Battle of Kirkdilim 1391 – Ottoman Empire

Battle of Kirkdilim 1391 – Ottoman Empire. Although the Ottoman Empire had managed to force the vassalization of Moravian Serbia during the aftermath of the Battle of Kosovo, casualties in that battle had been massive, and as a result, a power vacuum had arisen in the Balkans. With its armies in southeastern Europe severely depleted and its former Sultan slain on the battlefield.

The Ottoman Empire under its new Sultan Bayezid I, was in a state of uncertainty, and more vulnerable to outside invasions from its hostile neighbors in the Balkans and Anatolia than in any previous period in the country’s history. Although the situation in the Balkans was slowly settling down after the climax in hostilities in Kosovo, elsewhere, the steady peace that Edirne had crafted between the various Turkic Beyliks of Anatolia was slowly falling apart.

During the reign of Murad I, the Ottoman state underwent a major transformation within its military and bureaucratic ranks as the Timar and Devshirme systems were institutionalized throughout the Sultanate’s Balkan territories. With the centralizing Ottoman Empire state relying more on n its newly established Balkan political class or governance and war, the independently minded Turkic Ghazi warbands of old, who had been present since the days of Osman Gazi, began slowly losing political influence in Edirne.

The Ottoman Sultanate

Many Turkic groups in Anatolia felt that the Ottoman Sultanate had become too sympathetic to the Christian elements of its Balkan holdings and too hostile to the Islamic-ghazi traditions of old. In addition to the fratricide of the popular Şehzade Yakup and the decline in the Ottoman’s ability to project power in Anatolia after their massive losses at Kosovo, the ghazi warbands within the sultanate and the other various Turkic Beyliks of western Anatolia began to become increasingly antsy in their desire to throw off Ottoman Empire overlordship. 

Seeking to take advantage of the region’s political unrest and Murad I’s sudden death, during the spring of 1390, the ruler of the peaceful Karamanid state, Alaeddin Ali Bey, conducted a surprise invasion in Ottoman Empire territories. He would be accompanied by the many smaller Turkic beyliks of western Anatolia,   whose allegiance regularly flip-flopped between the Ottomans and Karamanids, seeking to play the two major powers of the region of one another to maintain their independence.  

The Ottoman Sultan

In a short period, the newly formed Turkic coalition would capture the Ottoman Empire buffer towns of Akşehir and Beyşehir in addition to Kütahya, thus sparking panic in Edirne. First obtaining a fatwa to officially declare wars against fellow Muslim states, Bayezid, along with an Ottoman Empire army made out of mostly European vassal troops and his household troops, would cross into Anatolia with the intent of waging a lightning-fast war in the region.

The Ottoman Sultan would also be accompanied by his vassal lords, the newly crowned Serbian royal, Stefan Lazarevic, and the junior Byzantine co-emperors, John VII, and Manuel II. In a single military campaign during the summer and fall of 1390, Bayezid and his armies would conquer the Germiyanid, Aydinid, Menteşe, and  Sarukhan beyliks in fast succession, absorbing their significant wealth in the process.

Moreover, the isolated Byzantine town of Philadelphia, the last Imperial town left in Anatolia, was finally transferred to Ottoman Empire rule after a short siege. After wintering in Ankara and resupplying his army, Bayezid resumed his Anatolian campaign in the lowing spring, which resulted in the fall of the Hamindid and Teke beyliks in addition to the reconquest of towns of  Akşehir and Beyşehir from the Karamanids.  

Kadi Burhaneddin

After capturing large swaths of Anatolia within a short period, mainly due to the exploits of Stefan Lazarevic and his Serbian shock cavalry, Bayezid now had a large source of manpower to all on for future military campaigns into  Europe. Seeing that his Turkic coalition in western Anatolia had fallen so quickly to Bayezid, Alaeddin Ali Bey to find new allies, allying with the Candarid  Beylik and the former lands of the Eretnid Beylik, which was now ruled by an Islamic scholar-turned sultan called Kadi Burhaneddin.  

However, this new alliance would prove futile as Ottoman forces would catch the Karamanid Bey by surprise, swiftly storming into his capital of  Konya and capturing the city without bloodshed. To that end, he concluded a relatively lenient peace treaty with Alaeddin Ali  Bey in which the Karamanid ruler would submit to Ottoman Empire vassalage and his territories reduced to the lands east of the stream of Çarşamba.  

It was also during this period in which Bayezid, in an attempt to reform and legitimize his claim over all of Anatolia, would brandish himself as the ‘Sultan of Rum’, a title that was once held by the former Seljuk Sultans of old. With the  Karamanids once again submitting to Ottoman supremacy in Anatolia, Bayezid now turned his attention up north to the Candarid Beylik. Ottoman Empire forces captured the Candarid capital of Kastamonu and annexed the Beylik into the Empire. 

Battle of Kirkdilim

After plundering the former Candarid countryside for some time, Bayezid now turned his gaze to the domains of Kadi Burhaneddin. After swiftly capturing the border towns of Amasya and Çorum during the fall of the same year, Bayezid seemed poised to complete his total conquest of Anatolia. However, after a sudden counteroffensive by Burhaneddin himself culminating in the Battle of Kirkdilim and the death of Bayezid’s son, Şehzade Ertuğrul, Ottoman forces withdrew back from Candarid lands in defeat.  

As Bayezid was making final preparations to on again invade the domains of Kadi Burhanedd the following spring, major news from the Euro had begun trickling into the sultan’s tent. With the majority of Ottoman armies preoccupied in Anatolia, King Sigismund of Hungary, and the Serbian nobleman Vuk Brankovic had begun plundering the domains of Serbian ruler Stefan Lazarevic in an attempt to push back Ottoman presence in the Balkans.

Meanwhile, Voivode Mircea of Wallachia had also begun a series of military operations in the region by raiding deep into Ottoman Empire Bulgaria and conquering the vital Ottoman Empire Danube fortress town of Silistra. The Wallachian Voivode had also conquered the northern half of the Despotate of Dobruja, thus gaining access to a number of lucrative Black Sea ports in the process.  

Constantinople and Morea

In addition to this Christian incursion in the Balkans, relations between Edirne and Constantinople were becoming increasingly strained as a power struggle between the various factions of the Palaiologos dynast erupted in the Byzantine capital city. Since the end of the previous Palaiologos civil war in 1379, who predominantly ruled from  Selymbria, and the faction of John V and his sons, co-emperor Manuel II and Despot Theodore I, who predominately ruled from Constantinople and Morea.  

Ever since the political settlement of  1381, the main-line Byzantine succession from Constantinople was determined to be passed through John V to his eldest son Andronikos IV and then to his son John VII, thus bypassing  Manuel II’s claim to the throne. However, with the untimely death of Andronikos IV in 1385,  the political settlement of 1381 was brought into question as the fifteen-year-old John VII was now alone in his bid for the Byzantine throne.  

Distrustful of his grandfather and uncle, John  VII would travel to Genoa in 1389 to solicit support for his claim to the Byzantine throne,  but it would be the opportunity Bayezid I the same year which would allow the ung Byzantine Emperor to seize Constantinople.  During the spring of 1390, Bayezid, who distrusted both John V and Manuel II for their open defiance against Ottoman Empire suzerainty, would lend troops to  John VII.

The Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire Sultan thought by supporting the most junior claimant to the Byzantine throne that he could gain a more trustworthy and dependent ally in Constantinople. Everything went as planned for Bayezid as John the Younger would swiftly seize Constantinople, but after only four months of rule, Venetian forces under Manuel II would retake the Imperial city, reestablishing the status quo.

After seeing that his plans for the Romans had been thwarted, a furious Bayezi would demand both Manuel II and John VII join his Ottoman host for his upcoming Anatolian campaign along with a minor Byzantine retinue of cavalry. During the subsequent Ottoman Empire military campaign from 1390 to 1391, the two co-Byzantine Emperors would serve as de facto political hostages to the Ottoman Sultan. 

While Ottoman Empire armies were preoccupied, Emperor John V saw a good opportunity to shore up his defenses at home and ordered the strengthening of Constantinople’s fortifications, particularly the city’s Golden Gate complex. After hearing this news from the Byzantine capital, an enraged Bayezid I would threaten John V with the blinding of his son, Manuel I if he did not cease the construction project a once.

Sultan Bayezid Yildrim

The reluctant fifty-eight-year-old would submit to Bayezid’s demands before proceeding to shut himself up in his palace in humiliation. In the first months of 1391, the ailing senior  Byzantine Emperor died of natural causes after reigning over what was left of the  Byzantine realm for more than fifty years. Upon hearing the news of his father’s death, Manuel II slipped out of Ottoman captivity from Bursa and rushed back to Constantinople before his nephew VII could claim the imperial throne. 

Heari he news of Manuel’s escape from his captivity and his coronation in Constantinople, and feeling robbed of the opportunity to pick a Roman monarch of his choosing, a now even angrier Bayezid put forth new demands upon the new Byzantine Emperor. The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire demanded the construction of a Turkish quarter in Constantinople in addition to a Mosque and Islamic kadi to oversee the new settlement.  

Finishing off his humiliating list of demands for  Manuel II, Bayezid would state to the Byzantine   monarch: “If you do not accept my orders and do  as I command’ then shut the gates of your city and   govern what lies behind them; for everything  beyond the gates belongs to me.”A powerless Manuel II would bow down to Bayezid’s demands three months later and would be summoned to Sultan’s camp in the former lands of the Candarid  Beylik to swear loyalty to his new liege lord. 

Hardships of Bayezid

Although Ottoman relations with Constantinople seemed stable for the moment, the same could not be said about the situation in the Balkans as Serbian, Hungarian, and Wallachian incursions in the region continued plunging deep into Ottoman Empire territory. Putti his military campaign against Kadi Burhaneddin paused, Bayezid, along with a recently replenished Ottoman army, would begin the march back to Europe in the last months of 1391.  

Meanwhile in Edirne, Ottoman Grand Vizier Candarlizade Ali Pasha would coordinate limited retaliatory raiding operations into the lands of Wallachia, Hungary, and Bosnia. However, by the turn of the year, Sultan Bayezid I and his main Ottoman Empire host would enter Europe after a lightning-fast force march, catching the Christian powers of the region off guard. 

The Ottoman Sultan would begin his European military campaign by first marching on the domains of Vuk Brankovic, the last Serbian nobleman who had yet to submit to Ottoman vassalage. Retracing his father’s march during the  Kosovo campaign of three years past, Bayezid would swiftly capture the major Serbian town of Skopje,  forcing Brankovic to submit to Ottoman suzerainty. With all of Serbia now under his rule, Bayezid then turned his attention to Mircea of Wallachia.  

History of Ottomans

In a blistering campaign, Ottoman forces would conquer Silistra from the Voivode in addition to the southern half of the Despotate of  Dobruja. In addition to these conquests, Bayezid would spend the rest of the year ramping up Ottoman raids into Hungary and Bosnia. After years of fending off numerous  Ottoman invasions into his realm, the Bulgarian Empire under Tsar Ivan Shishman has been reduced to a small collection of lands sounding the Danube fortress town of Nicopolis and the main capital of Tarnovo.  

Seeking to finally finish off the Bulgarians before they could enter into a potential alliance with Hungary and Wallachia, Bayezid would invade the Tsar’s Domain during the spring of 1393. Upon hearing the news of the invasion, Ivan would abandon his capital at Tarnovo and retreat to the more formidable Nicopolis, the fortress town that the  Murad I had unsuccessfully besieged back in 1388. This time, the sultan’s eldest son, Suleyman Çelebi, let the Ottoman host.

With Tarnovo left leaderless and Ottoman forces now converging on the city, the capital’s defenses would be left in the leadership of the Patriarch of Bulgaria,  Euthymius of Tarnovo. Ultimately, the city could not hold. After three months of withstanding the Ottoman siege, the exhausted defenders of Tarnovo surrendered to Suleyman Çelebi, resulting in a  mass migration of Turkish settlers into the former   Bulgarian capital.

Byzantine Empire

With the Bulgarian realm being now reduced to Nicopolis, Ottoman armies would now march on the neighboring Tsardom of Vidin, ruled by Ivan Shishman’s half-brother, Ivan Sratsimir. Before sharing the same fate as his fellow  Bulgarian monarch, Sratsimir would submit to Ottoman vassalage, even accepting an Ottoman Harrison to be stationed in his capital Vidin.  With large swaths of the Balkans now under  Ottoman rule, during the winter of 1393, Sultan Bayezid I would call forth his Balkan vassals to meet with him in the town of Serres.  

Having serious doubts about the reliability of his Christian subjects’ allegiances, the suspicious Ottoman Sultan wished to cement his authority over his vassals to ensure none were conspiring against him. Those who answered the call were Manuel II of the Byzantine Empire. This call to meet spooked many, as it was rumored that Bayezid would round and murder all of his vassal lords in order to centralize his power in the Balkans just like he had in Anatolia.

This rumor would be false, and after a few days of exchanging pledges and promises to the Ottoman Sultan, all of the Christian lords participating in the meeting were free to go back to their holdings.  However, this Ottoman exercise of psychological warfare would be the breaking point for Manuel II, as upon his return to Constantinople he would suspend his ties with Edirne. The Byzantine Emperor hoped that the mighty Theodosian Walls of his capital city would deter any future attempt at an Ottoman siege. 

Gulf of Corinth

Upon hearing the news that his Roman vassa was playing hooky with him, Bayezid would begin raiding the outskirts of Constantinople before blockading the Byzantine capital altogether. In addition to directly waging war against Manuel II, Byzantine Thessaly would be quickly conquered by local Ottoman marcher lords, resulting in a territorial expansion that saw the Sultanate expand as far south as the Gulf of Corinth.  

You May Also Like: Sultan Selim I Emperor of the Great Ottomans

In addition to the blockade of Constantinople, Bayezid would begin the building of a waterfront fortress on the narrowest point of the Bosporus to block maritime traffic from the Black Sea to the Byzantine capital. The construction of the Anadoluhisarı, or “Anatolian Castle” and its fast completion in only a matter of months would display the Ottoman Sultan’s true desire to become the undisputed ruler of the Romans.

As envoys and petitions we sent across Europe for the upcoming crusade, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire would not deter his choice of blockading the Byzantine capital city. Confident in his abilities as a military general and coming off a string of impressive victories i oth the Balkans and Anatolia, Bayezid de decided to double down and go on the offensive. 

Battle of Somnath 1025 AD Mehmood Ghaznavi
Battle of Somnath 1025 AD Mehmood Ghaznavi
PPSC Jobs Apply 2023
PPSC Jobs Apply 2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *