Foundation of the Ottoman State: From Legends to Reality – Feridun M. Emecen


26 October 2019 – 14:30


26 October 2019 – 16:30

Foundation of the Ottoman State: From Legends to Reality

 The issue of the foundation of the Ottoman Empire is under the influence of a narrative mixed with legends, as is of the other great empires. The myths and narratives about the founding fathers of the Ottoman dynasty seem to have come to our day through historical Ottoman sources, which were written long after early years of the empire. Modern historians who are interested in this subject have long been questioning the information in these sources about the founding fathers and they are trying to clarify the formation of the Ottoman state with new approaches. A significant portion of these historians have adopted the issue of foundation within theoretical frameworks in the face of the unreliable information in historical sources. Some of them prefer on the other hand to rely on sources but they attempt to make sense of their storytelling styles and come up with new approaches to the subject. In fact, appealing to the existing historical, by using them together with the XIII. century Seljuk sources, with contemporary Byzantine chronicles and with other historical data from earlier times and adding them the official foundation (waqf) records and numismatic discoveries are not useless attempts in order to reach directly to the historical facts based upon “archeologic” data. Recently, under the guidance of the Ottoman waqf registrations, social / religious life during the foundation years and various elite groups and explanations in some examples, supporting the existing chronicles related to their activities have been put forward. As a result of all these recent researches, the conditions under which the foundation of the Ottoman state took place, the basis of which the most plausible explanation could be put forward, how to determine the identity of the founding fathers of the dynasty or which of them were really connected to the dynasty, what the myths in historical sense meant, how the ancestors of the Ottoman Empire can be located in the line of events and these type of other questions will be main framework of this speech.

Feridun M. Emecen, İstanbul 29 Mayıs Üniversitesi