Page 1025

1025 ROME-THE PALM)LOGI.

by man, had arisen, after the death of Kublai

Khan, the empire of the Corasmin or Ottoman

Turks. These brave and warlike Asiatics had

made their way from the northeast into Western Asia, and the more adventurous chieftains

pressed forward into Syria, where they fell

upon the Moslems and captured the Holy Sepulcher. Some of the invaders then entered

the service of Aladin, sultan of Iconium,

and out of this branch of the race sprang the

Ottoman line of sovereigns. The headquarters

of the Turks were established at Surgut, on

the river Sangar. Here they were ruled for

fifty-two years by Orthogrul, who left his dominions to his son Osman, or Othman, founder

of the Ottoman Empire. He added to the

genius of a soldier the skill of a statesman.

The circumstances of his situation favored the

establishment of a great political power in

Western Asia. The Seljukian dynasty of

Turcomans had perished. The ruins of the

Greek Empire lay scattered through Asia

Minor. Othman had the zeal of a new convert to Mohammedanism, and the fire of conquest was kindled on the altar from the torch

of the Koran.

In the year 1299, Othman began his career

as a conqueror by an invasion of Nicomedia.

His wars were continued almost incessantly

for twenty-seven years, and it was only in the

last year of his reign that his son Orchan

succeeded in the capture of Prusa, the more

modern Boursa, thereby establishing on a firm

basis the Ottoman succession. Prusa became

the capital of the rising empire. A mosque,

a college, and a hospital were founded, and

the head of Orchan appeared on the coins of

the new kingdom.

It was during the struggles, already narrated, between the elder and the younger Andronicus that Orchan was enabled, almost

without opposition, to possess himself of the

province of Bithynia. The Turkish dominion was thus, between the years 1326 and

1339, spread out to the Bosphorus and the Hellespont. Owing to the political relations then

existing between the Greeks and the Turks,

the latter-being the extinguishers of opposition in Asia Minor-were regarded in a

friendly light by the former. Soliman, the son of Orchan, was invited into Europe with

a body of ten thousand horsemen to assist the

Emperor in the Bulgarian war. It was easier

however, to procure such aid than to dismiss it

when the service was ended. The Turks were

little disposed to retire. They established a

colony in the Chersonesus, and continued to

hold a fortress in Thrace. The friendly relations between the two races were broken off;

but hostilities were for a while suspended.

The warrior Soliman was killed by a fall from

his horse, and his father, the sultan, is said

to have died of grief on the tomb of his son.

In the year 1360, the Turkish throne was

occupied by Soliman's brother, Amurath I.,

who reigned for twenty-nine years. He con-

tinued the aggressive policy of Ilis father and

grandfather. The Turkish banners were carried triumphantly through Thrace as far as

Mount Haemus. Adrianople became the European capital of the Ottomans, and the walls

of Constantinople were already in sight. The

great Empire of Constanitine had narrowed

almost to a span. The capital city stood like

an island in an ocean of hostility. The Emperor, John Palaeologus, trembled in the presence of the sultan, and frequently obeyed his summons.

It was at this epoch that that famous body

of soldiery, known as the Janizaries, was organized. Amurath demanded as a recompense

for his services to the Emperor that the latter

should contribute a division of troops for the

defense of the straits between Europe and

Asia. A band of Christian youth, educated

in religion and disciplined in the camp, was selected for this purpose. They received the

name of Yengi Cheri, or new soldiers, the appellative being easily corrupted into Janizaries.

Such was the origin of that celebrated body

of guards which, like the praetorians of Rome,

was destined to become the terror of all Eastern Europe.

In the year 1389, Amurath died and was

succeeded by his son Bajazet, surnamed the

Lightning. His reign of fourteen years was

almost wholly occupied with military expeditions. Such were the successes of his arms

that the Ottoman dominions were extended

from Angora to Erzeroum Anatolia was