Osman Bek: The Founder of the Ottoman Principality
Keywords: Ottoman Principality, Fahrüddîn Osman Bek, Byzantine, Sultanate of Rum
In this study we have tried to investigate the life and activities of the founder of the Ottoman dynasty and principality, Osman Ghazi. First it is important to make a critical analysis of our original sources: the Byzantine cronicler G. Pachymeres and the Ottoman traditions. As a contemporary of Osman the evidence given by Pachymeres is of crucial importance (some of his errors; however, are to be corrected on the basis of the contemporary Selchukid source Masâmerer). As to the traditions in the Ottoman chronicles, (the basic ones are Ashik Pashazâde, Neşhri, Anonymous Tevârih, Oruc and Ruhi) composed towards the end of the fifteenth century, these are basically derived from a text written about the end of fourteenth century: Yakhshi Fakih's lost mânuscript. Yakhshi's account of early Ottoman history is obviously based on the traditions told by his father, Ishak Fakih, the imam of Sultan Orhan. Ishak must have been in a position to be quite well informed about Osman's activities. Since the place-names mentioned in the traditions are almost all verifiable on a map, this should be taken as proof that the traditions come from a source well acquainted with Osman's time. Thirdly, the wakf records going back to Osman's time in the archival evkaf defters provide a solid testimony for people and places of his time (a wakf deed for Ede-Balı ). Once the basic sources have been critically evaluated the details narrated in the traditions can tie used for a chronology of the events of Osman's time. Early life and activities in the Sögüd-Eskişehir region; clashes with the Tekvur in the İnegöl area, who interfered with movement between the Sögüd and Domaniç summer pastures (1285-1286); Clashes with the Tekvur of Karacahisar and Osman's capture of his fort-town, thus becoming a dominant figüre in the Sögüd-Eskişehir area, a kind of frontier lord; Tekvurs in the region between Eskişehir and Bilecik were eliminated and Osman's move to Yenişehir, directly on the Byzantine frontier; Osman's siege of Byzantium's old capital Nicaea (1301-1302) and his victory over an imperial army (2000 soldiers) at Yalak-Ova (Bapheus), 27 July 1302. Osman's victory at Dimbos, the invasion of the Bursa (Prussa) plain and the siege of the city in the spring of 1303. Osman's capture of the Sangarius port cities, Lefke and Geyve, in order to isolate Nicaea, 1304. His illness and retirement, 1305 and his death in 1324.