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THE OTTOMANS. J.C.1300, means these people, without any desire of glory Heg. 700, or love of their country, have been able to exe
to 726. W cute astonishing acts of courage, enslave the re
mains of the Roman empire, and all the country that these last possessed in the East in their great
est prosperity. . State of For a whole century the known parts of the Asia when Othman world had been harrassed with amazing emigrafirst ap- tions: the nations were, as one may say, preci.
pitated on one another. The best part of Asia continued in the possession of the descendants of Zengiskhan. Houlagou, one of them, who was tributary to his brother Magou the great khan of the Tartars, possessed all Persia; he had put to death the last of the caliphs, and destroyed this title, or at least this power, for ever. The Greek empire, reduced to the city of Conftan. tinople and to some parts of Thrace, of Macedonia,, of Theffaly, and of Bithynia, was not recovered from the crusades, .the schisin, the usurpation of the Latins, and from so many intestine and foreign wars, after which the ancient masters were at length remounted on their shattered throne. The kingdom of the Selgieucids of fubjugated Iconia, like all the other possessions of the Turks, had ended with Mazoud II. its last master :: in fine, the empire of Mahomet, cemented by so much blood and so many victories, had yielded to forces more fanguinary. If there were still remaining fome petty ,Mahometan fo
vereigns in a corner of Asia, they were those J.C. 1300, that the conquering moguls had disdained to Hego 700,
to 726. notice.
In effect, after the diffolution of the kingdom of Iconia, fome servants of the last sultans fought the House their safety in inaccessible mountains. As soon man. as the vanquishers were retired, these new emirs came to dispute with the Greeks some ancient possessions which were laid waste. The histo.. rians most to be credited count five of these emirs or captains, who, after having appropriated to themselves in common all the flat country of . . Asia minor, divided it between them, in order to conquer, each on his borders, the strong cities and the maritime towns which the Greeks yet pofseffed.
Othman, the son of Trogrul, who had usefully served the last sultan of Iconia, was one of the bravest; Bithynia,* which extends along the borders of the Black fea as far as the Propontis, had formed his government under the last sultans of Iconia, and became his lot after their overthrow. Those, who, after the Ottoman writers, are desirous of giving their empire, more extensive possessions at the beginning, make this emir a powerful prince, who had received from B 2
* The Ottoman emperors look on a small village of Bithynia, called Soguta, as the cradle of their house, because Trogrul and his fon Othman
were born there. They have granted it several privileges, which it ftill · enjoys.
empire; but there was then no other power in
of him after he became sovereign.
the castle of Jarissar, invited Othman to the wed-
festival was to be held in a plain near the castle J.C.1300; of Belejiki. Othman repaired thither the day Heg. 700, appointed with but few attendants, after having Lin en-ambushed a hundred of his bravest soldiers in a wood near the place of entertainment. The guests were no sooner afsembled, than flames and abundance of smoke were seen issue from the castle, which Othman's pretended wives had set on fire. - The governor and his father-in-law, who ran to extinguish it, were vigorously charged by the hundred men in ambuscade, and cut in pieces with all those of their party. Othman had -time the same day to take the castle of Belejiki, as likewise that of Jariffar, which belonged to the father of the bride. It is said, that he gave this bride to his son Orcan, who had shared with him the peril and glory of his conquest. The young captive entered the bed of the murderer of her father and lover, and was mother to the emperor Amurath 1.
. The commencement of the Ottoman empire Othman is' fixed about the year 700 of the hegira, 1300 foundation of Jesus Christ. Its founder knew how to em- pire. ploy advantageously the means of extending it. The Mahometan empire had fourished by enchusiasin and the feverest discipline; Othman fola lowed the same maxims in the little country. where he began to be feared. He called himself. the 'envoy of God to render Islamism triumphant, 'Weakened by Zengiskhan and his successors.
of his em
J.C. 1390, Othman gave the Idolaters and Greeks the choice to 1326. Heg. 700, of embracing the Mussulman religion, or of payto 726.
ing him a tribute. At the head of some soldiers, excited by the hope of booty, or of martyrdom, he conquered Iconia from the Tartars, who had poffeffed it since the death of the last sultan, and, by degrees, almost all Bithynia from the Greeks.
The diffention which was broken out between the two Andronicuses, grand-father and grandfon, whilst they reigned together at Constantinople, deprived them of the means of opposing a progress which already threatened the downfall of this once mighty empire. Moreover, the mutual aversion of the Greek and Latin Christians turned to the advantage of their common enemies.
After several conquests, Othman attempted that of Bursa, the capital of Bithynia, renowned for its baths, one of the strongest places of which the Greek emperors remained poffeffed. His first efforts were unsuccessful. After a rather long siege, he found himself obliged to retire, leaving only some troops in ambush, to molest the commerce, and hinder the garrison from leaving it: it was then that he made choice of Jengishari, a town in the vicinity of Bursa, for
his place of residence. Othman His valour and policy soon procured him more great num. splendid successes. A swarm of Tartars having Tartars. spread over all the provinces of the Turkish e