Ottoman Turks

Ottoman Turks

The Ottoman Turks (or Osmanlı Turks) were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı (corrupted in European languages as "Ottoman"), from the house of Osman I (reigned ca. 1299-1326), the founder of the dynasty which ruled the Ottoman empire during its 620-year history. After the expansion from its home in Bithynia, the Ottoman principality began incorporating both other Turkish-speaking Muslims and non-Turkish Christians, becoming the Ottoman Turks and ultimately the Turks of the present. The Ottoman Turks blocked all land routes to Europe by conquering the city of Constantinople, the capital city of the Byzantine Empire. Hence the Europeans had to find other ways to trade with Eastern countries.


Brief history

The "Ottomans" became first known to the West in 1227 when they migrated westward into the Seljuk Empire, in Anatolia. However, the Ottoman Turks would create a state in Western Anatolia under Ertugrul, the capital of which was Sögüt; near Bursa to the south of the Marmara, the body of water between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. Ertugrul established a principality, as part of the decaying Seljuk empire. His son Osman expanded the principality; and for him, both the empire and the people were named by Europeans as "Ottomans". Osman's son Orhan expanded the growing empire, taking Nicaea, present-day Iznik, and crossed the Dardanelles strait, in 1362. But the Ottoman Empire came into its own when Mehmed II captured the Byzantine Empire's capital, Constantinople] (Istanbul), in 1453.

The Ottoman Empire would come to rule much of the Balkans, the Fertile Crescent, and even Egypt, over the course of several centuries; with an advanced army and navy. The Empire lasted until the end of the First World War, when it was defeated by the Allies and was succeeded by the modern Republic of Turkey in 1923. Not all Ottomans were Muslims and not all Ottoman Muslims were Turks, but by 1923, the majority of individuals residing within the borders of the new Turkish Republic identified as Turks (notable exceptions were the Kurds and the few remaining Armenians and Greeks.

Culture and the arts

The conquest of Constantinople made the Ottomans the rulers of one of the most profitable empires on earth, connected to the flourishing Islamic cultures of the time, and at the crossroads of trade into Europe. The Ottomans would grow and make major developments in calligraphy, writing, law, architecture, and military science, and would become the standard of opulence.

Ottoman calligraphy

Because Islam is a religion which focuses very heavily on learning the central text of the Qur'an, and because Islamic culture has historically tended towards discouraging or prohibiting figurative art to a greater or lesser degree, calligraphy became one of the foremost of the arts.

The early Yâkût period was supplanted in the late 15th century by a new style pioneered by Seyh Hamdullah (1429–1520) which became the basis for Ottoman Calligraphy. Focusing on the nesih version of the script, which became the standard for copying the Qur'an (See Arabic Calligraphy).

The next great change in Ottoman calligraphy comes from the style of Hâfiz Osman (1642–1698), whose rigorous and simplified style found favor with an empire at its peak of both territorial extent, and governmental burdens.

The late calligraphic style of the Ottomans was created by Mustafa Râkim (1757–1826) as an extension and reform of Osman's style, and placing greater emphasis on technical perfection which broadened the calligraphic art to encompass the sülüs script as well as the neish script which had been the dominant standard script.

Ottoman poetry

Ottoman poetry produced epic length verse, but is better remembered for shorter forms, such as the gazel. The epic poet Ahmedi (-1412), for example, is remembered for his Alexander the Great. His contemporary Sheykhi wrote verses on love and romance. Yaziji-Oglu produced a religious epic on Mohammed's life, drawing from the stylistic advances of the previous generation and Ahmedi's epic forms.

Ottoman painting

By the 14th century the Ottoman Empire's prosperity made manuscript works available to merchants and craftsman, and produced a flowering of miniatures which depicted pagentry, daily life, commerce, cities and stories, as well as chronicling events. While initially is illuminated manuscript work.

By the late 18th century European influences in painting are clear, with the introduction of oils, perspective, figurative paintings, use of anatomy and composition.

See also

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