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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

How the Mongols Conquered the Middle East | Method of the Mongol Conquests

    During the 13th century, Genghis Khan and the Mongols adopted a method of conquest that lead to the rapid conquest of the Middle East. The Mongols would invade a neighboring area, devastate a large region, and recede back into the empire, retaining only a small portion of the land they invaded. In this new borderland, the Mongols would establish a force called a Tamma, which used the region to control Mongol frontiers, as well as intimidate and raid neighboring powers. It was the strategy that Baycu Noyan and other prominent Mongol commanders used in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. The modern word for this method is "Tsunami Strategy".



    A perfect example of the Tsunami Strategy is the declining Seljuks. The Mongols viewed them as a theatre of operation, rather than undirected conquests. That is why after the Battle of Kose Dagh, when the whole of Anatolia played open for easy conquests, the Mongols refrained from conquering, primarily because it did not fit into the Tsunami Strategy at the time. 

    The method of the Mongols conquests in the Middle East consisted of various, orderly steps. First came the gathering of intelligence. Before embarking on an invasion, the Mongols would always make sure to collect information from earlier raids, diplomatic missions, and reports from merchants and travelers. 

    The next step was to plan the campaign based on the intelligence they collected. This was very crucial, as Mongol military commanders operated on a very rigid time schedule, and all operations were enacted within it. Though independent military commanders made their own decisions, they were still obliged to act according to the master schedule. Thus, armies hundreds of miles apart could still assemble and meet with other strongholds. These meeting points would be declared in a congress, when the armies were called up. 

    After planning was the invasion of the Mongols. The Mongols would first unite all their garrisons and strike altogether at a single point. Then, the armies would divide and create havoc on a wide front, eventually intersecting upon a pre-designated region. When converging, it would seem like the Mongols were retreating, though, in reality, they would unite at the frontier. By striking in many columns, opponents would be prevented from unifying, as each local ruler needed his own forces to protect his locality. Therefore, the Mongols would outnumber and devastate the surrounding regions, while the locals would remain on the defensive. The whole plan was to destroy the offensive and defensive capabilities of their enemies, not to make the land uninhabitable. The method confused the defenders. Often, when the defenders thought they were under attack, the Mongols would suddenly draw back. The reason being, they did not wish to conquer all the areas they invaded; rather, they'd get a strong hold of their stabilized and conquered areas. This was how the mongols slowly and steadily grew their empires. After taking control of a small territory, the Mongols would then move on to the neighboring land, which they had already severely weakened. This method would make it appear as if the Mongols had conquered the entirety of regions in one go, whereas in reality, they had already undermined and weakened the defense of the next area. 

    A key tool the Mongols used in achieving their success in the Tsunami Strategy was mobility. Even if the Mongol forces were divided, they could not be destroyed entirely, as in terms of mobility, the Mongols were unmatched, and the individual columns were strong enough to defend themselves. And so unless they were ambushed, the Mongols could always retreat more quickly than their foes could advance. And due to their sophisticated screen of scouts and signaling techniques, the Mongols were rarely surprised. 

    Another key factor in the Mongol's method of conquest in the Middle East was the advantage of columns. Had the Mongols stayed in a single column for an entire campaign, they would've ran the risk of being tied down by a united force. The primary example and one of the only exceptions of this ever happening is the Battle of Ain Jalut, in 1260, where the Mamluks used a feign retreat, and devastated the entire Mongol Army. Rarely ever did such an occasion occur, as normally, the Mongols would exhaust their enemies with their constant dispatch of fresh columns. 

    Exhausting their opponents psychologically was also a part of the Mongol tactic. The first area they would attack was typically the most heavily fortified  and important stronghold. Refugees, who were not enlisted or slaughtered, fled to these points, creating a strain on food supplies, and most importantly, water. Furthermore, most refugees were not soldiers or even capable of assisting in the city's defense due to their weakened condition. Therefore, the Mongols attacking this stronghold first would not only exhaust their enemies materially, but also psychologically.

    Then came the transition from military to civilian rule. This transition was key to the success of the Tsunami Strategy. Ever since Genghis Khan's campaign in China, Mongols had started ruling their border lands with forces called the '"Tamma". These forces were military in nature, and placed on the newly conquered borderlands. If possible, the Tamma would even be used for expanding the empire into bordering territories. These troops that would expand the borderlands would be referred to as "Tammachi". The main difference between the Mongol and Tammachi armies was that the Mongol Army solely compromised of Mongols, while the Tammachi Armies consisted of various tribes and nations. Though, it is important to note that not all Tammachi Armies were equal in skill and ability. For example, in the Battle of Ayn Jaloot, one of the Tammachi Armies, which consisted of Uyghurs, Qarluqs, and Turks fought poorly, as the Uyghurs were reportedly poor warriors and fought mainly as an infantry. Anyhow, the importance of the Tamma was significant, as the Mongols did not use castles or fortresses as a means of protection. Rather, they razed them and viewed them with disdain. It was the Tammachi forces that not only intimidated neighboring realms, but also served as the mighty fortress, which no enemy could pierce through. However, what made the Tammachi rule easier was the advance force, which would wreak havoc in the neighboring lands. And this was what allowed for the "Tsunami" form of conquest, while an advance force created the political vacuum in the neighboring regions, the Tammachin ruled the core of the recently conquered area.

Mongol Governor (Darughachi)


    Once the Mongols invaded the lands ahead of them, the territories behind them would prepare for civilian rule. This was when the Darughachi, who were foreign Mongol governors, would replace the tamma. In order to maintain control, the Darughachi were given a force of 
troops, and so, there was no longer the need for a regular military unit. When there were rebellions, main armies were not needed and Mongol rule would continue to advance, as the empire expanded at a rate that it could very well maintain. This transition from military to civilian rule affected the empire in two ways. Firstly, it prevented the generals from becoming too firmly entrenched in one area. Secondly, it allowed the conquests to move forward. 

    The Mongols implemented this strategy in all instances. During the invasion of the Khwarazm Empire, the Mongols occupied Mawarannahr, then Toll devastated Khurasan, and Genghis Khan campaigned in Afghanistan and pushed forward into India. Meanwhile, Subedie and Jebe entered Iran. At the end of their campaigns, the armies withdrew, leaving a holding force in Mawarannahar, which was later annexed. Chormoqan would invade Iran and send flying columns led by Taimaz into Azerbaijan, Arran, and Armenia in pursuit of Jalal al-Din Khwarazmshah. The only effective resistance left was the Khwarazmians, and it too, was soon destroyed, upon which Taimaz withdrew from Armenia. Only after a few years had passed did Chormaqan invade Armenia and Georgia in full force, simultaneously sending a few probes towards Baghdad. 

    If one compares the borders of the empire with territories actually occupied and garrisoned by Mongols, a clear pattern develops. First, by devastating Khurasan, Khwarazm, and Mazandaran, the new Mongol territory of Mawarannahr was protected by a broad belt of destruction. The inhabitants of this belt were either dead or dispersed, the rulers were in flight, and there was simply no organized military to threaten Mongol control. Furthermore, the land that had been cultivated could be occupied by nomads, and thus serve as a staging area for further expansion. The east had been secured. And with the reduction of the Rus' cities, the now subdued steppes were protected to the west and the north. The Rus' were now Mongol vessels, providing wealth not only through taxes, but also military service, as they served as a buffer to possible invasions from the west. 

    Withe the invasion of Europe, the Mongols struck to the north, against Poland, in the center of Hungary, and to the South in Wallachia. The Mongols did remain in Hungary for some time, but continued to use the Tsunami technique by actually sending detachments to raid Austria and the German kingdoms when they began their withdrawal. To the local rulers, it seemed an invasion was at hand, but in reality, the Mongols withdrew behind the Carpathian Mountains.

    In the east, the Mongols carried out similar tactics. The Jin Empire was annexed in small portions. Initially, this was simply to control strategic routes and border towns. Although eventually, local rulers sought the Mongols as their Colonial Powers. Unlike in Western Eurasia though, the greater resources and more mountainous terrain of Southern China and to a lesser extent, Korea, held back the Mongols. While they still attempted to use the Tsunami Strategy, the Mongol conquests took longer  and required greater resources. 

    During the reign of Mongke Khan, the Mongols obtained the capability to effectively  mobilize greater amounts of resources, both financial and military, their strategies changed. The Mongols now had the ability to effectively carry out a sustained invasion. At this point, the Tsunami Strategy was no longer needed the same way it was in the prior decades. However, the Tamma institution remained a primary factor in controlling territory as proven in Rum with Baycu Noyan, in Dali with Uriyangdai, and Ketbuqa and Baidar's positions in Syria and Palestine.



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