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By Stanford J. Shaw

Empire of the Gazis: the increase and Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1280-1808 is the 1st e-book of the two-volume historical past of the Ottoman Empire and glossy Turkey. It describes how the Ottoman Turks, a small band of nomadic squaddies, controlled to extend their dominions from a small principality in northwestern Anatolia at the borders of the Byzantine Empire into one of many nice empires of 15th- and sixteenth-century Europe and Asia, extending from northern Hungary to southern Arabia and from the Crimea throughout North Africa nearly to the Atlantic Ocean. the quantity sweeps away the collected prejudices of centuries and describes the empire of the sultans as a dwelling, altering society, ruled via the small multinational Ottoman ruling category led by way of the sultan, yet with a scope of presidency so slim that the themes, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, have been left to hold all alone lives, religions, and traditions with little outdoor interference.

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In imitation of the policy of the Seljuks, Osman divided his border areas into three principalities, each commanded by an uc bey, facing respectively the Black Sea to the north, Nicomedia (Izmit), and Nicaea (Iznik). Most of his initial advances were made by the leaders of these principalities at the expense of the feudal Byzantine nobles, some of whom were defeated in battle, others being absorbed peacefully by purchase contracts, marriage alliances, and the like. His real conquests began about 1300 when the final collapse of the Seljuks enabled him to occupy the key forts of Eski§ehir and Karacahisar, which commanded the passes leading from the central Anatolian plateau into the plains of Bithynia.

Since conversion was not yet a prerequisite for entering Ottoman service, many Christians served the sultans as officers, soldiers, and administrators. It is extremely difficult to determine the exact extent of Turkish, Islamic, and Byzantine influence in the development of the institutions of the Ottoman Empire. The problem is complicated by limited source materials and also by the fact that the Islamic and Byzantine empires were similar in many ways and had been interacting for centuries before the Ottomans arrived, as had the Hellenistic and Persian cultures at an earlier time.

While such nomads were useful in overwhelming enemies, their desire for continued booty was incompatible with an effort to establish settled institutions in the conquered areas. The Seljuks had rid themselves of disruptive nomads by sending them to the frontiers, and the Ottomans now began to do the same. But before Orhan could dispense entirely with their military services he had to replace them with some kind of new army. Therefore, he organized a separate army of soldiers who entered his service in return for regular salaries rather than for booty or in fulfillment of religious objectives.

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