Michael the Brave
Michael the Brave was the Prince of Wallachia, Prince of Moldavia and de facto ruler of Transylvania. He is considered one of Romania's greatest national heroes. Michael was seen by 19th-century nationalists as the first author of Romanian unity, his rule over Wallachia began in the autumn of 1593. Two years war with the Ottomans began, a conflict in which the Prince fought the Battle of Călugăreni, considered one of the most important battles of his reign. Although the Wallachians emerged victorious from the battle, Michael was forced to retreat with his troops and wait for aid from his allies, Prince Sigismund Báthory of Transylvania and Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II; the war continued until a peace emerged in January 1597, but this lasted for only a year and a half. Peace was again reached in late 1599, when Michael was unable to continue the war due to lack of support from his allies. In 1599, Michael won the Battle of Șelimbăr and soon entered Alba Iulia, becoming the imperial governor of Transylvania.
A few months Michael's troops invaded Moldavia and reached its capital, Iaşi. The Moldavian leader Ieremia Movilă fled to Poland and Michael was declared Prince of Moldavia. Michael kept the control of all three provinces for less than a year before the nobles of Transylvania and certain boyars in Moldavia and Wallachia rose against him in a series of revolts. Thereafter, Michael allied with the Imperial General Giorgio Basta and defeated an uprising of the Hungarian nobility at Gurăslău in Transylvania. After this victory, Rudolf ordered the assassination of Michael, an action carried out on 9 August 1601 by Basta's men. Michael was born under the family name of Pătraşcu. In 1601, during a stay in Prague, he was portrayed by the painter Aegidius Sadeler, who mentioned on the portrait the words aetatis XLIII, which indicates 1558 as the year of Michael's birth. Little is known about his childhood and early years as an adult, he is argued by most historians to have been the illegitimate son of Wallachian Prince Pătraşcu cel Bun, of the Drăculeşti branch of the House of Basarab, while others believe he invented his descent in order to justify his rule.
His mother was Theodora Kantakouzene, a member of the Kantakouzenoi, a noble family present in Wallachia and Moldavia, descended from the Byzantine Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos. Michael's political rise was quite spectacular, as he became the Ban of Mehedinţi in 1588, stolnic at the court of Mihnea Turcitul by the end of 1588, Ban of Craiova in 1593 – during the rule of Alexandru cel Rău; the latter had him swear before 12 boyars. Still, in May 1593 conflict did break out between Alexandru and Michael, forced to flee to Transylvania, he was accompanied by Radu Buzescu and several other supporters. After spending two weeks at the court of Sigismund Báthory, he left for Constantinople, where with help from his cousin Andronikos Kantakouzenos and Patriarch Jeremiah II he negotiated Ottoman support for his accession to the Wallachian throne, he was supported by the English ambassador in the Ottoman capital, Edward Barton, aided by a loan of 200,000 florins. Michael was invested Prince by Sultan Murad III in September 1593 and started his effective rule on 11 October.
He was considered a traitor. Not long after Michael became Prince of Wallachia, he turned against the Ottoman Empire; the next year he joined the Christian alliance of European powers formed by Pope Clement VIII against the Turks, signed treaties with his neighbours: Sigismund Báthory of Transylvania, Aron Tiranul of Moldavia and the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II. He started a campaign against the Turks in the autumn of 1594, conquering several citadels near the Danube, including Giurgiu, Brăila, Hârşova, Silistra, while his Moldavian allies defeated the Turks in Iaşi and other parts of Moldavia. Mihai continued his attacks deep within the Ottoman Empire, taking the forts of Nicopolis and Chilia and reaching as far as Adrianople. In 1595, Sigismund Báthory staged an elaborate plot and had Aaron the Tyrant, voivode of Moldavia, removed from power. István Jósika masterminded the operation. Ștefan Răzvan arrested Aron on charges of treason on the night of 24 April and sent him to the Transylvanian capital at Alba Iulia with his family and treasure.
Aron would die poisoned by the end of May in the castle of Vinc. Sigismund was forced to justify his actions before the European powers, since Aron had played an active role in the anti-Ottoman coalition. On, in the same city of Alba Iulia, Wallachian boyars signed a treaty with Sigismund on Michael's behalf. From the point of view of Wallachian internal politics, the Treaty of Alba Iulia officialized what could be called a boyar regime, reinforcing the important political power of the noble elite. According to the treaty, a council of 12 great boyars was to take part alongside the voivode in the executive rule of the country. Boyars could no longer be executed without the knowledge and approval of the Transylvanian Prince and, if convicted for treason, their fortunes could no longer be confiscated. Michael was displeased with the final form of the treaty negotiated by his envoys, but was forced to comply. Prince Michael said in a conversation with the Polish envoy Lu
Battle of Kırkdilim
The Battle of Kırkdilim was fought in July 1391 or 1392 between the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I and Kadi Burhan al-Din, ruler of northeastern Anatolia. The details of the battle are debated: Burhan al-Din's court poet Ibn Ardashir presents Bayezid's campaign being ended by a major victory for his master, which temporarily halted Ottoman expansion in Anatolia, but the contemporary letters of Manuel II Palaiologos, who accompanied Bayezid on his Anatolian campaigns, contain no indications of a major clash, point to the expedition having been an Ottoman success overall. Kadi Burhan al-Din, a learned Islamic jurist and poet, had risen to power under the latter-day Eretnid rulers of north-eastern Anatolia, before supplanting them altogether and declaring himself sultan at Sivas in 1381/82. During the same period, the nascent Ottoman Empire, under Murad I, began its expansion from northwestern Anatolia into the central and eastern parts of the peninsula; this expansion was, in the words of historian Dimitris Kastritsis, "generally justified through marriage alliances and other diplomatic means."Following Murad's death at the Battle of Kosovo, the Anatolian beyliks sensed an opportunity to restore their fortunes and formed an anti-Ottoman league under the Karamanid ruler Ala ad-Din Ali: the Karamanids advanced up to Eskişehir, the Germiyanid ruler Yakub II restored his principality, Burhan al-Din took Kırşehir.
As a result, Murad's son and successor Bayezid I crossed the Dardanelles with his own forces, supported by the armies of the Jandarid Süleyman Pasha of Kastamonu and the Christian vassal states of the Balkans—mainly Serbia and the Byzantine Empire—and launched a campaign to "unify Anatolia under Ottoman rule". Much of the information about Bayezid's campaigns in 1390–1391 comes from the letters written by the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, who accompanied Bayezid as his vassal. In 1390 the Ottoman sultan annexed the beyliks of western Anatolia: the beylik of Sarukhan was annexed, as were Menteshe and Aydın, whose rulers were allowed to retire to estates, while Yakub II of Germiyan was thrown in prison. Bayezid moved to besiege the Karamanid capital of Konya; the Karamanids sent to Kadi Burhan al-Din for assistance, which induced Bayezid to abandon Konya and conclude a treaty leaving to the Karamanids the territories beyond the Çarşamba River. In the meantime, Bayezid's ally Süleyman Pasha had turned against him, fearing for his own fate, concluded an alliance with Burhan al-Din.
Bayezid attacked and killed Süleyman Pasha, occupying Kastamonu shortly before 5 July 1391, while the eastern half of the Jandarid principality, around Sinop, was left free, as its ruler, İsfendiyar Bey, recognized Ottoman overlordship. This brought Bayezid in immediate contact with Burhan al-Din's domains; the ambitions of the two men now came into direct conflict: Bayezid now intended to march against Amasya, thereby cut off Burhan al-Din's expansion to the Black Sea, while the latter had been preparing himself to capture the city by occupying various surrounding fortresses in the previous years. Amasya at the time was ruled by Ahmed, the son of the emir Hacı Şadgeldi Pasha, who had wrested it from the Eretnids; the main source of the events surrounding the battle is the Bazm u Razm, written by Aziz ibn Ardashir Astardbhdi, one of Burhan al-Din's courtiers. Manuel II's letters provide additional information pertaining to the chronology of the campaign. Ibn Ardashir writes that Burhan al-Din marched to Süleyman Pasha's aid, but was still under way when news of the fall of Kastamonu and Süleyman Pasha's death reached him.
He continued to march towards the Ottoman army, which had reached Osmancık. Ibn Ardashir maintains that Bayezid sent for negotiations, but Burhan al-Din insisted first on the Ottomans leaving Osmancık, which he claimed. Manuel II corroborates this, writing that Bayezid only intended to force the submission of a chieftain called Peitzas, who ruled between Sinop and Samsun, as well as of İsfendiyar of Sinop, frighten Burhan al-Din, "the man who rules Sebasteia with the Scythians". While Ibn Ardashir maintains that Burhan al-Din marched to confront the Ottomans, Manuel II reports that the "once marvellous Scythians" retreated before the Ottoman advance; the Ottomans ravaged the country at will. Although many inhabitants deserted their dwellings for the forests and mountains, Manuel was horrified by the slaughter accompanying the expedition, not only by the Turks, but furthermore by Bayezid's Serbian and Albanian vassals, who were eager to "avenge" their sufferings at the hands of the Ottomans on the Muslim population of Anatolia.
The Ottoman army passed by Taşköprü and advanced east with the Kızılırmak River to its right, faced great hardships as the autumn went into winter: after mid-October Manuel writes of scarcity of food and disease striking the camp, while in his letters he writes of "terrible famine and cold, the fording of rivers, the crossing of mountains too barren to sustain wild beasts". According to Ibn Ardashir, after capturing Osmancık Bayezid was joined by Ahmed Bey of Amasya, Mahmud Çelebi and Kilic Arslan, the heirs to the Beylik of Tacettin that Burhan al-Din had occupied, the Taşanoğlu rulers of Merzifon, other local chieftains. More flocked to Bayezid after the latter captured the fortress of Kırkdilim from its Kuvvaddaroğlu ruler, Saydi Mahmud. Manuel does not report these events because the operation to cap
Battle of Ankara
The Battle of Ankara or Angora was fought on 20 July 1402 at the Tchubuk plain near Angora between the forces of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I and Timur, ruler of the Timurid Empire. The battle was a major victory for Timur, it led to a period of crisis for the Ottoman Empire. However, the Timurid Empire went into terminal decline following Timur's death just three years after the battle, while the Ottoman Empire made a full recovery, continued to increase in power for another two to three centuries. Timur, a Turco-Mongol from Transoxiana, had built an empire in Central Asia over the years, became the most powerful ruler in Central Asia since Genghis Khan, he sought to rebuild the once great Mongol Empire. In the 1380s and 1390s, he invaded and conquered parts of Persia, ravaged southern Russia and Ukraine, invaded India. Although there had been tensions between the Ottomans and Mongols, nothing would warrant a war, until Bayezid demanded tribute from an emir loyal to Timur, which he understood to be personal and a reason for war.
In 1400–01 Timur took Sivas from the Ottomans, parts of Syria from the Mamluks, next directed towards Anatolia. Meanwhile, in 1402, the Ottomans had been campaigning in Europe. Bayezid broke off the blockade of Constantinople and marched to Ankara after Timur again moved his army to the southeast in the summer of 1402, it is estimated that the Timurid army counted 140,000 cavalry, 32 war elephants. Bayezid's army numbered 85,000. Historical sources exaggerated the number of troops to unrealistic proportions: Ahmad ibn Arabshah claimed 800,000 Timurid troops, while a German witness claimed 1.6 million, for instance. The Ottoman force included contingents under his sons, Janissaries, Anatolian Muslim vassals, various European vassals. Among Serbian vassals participating were Stefan Lazarević and Đurađ Branković, among Albanian were Koja Zakarija, Demetrius Jonima, Gjon Kastrioti, Tanush Major Dukagjin. Christian vassals that did not participate is Zetan Konstantin Balšić. A quarter of the Ottoman troops were conquered Tatars.
Bayezid reluctantly withdrew his forces from the blockade of Constantinople and marched them through the midsummer heat. When they arrived, they were allowed no time to rest or recuperate. Bayezid was advised by his generals to take up defensive positions and, when Timur's forces pushed back the Ottomans, to withdraw into the mountains and force Timur to break ranks and attempt to hunt the Ottomans in their own terrain during the midsummer heat. Bayezid instead marched eastward. Advancing Ottoman scouts found no traces of the Timurids, who secretly marched southwest and were situated to the rear of the Ottomans; the Timurids encamped in the same locations that the Ottomans had occupied, making use of abandoned tents and water sources. In the Timurid army, Timur commanded the centre, his sons Miran and Rukh the right and left and his grandsons the vanguard. In the Ottoman army, Bayezid commanded the centre with Janissaries, his son Suleyman the left flank with the best troops, Stefan Lazarević the right with the Balkan troops, his son Mehmed the rear guard.
The battle began with a large-scale attack from the Ottomans, countered by swarms of arrows from the Timurid horse archers. Several thousands were killed and many surrendered to Timur. Stefan Lazarević and his knights together with Wallachian forces fought off the Timurid assaults and cut through the Mongol ranks three times; each time Stefan advised Bayezid to break out with him, Bayezid declined to do so. But the Serbians managed to save one of Bayezid's sons and the treasury from the Mongols and made their way to Constantinople; the Serbian troops wore heavy black plate armour, effective against the Timurid arrows. Timur admired the Serbian troops who according to him "fight like lions". During the battle the main water supply of both armies, Çubuk creek, was diverted to an off-stream reservoir near the town of Çubuk by Timur, which left the Ottoman army with no water; the final battle took place at Catal hill. The Ottoman army, both thirsty and tired, was defeated, though Bayezid managed to escape to the nearby mountains with a few hundred horsemen.
However, Timur had the mountains surrounded and outnumbering Bayezid, soon captured him. He died in captivity three months later. Outnumbered, the Ottoman army was further weakened by the desertion of the Black Tatars and the Sipahis from the Anatolian beyliks, who left Bayezid's side and joined Timur's forces. After the battle, Timur moved through western Anatolia to the Aegean coast, where he besieged and took the city of Smyrna, a stronghold of the Christian Knights Hospitalers; the battle was catastrophic for the Ottoman state, fracturing what remained and bringing total collapse of the empire. This resulted in a civil war among Bayezid's sons; the Ottoman civil war continued for another 11 years following the Battle of Ankara. The battle is significant in Ottoman history as being the only time a Sultan was captured in person. Bertrando de Mignanelli BooksDahmus, Joseph Henry. "Angora". Seven Decisive Battles of the Middle Ages. Burnham Incorporated Pub. Fine, John Van Antwerp, Jr.. The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest.
University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5. Grousset, René; the Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-1304-
Giurgiu is a city in southern Romania. The seat of Giurgiu County, it lies in the historical region of Muntenia, it is situated amid mud-flats and marshes on the left bank of the Danube facing the Bulgarian city of Ruse on the opposite bank. Three small islands face the city, a larger one shelters its port, Smarda; the rich grain-growing land to the north is traversed by a railway to Bucharest, the first line opened in Romania, built in 1869 and afterwards extended to Smarda. Giurgiu exports timber, grain and petroleum, imports coal and textiles; the Giurgiu-Ruse Friendship Bridge, in the shared Bulgarian-Romanian section of the Danube, crosses the river in the outskirts of the city. The area around Giurgiu was densely populated at the time of the Dacians as archeological evidence shows, Burebista's capital was in this area. During Roman times this was the site of a city built by the Roman emperor Justinian; the city of Giurgiu was established in the 14th century as a port on the Danube by the Genoese merchant adventurers, who established a bank and traded in silks and velvets.
One theory is that they called the city after the patron saint of Genoa, San Giorgio, however Nicolae Iorga disputes this theory, arguing that Giurgiu is just an old Romanian form of George. It was first mentioned in Codex Latinus Parisinus in 1395, during the reign of Mircea I of Wallachia, was conquered by the Ottomans in 1420 as a way to control the Danube traffic; the Ottomans named the city Yergöğü, as if from yer'earth' + gök'sky,' but the name was given because of the similarity between the pronunciations of " Giorgio" and "Yergöğü". As a fortified city, Giurgiu figured in the wars for the conquest of the lower Danube, it was the site of the October 1595 Battle of Giurgiu, figured in the struggle of Michael the Brave against the Turks and in the Russo-Turkish War. It was burned in 1659. In 1829, its fortifications were razed, the only defence left being a castle on the island of Slobozia, connected to the shore by a bridge. In 1952–1954, during the Communist regime, the USSR helped build the bridge between Giurgiu and Ruse, The Friendship Bridge, a bridge on the Danube linking Romania and Bulgaria.
According to the 2011 census, Giurgiu has a population of 54,655. Constantin Artachino, painter Ioan A. Bassarabescu, writer Nicolae Dărăscu, painter Gino Iorgulescu, former Romanian football international Mihail Manicatide, paediatric physician Mihaela Mihai, singer Theodor Anton Neagu, palaeontologist Miron Nicolescu, mathematician Paraskev Stoyanov, Bulgarian physicist and surgeon Eugen Șerbănescu, playwright Constantin Teașcă, football coach and writer Alexandru Vianu and translator Tudor Vianu, literary critic, art critic, philosopher and translator Ion Vinea, novel, literary theorist and political figure Vasil Zlatarov, Bulgarian aviation pioneer Giurgiu is twinned with: Ruse, Bulgaria FC Astra Giurgiu, the city's professional football club Media related to Giurgiu at Wikimedia Commons
Battle of Sisak
The Battle of Sisak was fought on 22 June 1593 between Ottoman regional forces of Telli Hasan Pasha, a notable commander of the Eyalet of Bosnia, a combined Christian army from the Habsburg lands Kingdom of Croatia and Inner Austria. The battle took place at the confluence of the rivers Sava and Kupa. Earlier in 1591 and 1592 the Ottomans had two failed attempts of capturing the Sisak fortress, but managed to take the strategically important fortress of Bihać in 1592; the Sisak fortress was again besieged by a large Ottoman force on 15 June 1593. The garrison in Sisak was commanded by Blaž Đurak and Matija Fintić, both from the Diocese of Zagreb. An army under the supreme command of the Styrian general Ruprecht von Eggenberg was assembled to break the siege; the Croatian troops were led by the Ban of Croatia, Thomas Erdődy, major forces from the Duchy of Carniola and the Duchy of Carinthia were led by Andreas von Auersperg, nicknamed the "Carniolan Achilles". They made a surprise attack on the besieging forces on 22 June.
The ensuing battle resulted in a crushing defeat for the regional Ottoman forces, triggering the Long War. The central authorities of both the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy were rather reluctant to fight each other after several campaigns on Hungarian and Moldavian land and four renewals of the 1547 truce, but large scale raids were being mounted into each other’s territories: There had been numerous raids into Habsburg Hungary by the akıncı, the irregular Ottoman light cavalry, on the other hand. Clashes on the Croatian frontier continued despite the truce; the Croatian–Ottoman border went between Koprivnica and Virovitica to Sisak westward to Karlovac, southward to Plitvice Lakes, southwest to the Adriatic Sea. Croatia at the time had only 16,800 km ² of around 400,000 inhabitants. Although its strength was depleted from the constant conflicts on the border, late in the 16th century Croatian fortified cities were able to hold Ottoman forces at bay. During this period Ottoman Bosnian forces had made several attempts to seize major forts and towns across the Una and Sava rivers.
On 26 October 1584 smaller Ottoman units were defeated at the battle of Slunj, on 6 December 1586 near Ivanić-Grad. However, Ottoman raids and attacks were increasing and the Croatian nobility were fighting without Habsburg support. In August 1591, without a declaration of war, Telli Hasan Pasha, Ottoman beylerbey of the Eyalet of Bosnia and vizier, attacked Croatia and reached Sisak, but was repelled after four days of fighting. Thomas Erdődy, Ban of Croatia, seized much of the Moslavina region; the same year Hasan Pasha launched another attack. These raids forced Erdődy to convene a meeting of the Croatian Parliament in Zagreb on 5 January 1592 and declare a general uprising to defend the country; these actions of the regional Ottoman forces under Hasan Pasha seem to have been contrary to the interest and policy of the central Ottoman administration in Constantinople, due rather to aims of conquest and organized plundering by the war-like Bosnian sipahi, although also under the pretext of putting an end to Uskok raids into the Eyalet, since the two realms had signed a nine-year peace treaty earlier in 1590.
In June 1592 Hasan Pasha directed his forces towards Sisak for the second time. The fall of Bihać caused fear in Croatia. Hasan Pasha successfully captured and burnt the Ban's military encampment in Brest on 19 July 1592, built by Erdődy a few months earlier near Petrinja; the camp had around 3,000 men, while the Ottoman forces had around 7-8,000. On 24 July the Ottomans started besieging Sisak, but lifted the siege after 5 days of fighting and heavy losses, leaving the region of Turopolje ravaged; these events encouraged the Emperor to make more effort in order to stop the Ottomans, whose actions were halted by the winter. In spring 1593, Beylerbey Telli Hasan Pasha gathered a large army in Petrinja and on 15 June again crossed the Kupa River and started his third attack on Sisak, his army consisted of around 12,000-16,000 troops from the sanjaks of Klis, Zvornik, Herzegovina and Cernik. Sisak was defended by at most 800 men commanded by Matija Fintić, who died on 21 June, Blaž Đurak, both from Kaptol, seat of the Roman Catholic bishop of Zagreb.
The town was under heavy artillery fire and a call for help was sent to the Croatian ban. Reinforcements led by Austrian Colonel-General Ruprecht von Eggenberg, Ban Thomas Erdődy and Colonel Andreas von Auersperg arrived near Sisak on 21 June, they numbered around 4,000-5,000 infantry. Mustafa Naima narrates that, after making the preparatives before the battle, Hasan Pasha commanded Gazi Hodža Memi Bey, father of Sarhoš Ibrahim Pasha, a renowned military commander, to cross the river and reconnoitre the enemy forces, he reported back as the Habsburgs had such a superior force. Naima narrates that after hearing this, Hasan Pasha, credited as a fearless military leader, happened to be playing chess at that moment. On 22 June, between eleven a
Battle of Nicopolis
The Battle of Nicopolis took place on 25 September 1396 and resulted in the rout of an allied crusader army of Hungarian, Bulgarian, French, Burgundian and assorted troops at the hands of an Ottoman force, raising of the siege of the Danubian fortress of Nicopolis and leading to the end of the Second Bulgarian Empire. It is referred to as the Crusade of Nicopolis as it was one of the last large-scale Crusades of the Middle Ages, together with the Crusade of Varna in 1443–1444. There were many minor crusades in the 14th century, undertaken by individual knights. Most there had been a failed crusade against Tunisia in 1390, there was ongoing warfare in northern Europe along the Baltic coast. After their victory at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, the Ottomans had conquered most of the Balkans, had reduced the Byzantine Empire to the area surrounding Constantinople, which they proceeded to besiege. In 1393 the Bulgarian tsar Ivan Shishman had lost Nicopolis — his temporary capital — to the Ottomans, while his brother, Ivan Stratsimir, still held Vidin but had been reduced to an Ottoman vassal.
In the eyes of the Bulgarian boyars and other independent Balkan rulers, the crusade was a great chance to reverse the course of the Ottoman conquest and free the Balkans from Islamic rule. In addition, the frontline between Islam and Christianity had been moving towards the Kingdom of Hungary; the Kingdom of Hungary was now the frontier between the two religions in Eastern Europe, the Hungarians were in danger of being attacked themselves. The Republic of Venice feared that an Ottoman control of the Balkan peninsula, which included Venetian territories like parts of Morea and Dalmatia, would reduce their influence over the Adriatic Sea, Ionian Sea and Aegean Sea; the Republic of Genoa, on the other hand, feared that if the Ottomans were to gain control over River Danube and the Turkish Straits, they would obtain a monopoly over the trade routes between Europe and the Black Sea, where the Genoese had many important colonies like Caffa and Amasra. The Genoese owned the citadel of Galata, located at the north of the Golden Horn in Constantinople, to which Bayezid had laid siege in 1395.
In 1394, Pope Boniface IX proclaimed a new crusade against the Turks, although the Western Schism had split the papacy in two, with rival popes at Avignon and Rome, the days when a pope had the authority to call a crusade were long past. The two decisive factors in the formation of the last crusade were the ongoing Hundred Years' War between Richard II's England and Charles VI's France and the support of Philip II, Duke of Burgundy. In 1389, the war had ground to one of its periodic truces. Further, in March 1395, Richard II proposed a marriage between himself and Charles VI's daughter Isabella in the interests of peace and the two kings met in October 1396 on the borders of Calais to agree to the union and agree to lengthen the Truce of Leulinghem; the support of Burgundy, among the most powerful of the French nobles was vital. In 1391, trying to decide between sending a crusade to either Prussia or Hungary, sent his envoy Guy de La Trémoille to Venice and Hungary to evaluate the situation.
Burgundy envisioned a crusade led by himself and the Dukes of Orléans and Lancaster, though none would join the eventual crusade. It was unlikely that defense against the Turks was considered a important goal of the crusade. Burgundy's interest in sponsoring the crusade was in increasing his and his house's prestige and power and, historian Barbara Tuchman notes, "since he was the prince of self-magnification, the result was that opulent display became the dominant theme. In 1394, Burgundy extracted 120,000 livres from Flanders, sufficient to begin preparations for a crusade, in January 1395 sent word to King Sigismund of Hungary that an official request to the King of France would be accepted. In August, Sigismund's delegation of four knights and a bishop arrived in the court of Paris to paint a description of how "40,000" Turks were despoiling and imperiling Christian lands and beg, on Sigismund of Hungary's behalf, for help. Charles VI, having secured a peace with England through the marriage of his daughter, was able to reply that it was his responsibility to protect Christianity and punish Sultan Bayezid.
French nobility responded enthusiastically to the declaration. The number of combatants is contested in historical accounts. Historian Tuchman notes, "Chroniclers habitually matched numbers to the awesomeness of the event," and the Battle of Nicopolis was considered so significant that the number of combatants given by medieval chroniclers ranges as high as 400,000, with each side insisting that the enemy outnumbered them two-to-one, which for the crusaders offered some solace for their defeat and for the Turks increased the glory of their victory; the oft-given figure of 100,000 crusaders is dismissed by Tuchman, who notes that 100,000 men would have taken a month to cross the Danube at Iron Gate, while the crusaders took eight days. The closest record to a first-person account was made by Johann Schiltberger, a German follower of a Bavarian noble, who witnessed the battle at the age of 16 and was captured and enslaved for 30 years by the
Rise of the Ottoman Empire
The foundation and rise of the Ottoman Empire is a period of history that started with the emergence of the Ottoman principality in c. 1299, ended with the conquest of Constantinople on May 29, 1453. This period witnessed the foundation of a political entity ruled by the Ottoman Dynasty in the northwestern Anatolian region of Bithynia, its transformation from a small principality on the Byzantine frontier into an empire spanning the Balkans and Anatolia. For this reason, this period in the empire's history has been described as the Proto-Imperial Era. Throughout most of this period, the Ottomans were one of many competing states in the region, relied upon the support of local warlords and vassals to maintain control over their realm. By the middle of the fifteenth century the Ottoman sultans were able to accumulate enough personal power and authority to establish a centralized imperial state, a process, brought to fruition by Sultan Mehmed II; the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 is seen as the symbolic moment when the emerging Ottoman state shifted from a mere principality into an empire, marking a major turning point in its history.
The cause of Ottoman success cannot be attributed to any single factor, they varied throughout the period as the Ottomans continually adapted to changing circumstances. The earlier part of this period, the fourteenth century, is difficult for historians to study due to the scarcity of sources. Not a single written document survives from the reign of Osman I, little survives from the rest of the century; the Ottomans, did not begin to record their own history until the fifteenth century, more than a hundred years after many of the events they describe. It is thus a great challenge for historians to differentiate between fact and myth in analyzing the stories contained in these chronicles, so much so that one historian has declared it impossible, describing the earliest period of Ottoman history as a "black hole." At the beginning of the thirteenth century Anatolia was divided between two powerful states: the Byzantine Empire in the west and the Anatolian Seljuks in the central plateau. Equilibrium between them was disrupted by the Mongol invasion and conquest of the Seljuks following the Battle of Köse Dağ in 1243, the reconquest of Constantinople by the Byzantine Palaeologos dynasty in 1261, which shifted Byzantine attention away from the Anatolian frontier.
Mongol pressure pushed nomadic Turkish tribes to migrate westward, into the now poorly-defended Byzantine territory. From the 1260s onward Anatolia began to slip from Byzantine control, as Turkish Anatolian beyliks were established both in Byzantine lands and in the territory of the fragmenting Seljuk Sultanate. Political authority in western Anatolia was thus fragmented by the end of the thirteenth century, split between locally established rulers, tribal groups, holy figures, warlords, with Byzantine and Seljuk authority present but weakening; the fragmentation of authority has led several historians to describe the political entities of thirteenth and fourteenth-century Anatolia as Taifas, or "petty kings", a comparison with the history of late-medieval Muslim Spain. The power of these groups was dependent upon their ability to attract military manpower. Western Anatolia was a hotbed of raiding activity, with warriors switching allegiance at will to whichever chief seemed most able to provide them with opportunities for plunder and glory.
The Ottoman dynasty is named after the first ruler of the Ottoman polity, Osman I. According to Ottoman tradition, he was descended from a Turkic tribe which migrated out of Central Asia in the wake of the Mongol Conquests; as evidenced by coins minted during his reign, Osman's father was named Ertuğrul, but beyond this the details "are too mythological to be taken for granted." The origins of the Ottoman dynasty thus remain obscure, shrouded in myth and legend, the identity of Osman's tribe and ancestors is not known for certain. Nothing is known about how Osman first established his principality as the sources, none of them contemporary, provide many different and conflicting origin stories. What is certain is that at some point in the late thirteenth century Osman emerged as the leader of a small principality centered on the town of Söğüt in the north-western Anatolian region of Bithynia. Osman's principality was supported by the tribal manpower of nomadic Turkish groups, whom he led in raids against the Byzantine territories of the region.
This Ottoman tribe was based not on political expedience. Thus it was inclusive including people of Byzantine origin; the Ottoman enterprise came to be led by several great warrior families, at least one of, of Greek Christian origin, that of Köse Mihal. Islam played a role in Ottoman self-identity from the start, as evidenced by a land grant issued by Osman's son Orhan in 1324, describing him as "Champion of the Faith". In 1938 the Austrian historian Paul Wittek published an influential work entitled The Rise of the Ottoman Empire, in which he put forth the argument that the early Ottoman state was constructed upon an ideology of Islamic holy war against non-Muslims; such a war was known as gaza, a warrior fighting in it was called a gazi. Wittek's formulation, subsequently known as the "Gaza Thesis," was influential for much of the twentieth century, led historians to portray the early Ottomans as zealous religious warriors dedicated to the spread of Islam. Beginning in the 1980s, historians began to criticize Wittek's thesis.
Scholars now recognize that the terms gaza and gazi did not have religious connotations for th