History

Who Was 2nd Ottoman Empire / Sultan Orhan?

Orhan also occupied the lands of the Karasids of Balıkesir and the Ahis of Ankara. A series of civil wars surrounding the ascension of the nine-year-old Byzantine emperor John V Palaiologos greatly benefited Orhan. According to Muslim scholar Ibn Battuta, Orhan was the greatest of the Turkmen kings and the richest in wealth, lands, and military forces.

In the early stages of his reign, Orhan focused his energies on conquering most of northwestern Anatolia. The majority of these areas were under Byzantine rule and he won his first battle at Pelekanon against the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos. Orhan also occupied the lands of the Karasids of Balıkesir and the Ahis of Ankara.

Osman I or Osman Ghazi was the founder of the Ottoman Empire. While initially a small Turkoman principality during Osman’s lifetime, his beylik transformed into a world empire in the centuries after his death.

A series of civil wars surrounding the ascension of the nine-year-old Byzantine emperor John V Palaiologos greatly benefited Orhan. In the Byzantine civil war of 1341-1347, the regent John VI Kantakouzenos married his daughter Theodora to Orhan and employed Ottoman warriors against the rival forces of the empress dowager, allowing them to loot Thrace.

In the Byzantine civil war of 1352–1357, Kantakouzenos used Ottoman forces against John V, granting them the use of a European fortress at Çimpe around 1352. A major earthquake devastated Gallipoli (modern Gelibolu) two years later, after which Orhan’s son, Süleyman Pasha, occupied the town, giving the Ottomans a strong bridgehead into mainland Europe.

Orhan invaded Byzantine territories in northwest Anatolia. First, in 1321, Orhan captured Mudanya, the port linking the city of Bursa to the Sea of Marmara coast. He then sent a column under Konur Alp towards the west Black Sea coast; another column under Aqueda to capture Kocaeli, and finally a column to capture the southeast coast of the Sea of Marmara. Then, he captured Bursa by persuading its Byzantine commander to defect.

As Evrenos Bey, he became a commander of light cavalry, and he and his sons and grandsons led Ottoman troops in the Balkans. Once Bursa was captured, Orhan sent cavalry towards the Bosphorus, capturing Byzantine towns on the Marmara coast. There were even sightings of Ottoman light cavalry along the Bosphorus coast, and Ottoman forces laid siege to Nicaea (second only to Constantinople in the Byzantine Empire). According to Muslim scholar Ibn Battuta, Orhan was “the greatest of the Turcoman kings and the richest in wealth, lands, and military forces

In 1345, there was a change of strategy. Instead of aiming to gain land from non-Muslims, Orhan took over a Turkish principality, Karesi (present Balıkesir and surroundings). According to Islamic philosophy of war, the areas under Islamic rule were to be abodes of peace and the other areas abodes of war. Conducting a war in abodes of war was considered a good deed.

Karesi principality was a state governed by a Turkish emir and its main inhabitants were Turkish so it was an abode of peace. The Ottomans had to have special justification for conquering fellow Muslim Turkish principalities. Orhan’s leadership was crucial in consolidating and strengthening the Ottoman presence in Anatolia, setting the stage for the empire’s further expansion under subsequent rulers.

A series of civil wars surrounding the ascension of the nine-year-old Byzantine emperor John V Palaiologos greatly benefited Orhan. In the Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347, the regent John VI Kantakouzenos married his daughter Theodora to Orhan and employed Ottoman warriors against the rival forces of the empress dowager, allowing them to loot Thrace.

In the Byzantine civil war of 1352–1357, Kantakouzenos used Ottoman forces against John V, granting them the use of a European fortress at Çimpe around 1352. A major earthquake devastated Gallipoli (modern Gelibolu) two years later, after which Orhan’s son, Süleyman Pasha, occupied the town, giving the Ottomans a strong bridgehead into mainland Europe.

Orhan continued the military campaigns initiated by his father and extended Ottoman rule into Byzantine territories. His reign laid the foundation for the later expansion of the Ottoman Empire into Southeast Europe and the Balkans. Orhan is also credited with organizing the administrative and military structure of the early Ottoman state.

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