What if the Ottomans never rose to power?

Jan 2019
5
Bulgaria
#11
Well, going as far as we can go with it, I can assume then that the Ottomans never grow past a regional power.

The Byzantines are still going to struggle, but may stabilize. However, if they last until the colonial period, like Venice, they'd probably hit a fairly sharp decline.
Well the colonial period itself could happen at a far latter time. Since one of the main reason and I want to say the main one was that the Ottomans stoped free traid between the rich trading republics of Italy and the riches India. If the Byzantines hold on to Constantinopole, that train could continue one and the colonial period could happen at a later time.
 
May 2013
159
USA
#12
They would need to have a much larger population in order to be comparable to Western Europe, though.
Serbian Empire under Emperor Dusan (circa 1350) was estimated to have between 3.5-4 million people, considerably larger than English population at the same time. Bosnia itself had more than a million inhabitants at the time of Ottoman conquest (1463) when it was seriously depleted in terms of population and diminished land size. One can easily imagine it was at least twice that large during King Tvrtko's reign (1370s) when it fought off Hungarians. The Black Death was not nearly as serious in Balkans as it was in Western Europe so what population is exactly needed to thrive?

In terms of another post by Visigoth Panzer, no, Serbs would likely never be as numerous as French (the latter were already close to 15 million during Agincourt if estimates are to be trusted), but in terms of prosperity, let me just point out that Serbian and Bosnian mines combined produced between 1/5th to 1/4th of the entire European silver in early 15th century (John V. A Fine, "Late Medieval Balkans"). How much more prosperous would they need to get?
 
Last edited:
Jul 2013
50
NW Indiana
#13
Hmmm...... one negative effect would be the delay of the introduction of coffee to Europe. The generally accepted story is that coffee was introduced to European drinkers after the Ottomans were routed at the Battle of Vienna.
 

Shaheen

Ad Honorem
May 2011
2,499
Sweden
#14
There were other Beyliks that also existed in a similar geopolitical position as the Osmanlis such as the Karasids. They bordered a weakening Byzantine Empire and could have utilized the latters weakeness in the same way that the Ottomans did and subsequently expand into Europe.

With regards to the Balkans, the Hungarians would have dominated the region no doubt. They were by far the strongest power bordering the Balkans, and with no Ottomans and a Byzantine Empire in decline, the Balkans was ripe for the taking by a strong neighboring power like Hungary. Already it stretched down to Belgrade when the Ottomans arrived.
 
Sep 2012
3,553
Bulgaria
#15
There were other Beyliks that also existed in a similar geopolitical position as the Osmanlis such as the Karasids. They bordered a weakening Byzantine Empire and could have utilized the latters weakeness in the same way that the Ottomans did and subsequently expand into Europe.

With regards to the Balkans, the Hungarians would have dominated the region no doubt. They were by far the strongest power bordering the Balkans, and with no Ottomans and a Byzantine Empire in decline, the Balkans was ripe for the taking by a strong neighboring power like Hungary. Already it stretched down to Belgrade when the Ottomans arrived.
I think Karaman beylik was in better position to conquer the whole of Anatolia after the fall of Osmanlis. But first thing first in order latter to be completely destroyed in their infancy and Karamanids to to fill the vacuum one needs an determined Timur marching with his army deeper into peninsula after the Battle of Ankara and destroying everything on his path before his death in 1405, an different Timur without his obsession to attack Ming realm.

Also regarding Hungary and the population on Balkan peninsula you obviously underestimate the power of religion. Great part of Balkans were inhabited by orthodox christians at the time, also independent Bosnian church connected with the bogomils, these were closely related to the cathars of languedoc, you know what happened to them during the albigensian crusade. So the locals would be considered heretics and the inquisition used to burn these, so convert or die options. In comparison Ottomans idd had forced conversions on the Balkans, but these were exceptions, because the local christians were ppl from the Book with dhimmi status paying jizya for the right to reside in muslim lands etc.
 
Jan 2017
43
Germany
#16
It is really interesting how Balkans and Anatolia would look like.
First of all the distraction by the 4th Crusade didn't leave many hopes for a bright future in the Byzantine empire.
Even though Byzantine empire was capable to be resized, I am wondering how the Romanticism and the national movement of the 19th century would affect the citizens of the Byzantine Empire. Would every ethnic group have been assimilated in the Byzantine culture and language or the division would have given the multinational result of the Austrohungarian empire?
 
May 2013
159
USA
#17
Also regarding Hungary and the population on Balkan peninsula you obviously underestimate the power of religion. Great part of Balkans were inhabited by orthodox christians at the time, also independent Bosnian church connected with the bogomils, these were closely related to the cathars of languedoc, you know what happened to them during the albigensian crusade. So the locals would be considered heretics and the inquisition used to burn these, so convert or die options. In comparison Ottomans idd had forced conversions on the Balkans, but these were exceptions, because the local christians were ppl from the Book with dhimmi status paying jizya for the right to reside in muslim lands etc.
This is a very interesting point. Despite the previous wars and several battles, there did not seem to be a true animosity between Serbs and Bulgars in the 14th century, for example. Both Dusan's mother and wife were Bulgarian princesses, after all. Ditto for Wallachians and Bosnians at the time. Perhaps the Orthodox religion would serve as the uniting factor, perhaps not. I guess we will never know.

In regards to medieval Bosnia, it is a real shame that no serious body of research has been done as of yet in terms of Bosnian Church and its connection to Cathars. I believe it was either in Nada Klaic's "Medieval Bosnia" or V. Corovic's "History of Serbs" a mentioning of French and Italian Cathars visiting "Djed" (a head of Bosnian Church), in order to consult him and refine their teachings, which certainly places doubt on the assumption that this was solely a Bosnian phenomenon. We know that Bogomils spread to Serbia from Bulgaria where they were horribly tortured and eventually expelled by Stephen Nemanja, the founder of Nemanjic dynasty. Whether they eventually found the safety in Bosnian mountains and thereby developed Bosnian Church on the Bogomil and Manichean teachings or this had unrelated development is still a major puzzle at this day and age.
 
Sep 2012
3,553
Bulgaria
#18
This is a very interesting point. Despite the previous wars and several battles, there did not seem to be a true animosity between Serbs and Bulgars in the 14th century, for example. Both Dusan's mother and wife were Bulgarian princesses, after all. Ditto for Wallachians and Bosnians at the time. Perhaps the Orthodox religion would serve as the uniting factor, perhaps not. I guess we will never know.

In regards to medieval Bosnia, it is a real shame that no serious body of research has been done as of yet in terms of Bosnian Church and its connection to Cathars. I believe it was either in Nada Klaic's "Medieval Bosnia" or V. Corovic's "History of Serbs" a mentioning of French and Italian Cathars visiting "Djed" (a head of Bosnian Church), in order to consult him and refine their teachings, which certainly places doubt on the assumption that this was solely a Bosnian phenomenon. We know that Bogomils spread to Serbia from Bulgaria where they were horribly tortured and eventually expelled by Stephen Nemanja, the founder of Nemanjic dynasty. Whether they eventually found the safety in Bosnian mountains and thereby developed Bosnian Church on the Bogomil and Manichean teachings or this had unrelated development is still a major puzzle at this day and age.
The practice of ruling dynasties princesses marrying into other reigning families was present on the Balkans in this time period. The daughter of Stefan Milutin was Empress of Bulgaria, though her husband was rather unfortunate, he was mortally wounded in the Velbazd battle. Her mother was Ana of Serbia, daughter of Georgi Terter of Bulgaria. Same matters for Wallachian ruling dynasty.
 
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