The Rebellion of 1416: Recontextualizing an Ottoman Social Movement

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

Abstract

This paper reconsiders the Rebellion of 1416, formerly known as Sheikh Bedreddin’s Rebellion. The rebellion, probably the largest in Ottoman history, began in 1416 and took place on two fronts—the western coast of Anatolia and the Zagora region of Bulgaria. This paper departs from the common approaches to the rebellion, which have focused on the persona of Sheikh Bedreddin and the impact of his heterodox formulation of Islam. It reexamines the rebellion in relation to the material conditions of the period, in the search for a clearer picture, albeit perhaps not a definitive one.

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  • ZachariadouElizabeth “Süleyman Çelebi in Rumili and the Ottoman Chronicles” Der Islam 1983 60 2 268 296

  • 10)

    Angeliki E. Laiou-ThomadakisPeasant Society in the Late Byzantine Empire: A Social and Demographic Study (Princeton: Princeton University Press1977): 24, 145.

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  • 11)

    George C. Maniatis“Pricing of the Factors of Production in the Byzantine Economy.” Byzantion 73/1 (2003): 67, 68.

  • 14)

    Nevra Necipoğlu“The Aristocracy in Late Byzantine Thessalonike: A Case Study of the City’s Archontes (Late14th and Early 15th Centuries).” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 57, Symposium on Late Byzantine Thessalonike (2003): 136-9.

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  • 15)

    George C. Maniatis“The Domain of Private Guilds in the Byzantine Economy, Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 55 (2001): 348352-5, 358, 364.

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  • 16)

    Demetrios J. ConstantelosPoverty, Society and Philanthropy in Late Medieval Greek World (New Rochelle: Aristide D. Caratzas1992): 55, 56.

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  • 18)

    John W. Barker“Late Byzantine Thessalonike: A Second City’s Challenges and Responses.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 57, Symposium on Late Byzantine Thessalonike (2003): 17.

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  • 26)

    Bosnia (1384), Albania (1385), Bulgaria (1386), Bosnia (1388), Bulgaria (1389), first Battle of Kosovo (1389), Bulgaria and Bosnia (1390), first siege of Constantinople (1391), first occupation of Thessaloniki (1391), Bosnia and Hungary (1391), Wallachia (1391-2), Albania (1392), Bulgaria (1393), campaign in the regions of Larissa and Thessaloniki (1394), Albania (1394), second siege of Constantinople (1395), Battle of Nicopolis (1396), Albania (1396), third siege of Constantinople (1396-7), Greece-Morea (1397). For the chronology of these military campaigns, see İsmail Hami Danişmend, İzahlı Osmanlı Tarihi Kronolojisi, vol. 1: 1258/656-1512/918 [A Detailed Chronology of Ottoman History, Volume 1: 1258/656-1512/918] (Istanbul: Türkiye Yayınevi, 1971): 68-125. Before Bayezid I, Ottoman political domination relied on vassalage rather than on direct subjugation. With Bayezid I, there was a swift change toward the latter, resulting in an increase in Ottoman military campaigns, both in the Balkans and in Anatolia; see Halil İnalcık, “Ottoman Methods of Conquest.” Studia Islamica 2 (1954): 104-6.

  • 27)

    On May 8 1402the Venetian senate ordered the captain of the Gulf to inquire whether Timur was already in Ottoman territories, and if so, to assemble six galleys and take control of the island of Tenedos across from Gallipoli. It is unlikely that the news of Timur’s approach had not reached Serres sometime in early May. See Freddy Thiriet, ed., Regestes des deliberations du Sénat de Venise concernant la Romaine, vol. 2, 1400-1430 (Paris: Mouton, 1959): 27, no. 1056; for the summoning of Albanian vassals see p. 13, no. 994.

  • 32)

    Dimitris J. KastritsisThe Sons of Bayezid: Empire Building and Representations in the Ottoman Civil War of 1402-1413 (Boston: Brill2007): 41.

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  • 34)

    Elizabeth Zachariadou“Süleyman Çelebi in Rumili and the Ottoman Chronicles.” Der Islam60/2 (1983): 283-7. Zachariadou identifies İsa as the elder brother. For a different interpretation, which is adopted in this study, see Kastritsis, The Sons of Bayezid: 42, note 4.

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  • 39)

    George T. Dennis“The Byzantine-Turkish Treaty of 1403.” Orientalia Christiana Periodica 33 (1967): 78.

  • 53)

    Kemal Sılay“Ahmedi’s History of the Ottoman Dynasty.” Journal of Turkish Studies 16 (1992): 144. İskendername was a popular genre, in which the author incorporated the history of the ruling dynasty, under whose patronage he was writing, into the epic of Alexander the Great; equating the qualities of the current ruler with those of Alexander, he praised his patron as the rightful owner of the throne. Sılay’s publication is a critical edition and translation of the relevant sections of Ahmedi’s text on the history of the Ottoman dynasty.

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  • 63)

    Andrei OteteaA Concise History of Romania (London: Robert Hale1985): 174; Vlad Georgescu, The Romanians: A History (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1984/1991): 19-23, 29; Kurt W. Treptow, ed., A History of Romania (Iasi: The Center for Romanian Studies, 1996): 76, 77, 80, 81; Jean W. Sedlar, East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994): 88, 93; Stefan Stefanescu, “Aspects de la vie rurale dans les principautes roumaines au Moyen-Age: Le paysage rural.” Revue romaine d’histoire 28/1-2 (1989): 9. Among these authors, only Otetea argues for dependent peasantry over free peasantry, but he nevertheless maintains that, between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, most of the peasants had the right both to leave the land freely and to not be forced to do so.

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  • 64)

    L. Roman“Les Transylvanians en Valachie.” Revue roumaine d’histoire 11/5 (1972): 774-82; Georgescu, The Romanians: 21, 22; Sedlar, East Central Europe: 93.

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  • 70)

    N. Oikonomidès“Ottoman Influence on Late Byzantine Fiscal Practice.” Südost Forschungen 45 (1989): 34.

  • 114)

    Gh.J. Constantin“Sur la date de passage par la valachie du Cheikh Bedr ed-Din.” Der Islam 54 (1977): 118-125.

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