Summary of the real historical characters, impersonated in the Turkish TV series “Osman the Founder” (Kurulus Osman), so far.
Maulana Sheik Edebali (d. 1326) – we saw Sheik Edebali as a small boy, in Season 2 of “Dirilis Ertugrul”, when Ertuğrul, Bamsi, Turgut, Dogan and Geyikli went first to scout Byzantine’s border, just before their migration. They spent the night in Edebali’s father house. We met him now again as a father himself.
Sheik Edebali was a highly influential Turkish Sufi Sheikh, member of Babai Dervish Order and of the Ahi Brotherhood [Ahi – Turkish-Islamic Guild]. He commanded great respect in the religious circles and influenced the shape and developed the policies of the growing Ottoman State.
Being a wealthy person, Edebali spent his fortune on those who were not so well off. He used to build lodges for religious students, fed the poor, and sponsored Islamic law [Shariah] programs across Anatolia that educated the Turks on the principles of Islam.
Edebali, sometimes also referred to as a “Mullah” [Islamic scholar well-versed in the sacred law of the Quran], was the spiritual founder and the first Qadi [Judge] of the Ottoman Empire.
He passed away in Bilecik , aged 120, and was buried in the Dhikr room of his lodge. His daughter died one month after his death and his son-in-law Osman Gazi four months later.
Dursun Bey, also spelled as Tursun Bey, in history known as Dursun Fakîh – we saw him in the guise of an Orthodox priest, assisting Bala Hatun in these first episodes of Osman. Originally from Karaman, he was Edebali’s disciple and his in-law. Dursun [Tursun] Fakih is known for his literary work “Gazavatnâme”.
He was the scholar of Tafsir, Hadith and Fiqh.
** Fiqh – Islamic jurisprudence;
** Faqīh – a person trained in Fiqh [thus the name Dursun Fakîh]
He followed Osman Gazi and served as Imam to the Gazies during their campaigns and conquests. After the conquests of Kulaca Hisar and then Karacahisar Fortresses, Osman Gazi appointed him the imam of Karacaşehir, a village in the central district of Eskişehir today.
Here, Dursun (Tursun) Fakîh read the first Friday khutbah (sermon) on behalf of Osman Khan, on the day when Osman proclaimed his independence from the Seljuk’s Sultan. According to the sources, this khutbah (sermon) was the first khutbah read as a mark of independence of Osman’s state. (Âşıkpaşazâde, p. 18).
** Note: – Dursun Fakîh (Dursun/Tursun Bey) is not to be mistaken for other Tursun Beg (Dursun Bey), who lived 100 years later, during the time of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, a 15th century Ottoman Statesman and Historian, who wrote a chronicle dedicated to Mehmed II. – “Tursun Beg. The history of Mehmed the Conqueror.”
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Bala Hatun (d. 1324.) – the second wife of Osman Gazi, the daughter of Sheik Edebali. Osman Gazi supposedly made his first marriage in 1280 to Malhun Hatun, the daughter of a powerful Anatolian Seljuk Vizier Ömer Abdülaziz Bey.
There is a lot of controversies connected to Bala Hatun and her name. It was caused by various eminent historians from that time who recorded her name as “Malhun Bala Hatun” and “Rabia Bala Hatun, alternatively.
So, in the “History of Oruç”, Edebali’s daughter was referred to as “Rabia” and as “Malhun” in chronicles of other three prominent historians: Aşıkpaşazade, Kemalpaşazâde, and Neşri. The latter stance is in some way supported by the most competent Ottoman historian of today, Prof. Dr. A. Şimşirgil.
So, whether her 1st name was Malhun or Rabia, her 2nd name was certainly – Bala Hatun. This is, I believe, the reason why in the series “Osman, the Founder” they use only “Bala” when referring to her.
It is also worth mentioning that this controversy gave rise to another controversy, which is the number of Osman’s wives.
** That theme will be addressed at some later time.
Commander Kalanoz [also spelled as Falanoz] – was the brother of the Tekfur of Karacahisar. His date of birth is unknown, but he died in 1286/87. in a violent clash that happened at Ekizce (Domaniç Pass).
The battle occurred after young Osman took Kulaca Hisar fortress in an overnight raid. So, in retaliation, the Tekfur of the neighbouring and much larger Karacahisar fortress sent his brother Commander Kalanoz with a large army to destroy Osman and his Gazis.
However, Osman got word about the ambush, and he and his Gazies met Kalanoz at the Domaniç Pass. During the fierce and bloody battle that ensued, Osman’s brother, Savci Bey, was also martyred (supposedly by Kalanoz).
Kalanoz lost his life in that clash and was buried at the spot where he died. The people later named his burial place – “İteşini” (loosely translated as digging dog). [Tevarihi Al-i Osman; Aşıkpaşazade Tarihi.]
Savci Bey was Ertuğrul Gazi’s middle son, who was much loved and greatly respected. He was martyred in the battle at Ekizce (Domaniç Pass) during Kalanoz’s attacks. Many poems have been written dedicated to him on the occasion of his martyrdom.
Commemoration of the Savcı Bey martyrdom is traditionally held every year on the last weekend in August at his memorial in Karaköy. This year (2019) marked the 732nd anniversary of Savcı Bey’s martyrdom.
According to the records, he was married to Ana Sultan (Kutlu Melek) and they had 2 sons: Süleyman Bey and Bayhoca (martyred in an ambush); and 1 granddaughter Hatice (through the son Süleyman Bey). [Tevarih-i Al-i Osman / İbni Kemal Paşazade].
Gündüz Bey was born in 1229. or a year later to Ertuğrul Gazi and Halime Sultan (he was about 26 years old when Osman was born).
He has always been a great support to his brother Osman and has never challenged his leadership. He participated in almost every battle against Byzantium. After the formation of the new State, Osman gave him the authority over the large region, where he served the new State, as the Sanjak Bey, with headquarters in Eskişehir. He was martyred in 1303.
He was the father of Aydoğdu Bey, a renowned warrior (martyred on 27 July 1302 while commanding Ottoman troops during the Koyunhisar War).
Dündar Bey / Gazi, (d. around 1298) – a brave and renowned warrior, who rightfully earned the title of Gazi, a good hearted and loving man, loyal to his brother, devoted to his tribe, his family and his nation. Unfortunately he had a weak personality, was easily swayed, and he has made a lot of mistakes and issues due to that.
According to the sources, when Ertuğrul Gazi passed away, his tribe as well as the neighbouring tribes became restless over the loss of their leader. As he wished to preserve the unity of the Turkmen tribes, and as he also aspired to become the new Bey of Kayis, he put himself forward as a candidate. He based his candidacy on his senior age, his status and experiences gained while following his older brother.
However, Osman Gazi “gained the hearts of people by his commendable strategy and moral integrity” and he was, by consensus, elected the Bey of Kayıs, and consequently the Bey of Bithinya Principality. Dündar Bey did not rebel against such a decision. He rather supported his nephew with all his might, and accepted that “sovereignty was his predestined fortune (Nasib). [Ibn Kemal: Kemalpaşazade Tarih-i].
But after a while, the old gap between Osman Gazi and Dündar Gazi re-opened, because he was against some of Osman’s decisions. He died aged 96 or 98, but it is still very questionable whether he died by Osman’s hand at all. Most of historians agreed that he did not. That will be discussed at a later time.
** Although it can be safely assumed that Dundar Gazi was married and may have had children, there is absolutely no record anywhere about his wife and /or his children, no record of how many children he might have had and what their names might possibly be.
here were 2 Alişîr Beys of the Germiyanlı dynasty in history, father and son. They were Emirs of the Seljuk Empire, as well as the Sanjak Beys [a large region consisting of many vassal Beyliks/principalities]. As such they were overlords to many smaller Beyliks, including Ertuğrul’s and Osman’s respectively.
The Ali-şir Bey we met in this season is younger Ali-Şir Bey, the son (Yakup). He was on friendly terms with Dündar Gazi, but his relations with Osman Gazi were somewhat strained, which would later develop into the lasting hostility between the Ottomans and Germiyanoğlus.
The first record of him was found in the repair book of the Kizilbey Mosque in Ankara. The inscription states that “the Mimbar (pulpit) of the Kizilbey Mosque was repaired by the chieftain of Germiyan in 699 (1298–9)”. From here it is understood that he ruled in Ankara as vassal of the Seljuks , extending his area of influence to Kırşehir area. Probably started to act independently from 1300’s onward. [Ahmed Eflakî, Menakibü’l Ârifin]
It was one of the strongest Anatolian principalities of that time. Germiyan was a Turkmen tribal name, more precisely Oghuz Avshar tribe that has later become both a family and a State’s name. And the period of Yâkub Alişîr Bey constitutes the most brilliant period of the Germiyanoğlus. [Mufassal Osmanlı Tarihi I. Cilt]
Konur Alp (d. 1326.) was one of the noteworthy commanders of the Ottoman Empire during the establishment era. He had important roles in the conquest of the region between Akyazi and Anadolukavagi under the command of Osman Gazi.
Afterwards, some parts of this region were given to him as private property. Thus, the Konur Alp region in Düzce Province and Konuralp Township, named after him were established.
He died after the conquest of Bursa, but the exact location of his tomb is not known. It is presumed to be in somewhere in the city centre in the Konuralp suburb of Düzce. The tomb in Söğüt outside Ertuğrul Gazi’s tomb is an honorary tomb, not his actual grave.
Samsa Çavuş / Samsa Alp [died after 1330.] – Another one of those Gazis blessed with long lives, like Turgut Alp and Abdurrahman Alp/Gazi, whose names and deeds were irrevocably imprinted in the foundation of the Ottoman Empire.
Another one who was graced to live during the lifetimes of all 3 great Gazies: Ertuğrul Gazi, Osman Gazi and Orhan Gazi.
A hero who first came to Söğüt together with Ertuğrul Gazi and his tribe. He fought with great heroism alongside Ertuğrul Gazi for their mutual beliefs, and to create the conditions for a new State.
Samsa then helped Osman Gazi establish that very same State, and finally stood guard to that State during the reign of Sultan Orhan, till the end of his life. – [Prof. Dr. A. Şimşirgil ; “Aşıkpaşazade Tarihi”; “Çevriyazı: Hfızii Meniikıb u Teviirih-i Al-i Osman”]
His tomb is located in Hacımusalar village near Mudurnu. [Tevarih-i Al-i Osman].
*Samsa Alp [“Dirilis Ertuğrul”] and *Samsa Çavuş [“Kuruluş Osman”] – are just one and the same person, a one and the same real character from Ottoman history.
One Important Clarification Regarding Samsa:
The confusion was caused by the simple “break of contract”!
Namely, the actor portraying “Samsa Alp” requested to leave Dirilis Ertuğrul Series, So, the producers had to make “Samsa Alp” die. That has made the Turkish audience very angry at the time, since they knew the importance of Samsa Alp / Çavuş.
But, the Bozdağ team always meant to introduce Samsa character again, since he was an extremely important figure in the creation of new State, from a historical standpoint. And as such, he could not be ignored.
Thus, they introduced him again in Osman’s series as Samsa Çavuş
So, whoever claims that Samsa Alp (from “Dirils Ertugrul”) did not exist should be reminded that Samsa Alp was Ertugrul’s warrior, in the first place; that he had honed his warrior skills at Ertugrul Bey’s side. [There are many records proving that].
The ÇAVUŞ Title
Samsa was initially an “Alp”, as everyone else was in their early years. He was later the first person (Alp) to adopt the title of “ÇAVUŞ”. So, in a way, he was the founder of that title.
In time, the ÇAVUŞ Title became a military rank within the Ottoman Army.
It can be loosely translated as “Sergeant” in English. However, the position, responsibilities and privileges associated with the title of “Çavuş” are much more complex than those of an ordinary Sergeant.
Akça Koca (d. after 1326) – one of the founders of the Ottoman State, a companion and brother in arms to Osman Gazi. He has later fought under Orhan Gazi as well. He made many raids and conquests in and around Sakarya and Izmit regions.
The Samandıra fortress, which he took together with Konur Alp, was given to Akça Koca as his own property. All achievements of the Turks between Izmit and Uskudars during that era, were realized thanks to the actions of Akça Koca and Abdurrahman Gazi.
Köse Mihal ‘Abd Allah – (original name “Michael Cosses” meaning “Michael the Beardless”; 13th century c. 1340).
We didn’t meet him quite yet, however it is for sure that this character will take part in the “Osman the Founder” series soon. For, he was one of the most important personalities and was considered one of the founders of the Ottoman Empire. So, I will mention him briefly in this first summary.
He was the Byzantine’s Christian nobleman and a frontier Tekfur. In addition, he was the Judge of the Harinankaya fortified area at the foot of Mount Keşiş / Uludağ and east of Adrenus.
Köse Mihal has been one of the mainstays of Osman’s rising power, hisclose confidante and ally. He was considered to be the first significant Byzantine/Greek nobleman to convert to Islam and to fervently support Ottoman cause as a high-ranking military Commander. Many followed in his footsteps later on.
He was known to be a person quite knowledgeable of the local geography, he served as a guide in the forefront, and as a military advisor in Osman’s army, he was a commander, fierce warrior and conqueror, and he acted later as an envoy during Sultan Orhan’s time. [Tevârih-i Âl-i Osmandan – Aşıkpâşâzâde Târihî ].
Ahi Brotherhood [Ahi Islamic Guild]
Ahi Brotherhood [Ahi Islamic Guild] – a strong, efficient and influential Order existing and operating from the 11th and 19th century. It was founded by Pir Ahi Evran-ı Veli, (1169–1261), a 13th-century philosopher [real name Sheykh Nasreddin Abul Hakayik Mahmud bin Ahmed al-Hoyi ]. He fled his native Azerbaijan before the onset of the Mongol invasion and torture, and settled in Anatolia, thus the name.
Ahi Brotherhood was based on the philosophy that there’s a possibility that anyone can depart this world at any given time, thus it dealt with shaping people’s and Ahi brothers’ daily lives. It was about balancing efforts for the betterment of this-worldly life and at the same time working to earn the best of the next world [Akhirah]. It was about behaving and living in accordance with the “Fütüvvetname”, the written ethical codes.
** Members of Ahis in the series so far: Sheikh Edebali, Dursun/Tursun Bey,
Kulaca (Kolça) Hisar Fortress (Kulucahisar)
located between Söğüt and Inegöl, on the outskirts of Elmadag. It was one of the pioneering fortresses built by the Byzantine Empire and the first fortress conquered by the young Osman Bey. In order to conquer Inegöl, it was necessary to conquer the Kolça (Kulaca) Hisar fortress first, and thus remove Tekfur from the region. So, in 1286, Osman Bey had organized a night raid with a 300-strong unit of men, and he made his most famous speech just before the conquest of Kulaca Hisar.
Note: Do not mistake Kulaca (Kolça) Hisar (conquered by Osman the Youth) with the Karaca Hisar (Karacahisar) fortress, which was the 1stconquest of Osman as the new Kayi Bey.
(Btw. Karacahisar was conquered 2 times, first by Ertuğrul, and second time by Osman, after the State was established)
For more information on the history of Kayis, read Melisa’s old historical articles on Kayi and Dirilis, as well as on the real characters from Dirilis series on her Facebook profile, https://www.facebook.com/melisa.dirilish.5
Melisa has also written about Osman’s dream which became the vision of the Ottoman Empire.
You can watch this Turkish TV series on YouTube as well as on various websites. For the earlier hit series, Dirilis Ertugrul , you can watch the show on Netflix as well as on YouTube and various websites. You can also learn Islamic Ottoman history from watching other Turkish dramas and movies.
The researches for all these facts, checking them for the correctness and putting it all together has been solely done by Melisa Dirilish. Melisa has translated into English the popular Turkish TV series, Diriliş: Ertuğrul (Resurrection: Ertuğrul) from Seasons 3 -5. She often writes about the historical Ottoman Caliphate, and on historical facts behind hit TV dramas, Diriliş: Ertuğrul and Kuruluş Osman, on her Facebook page. For more, follow her Facebook page/