Skip to content
Home » A HISTORY OF OTTOMAN pdf download


  • Book Title:
 A History Of Ottoman
  • Book Author:
John Freely
  • Total Pages
  • Book Views:


  • Click for the  
PDF Link
  • Get HardCover  
Click for Hard Copy from Amazon

A history of Ottoman by John Freely


Teahouse in the courtyard of an Ottoman han (Anthony E. Baker).

Koza Hanı, şadırvanmescit (Anthony E. Baker).

Yavaşca Şahin Camii (Anthony E. Baker).

Book contents

  • The Ottoman Turks and their Architecture
  • Early Ottoman Architecture in North-western Anatolia
  • Ottoman Architecture in Turkish Thrace
  • The Conqueror’s City Topkapi Sarayi
  • The Emergence of Classical Ottoman Architecture
  • Süleyman the Magnificent and Sinan, the Early Buildings
  • The Süleymaniye
  • Sinan’s Later Works in Istanbul
  • Sinan’s Contemporaries and Successors in the Classical Tradition
  • The Eighteenth Century: From Classical to Baroque
  • The Last Ottoman Century

Book’s Introduction

This is a study of the architecture produced under the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish Muslim state that supplanted the Greek Christian Byzantine Empire in Anatolia and the Balkans at the end of the medieval era, continuing in existence into the first quarter of the twentieth century.

The book will describe the extant Ottoman buildings in the northwestern part of the Republic of Turkey, where the Ottomans had their origins, particularly in Bursa (Prusa) and Edirne (Adrianople), the empire’s first two capitals, and then going on to Istanbul (Constantinople), the capital from 1453 until 1923, when the modern Republic of Turkey was founded.

The book will begin with a short history of the Ottoman Empire, followed by an outline of the main features of Ottoman architecture and its decoration, principally the famous Iznik tiles, as well as a brief biography of the great Ottoman architect Sinan.

The successive chapters will follow the development of Ottoman architecture through its successive periods, particularly the reigns of Süleyman the Magnificent and his immediate successors, whose chief architect Sinan erected the most splendid of the mosque complexes that still adorn Istanbul and the other cities of Turkey.

Ottoman Turk and their architecture

The Republic of Turkey has ninety-three percent of its land-mass in Asia and the remainder in Europe. The Asian and European parts of the country are separated by the Hellespont (Dardanelles), the Sea of Marmara, and the Bosphorus, the historic waterway that the sixteenth- century French scholar Pierre Gilles called ‘the strait that ends all straits’.

The European fraction of Turkey is part of the region that has since antiquity been known as Thrace, while the rest makes up the huge peninsula known to the Greeks and Romans as Asia Minor, now more generally called Anatolia, bounded on the north by the Black Sea, on the west by the Aegean, and on the south by the Mediterranean.

Anatolia was the heartland of the Byzantine Empire, the Christian and predominantly Greek-speaking continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces.

 This realm dated its origin to A. D. 330, when the emperor Constantine the Great shifted his capital to the city of Byzantium on the Bosphorus, which was thenceforth known as Constantinople.

The Byzantine Empire lasted for more than a thousand years, reaching its peak during the reign of Justinian I (r. 528–65) though it was continuously attacked by enemies in both Europe and Asia. Constantinople was captured in 1204 by the knights of the Fourth Crusade and their Venetian allies, who held the city for more than half a century, during which time there were two small Byzantine empires in exile, one of them with its capital at Nicaea in north-western Anatolia, the region known as Bithynia, the other with its capital at Trebizond on the Black Sea. The Greeks of Nicaea recaptured Constantinople in 1261 and restored it as their capital, though their empire was only a small fraction of what it had been in its prime, much of their lands in Europe taken by the Slavs and the Latins, with most of Anatolia occupied by the Turks.

The Seljuks

The first Turks to invade Anatolia in force were the Seljuks under Sultan Alp Aslan, who in 1071 defeated a Byzantine army under the emperor Romanus IV at Manzikert, north of Lake Van near what is now the eastern border of Turkey.

The Seljuks overran Anatolia and reached the Sea of Marmara before establishing their capital at Nicaea.

They were driven out of Nicaea in 1097 by the emperor Alexius

I Comnenus and the knights of the First Crusade. The Seljuks then regrouped at Konya (Iconium), which became the capital of the Sultanate of Rum, a realm that comprised most of central and eastern Anatolia.

The Sultanate of Rum reached its peak under sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I (r. 1220–37), who built caravansara is along the highways of central and eastern Anatolia to handle its greatly increased trade, while he and his vezirs adorned Konya and the other cities of the empire with beautiful mosques, medreses (colleges), hospitals, tombs, palaces and bridges, as well as mighty fortresses

But the year after Keykubad’s death the Mongols invaded Anatolia, and in 1243 they defeated a Seljuk army at Kösedağ in eastern Anatolia, breaking the power of the Sultanate of Rum.

The Seljuk sultanate lasted until the beginning of the fourteenth century, though in name only after Kösedağ, when all of central and eastern Anatolia became a Mongol protectorate.

But then the Mongols were defeated in 1277 by the Mamluks of Egypt under Sultan Baibars, breaking their power in Anatolia. Baibars himself died later that year, leaving a power vacuum in Anatolia.

The Sons of Osman

After the downfall of the Seljuks their former territory in Anatolia was divided up among a dozen or so Turcoman emirates known as beyliks.

The smallest and least significant of these beyliks was that of the Osmanlı, the ‘Sons of Osman,’ meaning the followers of Osman Gazi, whose last name means ‘warrior for the Islamic faith’.

Osman was originally known in English as Othman, and his dynasty came to be called the Ottomans.

He was the son of Ertuğrul, leader of a tribe of Oğuz Turks from central Asia, who in the late thirteenth century were resettled as Seljuk vassals around Söğüt, a small town in the hills of Bithynia, in north-western Anatolia, just east of the Byzantine cities of Nicomedia, Nicaea and Prusa.

The humble origin of the Osmanlı is described by Richard Knolles in The Generall Historie of the Turks (1603), one of the first works in English on the Ottomans, who writes ‘Thus is Ertogrul, the Oguzian Turk, with his homely heardsmen,

 become a petty lord of a countrey village, and in good favour with the Sultan, whose follower as sturdy heardsmen with their families, lived in Winter with him in Sogut, but in Summer in tents with their cattle upon the mountains.’1

The only contemporary Byzantine reference to Osman Gazi is by the Greek chronicler George Pachymeres.

According to Pachymeres, the emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus (r. 1282–1328) sent a detachment of 2,000 men under a commander named Muzalon to drive back a force of 5,000 Turkish warriors led by Osman (whom he calls Atman), who had invaded Byzantine territory.

But Osman defeated Muzalon and forced him to retreat, which attracted other Turkish warriors to join up with him in the spirit of gaza, or holy war against the infidels, as well as the prospects of plunder.

These reinforcements enabled Osman to defeat Muzalon in 1302 at Baphaeus, near Nicomedia.

Soon afterwards Osman captured the Byzantine town of Belakoma, Turkish Bilecik, after which he laid siege to Nicaea, whose ancient defense walls were the most formidable in Bithynia.

While the siege continued he captured a number of unfortified towns and pillaged the surrounding countryside, causing a mass exodus of Greeks from Bithynia to Constantinople.

Bursa, the first Ottoman capital

Osman Gazi died in 1324 and was succeeded by his son Orhan Gazi, the first Ottoman ruler to use the title of sultan, as he is referred to in a inscription.

 Two years after his succession Orhan captured Prusa, the ancient Greek city under Mt. Olympus of Bithynia (Ulu Dağı), which became the first Ottoman capital under the name of Bursa.

He then renewed the siege of Nicaea, Turkish Iznik, which surrendered to him in 1331, after which he went on to besiege Nicomedia, Turkish Izmit, which capitulated six years later.

This virtually completed the Ottoman conquest of Bithynia, by which time Orhan had also absorbed the neighbouring Karası beylik to the south, so that the Ottomans now controlled all of westernmost Anatolia, leaving the Byzantines with only a small stretch of territory along the Black Sea east of the Bosphorus. Then in 1354 Orhan’s son Süleyman captured Ancyra (Ankara), which

To read more about the A History Of Ottoman book Click the download button below to get it for free


Report broken link
Support this Website

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *