Ottoman period was the most important albeit critical in Medieval Muslim History and Historiography

Islamabad, October 03, 2021 (PPI-OT): The Ottoman Empire was founded at the end of the 13th century in north-western Anatolia by the Turkman tribal leader Osman-I, which controlled much of South-eastern Europe, Western Asia, Northern Africa and most part of the Arabian peninsula between the 14th and early 20th centuries. This was stated by Prof Emeritus Aslam Syed during a Webinar on Medieval Muslim History and Historiography during Ottoman period here on Sunday.

The guest speaker Prof Emeritus Aslam Syed has been serving the Center for Religious Studies, Ruhr Universitat, Bochum, Germany. He remained Chairman, Department of History, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and also served the NIHCR as its Director. Responding to a question, Prof Syed said that the Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by Mehmed. Under the reign of Suleiman, the Ottoman Empire marked the peak of its power and prosperity as well as the highest development of its government, social, and economic systems, he said.

The Webinar was arranged online by the National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research (NIHCR), Centre of Excellence, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, attended by over 1000 participants ranging from students, teachers and researchers to have greater insights into the valuable views of the guest speaker.

Prof Syed said that as the Seljuk Sultanate declined in the 13th century, Anatolia was divided into a patchwork of independent Turkish principalities; one of these principalities in the region of Bithynia on the frontier of the Byzantine Empire, was led by the Turkish tribal leader Osman-I, a figure of obscure origins from whom the name Ottoman is derived.

During the discourse, the NIHCR Director Dr Sajid Mahmood Awan was of the view that Osman’s early followers consisted both of Turkish tribal groups and Byzantine renegades, with many but not all converts to Islam. Supplementing Dr Awan’s observation, Prof Syed said that Osman extended the control of his principality by conquering Byzantine towns. A Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Bapheus in 1302 contributed to Osman’s rise as well.

Responding to a question, Prof Syed said that the historiography of the Ottoman Empire which was composed in Persian occupy an important place in the corpus of court-oriented Ottoman historical writing of the early and classical periods. Although the predominant literary language of the Ottoman realm was Turkish, Persian, as a language of prestige and the preferred vehicle for the projection of an imperial image, provided an alternative linguistic medium for historical composition.

Dr Awan observed that starting in the 1600s, the Ottoman Empire began to lose its economic and military dominance to Europe. Around this time, Europe had strengthened rapidly with the Renaissance and the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Other factors, such as poor leadership and having to compete with trade from the Americas and India, led to the weakening of the empire.

Prof Syed viewed that in 1683, the Ottoman Turks were defeated at the Battle of Vienna. This loss added to their already waning status. Over the next 100 years, the empire began to lose key regions of land. After a revolt, Greece won their independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1830. In 1878, the Congress of Berlin declared the independence of Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria. During the Balkan Wars, which took place in 1912 and 1913, the Ottoman Empire lost nearly all their territories in Europe. The Ottoman Empire officially ended in 1922 when the title of Ottoman Sultan was eliminated. Turkey was declared a republic on October 29, 1923, when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), an army officer, founded the independent Republic of Turkey.

The NIHCR Director Dr Sajid Mahmood Awan conducted the Webinar by triggering a dialogue with Dr Syed for substantiating this discourse. This inclusive activity has been taken up every week for the benefit of students in general and capacity-building of the teachers and researchers in particular, he said.

For more information, contact:

National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research (NIHCR)

Quaid-e-Azam University, New Campus, Shadara Road,

Islamabad, Pakistan

Tel: +92-51-2896153-54/102

Fax: +92-51-2896152