The Life and Times of Ertugrul, the Father of Osman I
Ertugrul: The Legendary Warrior Who Inspired the Ottoman Empire
If you are a fan of historical dramas, you might have heard of Ertugrul, the Turkish hero who fought for his people and faith in the 13th century. He is also known as the father of Osman, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, one of the largest and longest-lasting empires in history. But who was Ertugrul, and why is he so important? In this article, we will explore his life, achievements, and cultural impact, as well as some of the controversies surrounding his portrayal in the popular TV series Dirilis: Ertugrul.
Who was Ertugrul?
Ertugrul was a Turkic Muslim nomad warrior from Central Asia, who lived in the 13th century. He belonged to the Kayi tribe, one of the many Oghuz Turkic tribes that migrated westward due to the Mongol invasions. He was the son of Suleyman Shah, the leader of the Kayi tribe, and Hayme Hatun, a noblewoman from another tribe. He had three brothers: Gundogdu, Sungurtekin, and Dundar. He also had an adopted sister, Selcan Hatun, who married his close friend and companion, Gunduz Alp.
What was his historical significance?
Ertugrul was a brave and skilled warrior, who fought for his people's survival and freedom in a turbulent time. He forged an alliance with the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, a Turkish state that ruled most of Anatolia at that time. He also defended his lands from the threats of the Mongols, who were expanding their empire under Genghis Khan and his successors; the Crusaders, who launched several military campaigns to conquer the Holy Land; and the Byzantines, who were trying to regain their lost territories in Asia Minor. He was instrumental in establishing a foothold for his tribe in western Anatolia, near the town of Sogut. He also paved the way for his son Osman to expand his domain and create the Ottoman Empire, which lasted for over six centuries and spanned three continents.
How did he become a popular TV character?
Ertugrul's fame reached new heights when he became the protagonist of a Turkish historical fiction and adventure television series called Dirilis: Ertugrul, which means Resurrection: Ertugrul. The series was produced by Mehmet Bozdag for TRT, a state-owned broadcaster in Turkey, and starred Engin Altan Duzyatan as Ertugrul. The series premiered on TRT 1 in Turkey on December 10, 2014, and ran for five seasons until May 29, 2019. It depicted Ertugrul's life from his youth to his death, as well as his struggles against various enemies and challenges. The series was based on historical sources as well as some fictional elements. It was praised for its production quality, action scenes, costumes, music, and acting. It also received several awards and nominations in Turkey and abroad.
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Ertugrul's Life and Achievements
His early years and family background
Ertugrul was born around the year 1191, according to some sources, or 1198, according to others. He was the third son of Suleyman Shah, the leader of the Kayi tribe, one of the many Oghuz Turkic tribes that originated from Central Asia. His mother was Hayme Hatun, a noblewoman from the Dodurga tribe. He grew up in a nomadic lifestyle, learning how to ride horses, hunt, and fight. He also learned about his religion, Islam, and his culture, which was influenced by the Turkic, Persian, and Arabic traditions. He was loyal to his family and tribe, and respected his elders and leaders. He was also curious and adventurous, and dreamed of exploring new lands and making a name for himself.
His migration to Anatolia and alliance with the Seljuks
When Ertugrul was in his twenties, his tribe faced a great danger from the Mongols, who were conquering vast territories under the leadership of Genghis Khan. The Mongols attacked and destroyed many Turkic tribes and cities in Central Asia and Iran, forcing many survivors to flee westward. Ertugrul's father decided to lead his tribe to Anatolia, a region that was ruled by the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, a Turkish state that was allied with the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad. The Seljuks welcomed the Kayi tribe and granted them a land near Erzurum, in exchange for their military service. Ertugrul proved himself as a brave and capable warrior, and earned the trust and admiration of the Seljuk sultan, Alaeddin Keykubad I. He also befriended Ibn Arabi, a famous Sufi scholar and mystic, who became his spiritual guide and mentor.
His battles against the Mongols, Crusaders, and Byzantines
Ertugrul's life was full of challenges and enemies. He had to face the Mongols, who continued their expansion after Genghis Khan's death in 1227. The Mongols invaded Anatolia several times, and eventually defeated the Seljuks at the Battle of Kose Dag in 1243. Ertugrul resisted the Mongol domination and fought against their puppet rulers and collaborators. He also had to deal with the Crusaders, who were Christian knights from Europe who launched several military campaigns to capture Jerusalem and other holy sites from the Muslims. The Crusaders allied with some of the local Christian states, such as the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and the Byzantine Empire, which controlled parts of Anatolia and Greece. Ertugrul fought against the Crusaders and their allies in many battles, such as the Battle of Iconium in 1236, where he helped the Seljuks defeat a combined force of Crusaders and Byzantines. He also raided and conquered some of the Byzantine fortresses and towns in western Anatolia, such as Karacahisar, Yarhisar, and Bilecik.
His legacy and descendants
Ertugrul died around 1280 or 1281, at an old age. He was buried in Sogut, a town that he founded near Bursa. He left behind a large family and a loyal tribe. His son Osman succeeded him as the leader of the Kayi tribe, and expanded his domain by conquering more lands from the Byzantines. Osman established his own state in 1299, which later became known as the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire grew to become one of the most powerful and influential empires in history, ruling over most of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, North Africa, and parts of Eastern Europe for over six centuries. The Ottoman sultans claimed to be the descendants of Ertugrul, and honored him as their ancestor and hero.
Ertugrul's Cultural Impact and Controversies
The popularity of the TV series Dirilis: Ertugrul
Ertugrul's story became widely known around the world thanks to the TV series Dirilis: Ertugrul, which was produced by Mehmet Bozdag for TRT, a state-owned broadcaster in Turkey. The series was a huge success in Turkey and abroad, attracting millions of viewers and fans. The series was dubbed or subtitled in many languages, such as Arabic, Urdu, English, Spanish, and Malay. The series was also streamed on Netflix and YouTube, reaching a wider audience. The series inspired many people to learn more about Ertugrul, the Ottoman Empire, and Turkish culture and history. The series also boosted the tourism industry in Turkey, as many visitors wanted to see the locations and sets where the series was filmed. The series also created a demand for Ertugrul-related merchandise, such as clothing, jewelry, books, and toys.
The portrayal of Islamic values and history in the show
One of the main reasons why the series was popular among many Muslims around the world was its portrayal of Islamic values and history. The series showed Ertugrul and his tribe as devout Muslims who followed the teachings of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad. The series also highlighted the role of Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, in shaping Ertugrul's character and worldview. The series featured many prominent Sufi figures, such as Ibn Arabi, Rumi, Yunus Emre, and Haji Bektash Veli. The series also depicted some of the historical events and figures that were important for the Muslim world, such as the Mongol invasions, the Crusades, the Seljuk Sultanate, the Abbasid Caliphate, and Salahuddin al-Ayyubi. The series aimed to present a positive and inspiring image of Islam and Muslims, especially in contrast to the negative stereotypes and prejudices that are often seen in the media.
The criticism and bans from some countries and groups
However, not everyone was happy with the se