The father of Sultante Osmani, Osman Gazi was born in 1258. He was third son of Ertugrul Gazi and Halime Sultan.
Osman Gazi was a tall man with a round face, dark complexion, hazel eyes, and thick eyebrows.
His shoulders were fairly large and the upper part of his body was longer than the other parts. He used to wear a Horasan
crown in the style of Cagatay, which was made of red broad cloth.
Osman Gazi was just 23 when he succeeded the leadership of the Kayi Clan in Sogut, in 1281.
He was a very brilliant rider and a fencer.
He married to Malhun Sultana who was the daughter of famous Omer bey.
Mal Sultan later gave birth to Orhan who succeeded the throne.
Osman Gazi appreciated the opinions of Edebali (the famous Ahi Sheik) and he respected him.
He often went to Edebali’s house where a dervish group meets in Eskisehir Sultanonu and been his guest.
One night, when he was a guest in Sheik Edebali’s dergah, he had a dream. As the sun shined, he went to Edebali and told him:
“My Sheik, I saw you in my dream. A moon appeared in your breast. It rose, rose and then descended into my breast.
From my novel there sprang a tree. It grew up and turned green. It branched out and got complicated.
The shadow of its branches covered the whole world. What does my dream mean? After a little silence, Sheik told him:
I have got good news Osman! Allah gave you sovereignty and to your sons. All the world will be under the
protection of your descendants and my daughter will be the wife to you.”
After this unusual event, the Sheik gave his daughter Bala Sultana to Osman and Alaeddin was born from this marriage.
Upon his conquest of the fortress of Bilecik, the ruler of the Seljuks of Rum, sent him “a horsetail, a standard and a drum”
as the insignia of sovereignty in 699 A.H. (1299 A.D.). Thereupon, he minted coins and had the Friday prayers recited in his name alone.
His grand vizier was his younger son, Alaeddin Pasha. Osman was the first to Ievy a tax of one “akçe”. Osman Gazi was surnamed “Black”,
which according to an ancient Turcoman tradition signifies brave and heroic. As we learn from the Oðuzname, the same epithet was given to Kara Yusuf, the ruler of Karakoyunlus, and to Kara Yülük Osman Bey, the Sultan of the Akkoyunlus.
With Sögüt as their base, Osman and the Muslim frontier warriors (Ghazis) under his command waged a slow and stubborn conflict against the Byzantines, who sought to defend their territories in the hinterland of the Asiatic shore opposite Constantinople (now Istanbul).
Osman gradually extended his control over several former Byzantine fortresses, including Yenisehir, which provided the Ottomans with a strong base to lay siege to Bursa and Nicaea (now Iznik), in northwestern Anatolia.
The founder of Ottoman empire- risen from Anatolia and his descendants reigned for 600 years, over three continents.
Osman was succeded by his son Orhan, who captured Bursa on April 6, 1326. Ottoman tradition holds that Osman died just after the capture of Bursa, but some scholars have argued that his death should be placed in 1324, the year of Orhan’s accession.
When he died, he left a horse armor, a pair of high boots, a few sun jacks, a sword, a lance, a tirkes, a few horses, three herds of sheep, salt and spoon containers.
His Wifes : Malhun Hatun , Rabi’a Bala Hatun
His Sons : Pazarli, Coban, Hamit, Orhan, Ala-ed-din, Melik.
His Daughters : Fatma Sultan.
Small Beylic, grand vision
He was a visionary. One of his seven sons was named as Pazarlı and another Çoban. They were almost named to represent the seven social classes. When we look at the lands that he had conquered during his half century long beylic rule, we immediately realize that he and his warriors didn’t display any occupying or raider features. Osman Ghazi had conquered land as big as three small Anatolian provinces (one third of today’s Bursa, Bilecik, one third of Eskişehir, and some of Kocaeli and Sakarya) during his beylic rule.
This exact information invites one to question the famous ‘holy war theory’ about the establishment of the Ottoman State. If we ask Paul Wittek and local and foreign followers, the Ottomans were nomad warriors. They didn’t know anything else but conquering and raid. Since it was a border beylic of Seljuk State, adventurist warriors from Muslim states were flowing to the Ottoman lands. This matter became wide spread and non-Muslim loot lovers began going to raids with the Ottomans.
Modest legacy, great spirituality
After all this supposedly raids, let’s take a look at Osman Ghazi’s legacy: one horse shield, one pair of boots, a few flags, one sword, one spear, one quiver, a few horses, three herds of sheep, salt shaker, and spoon holder. I personally wouldn’t call this the legacy of a man of pillage. Among all the beylics, Osman Ghazi was not the only wealthy one, since the other beylics also had holy wars and ghazis (ghazi: veteran soldier.) The issue was something else. With his hazel eyes and wide shoulders, fair-skinned and brave Osman Ghazi was an expert of war; however, his expertise of peace was greater. He became famous for sharing what they had acquired from their holy wars among the people. Many people joined his beylic for that reason.
His commandership was not of an ordinary border bey. He was careful not to lose the lands that he had conquered and not to keep the accords with the Byzantine feudal landlords forever. He had a quick temper. He didn’t care much about anything but Islam.
The matter called ‘ghazis with Christian origins’ was both exaggerated and distorted. Even if they had Christian origins, they were men who became Muslim, bonded with Osman and his family with blood and faith. People from Mihal Bey’s line kept coming forward to express their loyalty to the state and this was for a reason. Because our ancestor Osman had this kind of spirituality.
His charisma has the marks of faith, friendship, and justice. Terror and cruelty were not the things that he could understand. He seems almost like a naive person. But, in fact, he was a bey who had understood politics well, since he had the Byzantine feudal landlords destroy each other with few ghazis to open space for the Muslim population which kept growing in numbers, making Bithyna Turkey proves this.
Dark horse wins the race
Osman Ghazi couldn’t expand throughout Anatolia for victory, because he was surrounded with large beylics. Unstable Seljuk throne was still intact in Konya and also the Mogul terror was still terrorizing Anatolia. He couldn’t expand through Rumelia because the Byzantine Empire’s skills in bureaucracy and military were still superior, although the Empire was growing old.
Osman Ghazi had found a way out of this tight situation strategically. One aspect of this strategy was to take martial measures and action. When Osman Ghazi became a bey, the Islamic world was striving to be reorganized under the leadership of ghazis against the Mogul invasion from east and the Crusades from west. Mamluk State that was established by the slave soldiers in Egypt was on the rise. The Mamluk Sultan Baibars was being referred as ‘the first Muslim commander who was able to stop the Moguls.’ Moreover, Baibars’s alliance with the Muslim Oghuzs to free Anatolia from the Moguls was well known.
Since this was the situation, the sultans and the ghazis who were ruling in Anatolia, Egypt, and Syria regions were acting as they had signed a silent pact against the Byzantine and the Moguls and they seemed they were at peace between each other.
The ‘fight against non-Muslims, be at peace with the Muslims’ strategy made Osman Ghazi who was an ordinary ghazi-commander under the ruling of Çobanoğulları Beylic first a bey then a khan.
Ottomans like the poor
Oruç Beğ Tarihi (a book that treats the historical matters between 1288 and 1502) says: “The Ottomans like the poor.” The second strategy of Osman was the key point on the way to ruling the whole Anatolia and later the world. Loyalty and merit came before kinship and social status for Osman and his state. The lands that were ruled by Osman were open to anyone who would serve the common purpose. Anyone who mastered skills of a field had the opportunity to become prominent.
Osman Ghazi was good at both peace and war. Showing İznik as their target to the ghazis, he achieved to retrieve the old Seljuk capital, which was invaded by the Crusaders. This is also the reason that Kutalmışoğlu Suleiman Shah was accepted as the grandfather of Osman without any kinship. As Suleiman Shah was ruling Anatolia from İznik, the Crusaders invaded the city and inflicted a heavy blow to the Muslim-Turkish domination in Anatolia. The honor of becoming the second conqueror of İznik made Osman a popular and famous ghazi-commander among the Islamic world.
We said that he was good at peace. He didn’t used to let anyone to pillage the places that he had conquered; he used to lower the taxes of the Christan population. Despite the conquests, the locals were remaining where they were, cultivating, and paying their taxes. Osman was winning the hearts of the people who were living at the lands that he invaded by sword. Once he won a war, he didn’t see the locals as his enemy. The observation of the historians is that the people who lived at the lands that Osman Ghazi conquered were living wealthier and in peace compared to the reign of the Byzantine feudal landlords.
He wanted a healthy society
If Osman was only a ghazi who wears a shield, walks around with his sword in his hand, and only knows how to fight, he could have settled with worldly captures. However, he was striving to build a healthy society, which is stable in both social and economic aspects. This shows us that he was an initiative who understood the necessities of the classic age.
Osman Ghazi liked the poor. Today, as Turkey accepts thousands of refugees, it is as comfortable as to make the world confuse. Yes, the doors to Anatolia were opened to us by Alp Arslan; however, Osman is the one who made it our home that opens its doors to the poor, coming from different parts of the world. It is almost like we live in his dream.