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Posts Tagged ‘Ottoman Empire’

The book The Horrible History of Captain Black Hand authored by Q-Bitz is available: https://www.createspace.com/7591813

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The Isles of Greece! The isles of Greece

Wherefore this amnesia, drunk from Lethe?

Have you forgotten the warrior race

Whose swords smote down kings and forthwith

‘Here be warriors that knew no fear’

Went thus message post-haste far an’ near?

Sparta led and the hordes of foes

Before their tight phalanxes melted:

In Athens no less brave were demos

Before whose iron resolve tyrants fled.

Spartan or rich in tastes at best

Were men who deemed their own lives least.

What service has the Turks bestowed

That you let your blood and honor

Be trod and your wives as slaves sold?

Martyrs for faith in Asia minor

Lay forgotten as of no value.

For a slave race this’s nothing new.

Spare me your woes with Euro bail-out

Or the Golden Dawn spawn’d from hell.

How slaves for long living on hand-out

Are undone is a sad chronicle:

A land of slaves shall ne’er regain

Unless Greece unlearn past as one.

benny

Original Version

THE isles of Greece! the isles of Greece!

Where burning Sappho loved and sung,

Where grew the arts of war and peace,—

Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!

Eternal summer gilds them yet,

But all, except their sun, is set.

The Scian and the Teian muse,

The hero’s harp, the lover’s lute,

Have found the fame your shores refuse;

Their place of birth alone is mute

To sounds which echo further west

Than your sires’ “Islands of the Blest.”

..

Place me on Sunium’s marble steep—

Where nothing, save the waves and I,

May hear our mutual murmurs sweep:

There, swan-like, let me sing and die;

A land of slaves shall ne’er be mine—

Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!

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The role of religion in the political history of the Ottoman Empire is discussed here.

If one examines the rise and fall of Islamic Empires, one finds the same old stuff in the case of their history. These had a beginning a middle part and end. Timurid Empire died a quick death after Timurleng’s demise while the Ottomans suffered a lingering death after Suleiman the Magnificent left the fate of his empire to the harem politics. No dynasties could prevent the march of events and their bad governance reverberate even to this day. The Arab spring perhaps may prove a change in the muddled state of affairs.

Let us examine the course run by the Ottoman Empire. It was melded out a number of Turkish principalities, or emirates, many of which were led by gazi warriors. Out of a gradual collapse of central authority in Asia Minor rose one such warrior, Osman Gazi. His small emirate was closer geographically to the Byzantine Empire than any other, and thus he had many chances to prove his abilities as a gazi warrior against them. His continuous forays proved successful which brought other gazis from neighbouring emirates to take part in these victories and obtain their share of the spoils. Plunder was their motive and sword their language. Their political wisdom did not go beyond the power that they could wield over their subjects. In 1301, with the victory of the Ottomans over the Byzantines at Nicaea, the former Byzantine capital, the Ottoman emirate established itself as a powerful military force.
The Ottoman Empire reached its peak by 1600, after which time it fell into a gradual decline, as a result of both internal disorganisation and pressure from its external foes in Europe and Asia. Inversion principle points to the fact: greater speed with which they annexed territories seeds of its destruction grew at faster rate. Power was surrounded by self interest and corruption which the interest groups could exert.
No dynasty can survive in a vacuum or on faith alone. Their religious law called sharia (TR: şeriat) was supplemented by royal ordinances and customary law and such governance stood in contrary to the wishes of subjects who were Greek Orthodox Christians, Armenian Gregorian Christians and Jews. The millet system of communal self-government gave the Ottoman state a multi-ethnic character but the rise of nationalism swept through many countries in the period after the French Revolution put pressure on the Ottoman Empire.
The state would gradually lose its control over the Empire’s territories. On one hand, Ottomans were forced to allow the European powers to intervene on behalf of the Empire’s Christian subjects, which meant increasing foreign influence on Ottoman internal affairs, and on the other hand, in a time when feudalism was weakening elsewhere, the Ottoman Empire saw the rise of local ruling notables, called ayan, in the provinces. These local rules were able to exercise almost absolute authority, collecting taxes for themselves, thus depriving the Imperial Treasury of an important financial source. The Cluster principle explains the various power centers that flexed their muscle- and the ayans were power within the imperial power while clerics had their own interests to follow.

It was the people, of all ethnic and religious groups, who suffered most. Their situation worsened by a large population growth in 16th and 17th centuries accompanied by a decline in food production. Landless peasants began to flee to the cities in the hope of making a living. Those remaining in the countryside joined rebel bands, which further weakened the central governments power in the provinces.

The Ottoman rulers failed to identify the real causes of the decline, since they were completely isolated from developments outside. European powers were exercising mercantilist policies promoting local productivity and favouring a national bourgeoisie. They were advancing in industry, science, technology as well as political and military organization. The powers that be were lulled into inertia by interest groups who saw little need to change the status quo from which they were benefiting.
How backward were they can be judged from the following fact: it was not until 1727, three centuries after Johannes Gutenberg, that the first printing press was set up in Istanbul by a Hungarian convert called İbrahim Müteferrika.
There were some attempts at reforms which were done to change the traditional Ottoman system based on theocratic principles to that of a modern state. However, they reforms did not manage to reverse the decline of the Empire. Yavuz wrote: “The reformers were handicapped by a lack of sources and trained staff, besides a tough opposition by conservatives who argued that the reformers were destroying the Empire’s fundamental Islamic character by following the Western modes”.
Do we not hear the same arguments even these days? Libya has got rid of one dictator for another? There is a talk that liberated Libya must follow Sharia law. For whose benefit, for the good of the people or for those who fatten themselves on religion?
benny

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How Open End Kept His Promise©
(selected from the Adventures of Open End. Open End was a pirate who only wanted a piece of the action at a time when the kings of Old Europe thought the Americas was ready for plucking. There was so much gold and silver over which no one had any exclusive rights, divine or otherwise. The Divine Rights that Europe touted in their domain didn’t extend there. Open End saw so much wealth and exclaimed, “I have needs therefore I exist.” Philosopher Descartes could not have summed it more succinctly. Only after he said ‘yea’ to free enterprise did he realize all he deserved for his pains was a rope from the yard arm. Well he knew how to play the game while the Kingdoms of this world played the Great Game.

Out of seven adventures this story is the first.)
…While Queen Elizabeth ruled England, Old Spain together with Portugal would have carved the wealth of Americas between themselves if they could. But news such as this cannot be hid for long. It was only a matter of time the news reached the ears of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
“The New World shall never survive this!” exclaimed those officials who counseled the Sultan; but he had his own plate full at the moment. He did not care for the Americas or Helios.
Helios was a one-camel town in his empire, which was collapsing under neglect. In a small town where the only exciting feature was the town- gate that led one out, Murcius, a young lad was dying of boredom. Day by day. He would have got out. But where to? He had no idea.
Oblivious of what momentous events were being played out on the open seas Murcius tried to liven up his miserable life a little. Helios did not particularly inspire him. He thought at first Tripoli was where the action was. For his neighbor’s son, the one who worked for an Agha in Istanbul had come on leave and told him the streets anywhere in the chief city of the Ottoman Empire were paved with gold. He said, ’Murcius you ought to do something with your life.’ Murcius, young and hot blooded that he was, knew he had a sure lead. He would not waste his life with slim pickings in Tripoli. So it was to Turkey he went before the law began showing undue interest in him. He knew he could be nailed over some petty thieving done in the past.
He laughed all the way to Asia Minor thinking what he had escaped. His town didn’t mean a thing. ”What a dump!” thus he dismissed the land of his fathers. He would have liked to step down in style in Istanbul but a little fracas aboard the dhow made it impossible. As a result the other passengers caught him hand and foot and threw him unceremoniously over board. They were also in that vessel for the same reason as he. ‘One less to compete with’, thought they.
This incident made him realize that it was a meeting with Destiny. There was no doubt of that. He saw a great white shark, which surfaced as if out of nowhere. The murderous shark didn’t waver but made a beeline towards him and it meant business. He was a good swimmer so he gave a stiff competition to it. He was saved in time. At that moment hazily he thought, an angel had come down, to save him. Just as what that old monk in Helios had been telling. From that moment he was sold out to his belief: he was a child of Destiny!….

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