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Why were the ottomans so successful? Bernd 09/05/2020 (Sat) 02:19:32 [Preview] No. 39794
This is something that isn't logical to me. From what i've read, the ottomans was a bunch of nomads invading anatolia, tamerlane defeated them soundly, they managed to take Constantinople and then became the big threat to christianity. How did they do it? How could they raise so much men, hundreds of thousands, time and time again?

Doesn't really make any sense to me.

Bernd 09/05/2020 (Sat) 03:25:36 [Preview] No.39796 del
Luck and acceptance. They started out in a situation where there were many people unhappy with the state of things for various reasons and the Ottomans were quite willing to make use of them even if the people that were unhappy were Christians. Even later on much of their manpower came from Christians and subjugated people in general.

Bernd 09/16/2020 (Wed) 04:36:09 [Preview] No.40123 del
We have a resident Turkeybernd around here. Maybe we can ask him about it

Bernd 09/16/2020 (Wed) 04:51:48 [Preview] No.40126 del
I was reading about the battle of lepanto yesterday and what partly caused it was the siege of famagusta.

"about 6,000 garrison troops stood against some 100,000 Turks with 1,500 cannons, backed by about 150 ships enforcing a naval blockade to stave off reinforcements and resupply efforts. "

"In 1570–1571, Famagusta was the last stronghold in Venetian Cyprus to hold out against the Turks under Mustafa Pasha. It resisted a siege of thirteen months and a terrible bombardment, until at last the garrison surrendered. The Ottoman forces had lost 50,000 men, including Mustafa Pasha's son"

So the ottomans lost over 50,000 men, against an enemy of 6000 men.

It seems to me they just had endless numbers of men to just throw at the enemy. Not necessarily competence.



Bernd 09/16/2020 (Wed) 17:56:59 [Preview] No.40134 del
They were so successful because of the religion.You can conquer everywhere with mans without fear.Quantity+being ready to die made the Ottomans successful.
You can clearly see that Ottomans failed when new battle tacticts and war technologys developed.That was because of the religion too.They mostly thought about after-life so because of that they weren't into the latest techs.
So you can say they risen and fallen because of religion

Bernd 09/16/2020 (Wed) 18:36:22 [Preview] No.40135 del
>ready to die
Also ready to kill. Religious fanaticism helps dehumanize the opponents. From a warrior who is good at posturing just one thing better, a warrior who can kill (actually fight, instead of pretending).

Bernd 09/17/2020 (Thu) 05:27:42 [Preview] No.40141 del
I don't really believe that it's not like they were the only Muslims or that Christians could not be that way either plus the Ottomans still relied heavily on Christians, not just the Janissaries that were converted but also those that kept the religion such as in the Balkans.

They did try to modernise and brought in some French Reformers to do it who did have a bit of success. The problem with that is that it's institutional, it's the same reason why China could not modernise. It's not that hard to make a musket, it's not that hard to make a cannon and it's not that hard to teach basic drill in both. What the Ottomans and Chinese lacked were dedicated institution of professionals whose jobs it was to research and develop new tactics and equipment and then institutions that would pass this on to the army and hold the army up to a standard where it can use them. Sure, they had individuals that would dabble in it and they of course had training schools but there just wasn't the drive or professionalism that the west had, the French would come in, teach them some things, set up some factories and then it would all fade away in a few years.

Bernd 09/17/2020 (Thu) 06:47:46 [Preview] No.40143 del
Are you thinking about the 72 virgins or more in general?

Usually expansion for a state is like a snowball rolling down a hill. It gets bigger until it crashes.

Russia almost wiped out the ottomans but then britain and france came and helped during the crimean war.

Bernd 09/17/2020 (Thu) 15:45:33 [Preview] No.40145 del
Significant portion of janisarries were born into muslim already. After 1500's pretty much anyone could join the ranks of jannisarries.

>The problem with that is that it's institutional
That's correct it's not like I would deny it. When a mediocre ruler who too much power he would meddle with affairs too much thus institutions free from rulers overwhelming influence cannot develop.

People in here believe they have whatever they want in heaven so 72 virgin thing is more dedicated orthodox islam cihad thing. I'm sure most people didn't even heard 72 virgin thing in these lands.

>Russia almost wiped out the ottomans
Well we almost wiped them out in Prut as well. Not to mention we dont get to wiped out like that, after sevres istanbul was held by allies of ww1 yet we still fought and repelled the combined powers of allies and their puppets.

Bernd 09/17/2020 (Thu) 17:37:02 [Preview] No.40146 del
As always with these questions it's too wide to answer accurately. The topic of "ottoman success" spreads through bout half a millennia it was a successful enterprise until it really started it's agony in the 19th century just by telling the tale what happened can and do fill volumes, without even mentioning the how and why.
So if we wanna discuss this we should take the whole topic apart into smaller groups. Maybe the most practical would be period based.
Liek, what led to the rise of the Ottomans? What shaped the circumstances they could exploit to gain prominence?

Bernd 09/17/2020 (Thu) 17:39:40 [Preview] No.40147 del
Russia would have taken istanbul if it werent for france and great britain.

What made me understood world history is seeing it from a cyclical point of view. In school we learn linear thinking, progress. When reality is cyclical, its a force of nature.


Bernd 09/17/2020 (Thu) 18:17:28 [Preview] No.40149 del
>In school we learn linear thinking, progress
Speak of yourself.
Also it's a spiral. And events "repeat" only approximately the same. There are patterns which allows certain variation. Which also means we can find a variety of analogies. Also we have incomplete and inaccurate information of the past so what we might think as a parallel, in reality it could happen entirely differently. Most of the genius recognitions of patterns will only fit by using oversimplifications and generalizations.

Bernd 09/17/2020 (Thu) 20:03:41 [Preview] No.40150 del
And we have taken the istanbul despite other great powers of the era. Oh well sucks to be Alexander II.

Bernd 09/17/2020 (Thu) 20:44:38 [Preview] No.40151 del
Great britain wanted to destroy the black sea fleet, that was the goal of the war.

Bernd 09/18/2020 (Fri) 03:36:54 [Preview] No.40155 del
>In school we learn linear thinking, progress.

It may also depend on the school. Not all of them are the same

>They were so successful because of the religion.

I may be wrong, but I heard that's why most Muslim empires and armies won most of the time. Just by sheer enormous numbers. The last Crusade is a good example

Bernd 09/18/2020 (Fri) 03:44:42 [Preview] No.40156 del
Also just made this over an old post Turkeybernd made in 2 versions. r8

Bernd 09/18/2020 (Fri) 04:01:10 [Preview] No.40161 del
I don't get it.

Bernd 09/18/2020 (Fri) 06:37:44 [Preview] No.40163 del
Could be seen that way, could be seen the opposite as well, you expand or you die. Just look at history leading up until the first world war, it was nations conquering other nations to create huge Empires or even just create slightly larger nations. Even now most modern Nations are the result of conquest and expansion in some way. Sweden itself is the result of tribes subjecting nearby tribes, it just happened long ago and they were able to hold that form until the current day. Of course empires will overextend like Sweden did or come into conflict with Empires more powerful than themselves like the Ottomans did but that is always going to happen, you can't be top dog forever.

Bernd 09/18/2020 (Fri) 14:10:43 [Preview] No.40164 del
>expand or you die
I want that on a t-shirt

Bernd 09/18/2020 (Fri) 14:17:04 [Preview] No.40165 del
I think centralization of power is due to technology. In ancient rome they could be so centralized and big due to the fact they systematized everything from efficiency. Every legion behaved the same, they had the same tools, the same boots, the same equipment, the same measurement when they built their forts.

Let me quote Jacques Ellul

"The Ellulian concept of technique is briefly defined within the "Notes to Reader" section of The Technological Society (1964). It is "the totality of methods rationally arrived at and having absolute efficiency (for a given stage of development) in every field of human activity."[27] He states here as well that the term technique is not solely machines, technology, or a procedure used to attain an end."

"Ellul set forth seven characteristics of modern technology that make efficiency a necessity: rationality, artificiality, automatism of technical choice, self-augmentation, monism, universalism, and autonomy.[29] The rationality of technique enforces logical and mechanical organization through division of labor, the setting of production standards, etc. And it creates an artificial system which "eliminates or subordinates the natural world."

With global trade, global communications there is just a natural thing to have a global goverment. But alas I got off topic.

Bernd 09/18/2020 (Fri) 15:26:42 [Preview] No.40170 del
Rome wasn't that centralised though and what centralisation it had came through force and politics not technology. Senators would turn their provinces into their own private kingdom pretty much which led to frequent civil war.

Bernd 09/18/2020 (Fri) 17:28:46 [Preview] No.40172 del
Never mind him.
Instead ask questions from Turkeybernd, so there's something he can reply to.

What was the political landscape during the time of Osman, and that other guy Orhan(?)?

Bernd 09/18/2020 (Fri) 22:12:42 [Preview] No.40177 del
>I don't get it.


I made it over this thread we had here from a few months ago, specifically these posts >>32811 >>32828

Bernd 09/18/2020 (Fri) 22:15:05 [Preview] No.40178 del
>‘Expand or die’. The historical foundations of the economic growth paradigm


>‘Economic growth’ is widely regarded as a key goal of economic policy, not only across the political spectrum but also in all countries. How did the pursuit of growth become the essential goal of policy-making and a key priority taken for granted among social scientists, politicians, and the general public?


Bernd 09/19/2020 (Sat) 10:22:19 [Preview] No.40183 del
Fun thing that much of that economical growth is not perceivable in any way, only on charts and numbers written on whatever statistics and presentations. And the hills of trash piling up signalling the result of consuming for economic growth.

Bernd 09/19/2020 (Sat) 11:23:41 [Preview] No.40185 del
When we think of technology most see it as a machine or a tool. Jacques Ellul saw it as technique, a force of nature, a view of the world always striving for efficiency. The machines itself are irrelevant to the worldview. So for examples, there are some demonstration somewhere, and someone light up a car. There will be an outcry over the burned car but no reaction that the police broke somehands arm or of the protest itself. We have replaced god, nature and holy things and instead we are worshiping technology.

And I see Rome the same way, everything they did was for technique, they wanted to subjugate nature, always strove towards more efficiency. Everything was standardized. The boats was standardized, the weapons, the training, the streets, the buildings.


I can recommend that channel and especially his series the end of technique.

Bernd 09/19/2020 (Sat) 11:26:41 [Preview] No.40186 del
That's the linear "progressive" thinking isn't it? Why can't we use milk glass bottles and re use it, instead of using plastic crap? It's the faustian bargain, to what price comes technology?

Bernd 09/21/2020 (Mon) 15:38:58 [Preview] No.40201 del
The question remains the same for Turkbernd. What was the political landscape like in the time of Osman and Orhan?

Bernd 09/21/2020 (Mon) 22:03:53 [Preview] No.40211 del
>What was the political landscape like in the time of Osman and Orhan?

I guess we'll never know

Bernd 09/22/2020 (Tue) 05:39:27 [Preview] No.40221 del
We will. He's gonna check back I believe.

Bernd 09/23/2020 (Wed) 05:20:35 [Preview] No.40232 del
Really? Well ok then

Bernd 09/23/2020 (Wed) 09:55:58 [Preview] No.40243 del
-There was a power vacuum in a region with a pretty high population large part of which was trained in constant warfare for generations.
-Thanks to islam they had less problems with stabilising the eastern frontiers and push to balkans.
-They managed to create a non-feudal state aparatus inspired by byzantine (timariot system) and smash the turkish noble families which allowed to concentrate insane amount of power and wealth in the hands of the Sultans without anyone in the state to challenge it.
-They were a lot like todays woke corporations who understand that diverse population is a divided corporation and used it to own advantage, Romans did the ottomans were more efficient. https://journals.openedition.org/ejts/4396
- When you look at their elites they were very cosmopolitan, by design, they extensively used christians and converts in high state positions (like the notorious fanariot greeks who ruled Wallachia for them).

In short for a period they were highly militarised and highly efficient state thanks to decades of warfare and remnants of roman beaurocracy and ruling techniques.

Bernd 09/23/2020 (Wed) 10:22:26 [Preview] No.40244 del
So they used divide and conquer and a very centralized state?

Bernd 09/23/2020 (Wed) 10:43:32 [Preview] No.40246 del
They corrected the errors of the Byzantines: under Komnenoi byzzies turned state aparatus into family mafia undermining the reasonably meritocratic state in return of short-term increase of power - the long term result was corruption and lessened efficiency, as well as a rise of a pretty big extended family of oligarchs with claims to the trone. One of the reasons why Byzantium was so powerfull at its peak was the very efficient tax system and beaurocracy which allowed that divide and rule and famous byzantine diplomacy.

Ottomans were smarter and while remaining dynastic state they nonetheless managed to undermine lower family and relatives from getting too much power. If you think of it Janissary system (and state schools for administration they attended) it is evolution of the idea behind Varangian guard - you take "foreigners" into your court so they depend on the ruler only as they don't have any other powerbase.
This of course degenerated with time as it became possible for the children of Janissaries to get high positions in the court which removed the main advantage of the system. But for a time it allowed for every efficient centralised system of governance.

Bernd 09/23/2020 (Wed) 14:31:50 [Preview] No.40248 del
Seems like a very efficient system for amassing huge armies rapidly.

I wonder what the typical diet was in the ottoman empire.

Bernd 09/23/2020 (Wed) 18:37:28 [Preview] No.40251 del
The timariot system is a version of feudalism. The important characteristic of feudalism is that the basis of both the economy and the military is the land holdings. Sure a "true" feudalism has the chain of vassals, or that the estates are inheritable, but these are just secondary characteristics, a flavor, so to speak. But maybe it just depends how strict we are with the definitions
But I do agree as a whole the Ottomans statecraft was less feudal than Europe's most characteristic feudal states.
But how much was the result of Byzantine heritage? Ottomans had other sources of influence, I read for example their accounting practices came from the Il-khanate. I can also imagine Arabic and Persian effects, tho the whole Middle East was an amalgamation of various heritages including Greek and Roman in the first place.
>There was a power vacuum in a region
I would interested in the question: who else if not the Ottomans? Sure were competing players on the field. And why the Ottomans were the one who won the lotería. What was in them that were more than the others.

>huge armies
Most of their armies consisted of poorly equipped and trained footmen and cavalry (although the akinjis were very effective in classic light cavalry roles). Sipahis were meh. The chief achievements were the Janissary and the artillery corps.

Bernd 09/23/2020 (Wed) 19:02:50 [Preview] No.40252 del
I disagree. Inheritability is the main, not secondary characteristic. This is what was the basic building block of Western european states, Feudalism requires way more micromanaging but allowed things like Angevin empire to appear. Roman or Ottoman empire couldnt be inherited, one because it was in theory an property of its citizens, other because it was a construct with the sole mediator being Osman dynasty.

>Most of their armies consisted of poorly equipped and trained footmen and cavalry (although the akinjis were very effective in classic light cavalry roles

Well, their main function was to pillage and destroy first, not to conquer, at least in first phases

Bernd 09/23/2020 (Wed) 19:05:02 [Preview] No.40253 del
*couldnt be inherited by outsider

Bernd 09/23/2020 (Wed) 19:31:41 [Preview] No.40254 del
Forgot to add that there were other possible post-byzantine forces that could fill up the void, like Serbian Empire of Uros IV Dushan. But he died and his state fragmented, maybe if he managed to crown himself in Constantinople it all would be different.

Bernd 09/23/2020 (Wed) 19:40:24 [Preview] No.40255 del
The birth of feudalism was falling back to self-sufficiency (from the Roman era imperial economy, as the circulation of commodities slowly dwindled), relying on local production of the goods making possible to keep local men in arms and raising local levies seasonally. Basically a decentralization of the weight of the state defense.
While the Mediterranean was less effected with this (some circulation of goods still remained) an army fitting for an empire in size couldn't be supported by the economical means of the era just by doing the same, relying on local administrators to make local peasantry keeping up local men in arms.
In classic feudalism the land was given to the lord to make him (and his retinue) able to live and serve as a soldier. The timar was given to the holder to make him (and his retinue) able to live and serve as a soldier. Why? Because the central government wasn't able to produce enough wealth to live off.

Although I have to change my standpoint of marginalizing the characteristics. Now I believe there are a couple of those, let's say equally important, but these can be left out and still be a feudal system.
Why the change? I remembered something.
There were local variations of feudalism, the classical Frankish is just a model which was copied more ore less. For example on the Hungary from the 13th century they preferred the system of familiarity where they didn't hand a fief to the vassal, but for his swear of fealty (and service - be it military or administrative) he got paid in either money or in kind. Furthermore the familiar could terminate this "contract" as he saw fit.

>Feudalism requires way more micromanaging
What do you mean by this?

Bernd 09/23/2020 (Wed) 19:45:03 [Preview] No.40256 del
Okay. In the interim I flipped open The Cambridge History of Turkey, Volume 1 (published in 2009) and it says:
The origins of the timar system are still being disputed. Some scholars argue that it derives from the Seljuk ikta, others from the Byzantine pronoia. Whichever might prove true, the first timars were apparently hereditary, as were the appanages and estates (mülk, vakıf ) assigned to family members, allies and military commanders. 17 The principle and practice of heritability were not alien either to ikta of the Mongolian period, or to pronoia of the Palaeologan era.
(page 195-196)

Bernd 09/23/2020 (Wed) 19:58:56 [Preview] No.40257 del
As far as i know in feudalism the contract wasnt invalidated with the death of the holder.
Hereditary nature of timar or pronoia fiefs was a practice especially in later periods, but land never became de facto property of the holder unlike in feudalism. And this is what later allowed ottomans to abandon the system pretty seamlessly, land just returned under imperial domain.

Timar and pronoia were more of a degradation of the state salary systems in highly centralised, autocratic state, while feudalism was by nature more "free market", way more decentralised.

>What do you mean by this
Under feudalism things like a king being at the same time equal (as a king of neighbouring country) and a vassal of the king (through inheritance) was possible.

Bernd 09/23/2020 (Wed) 20:59:38 [Preview] No.40258 del
>degradation of the state salary systems in highly centralised, autocratic state
That's the origin of feudalism, Rome's degeneration led to that. In the west it happened earlier, especially in the northern provinces, in the eastern half of the empire this went slower and wasn't entirely complete (thanks to trade, and the fact that those parts weren't piss poor shitholes like Europe was, so money circulation added some padding) but happened nevertheless.

This inheritance thing of kings is also the depends category. In Merovingian Frank state they only accepted Merovingian kings. In Hungary up to 1301 only Árpáds could be kings.

How about other feudalisms around the globe? The daimyo system in Japan. Or in China? Although it leads away from the topic at hand, and not really important.

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