By Heath W. Lowry
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Additional info for The Nature of the Early Ottoman State
Romans, Serbs, Vlachs, Albanians, Hungarians, Saxons, Bulgarians and Latins, each speaking his own language and all there against their will. 46 Doukas, a contemporary of Bayezid, is generally fair in his assessment of this ruler. His inclusion of the above description may not be dismissed as some kind of anti-Ottoman invective. Rather, it must be seen as reflecting the reputation which Bayezid had acquired in the closing years of his reign. The impression that Ahmedi, by stating that Bayezid “for some time” had lived as an ascetic and never drank or even listened to the harp and the flute, is referring to the period prior to his having become ruler (born in 1354, he became ruler at the age of thirty-five in 1389), is heightened by a passage in the work of the Byzantine ruler Manuel II Palaeologus, who as vassal of Bayezid accompanied him on his Anatolian campaigns in 1391 (shortly after he had assumed the throne).
Specifically, he criticizes Bayezid for not accepting Berkuk’s death as a reminder of his own mortality and instead attempting to take unfair advantage of the situation. He then immediately proceeds to the following couplets regarding Bayezid’s own death: In the meantime, Timur marched towards Rum. The state became full of instigation, fear, and languor. Because Timur did not have any justice, necessarily, he had a lot of cruelty and oppression. It was certainly such a savageness, that, even to mention it is a kind of wildness; the only solution is not to talk about it!
Wherever he sent an army, they burned the infidel. • Much silver and gold came to him from everywhere. • [He gained many] beautiful servants and fair-breasted concubines. • The flag of blasphemy fell down. They exhausted the infidel. In short, Orhan is described by Ahmedi as the gazi par excellence, as a leader whose attention was never diverted from the primary objective of the gaza, the expansion of Islam at the expense of the infidel. 19 As the foregoing discussion amply illustrates this is not the position generally taken by Ahmedi, who, to the contrary, repeatedly emphasized the material rewards which accrued to the gazis as a result of their activities.