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Ottoman Age Notables... Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596) -- Elizabethan pirate turned Royal favorite; first surviving ship's captain to circumnavigate the Earth (1577-1580). Naval hero in English victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588.
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Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire
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Sultans and Concubines and Eunuchs, oh my...!

Site visitors may navigate the encyclopedia using the
Ottoman Empire Index
or the
Encyclopedia Sources Page.
Term Meaning Comments
mabeyin Sultan's private apartment  
Machiavelli, Niccolo (1469-1527)

Misunderstood Political Thinker
Who astutely said of the Ottomans...
"The causes of the difficulty of occupying the Turkish kingdom are, that the invader could not be invited by princes of that kingdom, nor hope to facilitate his enterprise by the rebellion of those near the ruler's person... Because, being all slaves, and dependent, it will be more difficult to corrupt them, and even if they were corrupted, little effect could be hoped for, as they would not be able to carry the people with them... Therefore, whoever assaults the Turk must be prepared to meet his united forces, and must rely more on his own strength than on the disorders of others; but having once conquered him, and beaten him in battle so that he can no longer raise armies, nothing else is to be feared except the family of the prince, and if this be extinguished, there is no longer any one to be feared, others having no credit with the people; and as the victor before the victory could place no hope in them, so he need not fear them afterwards."
From Chapter IV, The Prince
Italian diplomat and writer. Born in Florence, the son of a lawyer, he held office as secretary of the Council of Ten in charge of Florentine foreign affairs from 1498 until 1512 when the republic fell and the Medici regained power. During those years he was sent on diplomatic missions to Louis XII of France and the emperor Maximilian, and while in attendance upon Cesare Borgia was able to study the practices and motives of the ambitious prince. Back in Florence he organized the citizen army which captured Pisa (1509). When the Medici returned Machiavelli was imprisoned for a time and had to retire from public life. He occupied himself by writing not only to instruct but to amuse as in the lively, satirical and bawdy play, La Mandragola. His serious works include Discourses on Livy The Art of War, a History of Florence and the book upon which his fame and his sinister reputation rest, Il Principe (The Prince, 1513), largely based on his observations of Cesare Borgia. Originally dedicated to the younger Lorenzo de Medici (1492-15l9), grandson of Lorenzo 'The Magnificent', by whom Machiavelli may have hoped that Italy might be saved from foreign intervention and united under a single rule, the book was not actually published until 1532. Il Principe set out to give precise and practical information concerning the qualities and practices necessary for a prince to achieve these worthy ends in a corrupt age. It is thus a work not of moral precept but of practical instruction, and in so far as it is held to reflect Machiavelli's personal character it defames him. The view of Spinoza and Rousseau is now generally accepted that The Prince is a savage satire against tyranny by a man of profoundly pessimistic insight who recognized that the methods he detested (and scrupulously refrained from in his own life) were likelier to be successful than policies of restraint and conciliation. He based the argument of The Prince on the contention that in an age where everyone is self-seeking: the only hope lies in a single ruler whose sole interest would be his people's welfare; but that in order to obtain that position and achieve that aim it is necessary to rule despotically, to cast all moral principles aside and concentrate entirely on the end in view. The cynical dictum 'the end justifies the means' had long been approved in practice: the odium that was attached to Machiavelli's name was due to the fact that he seemed to give it theoretical justification. In Elizabethan and Jacobean England, Machiavelli and their perception of machiavellian politics were so execrated that his works and possibly his name (Old Nick) became synonymous with the devil. Machiavelli returned to public life in his later years and performed some services for Pope Clement VII.27
Mahidevran Khatun
(in some texts, she is called Gülbahar)
An early favorite of Süleyman, The Magnificent, and mother of Mustafa (Sultan Süleyman's oldest son) who was heir apparent to the throne. She was totally out-smarted and out-maneuvered by
Roxelana (see how, at the entry for Hürrem) in the battle for the affections of the Sultan. In the end, Süleyman ordered the execution of their own popular son, Mustafa, for suspected treason -- as he gave into the heavy campaigning by Roxelana, her daughter Mihrimah, and Mihrimah's husband (the Grand Vizier) Rüstem).
maliye nezareti treasury superintendents  
Marguerite (Margaret) of Navarre (1492-1549)
Also known as Margaret of Angouleme or Orleans or Valois.
Much loved and doting sister of Francis I [of France]. Queen of Navarre (1544-49). Mother both of the French Renaissance and of the French Reformation. Active in politics and a supporter/protector of Protestantism and fugitive Protestants (e.g., John Calvin). At the same time, she was a mystic, a practicer (at times) of Platonic love, a supporter of the arts, and a writer (of poetry and prose) in her own right. Will Durant tells us, "All the world knows of [Marguerite's] Heptameron, because of its reputed indecency; but patrons of pornography will be disappointed in it. These stories were in the manner of the time, which found its chief humor in the pranks, anomalies, and vicissitudes of love, and in the deviations of monks from their vows; the stories themselves are told with restraint. They are the tales related by the men and women of Marguerite's court, or that of Francis I (her brother); they were written down by or for her (1544-1548), but were never published by her; they appeared in print ten years after her death. She had intended them to form another Decameron, but as the book stopped short with the seventh day of the storytelling, the editor called it Heptameron. Many of the narratives seem to be authentic histories, disguised with changed names...Some of the incidental remarks (told by ladies and gentlemen of the French Court) are startling: "You mean to say, then, that all is lawful to those who love, provided no one knows?" "Yes, in truth; 'tis only fools who are found out." The general philosophy of the book finds expression in a pregnant sentence of the fifth story: "Unhappy the lady who does not carefully preserve the treasure which does her so much honor when well kept, and so much dishonor when she continues to keep it." The stories are lightened by many a jolly quip: so we hear of a pious pharmacist of Pau "who never had anything to do with his wife except in Holy Week by way of penance." Half the humor, as in Boccaccio, turns on monastic gamboling. "These good fathers," says a character in the fifth story, "preach chastity to us, and want to foul our wives." An outraged husband agrees: "They dare not touch money, but they are ready to handle women's thighs, which are much more dangerous.""35
(Please note the exceptional, but correct, spelling of this Turkish word.)

Right click to 'View' or 'Zoom' image enlargement...
Ottoman Entertainers in Levni's Surname-i Vehbi (Book of God's Generosity).69

  1. Entertainers, performers, and their ilk...
  2. Someone whose way of life is not in accord with the rest of society.
Ottomans who were known as marjinalleri included clowns, musicians, and dancers (the Çengi and the Köçek), circus performers (jugglers, wire walkers, conjurers), and such. Their reputations were pretty low -- as the word marjinalleri also connotes "cheaters, knaves, tricksters"... And (in more recent times especially), the word also connotes sexual deviance...
Mecnun ile Leyla See Layla wa Majnun.Also see Kerem ile Aslı.
[Catherine de] Medicis (1519-1589)

Instigator of the
St. Barthalomew's Day Massacre
Use right mouse button to 'View' larger illustration...
Queen of France (1547-1559) and mother of the last three Valois kings of France. She was a major force in French politics during the 30 years of Roman Catholic-Huguenot wars and an instigator of the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew's Day. Catherine was born on April 13, 1519, [a year before Süleyman, The Magnificent ascended] in Florence, Italy, the daughter of Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino, and the great-granddaughter of the Florentine ruler Lorenzo de' Medici, called Lorenzo the Magnificent. In 1533 she married the duc d'Orléans, who became king of France in 1547 as Henry II. She had little power during the reign of her husband and that of her first son, Francis II, but on Francis's death in 1560 the government fell entirely into her hands. She ruled as regent for her second son, Charles IX, until he reached his majority in 1563, and she continued to dominate him for the duration of his reign. 21
Nostradamus was a close personal advisor.
Political Role --
In her determination to preserve royal power at any cost, Catherine devoted her energies to maintaining a balance between the Protestant group known as the Huguenots, led by the French military leader Gaspard de Coligny, and the Roman Catholics, led by the powerful house of Guise. During the religious civil wars that began in 1562, Catherine, a Roman Catholic, usually supported the Catholics; sometimes, however, political expediency led her to switch her support to the Huguenots. Her political manipulations also affected the personal affairs of her family. In 1560 she arranged for her daughter, Elizabeth of Valois, to become the third wife of the powerful Roman Catholic king of Spain, Philip II. In 1572 Catherine found it propitious to marry another daughter, Margaret of Valois, to the Protestant king Henry of Navarre, who later became Henry IV, king of France. Later in 1572 she found the growing Huguenot influence over her son Charles, the French king, frightening; accordingly, she instigated the plot to assassinate the Protestant leader Coligny that led to his death and the deaths of an estimated 50,000 other Huguenots in the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew's Day. After the death of Charles in 1574 and the accession to the throne of her third son as Henry III, Catherine's power declined. She died in Blois, France, on January 5, 1589.
medrese High Islamic religious school Most influential in the Ottoman Empire when Turkey was a Muslim state.
Mehmed/Mehmet II (The Conqueror)
Fatih Mehmed

The Gentile Bellini portrait (1480)

A later portrait, artist unknown...
Through the Middle Ages [until 1520], whenever an Ottoman sultan died, it frequently set off a fratricidal struggle for the throne among the former sultan's sons. Ever the pragmatist (and for the purpose of minimizing casualties in wars of succession), Mehmed II, in his kanunname (~1477), codified a practice which in fact had been general since the early years of the empire: "For the welfare of the state, the one of my sons to whom God grants the sultanate may lawfully put his brothers to death. A majority of the ulema consider this permissible".1
So, while Christian rulers had their wars of succession in which 1000's died, the Ottomans depended on fratricide to limit the death toll to under 20! And let's not forget that Christians weren't immune to murdering their relatives. For example, do you remember that little episode with Richard III (Shakespeare's most delicious villain) and his nephews in the Tower of London...?
The most successful Ottoman Sultan up to his time, who conquered Constantinople in 1453 -- at the age of 21! A very complex man -- at times ruthless and murderous at times enlightened and humane, Mehmed actually reigned twice. He first ascended (when he was just 12 years old) during 1444-1446, but his father Murad II came out of retirement in 1446 at the behest of the Grand Vizier, Halil Pasha -- when trouble brewed in the Empire. (Young Mehmed would recall this affront to his manhood when, after the Fall of Constantinople, he had Halil Pasha beheaded for treason.)
During his second reign (1451-1481) in addition to Constantinople, he also conquered the Morea (1460), and then Trebizond (1461). In Serbia, Turks conquered Bosnia (1463). During his reign, Mehmed expanded Ottoman borders, in all directions, beyond everyone's expectations. But, it's fair to note that he failed at Rhodes and Belgrade...For example, his first siege of Rhodes (1480-1481) was repulsed by Knights of St. John.

Personality Profile...
After Mehmed II had conquered Constantinople, the Byzantine Prime Minister, Notars, presented his valuables to the Conqueror on golden trays and said, "I am offering all my wealth to your grand self."
Mehmed responded, "This wealth might have been spent to save your country, and if you'd done so I'd have congratulated you. But these valuables are now my 'right of conquest' -- and you're not offering them to me, I'm taking them."

Chronology of Events during his reign:
1451 Murad II dies of stroke, Mehmed II ascends (18 February) ; Mehmed II's expedition against the Karamanids (May/June) ; renewal of peace with Venice (10 September) and Hungary (20 November). 1452 Erection of Rumeli Hisari, the fortress over-looking the Bosphorus (January-August); declaration of war against Byzantium. 1453 Siege and conquest of Constantinople [and Pera] (April 6-May 29); Halil Pasha beheaded for 'treason'. 1454 Peace with Venice (18 April); Mehmed II's expedition to Serbia; The Ottoman fleet on the Black Sea; the Genoese colonies around the Black Sea tributary to the Ottomans. 1455 Moldavia tributary to the Ottomans (5 October); Mehmed II's second expedition to Serbia. 1456 Ottoman failure at the siege of Belgrade; the empire of Trebizond tributary to the Ottomans. 1457 Iskender Beg's victory at Albulena. 1458 Mahmud Pasha's expedition against Serbia; Mehmed II in the Morea. 1459 Surrender of Semendria (June); conquest of Amastris (Amasra); Pius II declares a crusade. 1460 Conquest of the Morea. 1461 Conquest of the Gandarid principality and the empire of Trebizond. July 3, 1462 Mehmed conquers Island of Lesbos(Midilli)1462 Mehmed II invades Wallachia (summer); Mahmud Pasha in Lesbos (September). 1463 War with Venice; Venetians in control of the Morea; Mehmed II invades Bosnia; King of Hungary in Yaitse (16 December). 1464 Ottoman reconquest of the Morea (spring); Mehmed II besieges Yaitse; death of Pius II (15 August); death of Ibraham, the Karamanid; civil war in Karaman. 1466 Mehmed II's campaign against Iskender Beg; erection of the castle of Elbasan. 1467 Mehmed II's second campaign against Iskender Beg; Shehsuvar of Dulkadir under Ottoman protection. 1468 Death of Iskender Beg (17 January). Mehmed II's conquest of Karaman (summer); resistance of the Turcoman tribes in the Taurus mountains. 1469-74 Pacification of Karaman. 1469 Venetian attack on Enos and New Phocaea. 1470 Mehmed II's conquest of Euboea (11 July). 1471 Uzun Hasan of Akkoyunlu, Venice, the King of Cyprus, the Knights of St John and the Emîr of Alaiyye (Alanya) form a coalition against the Ottomans. 1472 Uzun Hasan sacks Tokat; an Akkoyunlu-Karamanid army invades Karaman; the Mamluks execute Shehsuvar. 1473 Battle of Başkent (Otluk-beli) (11 August). 1474 Ottoman raids into Transylvania; siege of Scutariin Albania. 1475 Conquest of the Genoese colonies in the Crimea; Ottoman suzerainty over the khanate of the Crimea. 1476 Matthias Corvinus takes Shabats (15 February); Mehmed II's campaign against Moldavia (summer) and his expedition against Corvinus (winter). 1477 Beylerbeyi Süleyman besieges Lepanto; Ottoman raiders before Venice. 1478 Death of Uzun Hasan (6 January); Mehmed II besieges Scutari in Albania; surrender of Groia in Albania (6 June); Ottoman raid into Friuli. 1479 Peace with Venice (25 January) ; Ottoman raids into Transylvania and Hungary; conquest of Anapa, Kopa and Tamatarkhan. 1480 Mesih Pasha's siege of Rhodes; Ahmed Pasha in Otranto. 1481 Mehmed II dies (3 May) ; Bayezid II ascends (20 May).Updates; 4.0
Mehmed Ali Paşa (Kavalalı)
also, Muhammad 'Ali Pasha
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Kavalalı -- the man from Kavala...74

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Mehmed Ali Paşa's gains and losses...

Vali and paşa of Egypt (1805-49) during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Selim III.
He founded the dynasty that ruled Egypt (as a semi-autonomous Ottoman province) from the beginning of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th. In the process, he planted seeds of the modern Egyptian state.66
Mehmed Ali Paşa's early life.
Little is known about his ethnic origin -- though he may have been Albanian. In any case, he was certainly a Muslim and an Ottoman subject. His father, Ibrahim Ağa, died when Mehmed Ali was a boy, and he was brought up by the governor of Kavala (the modern-day seaport city in the Macedonian province of north eastern Greece -- which was part of the Ottoman Empire in Mehemed Ali's day). At 18, he married one of the governor's relatives, who became the mother of five of his 95 children !!66

One of his sons, Said Paşa, was instrumental in the decision to build the Suez Canal. Said Paşa facilitated the Suez project due to his long-standing friendship with Ferdinand de Lesseps (the Frenchman credited with the Suez project's completion).
As the Egyptian Vali... Mehmed Ali Paşa scored a series of military victories -- but also suffered some failures that frustrated his broader goals. See map at left.
Mehmed Ali first went to the Ottoman 'province' of Egypt as part of an Ottoman expeditionary force to oppose the French -- who had invaded the country in 1798 (under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte). With great political skill, Mehmed Ali managed by 1805 to be named the Egyptian Vali -- with the rank of paşa. The short-lived French occupation (1798-1801) had disrupted the country's traditional political and economic structure, and Mehmed Ali seized the opportunity to restructure Egyptian society. He eliminated the Mamluks (the former ruling oligarchy), expropriated the old landholding classes, turned the religious class into pensioners of the government, restricted the activities of the native merchant and artisan groups, neutralized the Bedouins, and crushed all movements of rebellion among the peasants.66
But, though Mehmed Ali was naturally intelligent and personally charming, his knowledge was shallow and he lacked 'vision'. He was unable to grasp the full extent of possibilities open to him and resorted to governance by decaying Ottoman principles. In his latter years, Mehmed Ali had to devote much of his time thwarting attempts by his Ottoman overlord to remove him from office. And he became more interested in establishing a dynasty for himself and his family than in creating a progressive state.
Melameti or melamı a sect of dervishes who ignored the outward forms of religion.  
Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha See Kara Mustafa Paşa. 
mescid/mescit small mosque, masjid Although a mescid/mescit is not normally a place for the Friday noon prayers, in Bursa you find one on almost every street corner in the town center. Why? Because during noonday prayers there's not enough room in the many over-crowded mosques to accommodate everyone. And as the muezzin begins his noonday call to prayer, city dwellers drop to their knees... as far as the eye can see -- even, as I once actually witnessed, in the midst of a rainstorm.
Meyyit Kapısı Gate of the Dead, Corpse Gate Gate out of which human corpses usually passed from Topkapı Palace. It leads from the Second Courtyard into the Imperial Stable.
Middle Gate See Bab-üs Selam.  
In history: Peopled by Aeolians and became chief Aeolian settlement on the Asiatic coast; active in commerce; in 7th century BC famous for its lyric poets esp. Alcaeus and Sappho; declined in influence in 6th century BC; yielded to the Persians; member of the Delian League; off its shores 406 BC the Athenian Conon defeated in naval battle; frequently involved in wars before beginning of Christian Era. Held by Byzantines, Seljuks, Venetians, and after 1462 by the Turks; annexed by Greece 1913, held by Germans Apr 1941 to Oct 1944.50
The Island of Mytilene (Mitylene), aka Lesbos. Conquered by Mehmed II, The Conqueror on July 3 1462. At that time its chief city was Mytilini (Kastro).
Mihrab (also, 'mihrap')

A particularly fine example of a mihrab...
Click with right mouse key to 'View' larger image...

The 'niche' in mosques (see cami) directed at the Ka'ba in Mecca. Muslims face in that direction while performing their religious prayers.
Mihrimah Sultan

The only daughter [to survive infancy] of Süleyman, The Magnificent and Roxelana (Hürrem). She and her husband, Rüstem Paşa (Grand Vizier at the time) were involved (with Roxelana) in undermining Süleyman's oldest son Mustafa (by Mahidevran) -- which lead to Mustafa's death at his father's order!
Milattan ÖnceB.C. (Before Christ) -- used to distinguish between Christian and Islamic historical dates.See also AD, İ.Ö., İ.S.
Compare with AH.
Milattan SonraA.D.
lit., After the birth date of Christ (Anno Domini)... Used to distinguish between Christian and Islamic historical dates.
See also AD, İ.Ö., İ.S.
Compare with AH.
milletA non-Islamic (usually) religious community in the Ottoman Empire that had autonomy over its own affairs.Millets were formally recognised by the Islamic Ottoman state from the 15th Century -- and in the 1860's they even obtained their own written charters.28
minare (minaret)

Note that the Hagia Sofia church/mosque/museum in İstanbul is fitted out with four distinctive minaret towers...
The 1ong and narrow cylindrical section(s) of a mosque (see cami), which has spiral steps and one or more balconies -- from which the Muslim 'Call to prayer' is issued A tower near to, or built into, the structures of a mosque (see cami), which is used by the muezzin to issue the adhan or 'Call to Prayer' (He uses loudspeakers in present-day).
The earliest mosques were built without minarets, and the 'adhan' could be issued from any convenient place. At least one hadith states that for the Muslim community in Medina the 'adnan' was called out from the roof of Muhammad's house. It wasn't until about 80 years after Muhammad's death that the first minarets began to appear, in places as far removed from each other as Kairouan, Tunisia and Damascus, Syria. The minaret, of not much theological interest, is one of Islam's most recognizable symbols. And, modern minarets [such as the 'new age' one we saw recently (May 1999) in Söke, Turkey] show broad freedom of artistic expression. The ground floor of minarets are supposed to be squared-shaped, while the minaret itself comes in several varieties, from square to round -- and they are often octagonal. The very top of the minaret tower is covered with a conical pointed roof.
A very small minbar, ready for installation
A staircase structure in a mosque (see cami) which stands to the right of the 'mihrab' (when you are facing them), which has a sharp elevation -- and where the prayer-leader (imam) preaches. Compares to a pulpit in a Christian church.  
miniature paintingSee nakış. 
miniumSee nakış -- under column entitled 'Meaning'. 
[küçuk] mirahur [mirahor][assistant] Master of the Horse. 

Right click to 'View' image enlargement...

18th century representation of the
Mizan astrological symbol --
in the British Library.82

The Osmanlı (Ottoman) astrological sign -- equivalent to Terazi in modern Turkish, and Libra in English. Covers the modern day period of 22 September to 22 October.
In Ottoman times, the period of the Mizan moon was considered a good time for dressing in new clothes, writing letters, traveling, the exchange of ambassadors, and socializing with women -- but it was not a time for war.
See burçlar for complete list of Osmanlı (Ottoman), Modern Turkish, and English astrological signs.
Click to see sample Turkish astrological predictions...
Mohacs, the Plain of
(Mohacs, the Battle of)
A Hungarian survivor of the Battle of Mohacs: "An early Ottoman interpreter about whom we have some information was Hungarian, known after his conversion to Islam as Murad. Although he was only seventeen years old when he was captured by the Turks at the Battle of Mohacs in 1526, he seems to have had a good Latin education, and thanks to this was able to make a career as interpreter in the Turkish service. On behalf of his new religion he composed a missionary treatise in Turkish and later in Latin, and in 1559-1560, at the request of the Venetian envoy to İstanbul, made a Turkish version of Cicero's De Senectute (On Old Age), for presentation to the Sultan Süleyman, The Magnificent. The next time we hear from him is when he is dismissed from his post as interpreter to the Porte for persistent wine drinking."22
These 'real-life' events are the basis for similar events in the life of the fictional Ottoman interpreter/detective Habibullah.

Click above!
This 16th C. miniature by Nakkaş Osman animates the Battle of Mohacs across the ages...74
Note the Sultan, Suleyman the Magnificent, seated on his horse in the midst battle (about one-third from the top, at center right).
The site of an historic Ottoman victory over Hungarian forces in 1526. The Ottoman army, commanded by Süleyman I (The Magnificent), defeated a Hungarian army representing the Magyar nobility, led by King Louis II. The battle was over in less than two hours...
A Hungarian historian coined the phrase 'Tomb of the Nation' -- to describe Mohacs. An Ottoman chronicler recorded, "at the orders of the sultan, the fusiliers of the janissaries, directing their blows against the cruel panthers who opposed us, caused hundreds, or rather thousands, in the space of a moment, to descend into the depths of hell."
The Battle of Mohacs:
1526, August 29.
Sultan Süleyman, The Magnificent's army of 35,000 regulars (plus 35,000 more ragtags) finally arrives in the vicinity after an 80 day forced march -- with the capable Grand Vizier Ibrahim, as second in command. The Hungarian army of 25,000 (about half mercenary) under the reluctant leadership of King Louis II slowly emerges from Buda to take up the challenge. Louis wavers and the Archbishop Tomori must stiffen the King's backbone before he agrees to engage the Turks. The Hungarian force sets up in three phalanxes, the left flank covered by marshes along the Danube River, the right flank only lightly defended. The Turkish force forms three horizontal lines -- the first one consisting of a 'expendable' ragtags, the second of regular timar-holding infantry. Behind them, are the Janissaries, with chained-together artillery in front and the sipahi cavalry on their flanks. The Sultan and his staff take up position just behind the third line. The Battle: The Hungarian first-line heavy cavalry charges and lays waste to the Turkish first line. Believing that victory is at hand, the remainder of the Hungarian force smashes into the second line of the Turkish defense. But the Ottoman Ruler has planned well and by the time the Hungarians reach the third line of hardcore Janissaries, their momentum has dissipated and Turkish light artillery begins to cut them down methodically -- by the thousands. And when the Janissaries and flanking sipahi cavalry counterattack, the exhausted Hungarians break and run in total disorder. Hungarian losses are enormous: 10,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry killed. Turkish losses are also high -- probably equal to those of the Hungarians. Süleyman spends three days on the battlefield reorganizing his army -- and beheading captured Hungarian soldiers. An entry in his diary says, "The Sultan, seated on a golden throne, receives the homage of the viziers and the beys; 2,000 prisoners eradicated; the rain falls in torrents."25
mollaA mullah, mollah -- a high ranking kadı or teacher of theology. 
[The] Morea (Peloponnesus) The southern Greek peninsula.  
mosqueSee cami. 
M.Ö.See Milattan Önce. 
M.S.See Milattan Sonra. 
b. c. 602, Mecca, Arabia
d. April/May 680, Damascus
Founder of the Umayyad dynasty of Caliphs, Mu'awiya was a fierce rival of Ali bin Abu Taleb. After Ali's assassination (in which he may have been complicit), Mu'awiya succeeded to the Caliphate in 661 AD. For his life-long anti-Ali antics, most Muslims hold a poor opinion of Mu'awiya (and his Yazidi supporters). Mu'awiya was the brother of Yazid (d. 640) and father of Yazid I (b.645 - d. 683), the second Umayyad caliph whose victory over Ali's son, Husayn, at the Battle of Karbala (680 A.D.) 'completed' the permanent division in Islam between majority Sunni's and the Ali-following Shiites.
Muhammad (570-632 A.D.)
Alternative spellings include: Muhammed, Mohammed, Mahomet, Mohamed, Mahound, Maymud, Mehemet, Mehmet.Ed 3.51
"The Prophet" and founder of Islam.
Born in Mecca in 570 A.D. of the tribe of Koreish (Quraysh)-- the son of Abdallah. When his parents died, he was raised by his uncle abu-Talib. He grew up humbly as a shepherd and camel driver, in the Bedouin tradition. In 595 A.D. he married Khadija (555-620), a rich widow, and became a merchant -- with time on his hands. After years of meditation in the environs of Mecca, he felt a calling (c.610) as the prophet of Allah and teacher of his race (which was multi-theist at the time). At first he taught his new religion in secret -- converting his wife, his cousin, his adopted son Ali, his friend abu-Bakr, and a small number of followers. When he began to teach openly (c.613), he was strongly opposed by Meccan leaders -- because of his refutation of ancient tribal and religious practices. Forced out of Mecca, he and his followers fled to Medina, arriving there September 20, 620 [the date of the flight (hegira) marks the beginning of the Arabic calendar.] From his safe-haven in Medina he gathered a force of follower-warriors and successfully campaigned against the Meccans, defeating them completely in 627. He returned to Mecca, its master, in 629 and was publicly recognized as Allah's Prophet in 630. Died at Medina in 632.
The revelations that he received from God were compiled by his followers in the Holy Kuran (Koran).
muhtesibAn inspector who helped the kadi of a town ensure proper Muslim conduct in public life and transactions -- in accordance with Islamic Law. He was very active in the bazaar, inspecting weights and measures, prices, and quality of goods.24 
[Sultan] Murad/Murat I (1362-1389)

Murad, The First 6
That's Marvin at...
The Tomb of Murat I
in Bursa (Dec 2003)

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more information about the entire
Hüdavendigar Külliye
-- Only on CD --
Murad (nicknamed Hüdavendigar, the God-like One) was probably the best of the Ottoman Sultans up to his time. He deserves to be compared with, though still outshone by, Mehmed II (The Conqueror) and Süleyman I (The Magnificent) -- the two most successful Ottoman Sultans. Patrick Kinross says, "His [Murad's] achievements matched theirs in that he laid, through his conquest and subsequent government of a wide sphere of territory, the imperial foundations on which both would be able to build and expand." Of Murad's assassination just following his greatest victory (at Kossovo) Kinross declares, "Such, at the moment of victory, in an historic battle from which the vanquished would not recover, was the sudden end of this first great Sultan of the Ottoman Empire." Murad's probable killer was Milosh Obravitch, a defeated Serbian officer wishing to steal by subterfuge what his forces could not gain in battle. Chronology of events during his regime: 1362 Uprising against the Ottomans in Anatolia. 1363-5 Ottoman conquests in southern Bulgaria and Thrace; conquest of Philippopolis. 1365, War between Byzantium and Bulgaria. 1366 Byzantine Emperor John V Palaeologus in Buda; the Pope announces a crusade against the Ottomans; Amadeo VI of Savoy captures Gallipoli (August). 1369 John v in Rome. 1371 Ottoman victory over the Serbian princes Vukasin and Ugljesa at Ghermanon (26 September). 1373 Joint rebellion of Adronicus and the Ottoman Prince, Savci, against their fathers (spring) and their defeat (September). 1376 Adronicus IV in Constantinople with Ottoman and Genoese support; Adronicus cedes Gallipoli to the Ottomans. 1375-80 The Ottomans annex parts of the principalities of Germiyan and Hamidili. 1379 John v, with Ottoman support, again occupies the Byzantine throne. 1380-81 War between the Genoese and the Venetians. 1383 The Ottomans in Serres (in September). 1385 Ottoman conquest of Sofia. 1386 The Ottomans in Nish; Ottoman intervention in the Amasya region of northern Anatolia. 1387 Ottoman conquest of Salonica; victory over the Karamanids. 1388 A coalition of the Serbs, Bosnians and Bulgars; defeat of the Ottomans at Ploshnik (27 August); Ottoman occupation of Northern Bulgaria (Autumn). 1389 Ottoman victory at Battle of Kossovo, but Murad assassinated after the battle is won (15 June).
Killer Names

Everyone agrees that the assassin of Murad/Murat (The First) was a Serb whose personal name was Miloš (turkified as Miloş) (anglicized to Milosh). But, after that, identification of the killer begins falling off the track.

One respected historical source says he was a crazed camp-follower. Another claims he was a patriotic Serb nobelman. Since he could have easily been both, we'll just say 'take your pick' -- and move on, to where a more serious argument looms. Because... when it comes to the question of the assassin's correct surname, the matter becomes more important to some.

Published variants of the murderer's name appear in the books of our copious, paper reference library --
Another depiction of
Murad I's assassination.

The assassination of Murad I in 1389.
in several languages (mainly English, Turkish, French, Spanish). In the first 5 such reference works we opened, we found the assassin's name written as 1) Milosh Obravitch16, 2) Milosh Kobilich35, 3) Miloş Obiliç 156, 4) Miloş Kabiloviç68, and even 5) Kancık Miloş155 (a derogatory moniker, with an English meaning something like 'Sneaky, low-down, backstabbing Milosh'). Since there seemed such slight agreement among them, we chose the first one (from Lord Kinross) and used it in our entry just above this mini-article.

But our choice disappointed one of our site vistors (Milan Kosanovič, currently living and working in Dubai), who had this to say...


1. I am a native speaker of Serbian language and have undergone all of 8 years of primary, 4 years of secondary schooling studying mandatory "maternal tongue" lessons, an average of 5X45 minute classes per week. Folk literature featured heavily in the programme. Our folk poems are taught in the form noted down by the person who established the standard Serbian language, Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic [Vuk Stefanovič Karadžič].

The poem referring to the Battle of Kosovo, on 28th June 1389, contains the description of the event relating to the murder of Sultan Murad/Murat I by a certain Serbian nobleman. In the folk literature he is referred to exclusively as Miloš Obilič or Miloš Kobilič. No history of Serbia that I have read in my life, and no version of our folk poems ever mention the variant Obravitch. Turkish historians may have called him something else, so maybe they have come up with the name, and it should be clarified. But no Serbian source will call him that...

2. I am not aware of any other variants. As the only author claiming "Obravitch" is an English speaker (Lord Kinross), I would suspect that he simply mis-spelled the name, by mixing it up with the name of a (much) later Serbian dynasty, the Obrenovič/Obrenovitch.

3. About your sources:

a) "Obravitch" is cited by John Patrick Balfour, 3rd Baron Kinross, who was not, as far as I could find out, fluent in cyrillic script or Serbian language. Therefore, his source was somebody else's translation or transcription, or phonetic referral.

b) Your 2) and 3) sources agree with me.

c) Your 4) source appears to be a variation on Kobilič, Kobilovič (which would mean basically the same thing -- raised by the mare), only with one spelling error -- "a" instead of "o".

d) Kancık Miloş is Turkish, obviously derogatory, due to the fact that Miloš pretended to submit himself to the Sultan as he approached, then pulled the dagger and killed him. The guy is of course a hero for Serbs... but, considering that he snuck up on the unsuspecting Murad, and ripped him "from drawstring, to his white throat" as the folk poem put it, I guess the Turks wouldn't see it as that heroic.

4. Etymology is derived from the myth of his suckling on mare's milk instead of his mother's. "Obravitch" does not fit into it - so it is likely to be coming from non-Serbian speakers. I am sure the Turkish distorted a few Serbian words that they have adopted into their vocabulary, just as we have a few thousand of theirs. If it comes from a Turkish source -- it is legitimate, as it originates from the same era and event. If it comes from an error in translation, no noble title or Oxford diploma will legitimise it.

[End Quote]

[Sultan] Murad (Murat) II (1404-1451)

Murad II
Unknown artist57
The son of Sultan Mehmed I and father of Mehmed II, the Conqueror of Constantinople. Served two different terms as sultan -- first from 1421 to 1444 and then again from 1446 to 1451.
He completed bringing Aegean seaports under Ottoman control when he defeated the Venetians at Salonika (Thessaloniki) [with a newly refurbished Ottoman fleet] on March 1, 1430.
Murad was a contemporary of Joan of Arc.
Murad chose to 'retire' in 1444 -- leaving the empire in the hands of his ambitious son, Mehmed II -- barely 12 years old. But when the empire began showing signs of strain, Halil Pasha (the Grand Vizier) appealed to the father to return as head of state in 1446. Murad did so, and the empire settled back on course -- but young Mehmed would not forget the affront...
[Sultan] Murad (Murat) III (1574-1595)

Murad III
Unknown artist, c. 159019
The son of Sultan Selim II, The Sot. He was the first of the stay-at-home and leave-the-fighting-to-them sultans.
An official portrait93

Right click or use 'Print Preview' to view image enlargement...
Murad III took up where his father, The Sot, left off -- living the self-indulgent sensual life. The women in his life ruled him, and as a result, they ruled the empire. They were: his mother, Nur Banu Sultan -- the Valide, who ruled the Harem; his sister, Esma Han Sultan -- the wife of Sokollu (who eventually fell out of favor along with her husband -- though she was not, like him, killed); the beautiful slave-girl who became his wife -- Safiye Sultan (a Venetian noble-woman captured at sea); and Canfeda (Janfeda), his mother's replacement as 'mistress of the harem' (upon his mother's death and upon her dying request).16
Musahiban Dairesi Mistress of ceremonies at the Palace.  
musahip kadın Educated and cultured woman of the sultan's private entourage.  
Muslim A believer in the religion of Islam. Literal meaning is "one who submits". A Muslim is one who believes that "there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad (the prophet) is the messenger of Allah". The Muslim believes that Allah revealed His will and His commandments to the prophet in the 7th Century A.D. -- exactly as they are recorded in the Koran, the Holy book of Islam, in Arabic.
Description of a Muslim Funeral

Funeral ceremonies occur as soon as possible the day after death. (They are usually public and simple -- but rich folk's funerals can be elaborate.) On the morning of the funeral...
Continue reading "Funeral Rites of Muslims"...»PM 12/99

Mustafa Ali Sixteenth Century Ottoman Historian Author of "Mevaidü'n Nefais Fi Kavaiddi'l Mecalis" (Feasts Above the Principles of Society) in which he uninhibitedly criticized 'deviant' sexual behavior.

These days the müezzin uses a microphone from inside the minaret...14
The Muslim cleric in charge of calling the faithful to prayer, 5 times a day.  
müfti An officially appointed 'interpreter' of the şeriat. Müftis provided legal opinions about questions of Islamic Law (şeriat) -- they were the 'jurisconsults'. While a kadı (qadi), or judge, heard cases and administered law, the müfti gave his expert opinion only when it was formally requested about some point of law not fully covered by the fiqh (law) books. As a result of this 'cooperation', new legal situations could be addressed within the framework of existing Law. The answer of the müfti constituted a fetva (fatwa) -- a legal opinion.30 A member of the ulema.
  1. Keeper of the Seals (if in caps), or
  2. Private secretary of a minister or high Ottoman official.
mühürdarlıkOffice or rank of a mühürdar 
[Island of] Mytilene (Mitylene) see Midilli  

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