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Part of "a series on the
"History of the
"Ottoman Empire
""Coat of Arms of the Ottoman Empire
"Historiography

Osman's Dream is a mythological story relating to the life of "Osman I, founder of the "Ottoman Empire. The story describes a dream experienced by Osman while staying in the home of a religious figure, "Sheikh Edebali, in which he sees a metaphorical vision predicting the growth and prosperity of an empire to be ruled by him and his descendants. The story emerged in the fifteenth century, more than a hundred years after Osman's death, and is thought to have been created in order to provide a foundational myth for the empire, as well as to embellish the life of Osman and explain his subsequent success.[1]

Ottoman writers attached great importance to this supposed dream of the founder of their empire.[2]

Contents

Story[edit]

Osman, a young prince, was known and praised widely for his religious piety. Osman began to visit a holy man, the "Sheik Edebali (1206–1326), out of respect for his purity and learning. They met at Itburnu, a village in "Eskişehir. After he had one evening accidentally seen his beautiful daughter, "Mal Hatun, Osman's visits became more frequent, which led to a confession of love. However, Edebali thought that the disparity of positions made a marriage unwise and refused to give his consent.

In the following months, the disappointed Osman sought consolation in his friendships. With a lover's inspiration, he so eloquently described the beauty of Mal Hatun that the listeners fell in love with her. The young chief of Eskişehir also went to Mal Hatun's father and demanded her hand for himself. Edebali refused. However, Edebali feared the vengeance of the chief of Eskişehir, so he moved his residence from the neighborhood of Eskişehir to a very close place called "Ertuğrul.

The chief of Eskişehir began to hate Osman and see him as his rival. One day when Osman and his brother Gokalp were visiting the castle of their neighbor, the lord of Ineani, an armed force approached the gate, led by the chief of "Eskişehir and his ally, "Michael of the Peaked Beard. (Michael was the "Greek lord of Khirenkia, a fortified city at the foot of "Phrygian Olympus.) They demanded that Osman be given up to them, but the lord of Inaeni refused to commit such a breach of hospitality. While the enemy lingered irresolutely around the castle wall, Osman and his brother seized a moment for a sudden attack. They chased the chief of Eskişehir off the field in disgrace, and took Michael of the Peaked Beard prisoner. The captive and the captors eventually became friends however; later, when Osman reigned as an independent prince, Michael sided with him against the Greeks, and was thenceforth one of the strongest supporters of the Ottoman power.

By this encounter at Ineani, Osman had triumphed over his rival and acquired a valuable friend, but he could not gain the maiden of his heart. For two more years he waited, sick with love and anxiety.

One night, when Osman was resting at Edebali’s house (for the shelter of hospitality could never be denied even to the suitor whose addresses were rejected), the young prince, after long and melancholy musing on her whom he loved, composed his soul in that patient resignation to sorrow, which, according to the Arabs is the key to all happiness. In this mood he fell asleep, and he dreamed a dream.

Osman saw himself and his host reposing near each other.
From the bosom of Edebali rose the full moon[a], and inclining towards the bosom of Osman it sank upon it, and was lost to sight.
After that a goodly tree sprang forth, which grew in beauty and in strength, ever greater and greater.
Still did the embracing verdure of its boughs and branches cast an ampler and an ampler shade, until they canopied the extreme horizon of the three parts of the world. Under the tree stood four mountains, which he knew to be "Caucasus, "Atlas, "Taurus, and "Haemus.
These mountains were the four columns that seemed to support the dome of the foliage of the sacred tree with which the earth was now centered.
From the roots of the tree gushed forth four rivers, the "Tigris, the "Euphrates, the "Danube, and the "Nile.
Tall ships and barks innumerable were on the waters.
The fields were heavy with harvest.
The mountain sides were clothed with forests.
Thence in exulting and fertilizing abundance sprang fountains and rivulets that gurgled through thickets of the cypress and the rose.
In the valleys glittered stately cities, with domes and cupolas, with "pyramids and "obelisks, with "minarets and towers.
The "Crescent shone on their summits: from their galleries sounded the "Muezzin’s call to prayer.
That sound was mingled with the sweet voices of a thousand nightingales, and with the prattling of countless parrots of every hue.
Every kind of singing bird was there.
The winged multitude warbled and flitted around beneath the fresh living roof of the interlacing branches of the all-overarching tree; and every leaf of that tree was in shape like unto a scimitar.
Suddenly there arose a mighty wind, and turned the points of the sword-leaves towards the various cities of the world, but especially towards "Constantinople.
That city, placed at the junction of two seas and two continents, seemed like a diamond set between two sapphires and two emeralds, to form the most precious stone in a ring of universal empire.
Osman thought that he was in the act of placing that visional ring on his finger, when he awoke.[3]

Osman told this dream to his host; the vision seemed to Edebali so clearly to indicate honour, power, and glory to the posterity of Osman and Mal Hatun, that the old Sheik no longer opposed their union. They were married by the saintly "Dervise Touroud, a disciple of Edebali.

Osman promised to give the officiating minister a dwelling-place near a mosque and on the bank of a river. When Osman became an independent (which is when the Ottoman Empire began), he built for the dervis a convent, which he endowed richly with villages and lands, and which remained for centuries in the possession of the family of Touroud.

Interpretation and criticism[edit]

Most of the translation in this text is based on History of Ottoman Turks (1878), which was also based on "Von Hammer's research. The text is modernized and has some missing sections.

Scholars agree that the story was not contemporary to Osman, but was created in a later period in order to establish a foundational mythology for the Ottoman Empire and to explain its success.[4] However, it is known that "Sheik Edebali was indeed a historical figure and that Osman likely did marry his daughter.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ emblem of "Mal Hatoon

References[edit]

  1. ^ Finkel, Caroline. Osman's Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1923. Basic Books. p. 2. "ISBN "978-0-465-02396-7. First communicated in this form in the later fifteenth century, a century and a half after Osman's death in about 1323, this dream became one of the most resilient founding myths of the empire. 
    • Kermeli, Eugenia (2009). "Osman I". In Ágoston, Gábor; Bruce Masters. Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. p. 445. Apart from these chronicles, there are later sources that begin to establish Osman as a mythic figure. From the 16th century onward a number of dynastic myths are used by Ottoman and Western authors, endowing the founder of the dynasty with more exalted origins. Among these is recounted the famous “dream of Osman” which is supposed to have taken place while he was a guest in the house of a sheikh, Edebali. [...] This highly symbolic narrative should be understood, however, as an example of eschatological mythology required by the subsequent success of the Ottoman emirate to surround the founder of the dynasty with supernatural vision, providential success, and an illustrious genealogy. 
  2. ^ Edward Shepherd Creasy, Turkey, page 15
  3. ^ Edward Shepherd Creasy, Turkey, page14
  4. ^ Kermeli, Eugenia (2009). "Osman I". In Ágoston, Gábor; Bruce Masters. Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. p. 445. Apart from these chronicles, there are later sources that begin to establish Osman as a mythic figure. From the 16th century onward a number of dynastic myths are used by Ottoman and Western authors, endowing the founder of the dynasty with more exalted origins. Among these is recounted the famous “dream of Osman” which is supposed to have taken place while he was a guest in the house of a sheikh, Edebali. [...] This highly symbolic narrative should be understood, however, as an example of eschatological mythology required by the subsequent success of the Ottoman emirate to surround the founder of the dynasty with supernatural vision, providential success, and an illustrious genealogy. 
    • Imber, Colin (1987). "The Ottoman Dynastic Myth". Turcica. 19: 7-27. The attraction of Aşıkpasazade's story was not only that it furnished an episode proving that God had bestowed rulership on the Ottomans, but also that it provided, side by side with the physical descent from Oguz Khan, a spiritual descent. [...] Hence the physical union of Osman with a saint's daughter gave the dynasty a spiritual legitimacy and became, after the 1480s, an integral feature of dynastic mythology. 
  5. ^ Kafadar, Cemal (1995). Between Two Worlds: The Construction of the Ottoman State. p. 128. 

Bibliography[edit]

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