The Ottoman Empire Episode 1 Urdu | The Dream of Empire | خوابوں کے بیچ
Once Algeria, Morocco, Tunis, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Palestine… Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo and Hungary… … were under a single rule that was called the Great Ottoman Empire. It spread over 3 continents and lasted for 6 centuries how this Empire became a Superpower of the world? And what factors led it to such a downfall that today this empire is lost in history?
I will tell you all this in the new series on the Ottoman Empire… by ‘Dekho, Sunu, Jano.’ It is present-day Turkey. 1000 years ago its Asian part was called ‘Anatolia.’ Then the Eastern Anatolia was ruled by the Seljuk Sultans who belonged to the Turkish race while… the Romans occupied the rest of Anatolia. It was the gateway to eastern Europe which was also… … under the control of the Romans. Constantinople was the capital of the Roman Empire. Today Constantinople is known as Istanbul.
The Roman Empire was called Byzantine Empire or the Eastern Roman Empire. In the Roman part of Anatolia, a beautiful lake called ‘Van’ is situated. A legend goes about this lake that a monster half crocodile and half fish lives therein. Though this is just a legend, the beauty of the lake is real. On the bank of the lake, a grand historic church exists.
A Biblical story is inscribed on its walls. 1000 years ago, a short battle was fought on the bank of this lake that changed history. Turks won this battle and they celebrate their victory every year. The Turkish president also attends these celebrations. Turkish horsemen also display their archery skills by shooting the target backward… They do it without holding reins. This is now just a sport. But 948 years ago their ancestors used this skill to capture the entire Anatolia from the Romans.
History shows that the Seljuks and the Romans were battling for Anatolia in the 11th century. But historically this area was part of the Byzantine empire. And the Romans had set up a long row of forts on their borders to check attacks from the Turks. The Roman troops were deployed in those border forts to face the attackers. But the number of attacks from the Turks increased so much that the Roman troops failed to stop them. So the Roman Emperor, Romulus, formed an army of over 100,000 to end threats from the Turks permanently.
At the time Emperor Romulus was preparing for war with the Turks, the most powerful Sultan of the Seljuki… Turks, Alp Arsalan, was engaged in a war with the Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt۔ Fatimid Caliphate controlled Jerusalem and the Syrian coast. Alp Arsalan wanted to capture them. Now Alp Arsalan was threatened by a two-front war. Therefore Alp Arsalan offered a deal to Emperor Romulus to avoid war with the Romans. He proposed both sides stop raiding each other’s territories.
Romulus might have agreed to it but the unclear borders between the two empires were a problem. Both the empires also did not have strict control over their respective border areas. Therefore no agreement was possible and the Roman Army continued movement towards the Seljuki borders. Leading a large army Romulus reached Manzikert area of Anatolia in the year 1071. Seljuki Sultanate was not far from Manzikert. In this situation Alp Arsalan had no option except leaving one front۔
Arsalan stopped war with the Fatimids and returned to his power-base Iran to get ready to face the Romans. Alp Arsalan prepared an army of 30,000 soldiers which included highly trained horsemen and archers. Alp Arsalan and his forces reached the bank of Lake Van and surrounded a large part of the Roman army. It was a surprise attack by the Turks that unnerved the Romans. The Romans faced another setback when the Turkish mercenaries in their forces betrayed.
They joined the army of Alp Arsalan. This development created confusion among the Romans. So one part of the Roman army escaped. It also demoralized the remaining Roman troops. These troops were under Romulus’ command. But suddenly a rumour spread that the King was dead. The rumour took away the fighting spirit of all the Christian army. After facing the Turks halfheartedly for some time, the Roman forces began to retreat. The Romans had a large army yet they lost lost in 24 hours.
But another amazing thing was going to happen. At the end of the war, a Seljuk soldier came before Sultan Alp Arsalan along with an injured Roman soldier. Sultan asked, “who is this?” The soldier replied, “he is Roman Emperor, Romulus.” Alp Arsalan could not believe that the Roman Emperor was lying on his feet. Arsalan put his foot on the neck of Romulus and asked, “If I were in your place what would you do to me?” Romulus replied, “I would have killed you or dragged you through the streets of Constantinople in chains.
” Alp Arsalan said, “you cannot imagine how horrible my revenge is going to be. I will forgive you.” After that Alp Arsalan treated Romulus very well. He provided Romulus with good clothes and food. He also forced Romulus to an agreement that gave control of a large area of Anatolia to the Seljuks. Roman Emperor also promised to pay 1.5 million gold coins, annual tribute and marriage of his daughter… with the son of the Sultan. Afterward Emperor Romulus was set free.
And what happened next was the same which Alp Arsalan… had said about taking a horrible revenge from Romulus. When Romulus was going back to Constantinople, rebels arrested him. When Romulus was out of the city, people revolted against him and a new emperor took over. The rebels blinded Romulus and put him in prison where he passed away in misery.
Since that time the Turks hold this part of Anatolia despite the fact the Romans and the Christians forces… made many attempts to get their land back but they failed. The part of Anatolia under the Turks’ control also became unforgettable in history. Because a nomadic tribe that lived in this area, raised cattle for living and had no say in the world affairs… became known to the world as the Ottoman Turks. No-one knows what was their actual name, their former religion and native area.
Because their history was written a century after the establishment of the Ottoman Empire. Therefore nobody is sure of the authenticity of their early history. After Seljuk Turks occupied a large part of Anatolia, the Ottoman Turks also began to move freely in that area. The Ottoman Turks were brave, hardworking and good fighters. The tribes that were loyal to the Seljuks had the basic duty of defending the Seljuk Empire against the Romans. As such they served as a ‘buffer zone’ or ‘strategic depth’ for the Seljuk Empire.
The major loss that came to the Seljuks was from Genghis Khan in the East and not from the Romans. Genghis Khan had great liking for the fine clothes which were available in the markets of the Islamic states. He sent traders to Khwarazm Shah, who ruled Iran and Central Asia, to bring the best clothes for him But Khwarezm Shah thought that these traders were spies of Genghis Khan and killed them. The killing of the traders highly flared up Genghis Khan who sent a messenger to Khwarezm Shah to inquire…
about the facts but Khwarezm Shah also killed the messenger. This act increased the wrath of Genghis Khan and he decided to attack the Muslims states. He badly devastated the Muslim states from the border of China to Baghdad. Genghis Khan also reached Anatolia where his successors crushed the Seljuk Empire. This destruction left a much reduced Seljuki state that was called ‘Seljuki Rum.’ ‘Seljuki Rum’ was a group of small states which the descendants of the relations of Alp Arsalan ruled.
In the middle of Seljuki Rum and the Roman Empire, Ottoman Turks led by Osman were gradually… picking up power. Not much information is available as to the birthplace of Osman and his early life. Even it is not clear whether Osman was his actual name or it was ‘Atman’ or ‘Ataman.’ Because the Arabic name ‘Osman’ was given to him much later. He was famous for his bravery and the army of highly trained fighters and horse riders. The horsemen were so trained that they used to shoot the prey without holding reins of the galloping horses.
Osman liked to live among his soldiers which promoted love and respect for him. In a short time Osman gathered a large army of the Turk horsemen. He also got support from other Turk Beyliks (leaders) who lived in the surrounding areas. Now he had become strong enough that the small groups of Mongols avoided to confront him. Osman wanted to attack the Roman Byzantine Empire to expand his territory and ensure its protection. But the River Sakarya posed a hurdle in the way of his ambition.
The Roman Byzantine Empire was situated across this river. On the riverside the archers in the Roman posts threatened Osman’s advancement. Then a natural disaster took place in the year 1300 or 1302 River Sakarya changed its course and the River water threw down the strong posts of the Byzantine Empire. Osman was looking for this very opportunity. He crossed the river and started attacks on the Roman land. When the Byzantine emperor was informed about these attacks.
He sent an army to counter the invaders. In order to face the Byzantine army, Osman used the military strategy he had learned from the Mongols. Osman sent a small group of soldiers who retreated after a brief fight and lured the enemy into a trap. The Roman army chased this contingent and entered a wooded area where Osman’s main force was hiding. Osman quickly surrounded the enemy and launched a forceful attack. The Roman Army suffered a crushing defeat in this battle.
Later Osman conquered many forts and cities of the Byzantine Empire including its important city, Yenisehir Osman made Yenisehir the capital of his empire. These grand victories made Osman hero of all Turks in the region. As such all Turks of Anatolia began to gather under his banner one by one. The military strength of Osman was growing yet it was no match for the Romans. But the Roman might did not deter Osman from attacking the Roman lands.
His military campaigns also increased the number of Osman’s enemies. Once Osman’s uncle tried to stop him from military campaigns but Osman got annoyed by his advice. Osman disliked those who questioned his authority. Osman was so angry that he killed his uncle. Osman respected a tribal elder Sheikh Edebali and consulted him on important issues. He regarded Sheikh Edebali as his spiritual guide. He also wanted to marry Sheikh’s daughter but Ebadali was against this marriage.
A legend goes that Osman saw a dream that the moon was shifting from the body of the Sheikh to his body. Then a huge tree grew from his body and branches of the tree spread from the East to the West. Then 4 rivers came out of these roots while 4 high mountains supported the branches of the tree. Suddenly a strong wind blew which carried leaves of the tree to a majestic city. The land of the city met two oceans and two continents. This city was like a ring that Osman wanted to wear. But Osman woke up at this stage.
When he told the dream to Sheikh Edebali he said, “God will bless you with a big empire.. and you will also marry my daughter.” History is witness that the dream came true. It began with the marriage of the Sheikh’s daughter, Rabia, with Osman. The interpretation of the dream and the weakening power of the Romans greatly encouraged Osman. In 1317, he besieged an important city Brusa (Bursa) of the Byzantine Empire, near the city of Constantinople. The Ottoman Turks emerged victorious after 10 years of war with the Romans.
The Governor of Brusa surrendered before the Army of Osman in 1326 Osman was near his death by the time Brusa was conquered. Osman was pleased when his son Orhan conveyed him the news of their victory. Osman praised his son and appointed him his successor. He advised his son to bury him in Brusa… and make this city the new capital of the Ottoman Sultanate. A few days later, Osman died and his body was buried in Brusa where his tomb still stands.
Acting on the will of his father, Orhan made Brusa new Capital of his Sultanate. Now the Ottoman Turks had acquired a huge land which they called Empire. Orhan assumed the title of ‘Sultan’ instead of ‘Bey’ which was previously used for the Turkish rulers… such as Osman Bey and Orhan Bey. Sultan Orhan became the first Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. The foundation of the empire that Osman saw in his dream, had been laid down.
But this newly born empire had threats not only from the Romans but also from another… Turkish empire called ‘Kerasid Empire’ that was gaining strength in the West of the Ottoman Turks. It was possible that the Romans and the Kerasids would join hands in future to end the Ottoman Turks forever. Sultan Orhan was much worried because of this problem. But the nature provided him the chance which any Sultan gets in centuries.
What was that? And how it became possible that once a small Ottoman state near the Roman land, turned into to big Ottoman… Empire and it surrounded the Romans from the East and the West? I will show you all this in the next episode of the Ottoman Empire. You saw the first episode of the Ottoman Empire and if you want to know how and what revolution… Nelson Mandela brought about in South Africa, touch or click here.
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