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to 1326.

made his


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


to 1326.

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.


bours, and


J.C. 1306, these sultans of Iconia the investicure of a very

to 1326.
Heg. 700, large poffeffion between Iconia and the Greek
to 726.

empire; but there was then no other power in
Alia than the Moguls who had ravaged it. We
shall judge how much the territory which Othman
governed ought to be confounded with that of
the Greeks, by the first military exploit related

of him after he became sovereign.
Othman The governors, or Greek princes, jealous of
the trea- Othman, whom they already considered as a dan-
chery of
two neigh-gerous neighbour, resolved to get rid of him by
feizes their treachery. One of them, who was poffeffor of

the castle of Jarissar, invited Othman to the wed-
ding of his daughter, as well as all the neigh-
bouring seigniors, Turks or Greeks. The Tur.
kish emir, though admonished of this entertain-
ment's being intended to be fatal to him, resolved
to accept the invitation. He requested the go-
vernor of the castle of Belejiki, the intended son-
in-law and accomplice of the treacherous gover-
nor, of Jariffar, to receive into his fort his.
(Othman's ) wives and most valuable effects,
under pretext, that being at war with another
neighbour, he feared lest this enemy should come,
during the entertainment, to pillage Carachisar,
the place of his residence. The governor of
Belejiki eagerly received this proposal. Othman* *
sent to this traitor's forty young warriors, disa
guised like women, and covered with long veils,
with torches and arms inclosed in cases. The



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to 1326.

eg. 700

to 726.

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


reduces a

ber of

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