Ottoman Empire

History of the Ottoman Empire

Contrary to popular belief Turks are not a Middle Eastern people. They are, or were, nomadic Central Asians related to the Mongols and the Huns who moved west, establishing over the centuries several states from central to western Asia. They speak a language classified as a Turanic or Turkic language, a category that includes Finnish and Hungarian. The most notable Turkish state that preceded the Ottoman Empire was the Seljuk Empire, which stretched from the outskirts of Central Asia through Persia to Anatolia, aka Asia Minor. The first Turkish arrival in Anatolia, the heartland of Modern Turkey, was in the year 1071 when Seljuk Emperor Alpaslan defeated Byzantine emperor Diogenes at a place called Manzikert, or Malazgirt. From this date on Turks started to mingle with Byzantines of the Greco-Roman Empire as well as indigenous peoples of Anatolia.


A Depiction of Seljuk Emperor Alpaslan


 Ottoman Empire expanded by Osmosis To Supplant Byzantine Empire

British Historian Lord Kinross                              

Ottoman Empire was incepted as a small principality in 1299 following the chaos of the Mongolian invasion of Middle East and collapse of the Anatolian Seljuk Empire. Initially Ottoman Turks mingled with Byzantine Greeks, occasionally getting involved in their feudal conflicts as friends, allies or mercenaries. At times they fought with the Byzantine Army to move in where the Byzantine state was weak. It took them about a hundred years to cross the Dardanelles and start conquering territories in Europe. By the 1400’s the Byzantine Empire was reduced to the city state of Constantinople, an island in the Ottoman lake.

Ascension, Stagnation and Decline of The Ottoman Empire

Historians generally divide Ottoman history into 3 periods, ascension, stagnation and decline. Some historians take Sultan Suleiman The Magnificent’s death in 1566 as the end of the Ascension period, while the Ottoman defeat at Vienna in 1683 marks the beginning of decline. Suleiman The Magnificent, also known as Suleiman The Lawgiver, was known for his conquest of Hungary as well as his codification of a civil law. However, he also reaffirmed the supremacy of Islamic law, making the Ottoman Empire a theocracy for all intents and purposes. His father Selim I, aka Selim The Brave, had conquered the Middle East and Egypt, bringing the seal of the Caliphate to Istanbul. Henceforth Ottoman sultans also became the spiritual leaders of Islam, or Caliphs. The Caliphate was dissolved by an act of the Turkish Parliament after Ataturk established the Turkish Republic in 1923.

A Motion Picture History of Ottoman Empire

Note: This documentary is over 90 minutes long.

This website does not make any warranties or representations as to the accuracy of information in the documentary, nor necessarily concur with opinions or statements of fact expressed by its producers.