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The Last of the Ottomans
September 26, 2009 2:21 PM   Subscribe

The "Last of the Ottomans". Ertuğrul Osman, the grandson of Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II, passed away.

The Ottoman Caliphate ruled one of the longest and most successful empires in history. With WWI it was finally finished and Ataturk eventually expelled the Sultan's family.

"The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire" documentary parts 1 and 2
posted by Burhanistan (27 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
There I go reading history articles in Wikipedia again. I had no idea they partitioned Turkey after WWI.
posted by empath at 3:12 PM on September 26, 2009


"The Last of the Ottomans" doesn't seem particularly meaningful to me. He was alive while the Ottoman Empire still existed, but that's about as far as it goes. He was the eighth guy to claim the erstwhile throne since the empire's collapse, and there's now, of course, a ninth guy.

And if history is any indication, people will be claiming it for a long, long time: Meet the Emperor of France, and the other Emperor of France, and the King of France, and the other King of France.

And it's not just France.
posted by Flunkie at 3:49 PM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


"The Last of the Ottomans" doesn't seem particularly meaningful to me. He was alive while the Ottoman Empire still existed, but that's about as far as it goes.

He was the last surviving member of the Ottoman empire born while it was in power. Bayezid Osman was born in 1924, after the founding of the Turkish Republic.
posted by Talez at 3:59 PM on September 26, 2009


Yes, I understand that.
posted by Flunkie at 4:05 PM on September 26, 2009


I have to agree with Flunkie: this guy was not the last of anything. He was one in an infinite line of pretenders. (Speaking of which, if I felt like getting into an edit war I'd delete the "Grand Sultan Bayezid III" from that stupid "ninth guy" article. Reality, people, we're describing reality.)

Good post, though. Pretenders are indubitably fascinating.
posted by languagehat at 4:36 PM on September 26, 2009


Whoa, this guy is the King of France, England, Scotland, and Ireland.
posted by Flunkie at 4:49 PM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


And Bavaria.
posted by Flunkie at 4:50 PM on September 26, 2009


The the eldest son of the eldest son of the of the eldest son of the eldest son of the eldest son of the eldest son of the guy who fucked Nell Gwyn.
posted by The Whelk at 4:51 PM on September 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


King Franz looks like a pretty nice guy.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:53 PM on September 26, 2009


It used to be that unwanted heirs to the throne were quickly killed, lest opposition coalesce around them. After the murder of Philip of Macedon, his first wife, Olympias, had Philip's infant child by his second wife murdered in its mothers arms, to protect her son Alexander from a potential rival. A practical woman, Olympias.

Nowadays, I suppose she would have sent the child to live in flat above a restaurant in New York. Progress, I guess.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:49 PM on September 26, 2009


I'm ashamed to say this, but every time I've read this FPP my first thought is upscale footstools being marched away at gunpoint.
posted by jock@law at 8:33 PM on September 26, 2009


The irony is that had the guy been born a few centuries earlier, he'd been lucky or skillful to survive to inherit the sultanate. Also ironic was that he was in Vienna for school, when he learned that the Ottoman Empire was no more.

The Ottoman Empire was a pretty interesting entity. One had to appreciate that after the Ottomans conquered and destroyed the last vestige of the Roman Empire in 1453, the Sultans gave themselves the title, Emperor of the Romans (Rum). They believed they had inherited the legacy of the Roman Empire, which was one reason for the Ottoman reach into Eastern Europe. Eastern Europeans held onto armor on the battlefield longer because they needed it when fighting the Ottomans who still used arrows proficiently long after the Europeans had switched to firearms for their ranged weapons. (That's not to say the Ottomans didn't use firearms, they did, and were good with them, too).

His story slightly reminds me of Pu Yi in China, when you have a relic of another age, connected by the threads of history to events, battles, and kingdoms that have ceased to exist for generations.
posted by Atreides at 9:16 PM on September 26, 2009


The ottomans where the most succesful empire just like North-Korea is the most succesful communist country.
posted by jouke at 1:03 AM on September 27, 2009


The Whelk: "eldest son of the eldest son of the of the eldest son of the eldest son of the eldest son of the eldest son of the guy who fucked Nell Gwyn."

Nell Gwynn humped an Ottoman?
posted by idiopath at 8:20 AM on September 27, 2009


Won't somebody please think of all the poor, lonely chairs?
posted by Afroblanco at 8:30 AM on September 27, 2009


The ottomans where the most succesful empire just like North-Korea is the most succesful communist country.

That sounds cute, but belies a knowledge of their history of inclusion of Christian and Jewish groups, peacemaking, architectural advancements, social advancements like trade guilds and Sufi orders...the list goes on. The caliphate became more hardline, decadent, and dynastic towards the end and didn't really have the mandate to keep things together anymore, but that hardly merits the daft comparison to the DPRK. Try harder.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:03 PM on September 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


The ottomans where the most succesful empire just like North-Korea is the most succesful communist country.

That doesn't make sense on any level.
posted by empath at 4:15 PM on September 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


That sounds cute, but belies a knowledge of their history of inclusion of Christian and Jewish groups, peacemaking, architectural advancements, social advancements like trade guilds and Sufi orders...the list goes on.

By Christian inclusion, you mean inequality and taking the sons of Christians, forcing them to convert to Islam and serving as their main fighting force? By peacemaking, do you mean the conquest of the Balkans (balkan is a turkish word I believe), and attacks on Europe (And the Europeans attacked it, too.)?

Don't get me wrong, the Ottoman Empire had its superlatives, and in some areas, had achievements that bested other cultures. I'll also say that for the most part, when your son wasn't being taken away for forced conversion, your enjoyment of life as a Christian under Ottoman rule was better than that under fellow Christian rule...but let's not paint a picture of some amazing benevolent empire.

And yeah, comparing it to North Korea is silly.
posted by Atreides at 6:31 PM on September 27, 2009


By Christian inclusion, you mean inequality and taking the sons of Christians, forcing them to convert to Islam and serving as their main fighting force?

Keep in mind, that policy was started in the 14th Century and ended well before the US banned slavery. And compared to the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the African slave trade and the European conquest of the Americas, it was positively humane. The Janissaries weren't given freedom of religion, but they were treated with a great deal of respect.
posted by empath at 9:32 PM on September 27, 2009


Burhanistan your "most succesful" is imo a bad case of editorialising in a metafilter post. Metafilter isn't your soapbox to make a point about the ottoman empire.

In my mind longevity doesn't equal success. A point very concisely and effectively made by the comparison with North-Korea.

I don't share your enthousiasm for an empire that was in the habit of subjugating people, forceably absconding children, keeping slaves until 1908 and that committed the armenian genocide.
Most countries have black deeds in their past. We all have to live with them. Acknowledge our wrong doings; that we did it and that it was wrong. Whether it's involvement in genocide, like the Germans or the Turks, or the engagement in slavery, like the US Americans or the Dutch.
What worries me about all this and about your stance is the white washing that you do. You share that denial with Turkey that still denies the armenian genocide f.i.

empath, there's nothing I admire in taking away children at a young age from their parents. Comparing it with other bad practices doesn't make it better.
posted by jouke at 11:47 PM on September 27, 2009


but it puts it in context.
posted by Catfry at 5:09 AM on September 28, 2009


I don't share your enthousiasm for an empire that was in the habit of subjugating people, forceably absconding children, keeping slaves until 1908 and that committed the armenian genocide.

Here is some more information on the Armenian Genocide. A reason I live here in the U.S. today is due to what happened to my great grandparents back in the early 1900's. Many Armenians who escaped fled to other countries such as the U.S. and changed their last names to avoid further persecution.
posted by samsara at 6:12 AM on September 28, 2009


Keep in mind, that policy was started in the 14th Century and ended well before the US banned slavery. And compared to the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the African slave trade and the European conquest of the Americas, it was positively humane. The Janissaries weren't given freedom of religion, but they were treated with a great deal of respect.

I don't deny the treatment of the Janissaries afterward. It's amazing to what level they could impose their will on the Sultan and the empire's foreign affairs (let's go to war!). Regardless, abducting children and forcing conversion is a heinous activity that lasted for centuries. I also didn't refer to the attempts by the Ottomans to wipe out the Shiites as blasphemers. Nor the Armenian massacre (that Jouke mentioned).

My intent isn't to paint the Ottoman Empire as the Evil Empire, but again, just to establish that it had its wrongs, as well as its rights. I've recently been reading two books on the wars fought by the Austrians and the Ottomans over the course of two centuries. I find the empire a pretty interesting subject of history.
posted by Atreides at 6:17 AM on September 28, 2009


Look, any perceived editorializing on my part aside, just because I espoused some innovations of a culture doesn't mean I don't think it had its failings as well. The links about the Ottomans were ancillary. The reason I posted the links about Osman was that I thought it was interesting that the media is viewing him as the last living relic of a bygone era or something. As mentioned by others upthread, he really was more of an unfortunate bystander.

But, this statement:

What worries me about all this and about your stance is the white washing that you do. You share that denial with Turkey that still denies the armenian genocide f.i.

Is just about as daft as the previous comparison to the DPRK. Just because I don't condemn something in the strongest terms possible does not make me complicit in genocide denial. That's ridiculous. You're not going to ever generate much consensus with that style of argumentation.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:31 AM on September 28, 2009


A piece on him from the NYT in 2006, in which it's explained that he was traveling on a homemade passport until 2004 because he refused to carry a Turkish one.
posted by Copronymus at 10:45 AM on September 28, 2009


My intent isn't to paint the Ottoman Empire as the Evil Empire, but again, just to establish that it had its wrongs, as well as its rights.

I think it's only fair to judge them against the behavior of their contemporaries. I think it's basically a wash, but in many ways they were more religiously tolerant than Christian nations were, though I think that the amount of tolerance varied over the 500 year history of the empire.
posted by empath at 10:52 AM on September 28, 2009


I'm not sure if anyone is claiming that the Ottomans weren't without good company in the field of bad behavior. Christendom has rarely tolerated other religions within its borders, even its own denominations.
posted by Atreides at 11:07 AM on September 28, 2009


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