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Department of Oriental Studies, University of Vienna

SOME THOUGHTS ON THE GAZI-THESIS
Author(s): R. C. Jennings
Source: Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, Vol. 76, Festschrift Andreas
Tietze zum 70. Geburtstag gewidmet von seinen Freunden und Schülern (1986), pp. 151-161
Published by: Department of Oriental Studies, University of Vienna
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23868782
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tenacious Byzantine resistance challenged the gazis to perfect the skills. Meanwhile. sistible military force for the small state of Osman (?—1326). the gaps in our levels of learning keep increasing. nearly every important Ottoman h rian has endorsed the idea unreservedly.24. This content downloaded from 152. 29 Sep 2016 03:53:38 UTC All use subject to http://about. R. since I entered UCLA in 1967. but also endurin impact on the field.118. that purpose the books listed in the bibliography were consulted.jstor. P. and his warm. Although a few Islam 1 It did not seem necessary to provide precise documentation for ea point. In this regard. Urbana. Murad (1362—1389).org/terms . The purpose is to show that the commonly accepted accounts of events of the period in question do not justify acceptance of the gazi-ihesis. though mostly on very different grounds than I have chosen. Jennings. charismatic pe nality overcame the doubts of any who would have challenged this Virtually all of Wittek's studies had immediate. Illinois Prof. C. however. succinct prose. The essence of Wittek's theory is that the real cause of the splen rise of the Ottoman state was the presence of hordes of Turkish h warriors for Islam (gazis) who were attracted to a territory locate the Byzantine frontier.SOME THOUGHTS ON THE GAZI-THESIS By R. aims at military conq and the acquisition of booty. according to another Wittek thesis. Because he keeps learn all the time. where they provided a nearly unlimited. The gazi-state. according to Wittek. and Bayezid (1389—1403) ( which. The ideas he put forth on the rise of the Otto empire have dominated all "modern scholarship" on the subject rig down to the present day1.10 on Thu. Since Paul Wittek announced his gazi-thesis in three lectures at University of London in 1937. Wittek's excellence Turcologist. Andreas Tietze has been my patient teacher for more th fifteen years. was transformed into a tru empire only by the conquest of Constantinople in 1453). Or (1326—1362). L neb's recent Nomads and Ottomans in Medieval Anatolia does critize the Wit TEK-thesis. it is useful to consider the nature of the h war (cihad) as a central Islamic Institution. his vivid.

Since carrying out on the Muslim Community. and personal property.org/terms . If refuses such requests.24. Later the Ott domestic affairs of the Serbian and Bu ence which in some cases even helped three states the Ottomans sometimes entered into machinations over succession. I that some of the earliest Ottoman arm Turkish horsemen but also some Greek first conquered from the Byzantine emp such Christians in an army of real gazis i those engaged in a holy war are expec relations with a non-Muslim state.118. only then may begin a cihad. anything that could be construed as alliance of This content downloaded from 152.Jennings legists have defined the cihad as a str aggressors. rather than make an all out effo state. cih non-Muslim states. Only Muslims may undertake a cih expected to consist exclusively of Mus made for gazis to make peace or eve sophisticated legal provisions involving war and peace. for legitimate. most commonly the cihad pand the territorial frontiers of Islam w work of certain rules. Still.jstor. 29 Sep 2016 03:53:38 UTC All use subject to http://about. there is much evidenc state.C. At least in the central a the rules of Islam were formulated.10 on Thu. or even vassalage.152 R. The classic rules a Muslim state to invite people of the of war (dar ul-harb) to become Muslims the Muslim ruler may ask his adversar own Islamic state while still preservin institutions. While marrying royal Christian women is not incompatible with the principles of a cihad. became involved in dynastic str times favoring one claimant. sometim Byzantine ruling families sojourned in went to Constantinople. there is no w individual is obligated.

and probably very capable one. How long Osman continued that practice is also unknown. mo than the nomads. Despite a career devoted especially to conq ing territories ruled and inhabited by Orthodox Christians. Furthermore. others were chased. or obtained through marriage. His early career as ruler involved establishing g relationships with the local Byzantine "lords" (tekfur) of the area Although he took the lands of some lords in battle. his rela ship with them remained congenial.Some Thoughts on the Gazi-Thesis 153 equals is. If rapacious gazis such as described by Wittek were the basis for the establishment and rise of the Ottoman state. and they would have devastated both urban village life in the territories conquered from Byzantium (not to mentio the territories that he accumulated which previously had fallen into th possession of other Muslim Turkish rulers). Osman probably eit would have been just another one of them or he would have been unabl to control them.118. Towns and villages. If such people did not flee from or dread Osman and his imm This content downloaded from 152. Osman (?—1326) was a kind and generous leader.10 on Thu. Such armies cou then be used not just against Christian states in the domain of war also against neighboring Muslim Turkish states with which the O mans vied for power in Anatolia. Ottoman rulers enjoined the rulers of those st to turn over their armies for the Ottomans to use against their enemie Sometimes the Balkan "rulers" were compelled to attend Ottom campaigns in person with their Christian armies. The resistance that Osman fa was not too formidable. 29 Sep 2016 03:53:38 UTC All use subject to http://about. So many members of the Ottoman family. Serbian. could have been the basis for the wealth of Osm state. It is hard to imagine h any Muslims who operated in those ways could be esteemed as gazis Muslims who had any profound knowledge of their own faith. as Ottoman power wa in southeastern Europe at the expense of local Byzantine.24. Bulgarian frontiers.jstor. All such behavior was contrary to theory and practice of the Muslim holy war. including rule became involved in marriages with such women that they must hav least at some times compromised the resolution of any who might h considered themselves as gazis. Greek Orthodox Christi served with Osman's army as he carved out a small territory on t Byzantine frontier. although in what numbers or proportions is known.org/terms . a number of Greek Orthodox warriors for the Byzantine empire parently converted to Islam in frustration when the emperor did provide them with adequate support.

In any case.000 men who helped C against Serbian and Bulgarian armies. but ings could have resisted him. That inscrip 2 The history of Orhan's mosque in Bursa. Not only did he intervened in Byzantine domestic mat his father-in-law. especially pp. to se tal. In fact. marquis of the horizons. In a gaza one might expect an int subject the enemy and his territories possible. 29 Sep 2016 03:53:38 UTC All use subject to http://about. Ghazi. "Sultan.154 R. H. John V Cantacuzenu father-in-law in Constantinople. is discussed in Osmanli Mimarisinin Ilk Devri by Ε.jstor.24. allowing the new emperor Orhan's favorite son Halil. that may perhaps be b gave security of person and property If the first Ottoman gaza constitute then the Ottoman-Byzantine relation ing. including the inscriptions. In the reign of Orhan (1326— ship with Byzantium. Mehmed ibn Bayezid had ordered its reconstruction by a certain Bayezid paja. according to another inscription analyzed by Ε. the upper hand over the Byzantines. Finally.org/terms . son of the Sultan of the Ghazis. On a low arch in that mosque is the inseription stating that the mosque whieh Orhan had built in 1339—1340 (740) was burned by the Karaman bey. never mind "gazi". The inseription which identifies Orhan as gazi and sultan in 1337 actually is found across the courtyard from Orhan's mosque above the This content downloaded from 152. Yet he d when John Palaeologus replaced Or family to power. son of Ghazi. 1337. who could object? Never theless. easily in Thrace as he had in northwe have taken Constantinople easily. w provided 10. 58—89. seems impossibly early for an Ottoman ruler to have called himself "sultan". the date attributed to the inscription in the mosque in Bursa which Orhan had constructed. 58f and 80f. hero of the world". Orhan simp patronage.10 on Thu.C. If a ruler wishes to have inscribed over a mosque which he has founded. with some 5000 troops. Ayverdi.Jennings ate successors. Ayverdi on pp.118. H. Mehmed I restored Orhan's mosque in 1417 after the Karaman bey had burned it in 1413 while pillaging the suburbs of Bursa2.

The reign of Murad I (1362—1389). and leading Christian soldiers against Muslim ones is reprehensible Like Orhan.10 on Thu. the Ottoman ruler maintained the Status quo. and later his son Andronicus IV. AI though it is not impossible that the inscription is the exact original from Orhan's mosque. Her comments on an earlier draft of the paper also were useful. The Byzant ruler John V.org/terms . and military practices of contemporary Islamic empires. obviously at the expense of other Muslim rulers. legal. besides serving on campaign with their armies at his comma also paid tribute. using Christian soldiers along w Muslim ones on campaign violates almost everyone's Standard of a h war. also is marked by occurrences which seem inconsistent with coneept of gaza. and Bu rian states admission. religious. east door of the §ehadet mosque. Serbian. unsophisticated frontier territory into a State more attuned to the governmental.118. Matthews first called to my attention the destruction of Orhan's mosque. As such they attended Ottoman campaigns in person w their armies. In any case. Bayezid I (1389—1402) was the first ruler who took steps to change the nascent Ottoman State from a provincial. Murad I apparently lacked the motivation to end t vassalage which allowed the "allied" Byzantine. Murad quite successfully extended his Anatolian te tories. In the course of his reign Murad's strength grew so rapidly th the vassals feil to the lowest level of Subordination and had to entreat with him for their very existence. (That building was destroyed by lightning in 1855 and rebuilt in 1892). which was built in the time of Mehmed I. not only into southeastern Europe but also into Anato Later the Bulgarian ruler suffered the same indignity. H. This content downloaded from 152. Murad's vas rulers.Some Thoughts on the Gazi-Thesis 155 tion is just one more evidence of later Ottomans trying to Upgrade image of their past. there was every opportunity. into the domai of peace. to change the original. partly on the goodwill of local Christians. My colleague J. Such actione show ignorance of the true nature of holy war It seems unlikely that Murad considered himself too weak to deal m firmly with his vassals. whether consciously or inad vertently. Nevertheless. 29 Sep 2016 03:53:38 UTC All use subject to http://about. and often had to send their sons to the Ottoman cour as hostages. himself the son of a Gre Orthodox mother. he built empire.jstor.24. Despite their obvious vulnerability. and married to both Bulgarian and Byzantine pr cesses. Orhan did not massacre and destroy. accepted Mura suzerainty. in practice if not in a legal sense.

including use of the holy war (cihad). The curious practices that marked the "gaza" in earlier times had largely disap peared.118. for his mother was a Greek Ortho the daughter of the Serbian king. Bayez Byzantine. whether in Anatolia. on the other hand.org/terms . The Serbian king and his army. not at all an unusual desire for a ruler. By the time of Bayezid II (1481—1512) a systematic cihad in the Islamic sense was being undertaken by the Ottomans. Bayezid I undermined the position of his mounted Turkish warriors. served Bayezid loyally and effectively everywhere. He wanted historians to create for him and his line an origin that was grander and loftier than reality. in fact. certain chroniclers emerged who carried out their sultan's objectives.) It seems that conquests of territories from Anatolian states ruled by other Türks were about as desirable to the early Ottomans as conquests from the Byzantines and other Christians. too. C. so well.(cihad). w Bulgaria and an energetic. that their use against Muslim Turkish peoples and armies became one pretext for Timur's challenge to Bayezid and invasion of Anatolia. With Bayezid's encouragement. and turned the Ottomans back in the direction of being a provincial frontier State. Jennings he inadvertantly continued some of the p Bayezid I. Serbian.10 on Thu. as part of his plan to concentrate power in his own hands. they had little incentive to campaign there. Timur's defeat of Bayezid I at the battle of Ankara in 1402 interrupted progress towards becoming an Islamic empire. for which they presumably were properly rewarded. and perhaps with the help of historical sources that he may have provided or suggested. if brief. 29 Sep 2016 03:53:38 UTC All use subject to http://about.156 R. and Bulgarian rulers falling out with all but the Serbian ruler. Since pillaging or taking booty was strictly forbidden on the cam paigns in Muslim Turkish Anatolia. and since. (Their accounts also satisfied the 16th c. Ottoman self-image.24. Bayezid II cared about his own reputation and that of the Ottoman empire among sophisticated urban Muslims at home and abroad.jstor. It seems that they were not any less pleased to rule over territories taken from fellow This content downloaded from 152. grew up and lived in a rel milieu. siege of remained unchanged with the Serbian k in every Ottoman campaign.

Nevertheless. Not just the Ottoman armies were blessed with them. Residente of those states undoubtedly would not have ac cepted Ottoman rule so readily had it been normal Ottoman policy to encourage. For the covetous Turkish warrior the best hope was to march against the Byzantine frontier (or Serbian. Some of them were enemies of urban and village life.Some Thoughts on the Gazi-Thesis 157 Muslim Turkish rulers than over those taken from Christian rulers. (Wittek himself sometimes acknowledged the need for balanced growth. it is likely that uncontrolled quest for booty was the exception rather than the rule. or even to permit. whether Orthodox Christians or Muslims. but more often some sort of accommodation was reached where the conquered people kept their lives. for those rulers seem generally to have been favorably regarded by their seden tary subjects. in general that practice was abhorrent to Islam. the best hope probably was to submit to the authority This content downloaded from 152. That was good reason for Ottoman armies to prefer to attack the Byzantine frontier. or Bulgarian ones). The Mamluk empire used them as slave soldiers. such behavior. For the town or village dweller. Such destruction was never vented on subjects of the Muslim Tur kish states in Anatolia.org/terms . (Of course.24. They were the sole military force of the Anatolian rivals of the Ottomans.10 on Thu. Consequently. families.) Even in Christian states that feil to the Ottomans some sort of accommodation seems usually to have been reached where new subjects kept their lives. Possibly the early Ottoman rulers might have had a strong desire to implement justice. the Sharia idealistically discourages warfare between Muslims. 29 Sep 2016 03:53:38 UTC All use subject to http://about. presuma bly even those on the frontiers still lived partly by grazing their ani mals.jstor. such as distinguished particularly Melik Shah (1072—1092) of the Great Seljuk line and several of the Seljuk of Rum sultans. Although Turkish soldiers did sometimes prey on the subjects of other Muslim rulers in Anatolia. and later the Serbian and Bulgarian ones. during the 14th Century the Ottoman rulers must have subjected the Turkish warriors to rigorous discipline. families. Occasionally Ottoman rulers accepted the destruction and pillaging of major Christian urban centers. The Byzantine empire relied heavily on them as mercenaries. and property.) The fighting prowess of the Turkish horseman was renowned. war-like and eager for booty. Although their tribal ties were weak. and property.118.

Their reigns give little evid waged against the neighboring Christi Among the most important sources o man state are contemporary and near antine writers. Orhan. 29 Sep 2016 03:53:38 UTC All use subject to http://about. Murad. Orhan.118. T and sophistication far above that of th and their sources were as close to Ott tions as were any Ottoman writers. and Gregory Palam Century developments. While satisfying the soldi those early rulers kept them restrained i who had previously submitted to the states in Anatolia and also those wh Ottomans. with the p jizya. along the lines that Wittek has s Byzantines ignore sophisticated legal p covenant (Dar ul-Ahd). Perhaps it is rary Byzantine intellectuals should be if they were applied.jstor. an intermediate peace and the abode of war. But certainly it is m This content downloaded from 152.Jennings of the Ottoman state. and the sultan having the right in exchange for providing troops and Byzantine sources mention a house recognized by some jurists whereby un peace by paying tribute. particularly historians.10 on Thu. are of the 15t the first serious Ottoman historians lik so even they have a claim to credibilit If the Ottoman state from about 13 state.org/terms . most of whom were not far rem connections.C. Osman.158 R. although being a vassal might have pretty much the sam The policies of the 14th Century Ottom policy of political and military aggr Osman. In general. fairness and justice towards their sub security.jizya.24. and Kritobulus. S John Cantacuzenus. Although othe Phrantzes. and Bayezid we which included being good and effect diers.

who provided the bulk of the popula tion. but being most optimistic about th Ottoman "frontier state" of the 14th Century.118. for several of their groups had Christian members.10 on Thu.org/terms . who made up the most influential group not just in towns but also within the whole Ottoman state. with no regard for state boundaries. whose enthusiasms and unruliness threatened the authority of the beys. 29 Sep 2016 03:53:38 UTC All use subject to http://about. villages and towns.24. there were many legal nuances by which a sophisticate Islamic state could have rationalized much of its relationship wi Byzantium. They linked together merchants and artisans. Orhan and his successors had not just their wishes to consider but also large numbers of townspeople and villagers on whom the early state was really built. Upstart rulers like the Ottomans were extremely fortunate to have their füll support. others esteemed them. while some despised the Ot mans. Some of those writers had a intimate knowledge of Ottoman affairs. Each 14th Century ruler was probably closely associated with the ahiahi fraternities which were so central to the social. The ahis were a force for law and order in the society. In conclusion. and in other cases fully a Century and a half. or Bulgaria. Serbia. and more than one actually was a member of an ahi Organization. While such elements were essential to military conquest. Moreover. the Turkish mounted warriors who are usually identified as gazis probably were a force for instability. they represent only a relatively small proportion of the population. economic. not Turkish warriors. They had ideals of Service and brotherhood which influenced all their behavior. it is hard to imagine that its leaders could have thought in such subtleties before the reign o Bayezid I. Their social activi ties were devoted to both those ends. It was. and yet th leading critical observers of Byzantium totally failed to notice? Of course. as i held by proponents of the gazi-theory. but also for love and congeniality.jstor. after all. Each 14th Century Ottoman ruler in turn admired and respected the ahis. Ahis were amenable to a religiously mixed society. How can the Ottoman state have been carrying on a holy war against the Byzantines for at least half Century.Some Thoughts on the Gazi-Thesis 159 Byzantines indicate any awareness that a resolute holy war had bee continually and resolutely waged against Byzantium for years. The entrepreneurs in the society were ahis. if we examine the evidence that Wittek presented to This content downloaded from 152. and religious milieu of the time and which predominated in towns across Anatolia.

Cahen: "Dhimma". G. EI2. the Chiones and t 22.ler. EI2. This content downloaded from 152. and B. Ducas (Doukas): Decline and Fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Türks H.jstor. Magoulias. From know that Ahmedi was no historian Iskender-name. van Dieten.K.M. "Osman". a familiar ge related. EI2. writing about 1 description of a chronicler whose work is lost. Inalcik: "Bayazid".24. Holt. Lewis. A. M. EI2. L. Bayezid I's son Suleyman fele wrote unter Ottoman patronage and unbiased source. Y. were beys. Cam bridge. 1966. none would be fr to have claimed the title sultan befor would have been presumptious. & tr. Bibliography Α. 29 Sep 2016 03:53:38 UTC All use subject to http://about. Lambton. ed. "Dar al-Ahd". Stuttga 1973. ν. Ertugrul. ν. Osman I. Abel: "Dar al-Harb". 1. Encyclopaedia of "Dar"Dar ul-Islam".1952. G. J. N. in The Cambridge History of Islam. pp. W. Specul "Gregory Palamas. Gregoras: Rhomäische Geschichte.S. Ε. J. (2) As for the inscrip with. Η. ed.Jennings prove his assertions abcrat the gazi origi an epic. Gibbons: The Foundation of the Ottoman Empire. Ayverdi: Osmanh Mimarisinin llk Devri. P. H. Hüdavendigar ve Yildirim Bayezid 630—805 (1230—1402). T.118. Μ. Arnakis: "Gregory Palamas among Captivity as Historical Sources".C. EI'1. 1975.305—312.bul. Gökbilgin: "Orhan". Björkman: "Kafir". 1916. IA.10 on Thu. Islam Ansiklopedisi.160 R. Ν. "The Emergence of the Ottomans". A. and (2) an inscription from serted that Ahmedi.org/terms . Osman and Orhan both certain sultans in their times. Detroit. Osman.Iskender-name.263—291. Cl. H.. Orhan ler. Is bul. Wittek obviously was making rally the subject of epic poetry. 1970. 1.

M. EI1.jstor. tr. 1977. Bloomington. I. This content downloaded from 152.: The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the ProcessProcess of Islamization from the llth throngh the 15th c. Sugar: Southeastern Europe under Ottoman Rule. George Ostrogorsky: History of the Byzantine State. Johnstone: "Ghaza". Η. 1968. 1967. Vryonis. Itzkowitz and C. Tyan: "Djihad". Kritoboulos: History of Mehmed the Conqueror. An An Introduction to Islamic Law. M. Berkeley. UzüNfAR^iLi: "Murad I". J. S. 1957. Washington. F. B. Ρ.I. 1980. IA. Melikoff: "Ghazi". Τ. 1971. Abel): "Dar al-Sulh".org/terms . Imbeb. R. I. EP. ν. T. EI2. London. Princeton 1954. C. Riggs. tr. tr. 1. 1973. Amherst. Cambridge. D. P. D. Lindner: Nomads and Ottomans in Medieval Anatolia. Α. J. Paul Wittek: The Rise ofthe Ottoman Empire. A. Y1NAN9: "Bayezid I".Α. 1354—1804.24. Schacht: "Aman". G. EI2. E. J. EI2. Madison. H. Phrantzes (Sphrantzes): The Fall ofthe Byzantine Empire. 1983. Nicol: The Byzantine Family of Kantakouzenos (Cantacuzenus) ca. Hussey. tr. Seattle. 1971. Jr. S. Philippi des.Some Thoughts on the Gazi-Thesis 161 The The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age 1300—1600. MacDonald (A. 11001100—1460. IA. 2 v. New Brunswick. Μ.I. 1964. EI2. Shaw: History ofthe Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Kbamebs: "Sultan". J. Vasiliev: History of the Byzantine Empire. N. London.118. H. 1976. 29 Sep 2016 03:53:38 UTC All use subject to http://about. Oxford. M.10 on Thu.