descend with a policy of convert to Islam or be conquered.
Arab Doctrine of Anti- Jew Litreature

Turks and the Afghans under Babar in 1526 decendant of Tamerlane and Genghis Khan built up the Mogul empire which survived till 1837. They ruled from horse back what they had conquered from horse back. Till may 1529 the rule of Babar extended from the river Oxus to Bengal and from the Northern Deccan to the Himalayas. The great Mogul was a Turk by nationality, a Moslem by religion, a Persian by culture and nomade from heart. Babur was succeeded by Humayun and the greatest of the moghul emperor Akber. Moghul art and Architecture reached its height under Akber's son Jahangir and later under his grand son Shah Jahan. They left a legacy of magnificent mosques, palaces, forts and gardens embellished with luxurious but delicate decorations. The Taj Mahal a masterpiece of Moghul architecture is rightly regarded as one of the most well known wonder of the world.

The Safavid dynasty The Twelvers (12ers)

The Safavid dynasty, of Turkish origin, is generally considered to have lasted from 1502 to 1737, and under Shah Ismail's rule the Shi'ite doctrine was imposed as a state religion. The Safavids continued the attempts of the Ilkhanids to foster closer diplomatic ties with the European powers, in order to cement alliances against the Ottomans.
As a result of this closer relationship, the Safavids opened the door to European influence.


coursea,matrix edu / fisher

Kanuns were secular laws, provided we consider the shari'a sacred or religious law, something that would not be quite correct but comes nearest to our western concepts of what it really was. That such laws were needed, both in the earlier Islamic and later the Ottoman empires, to deal with a great variety of problems that did not face those who codified the shart'a is obvious. Nevertheless, in a religious-legal community whose basic law theoretically covered all the needs of mankind, the issuance of these additional laws had to be justified.

By definition inferior to the shari'a, these additional laws were based on urf (adat, orf), which is best translated as customary law. According to early jurisconsults, this was the law that princes were to follow in regulating the affairs of the country. Closely related to urf was amme, general or public law, which regulated state-to-state and state-citizen relationships. After the Turkish element became dominant in the eleventh century, the old Turkish principle of toru was added, which recognized the rights of the ruler to issue decrees. Because toru was closely related to the Islamic urf concept, it was easily absorbed into the Muslim legal tradition. These principles were the legal basis for the issuing of the numerous kanuns that became very important for the European people under O toman rule. Most kanuns were nothing else but the old laws of any given region which the Ottomans confirmed in areas they conquered.

The kadis (judges), who administered both the shart a and the kanun laws, and the muftis (juriconsults who interpreted the former) were also old Muslim officials whose offlces the Ottomans had taken over from the former Islamic states and brought intact into Europe. They belonged to the ulema (plural of alim), the class of learned men who were the educational, legal, spiritual, and often scientific and cultural leaders of the Muslim community. They played an important role, as will be seen, in Ottoman life.
What must be obvious from this sketchy outline of Muslim-Ottoman law is that Ottoman law was not centralized-territorial, but practically territorial-individual, because every individual's religion, occupation, place of residence, status in society, and sex determined the law that was applicable to him or her. This produced important variations that will be discussed later.

Brief mention must be made of one more Islamic aspect that became crucial for the Ottoman state and its inhabitants: the "Five Pillars of Faith," the basic duties of a Muslim. These duties are very simple: Prayer, Almsgiving, Fasting, Pilgrimage, and Profession of Faith. Naturally the Ottomans followed these basic rules. Every Ottoman tried to live up to these commands, and the numerous public buildings, hospitals, roads, and so on that were built in Southeastern Europe were the result of these endeavors. More important for the Ottoman state's well-understood mission are verses 1.90-93 of the second chapter of the Qur'an:

" Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth no aggressors.
And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.

But if they desist, then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers."

Literally, these lines speak of defensive war, condemn aggression, and appear to address themselves to a religious group subject to persecutions. Only one line, "fight until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah," can conceivably be read to mean the spreading of the word of God by the sword. Yet, on these lines was based the concept of jihad, holy war, against unbelievers. In its Ottoman version, gaza, jihad became the official raison d'etre of the Ottoman Empire.

One of the earliest accounts we have about Osman, the founder of the dynasty, describes how his future father-in-law, Seyh Edebali, the leader of a mystical fraternity, ceremoniously hands him the sword of a gazi, a fighter for the Faith Osman won his first major battle against the Byzantines as a gazi chieftain at Baphaeum (Koyunhisar) near Nicea (Iznik) in 1301, for which the Seljuq sultan gave him the title of bey (beg). Although the Ottoman rulers added a long list of impressive titles to these first two, including those of sultan (the holder of authority), hudavendigar (emperor), sultan-i azam (the most exalted sultan), and padisah (sovereign), they always kept gazi as their first title.

The extension of the realm of the dar al-Islam (the domain of Islam) at the expense of the dar al-harb (the domain of war, the domain of those who fought Islam) was the Ottomans' duty. When the empire ceased to expand and especially when it began to shrink, the Ottomans began to feel that they had failed in their divinely ordered mission. The above Islamic aspects of the Ottoman Empire, while not complete, give the most important features affecting the lives of the people of Southeastern Europe and are sufficient to explain the Muslim nature of the state that was "divinely protected." This state was also the "domain of the House of Osman." In the various states of Europe, the Far East, and even the Arab-Muslim domains, a change of dynasty was a frequent occur- rence, but in a Turkic-Turkish state this was impossible. The existence of the Ottoman Empire was closely tied to the rule of a single dynasty, the Osmanli (Ottoman). This is the first important Turkish feature that must be noted, and it can be explained by the development of Turkish states prior to that of the Ottomans.

The original home lands of all Turkish (Turkic) people were the plains of southern Siberia and the endless expanses between the Caspian Sea and the Altaic range. The early Turkish "states" were at best tribal federations put together by strong men whose death usually meant the end of the "state." This society was dominated by a warrior aristocracy, the beys; not only was it stratified, but it also had the beginning of a vague legal system. Everybody had his place, but the entire structure hinged on a common loyalty to a supreme chief and possibly to his family. By the beginning of the eighth century the Turkish-inhabited areas bordering on Iran had been subjugated by the 'Abb-asids and had supplied them with an endless stream of slaves, many of whom became important functionaries in Baghdad.
Toward the end of the tenth century a confederation of Ghuz and Oghuz tribes established itself in the region of the Aral Sea. Known after their conversion to Islam as Turkomans, these peoples were led by a chief called Seljuq. The descendants of Seljuq had expanded their realm south and westward as far as Isfahan by the middle of the next century. In 1055 the weak caliph Al-Qa'im (1031-75) wanted to free himself from the tyrannical tutelage of another Turk, the chief of his body guard al-Basasiri. He turned to the leader of the Seljuq state, Tughril, for help and made him his chief officer. For the next hundred years, until 1157 when the caliphs reasserted their power, the Seljuqs were the real masters of the 'Abb-asid state. Their title was sultan.

When they were finally expelled from Baghdad, the Seljuqs had already established other power centers. One of these was in Asia Minor (Anatolia, Anadolu). There were reasons for this development. Turkish warriors were always looking for strong chiefs to follow, and once the Seljuqs were firmly established in Baghdad there were more followers than could be usefully employed. Since the newcomers were able and willing to fight, the Great Seljuqs, as those ruling in Baghdad were called, sent them to border regions to fight for faith, honor, advancement, and booty. They were equally eager to get rid of certain members of their family who had either the ability or the inclination, and sometimes both, to strive for the sultanate. The Byzantine border was the ideal place for unwanted relatives as well.

There Muslim gazis and their Christian equivalents, Greek akritoi, had developed a rough frontier society. This society was the result of centuries of continuous warfare, during which borderlines were never firmly established and the authority of the central government in the frontier region was at best nominal. The resulting no man's land attracted adventurous free spirits from both sides who made a living from robbing each other, justifying their action as a "defense of their faith." Even this curious way of life required rules; what developed was a rough code of behavior and chivalry

Propagandists have always hidden their true identity - it’s just the nature of the Beast.

Copyright © 1999 - 2015 Michael Johnathan McDonald