Essay#1 - The nature of the early Ottoman Empire is...

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The nature of the early Ottoman Empire is commonly debated amongst historians due to a lack of consistent information from the period. Part of the difficulty in deducing the nature of the early Ottoman state is the trouble pinpointing the origins of the Ottoman Empire. One prevailing theory is the early Ottoman state was a purely religious state marked by conquest in the name of holy war. Advocates of this theory point to the prevalence of Gaza in the early period of the empire. Others believe the period was marked by the syncretism of various ideas and cultures. This view takes into account the diversity of the early Ottoman state as well as the heavy amount of influence neighboring civilizations had on the Ottoman Empire. Though both of these ideas seem to have some credibility, the syncretism of different ideas and cultures more accurately defines the nature of the Ottoman Empire while religious conviction appears to have some importance in early Ottoman conquest. By analyzing the progression of early Ottoman culture, government, and military, it is evident the early Ottoman Empire was defined by the compilation of many different ideas. The Ottoman tribe origins can be dated back to the migration of the Seljuk Turks from central Asia in the 9 th century. Following Mongol conquests in the 13 th century, the Ottoman tribe fled to Anatolia. Once in Anatolia, the Ottoman tribe became a beylik, an independent territory. The Ottomans success is greatly attributed to its location. Their position in Anatolia placed them in close proximity to the Byzantine Empire as well as being situated such that it had a great amount of space to expand before reaching the sea. Following the Byzantine Empire’s reconquest of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantines left their people in Anatolia without sufficient protection. As a result, Turkish nomads 1
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began migrating into the plains. Thus, both Byzantines and Turks coexisted in Anatolia even before Ottoman conquests began. The Ottomans were also originally a semi-nomadic people. As a result, Osman’s initial military efforts against the Byzantines in the later 13 th century ended abruptly most likely due to a lack of footmen and other skilled regiments. Nevertheless, these initial conquests brought Turks to the Western plateau of Anatolia where many Greeks resided. The two different groups lived side by side and evidence reveals assimilation occurred in
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Essay#1 - The nature of the early Ottoman Empire is...

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