Κυριακή, 20 Μαΐου 2018

Ottoman Empire : The foundation and creation of the Turkish Sultanate by the Byzantine Greeks converts to Islam

Devshirme ("lifting" or "collecting"), also known as the blood tax or tribute in blood, was chiefly the practice where by the Ottoman Empire sent military officers to take Christian boys, ages 8 to 18, from their families in Eastern and Southeastern Europe in order that they be raised to serve the state. This tax of sons was imposed only on the Christian subjects of the empire, in the villages of the Balkans (Greeks, Slavs, Albanians, Romanians) and Anatolia (Greeks). The boys were then forcibly converted to Islam with the primary objective of selecting and training the ablest children and teenagers for the military or civil service of the empire, notably into the Janissaries. The Janissaries ("new soldier") were elite infantry units that formed the Ottoman Sultan's household troops, bodyguards and the first modern standing army in Europe. The corps was most likely established during the reign of Murad I (1362–89). They began as an elite corps of slaves made up of kidnapped young Christian boys who were forcefully converted to Islam, and became famed for internal cohesion cemented by strict discipline and order. The Ottomans instituted a tax of one-fifth on all slaves taken in war, and it was from this pool of manpower that the sultans first constructed the Janissary corps as a personal army loyal only to the sultan. From the 1380s to 1648, the Janissaries were gathered through the devşirme system, which was abolished in 1638. This was the taking (enslaving) of non-Muslim boys, notably Anatolian and Balkan Christians; Jews were never subject to devşirme, nor were children from Turkic families. They became one of the ruling classes of the Ottoman Empire, rivalling the Turkish aristocracy. The brightest of the Janissaries were sent to the palace institution, Enderun. Through a system of meritocracy, the Janissaries held enormous power, stopping all efforts at reform of the military. It was a similar system to the Iranian Safavid, Afsharid, and Qajar era ghulams, who were drawn from converted Circassians, Georgians, and Armenians, and in the same way as with the Ottoman's Janissaries who had to replace the unreliable ghazis. They were initially created as a counterbalance to the tribal, ethnic and favoured interests the Qizilbash gave, which make a system imbalanced. According to David Nicolle, the number of Janissaries in the 14th century was 1,000 and about 6,000 in 1475. The same source estimates the number of Timarli Sipahi, the provincial cavalry which constituted the main force of the army at 40,000. The Ottoman Empire used Janissaries in all its major campaigns, including the 1453 capture of Constantinople, the defeat of the Egyptian Mamluks and wars against Hungary and Austria. Janissary troops were always led to the battle by the Sultan himself, and always had a share of the loot. Devshirme started in the mid 1300s under Murad I as a means to counteract the growing power of the Turkish nobility. According to Alexander Mikaberidze the practice violated Islamic law. Mikaberidze argues that the boys were "effectively enslaved" under the devshirme system, and that this was a violation of the dhimmiprotections guaranteed under Islamic law. This is disputed by scholars of Ottoman history, including Halil İnalcık, who argues that the devshirme were not slaves. By the middle of the seventeenth century, the practice formally came to an end. An attempt to re-institute it in 1703 was resisted by its Ottoman members who coveted its military and civilian posts. Finally in the early days of Ahmet III's reign, the practice of devshirme was abolished.
Osman I or Osman Gazi (died 1323/4), transliterated archaically as Othman, was the leader of the Ottoman Turks and the founder of the Ottoman dynasty. He and the dynasty bearing his name later established and ruled the nascent Ottoman Empire (Ottoman Beylik or Emirate). The state, while only a small principality during Osman's lifetime, transformed into a world empire in the centuries after his death. According to later Ottoman tradition, Osman's ancestors were descendants of the Kayı tribe of Oghuz Turks. The Ottoman principality was just one of many Anatolian beyliks that emerged in the second half of the thirteenth century. Situated in the region of Bithynia, Osman's principality was particularly well-placed to launch attacks on the Byzantine Empire, which his descendants would eventually go on to conquer. The village of Söğüt (Thebasion until 1281) later grew into a town that served the Osmanli tribe as capital until the capture of the Byzantine city of Bursa in 1326 when the capital was moved to the far more luxurious palaces of the Byzantines. Söğüt was the birthplace of Sultan Osman I. It was conquered by Ertuğrul for the Anatolian Seljuks from the Byzantine Empire in 1281. It was called Thebasion  in Greek before the Turkish conquest. According to Stanford Shaw, these conquests were achieved against the local Byzantine nobles, "some of whom were defeated in battle, others being absorbed peacefully by purchase contracts, marriage contracts, and the like."
Köse Mihal (Michael the Beardless"; 13th century – c. 1340) accompanied Osman I in his ascent to power as an Emir and founder of the Ottoman Empire. He is considered to be the first significant Byzantine renegade and convert to Islam to enter Ottoman service. He was also known as 'Gazi Mihal' and 'Abdullah Mihal Gazi'. Köse Mihal, was the Byzantine governor of Chirmenkia (Harmankaya, Harmanköy) and was ethnically Greek. His original name was "Michael Cosses". The castle of Harmankaya (Belekoma Castle) was in the foothills of the Uludağ Mountains in Bilecik Turkey. Mihal also eventually gained control of Lefke, Meceke and Akhisar. Even before his conversion to Islam, Mihal had an amicable relationship with the Ottoman leader, Osman Gazi. He was an ally of Osman and his people in war, and also acted as a leader of the local Greek population. Additionally, he acted as a consultant and diplomatic agent for Osman I. Up to the conquest of Bursa in 1326 Köse Mihal played an important role as a diplomatic advisor and envoy of Orhan I, the son and successor of Osman Ghazi. Köse Mihal was the first important Christian renegade to become an Ottoman subject, and he played a significant role in the creation of the Ottoman state. Köse Mihal's descendants, known as the Mihaloğlu were famous, particularly in the 15th and 16th centuries. They were a politically and militarily successful family of Ottoman dignitaries in Rumelia. 
Akinji or akindji ("raider") were irregular light cavalry, scout divisions (deli) and advance troops of the Ottoman Empire's military. When the pre-existing Turkish ghazis of the nomadic Turks were incorporated into the Ottoman Empire's military they became known as "akıncı." They were one of the first divisions to face the opposing military and were known for their prowess in battle. Unpaid they lived and operated as raiders on the frontiers of the Ottoman Empire, subsisting totally on plunder. There is a distinction made between "akıncı" and "deli" cavalry. In battle their main role was to act as advance troops on the front lines and demoralise the marching opposing army by using guerrilla tactics, and to put them in a state of confusion and shock. They could be likened to a scythe in a wheat field. They would basically hit the enemy with arrows. When attacked in melee, they would retreat while still shooting backwards. They could easily outrun heavy cavalry because they were lightly armed and their horses were bred for speed as opposed to strength. 
Akinji forces were led by certain families. Well-known akinji families were Malkoçoğlu, Turhanlı, Ömerli, Evrenosoğlu, and Mihalli. These akinji clans were mainly composed of Turkmen tribal warriors with a leading dynasty which descended from the warrior ghazis of the first Ottoman ruler Osman I. Adventurers, soldiers of fortune, mercenaries, warrior dervishes, and civilians looking for fortune and adventure would also join the ranks of akinji gangs. Since akinjis were seen as irregular militia, they did not have regular salaries as kapikulu soldiers, or fiefs like timarli soldiers; their only income was the booty that they plundered. The leaders of the main akinji families were of Christian (Greek or Balkan) descend mainly.
The Malkoçoğlu family or Yahyali was one of the families that led the akıncı corps in Ottoman Empire between the 14th–16th centuries. They served mainly in the Balkan conquest of the  Ottoman empire. The members of the family usually served as beys, sanjak-beys, beylerbeys, pashas and castle commanders. Later on they joined the ranks of the Ottoman Army in various missions, and one of the descendants became a Grand Vizier. The Battle of Maritsa (1371) was a disaster for the Serbian Empire, which resulted in several Serbian and Bulgarian lords becoming Ottoman vassals. The Malkoçoğlu (Serbian: Malković) was a warrior family of Christian Serb origin, which became Muslim. Malkoç, the eponymous founder, is alleged to have been one of the commanders of Sultan Murad I and Bayezid I, fighting at Kosovo (1389) and at Nicopolis (1396). The further Ottoman expansion to the European frontiers was shared with semi-independent warriors, with the most notable being the four families of Evrenosoğulları, Mihaloğulları, both of which were of Anatolian Christian origin, Turahanoğulları of undetermined Christian origin, and the Malkoçoğulları.
Turahan Bey or Turakhan Beg (died in 1456) was a prominent Ottoman military commander and governor of Thessaly from 1423 until his death in 1456. He participated in many Ottoman campaigns of the second quarter of the 15th century, fighting against the Byzantines as well as against the Crusade of Varna. His repeated raids into the byzantine Despotate Morea in Peloponnese transformed the local Byzantine despotate into an Ottoman dependency and opened the way for its conquest. At the same time, his administration of Thessaly, where he settled new peoples, founded the town of Tyrnavos and revitalized the economy, set the groundwork for Ottoman rule in the area for centuries to come. Nothing is known of his birth date or early life, except that he was the son of Pasha Yiğit Bey, who conquered Skopje in 1392 and was the first Ottoman governor of Bosansko Krajište. Pasha Yiğit Bey or Saruhanli Pasha Yiğit Bey (Pasaythus or Basaitus d. 1413) was an Ottoman civil and military officer at the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th century. He was born in Saruhan (Ionia and Lydia in Greek, near Aegean islands). Yiğit was the tutor of Isak-Beg, the second ruler of Skopsko Krajište, and the father of Turahan Bey an Ottoman general, conqueror of Thessaly and warden of its marches. Sultan granted large land estates to Pasha Yiğit Bey and to Isak-Beg for their merits. Turkic pastoralists remained only a small minority, however, and the gradual Turkification of Anatolia was due less to in-migration than to the conversion of many Christians to Islam, and their adoption of the Turkish language. The reasons for this conversion were first, the weak hold Greek culture had on much of the population, and second, the desire by the conquered population to "retain its property or else to avoid being at a disadvantage in other ways."  One mark of the progress of Turkification was that by the 1330s, place names in Anatolia had changed from Greek to Turkish.
Evrenos or Evrenuz (Gazi Hadji Evrenos Bey; d. at 17 November 1417 in Yenice-i Vardar) was an Ottoman military commander, with an unlikely long-lived career and lifetime. He served as a general under Süleyman Pasha, Murad I, Bayezid I, Süleyman Çelebi and Mehmed I. A persistent Greek legend maintains that Evrenos' father was a certain Ornos (Ouranos?), renegade Byzantine governor of Prusa who defected to the Ottomans, and then on to Karasi, after the fall of Prusa, in 1326. He was known as Isa Bey Prangi, buried in the village of Prangi, a busy ferry-place on the Evros river about 6 km east from Didymoteicho. Stanford J. Shaw and Joseph von Hammer regard Evrenos as a Byzantine convert to Islam. He led many crucial Ottoman campaigns and battles in Bulgaria, Thessaly, and Serbia. After having participated in the Ottoman conquest of Adrianopolis in 1362, Evrenos was appointed to uc beği(frontier warlord) of Thessaly. He and his akıncıs fought in the Battle of Kosovo(1389) and the Battle of Nicopolis (1396). Evrenos conquered the cities of Keşan, İpsala, Komotini, Feres, Xanthi, Maroneia, Serres, Monastir, and, in 1397, Corinth. He founded the town Yenice-i Vardar, modern Giannitsa. The Greek inhabitants of Gianitsa (Yenice Vardar) down to the early 20th century displayed reverence for "Gazi Baba", that is "papa Gazi". Together with the Mihaloğulları (from the Karasi emirate), Malkoçoğulları (from Serbia), Ömerli/Ömeroğlu, and the Turahanoğulları, Evrenos' descendants, the Evrenosoğulları, constitute one of the Byzantine families that effectively formed the early Ottoman warrior nobility. As one of the most successful Ottoman commanders, Evrenos acquired a considerable amount of wealth and founded numerous endowments (awqaf). Several monuments attributed to him survive in southeastern Europe. 
The Mihaloğlu or Mihalzade ("son of Michael"), in the collective plural Mihalogullari ("Sons/descendants of Michael"), were a distinguished family of akinji leaders and frontier lords (uc beğleri) of the early Ottoman Empire. The family descended from Köse Mihal, the Greek lord of Chirmenkia (modern Harmanköy), who may have been a relative of the Byzantine imperial dynasty of the Palaiologoi. After converting to Islam, he became a companion of the founder of the Ottoman emirate, Osman I, and played a considerable part in the early expansion of the Ottoman state. He and his descendants bore, until the 16th century, the hereditary title of "commander of the akinjis". According to the great Ottomanist Franz Babinger, along with the Evrenosoğulları, the Malkoçoğulları, the Timurtaşoğulları, and the Turahanoğulları, the Mihaloğulları were "among the most celebrated of the noble families of the early Ottoman empire". Köse Mihal had two sons, Mehmed, who played an important role in the Ottoman Interregnum and the early years of Murad II's reign, and Yakhshi or Bakhshi, who is relatively unknown. Mehmed's son Hızır Bey was a distinguished military commander under Mehmed II, as were two of his grandsons, Ali Bey and Iskender Bey; a third brother, Bali Bey, is less known, although he too earned the honorific ghazi.
Πηγή : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devshirme

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