By: Hunter Starr
HIST 130: Muslim History From the Rise of Islam to 1500 CE
November 27, 2007.
The Ottoman Turks emerged on the periphery of the Byzantine Empire and the Saljuk Turks. Under a Turkish Muslim warrior named Osman, raids were conducted in western Anatolia on Byzantine settlements and a vast number of Turks were united under his banner. Those Turks who flocked to Osman's banner and followed him into the history books came to be called the Ottomans. The word Ottoman, fits these Turks well as it roughly translates from Turkish as "those associated with Oman."
At its outset, the Ottoman emirate was comparatively weak and of little consequence to its much larger and …show more content…
From their new capital at Bursa, the Ottomans extended their grip over the surrounding territory capturing the last major Byzantine cities in Anatolia, Nicaea in 1329, renaming it Iznik, and the city of Nicomedia in 1337, later giving it the name Izmit. The Ottomans then absorbed the Turkish frontier state of Karasi, extending their influence to the Sea of Marmara and to the Aegean Sea. Because their victories produced new recruits, recruits who were in search of glory and wealth, while at the same time, the veterans of previous campaigns felt the need for new exploits and battles, success generated more success for the Ottomans.
Constantinople, the Byzantine capital, the great Christian bastion in the East and the goal of Islamic conquest since the time of the Prophet Muhammad, was now a stones throw away across the Sea of Marmara. Orhan and his Ottoman followers were poised to strike a crippling blow to Byzantine power in the Balkans. The Ottomans, however, were not yet strong enough to launch, let alone win, a direct attack that was primarily focused on the heart Byzantine Empire. Because Orhan, like his father, had to provide outlets for the energies and religious fervor of his followers, he would have to lead his military forces across the Dardanelles and around Constantinople, where a vast Christian territory was ripe for the taking. The Balkan area was wealthy, continually beset with conflicts among the relatively weak states and full of