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