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

    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 neighboring Byzantine governors. The plan was to invite him to a wedding and assassinate him. However, Köse Mihal warned Osman of the governors' plans. Thus, Osman's life was saved, and the regions of Yarhisar and Bilecik would be conquered subsequently. 

    By now, Köse Mihal established a great relationship with Osman, fighting alongside him in battles, and also acting as a leader for the local Greek population within the Ottoman State. Furthermore, he even served as a consultant and diplomatic agent for Osman as well. Historians have different opinions as to why Köse Mihal decided to covert to Islam. One tradition emphasizes the influence of Osman's friendship and characteristics, while another states it was a dream that had a significant impact on him. His conversion is believed to have occurred between 1304 to 1313. 

    After his conversion, Abdullah Mihal always acted alongside Osman and would guide him throughout his conquests since he knew the region. He would also show great valor in his conquests of Goynuk and Mudurnu, as well as other castles in the Sakarya Valley. He would also act as an important advisor and envoy of Osman's son and successor, Orhan Ghazi. In fact, he even participated in the conquest of Bursa with him. However, after the conquest of Bursa, he was no longer mentioned in any sources. He is believed to have passed away somewhere around the years 1327-1340. After which he was buried in Harmankoy, Inhisar district of Bilecik. 


    In history, Abdullah Mihal would forever be remembered as Abdullah Mihal "Ghazi" for his valor shown in his battles fought for the Ottoman State. His descendants, known as the Mihaloglu, would continue to serve the Ottoman state for centuries. In fact, during the 15th and 16th centuries they rose to much fame as a politically and militarily successful family in Rumelia, particularly known to have been among the Ottoman Akinji corps. Even to this day, commemorations are still held in honor of him annually by statesmen, historians, and guests in his homeland Harmankoy. And at his tomb, prayers are read, and food is given out to the guests. Thus, his legacy was carried on and his name was never forgotten. He would forever be known as the first great Byzantine Muslim convert of the Ottoman Empire.

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