- Jun 2016
All I wrote is nothing but speculations of course. Some may find them interesting, some could consider them non-sense. I am totally open to criticism as long as there is a logic behind them. I say logic because you can't prove or disprove it by first hand sources - which don't exist anyway! We don't know what happened really. So be sure that Inalcik, probably the best specialist on the early Ottomans, also has to speculate - filling the gaps, and turning middle aged fairytales into something that could make sense. - which is what I am doing exactly - I don't trust any historian by default since there are so many political motivations going on there...Turkification of Anatolia boosted after 1071, after a century, Anatolia was completely Turkish. If first Ottomans were Byzantine Knights, why did they have Turkish traditions and the royal coat of arms was Turkic? It implies that Osman and Orhan were the first and the second generation converts, respectively, as you said. This doesn't sound plausible. You somehow convert to Islam, go full Turk and then have the admiration of other Turkish Beys. They aren't likely to follow a Greek.
Halil Inalcik claims Ottoman empire was formed at 1302 after the victory in Battle of Bapheus against Byzantine Empire. If some rebellious prince cooperating with Greeks is an argument to first Ottoman lords being Greek Knights, then this battle is also an argument for Ottomans not being Greek Knights...not that I find this argumentation method sound in anyway, I just expressed it to show the flaw in your logic.
Ottoman dynasty was always interested in foreign nationalities. This isn't certainly limited to Byzantine Greeks. Once they had Rumelia, they started to pick women from Balkans. I imagine Byzantine Greeks were their only option at that time...This is probably a move to protect the dynasty from other Turkish dynasties.
As for internal conflicts, people change sides and pledge allegiance when it fits their agenda all the time. I find your arguments quite speculative. I feel like it is probably bunch of non-sense for a knowledgable historian.
My main sources are Ashikpashazade and Doukas. Both of them say that the Ottomans were Turkish - Though notice that my main focus here is on the era of Osman and Orchan. The most mysterious era that I believe both Ashik and Doukas don't make sense really, since they lived more than 100 years after the events.
According to Ashikpashazade,
Before Osman built his "state" (from 1280 to 1300.)
- Osman was a good friend of the Byzantine governer of Bilecik. As Osman went hunting, he put all his assets into the Governer's castle. Ashik says Osman was a trusted man.
- There was a hostility between Osman and the Byzantine governer of Inegol. Ashik says the governer kept attacking Osman's wealth. (Note that Osman was not a poor nomad, at one point Ashik says Osman had tremendous amount of florin.)
Note that the first target Osman attacked was Inegol castle, the governer or Inegol - Ashik also explains why Osman didn't attack the castle of Byzantine Bilecik: "Because they are our good neighbors."
- Germiyanoglu state was the enemy of Osman. (Yes, Ashik also explains that one day a Germiyan took a glass from a Byzantine seller in Bilecik Bazaar and refused to pay. When Osman heard of this event he beated this Germiyan and had him pay, saying that no one can harm the Governer of Bilecik anymore. Ashik also says that Osman was a well known and trusted figure amongst Christians in Byzantine Bilecik. - Protecting them and the Byzantine governer from Germiyans.)
- Ashik says, the infidels ("knights") of the Byzantine city Harmankaya were "the assistants" of Osman's warriors (Ghazis), Notice that one of those great Ghazis was Kose Mihal, the Byzantine governer of Harmankaya, Ashik says "Mihal was always with Osman". Those infidels were probably Mihal's knights.
As Ashik portrays, the personality Osman was integrated into Byzantine political life before he was an independent beg. Logically thinking, Osman must have higher social status than that of Mihal Ghazi who was a Byzantine aristocrat. But really, who was Osman at that time of period? A Ghazi? Osman Ghazi being a Muslim Byzantine aristocrat like Mihal Ghazi is just an other option. I will continue when I have time. Orchan was also interesting personality - since he was much closer to Byzantine royal family, ridiculously closer than any other "Turkic begs".
As for your critisism. You can't really back up your first paragraph with first hand sources. As for your second sentence. Savci was not a Greek knight of course. He was Ottoman prince. Osman Ghazi and his Ghazi friends might be Muslim Byzantine "knights". Might be...
As the case of Savci, just notice how tight the political connection of Ottoman family and Byzantine royal family was. Just think why they had to move together. Is there any chance that the Ottoman sultans were actually appointed from Constantinople in the early years of the Ottoman Sultanate? "Ottoman princes were sent by Sultans to Constantinople as a hostage" Do you really believe that? "Hostage"? Don't you think that this doesn't make any sense? Ashikpashazade explains: "it is because there won't be any hard feelings..." Yeah, sure...
Anyway. I hope the subject is interesting. Just another perspective maybe... Thanks for reading.