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Who was Köse Mihal? | The Real History of Mikhael Kosses | The First Byzantine to join the Ottomans

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    During the early era of the Ottoman Empire, there were many Byzantine lords and commanders that joined the ranks of the Ottomans, even converting to Islam. The first (significant one) among them being  Köse Mihal, also known as Mikhael Kosses. In this video we will go over his life, achievements, exploits, and the legacy he left behind.           Mikhael Kosses, an ethnic Greek, is believed to have been from the famous Palaiologos Dynasty, which ruled the Byzantine Empire from the years 1259 until its downfall in 1453CE, the longest a dynasty ever ruled the empire. Köse Mihal was the Byzantine governor of the Harmankaya Castle. The Harmankaya Castle was in the Uludag mountains in the foothills of Bilecik, Turkey. After taking part in a battle against Osman Ghazi, alongside the Byzantine governor of Eskisehir, he was captured and taken prisoner. However, he was forgiven by Osman for his valor and heroism.       In the following years, a trap would be set up for Osman by the neighbor

Who were the Oghuz Turks?

    Upon leaving this world, the ancient ruler & ancestor of the Turks; Oguz Khan, had left behind 6 sons. These 6 children of his would take rulership of 4 tribes each; and in total, there would be 24 branches of Oguz Tribes. And so, the Oguz Turks' kingdoms would spread all throughout Asia, Africa, & even Europe. Their might was heard in all 4 corners of the world, and their valor & bravery was renowned. Many of the greatest empires in history would be from their lineage. In this article, we will learn about their traditions, cultures, laws, social norms, and ancient history that ultimately made them become the famous Oghuz Turks, whom history itself exalted. 

The Oghuz Turks

    Born to become warriors, the Oghuz Turks were known to have been trained in sword fighting, archery, and horse riding from a very young age. Along with that, they were taught to highly respect & protect their laws, cultures, traditions & flags above everything else; as they were the essentials of the foundations of the Oguz Tribes. And so, when these young Turkmen would grow older and reach the age of maturity, they would become "alps". The word alp itself meant hero and would refer to the male warriors of the Turkish Oghuz Tribes. These alps would in turn, be under the command of the "Alp-Bashi", meaning the Chief Alp. This great title and position would be given to the most highly esteemed, commendable warrior of the tribe; who would train the alps & utmost obediently execute the orders of the bey of the tribe. The word "bey" was an honorific title given to the chieftains of the Oghuz Tribes, whom were chosen through noble lineage & the voting council of the elders. Thus, the elected chieftain would assume command of the entire tribe, & would be considered responsible for the safety and well doing of his people. However, those warriors who fought holy wars solely for the sake of God were called "Ghazis". This was without a doubt, the greatest and most honorable title to be given to the Oghuz Turks. Moreover, anyone from the alps to the beys of the tribes could earn this title, as it was sought through self sacrifice & nobility, as opposed to wealth & glory.  

The Ghazis of the Oghuz Turks

    Though the men of the Turkish Oghuz Tribes were considered the backbones of leadership & organization, it is notable to say, that women were also said to have been expert horse riders, archers, & athletes. Moreover, they produced some of the world's most famous carpets with magnificent architecture, eloquence & design. These carpets were sewn together by the women of the tribe, whom had mastered the art to the extent that their carpets had reached great popularity & demand in the trade industry. 

The Carpet Production of the Oghuz Tribes

    Tribal allegiance & ties of kinship were of much significance in Oghuz culture. Marriages were often arranged among territorial groups, so that neighboring groups could increase their ties of kinship & become close relatives. For Oghuz Turks, marriage was a great organizing principle that extended territorial unity & created alliances. Also, ceremonies were a of great importance in Oghuz traditions, as they would minimize social dangers & strengthen the bonds of the tribe folks. Such ceremonies would be done for celebrating marriages, saluting births, mourning the dead, & most notably, congratulating those who reached the age at which they would become alps.

Oghuz Wedding Ceremonies  

    For many centuries, Oghuz Turks were known to have been fearless, nomadic tribesmen that possessed certain military advantages that other societies did not have; in particular, mobility. On top of that, they lived in "yurts", which were round, portable tent-like shelters, which were erected on wooden poles, and built with hand woven textiles. The Turkish Oghuz Tribes also had herds of cattle, which would in turn, grant them great means of sustenance wherever they travelled (so long as they remained on fertile lands). Furthermore, the Oghuz Turks also consisted of skilled merchants, craftsmen & blacksmiths whom contributed well to the livelihood of the tribe.

Craftsmen of the Tribes

    What was the religion of the Oghuz Turks? Well, Oguz Khan was born at a time when majority of the people had lost their monotheistic faith. However, he would grow up & become the protector of the monotheistic faith, spreading it to many far away lands, preaching the people to worship one God. Though, not all of the Oghuz Turks remained monotheistic, as Shamanism & Tengrism remained somewhat popular. But after the arrival of lslam, during the 7th century, the Oghuz Turks' had rapidly been converting to Islam. And so, by the 10th century, the Oguz Turks were referred as Muslim Turkmen. In fact, Oguz warriors would serve in almost all the Islamic Armies in the Middle East, Rum, and even Spain & Morocco. And so, they would remain steadfast on their religion, to the extent that they would later be known as the protecters of the Islamic world, Caliphs of the Muslims. 

    As time passed by, the Oghuz Turks became masters of statecraft, and would emerge as some of the greatest empire builders history has ever seen. Among the great states they would establish were the Khwarazm State, from the Begdili Oguz Tribe; the Seljuq Sultanate, from the Kinik Oguz Tribe, the Kara Koyunlu Beylic, from the Yiva Oghuz Tribe; the Aq Quyunlu Confederation from the Bayundur Oghuz Tribe; the Afsharid Principality, from the Afshar Oghuz Tribe; and of course, the Great Ottoman Empire, from the Kayi Tribe. All of the above mentioned dynasties would expand over the course of several countries, & even present day continents! The last of the existing Turkish Oguz dynasties were the Ottomans, from the lineage of Osman Ghazi. Their more modernized state dissolved in 1922, marking the end of the legendary Oghuz Turks. However, it did not mark the end of their legacy...

Centuries Old: The Book of Dede Korkut

    This was the history of the children of Oghuz Khan, fathers of conquerors: the valiants of the Turks. Many of their legends, traditions, & social norms have been recorded in the famous Book of Dede Korkut, which is said to have been preserved for countless centuries! And today, many of the descendants of the Oghuz Turks reside in Turkey, Azerbaijan & Turkmenistan. The epics & folktales of their forefathers have never been forgotten. 


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For a better visual and understanding of the history of the Oghuz Turks, you may watch our video below:

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