Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 December 2009
The letters of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaeologos, studied and exploited by Byzantinists since they were published for the first time by E. Legrand in 1893, are now available in a new edition by G. Dennis, in which they are translated, accompanied by the appropriate comments and, in most cases, accurately dated. These letters constitute a most valuable contemporary source for the years 1382–1417 because they help to fill one part of the much deplored ‘gap’ in Byzantine historiography. Moreover, they include evidence which sheds light on some details of early Ottoman history, as will appear from the following analysis of Manuel's material dealing with the conflict between the sultan Bāyezīd I and the ruler of Sivas, ḲāḲi Burhān al-Dīn Aḥmad in 1391.
1 Dennis, G. T., The letters of Manuel II Palaeologus: text, translation and notes, Dumbarton Oaks Texts iv, Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae, vol. viii, Washington, 1977 (hereafter: Dennis, Letters)Google Scholar.
2 Barker, J. W., Manuel II Palaeologus (1391–1425): a study in late Byzantine statesmanship. New Brunswick-New Jersey, 1969, 84–98Google Scholar. For a better understanding of the Ottoman history of those years, see the review by Inalcik, H., in Archivum Ottomanicum, iii, 1971, 272–85Google Scholar.
4 It is worth mentioning that Manuel's letter 16 finishes as follows: ‘I can all but make out the messengers inviting us to go off to the ruler [i.e. Bāyezīd]. I suppose he again wants to drink a few toasts before dinner and to force us to fill ourselves with wine from his varied collection of golden bowls and cups. He thinks that these will assuage the depression caused by what we have been writing about…’ (Dennis, , Letters, 48)Google Scholar.
6 On the manuscript see Dennis, , Letters, xxi–xxvGoogle Scholar. For the dates of the emperor's departure from Constantinople and of his return, see Barker, , Manuel II, 87 and 99Google Scholar ; for Kydones's letter see Loenertz, R. J., Démétrius Cydonès: Correspondance, ii, Vatican City, 1960, 406–8Google Scholar.
7 On the emirate of Kastamonu see Encyclopaedia of Islam (second ed.), s.vv. ‘Isfendiyār ogẖlu’ (by J. H. Mordtmann) and ‘Ḳasṭamūnī’ (by C. J. Heywood); cf. also Y. Yücel, ‘Çobanoğullari beyliği’;, in Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Dergisi, xxiii, 1–2, 1965, 61–73Google Scholar; also Zaehariadou, Elizabeth A., ‘Pachymeres on the “Amourioi” of Kastamonu’, in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, iii, 1977, 57–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar; on the years we are examining see Yücel, Y., ‘Kastamonu'nun ilk fethine kadar Osmanh-Candar münasebetleri (1361–1392)’, in Tarih AraŞhrmalan Dergisi, i/I, 1963, 133–44Google Scholar.
8 On Bāyezīd I see mainly Encyclopaedia of Islam (second ed.), s.v. ‘Bāyazīd I’, by H. İnalcik. On the conquest of the Turkish emirates of Western Anatolia see Wittek, P., Das Fürstentum Mentesche (Istanbuler Mitteilungen, 2), Istanbul, 1934, 77–83Google Scholar; a somewhat earlier terminus ante quem for the conquest of Aydm and MenteŞe can be established, namely 6 March 1390, for in the ‘commissio’ of the Venetian ambassador to the Ottoman sultan which bears this date, one matter recommended is the recognition by the Ottoman sultan of the treaties concluded in the past between Venice and the two emirates; by then therefore the two emirates were already annexed to the Ottoman state; see Jorga, N., ‘Veneţia in Marea Neagră’, in Analele Academiei Románe, ser. ii, xxxvi, 1913–1914, 1102–3Google Scholar.
9 Mordtmann, , ‘Isfendiyār ogẖlu’, in El (second ed.), places the events in 1393Google Scholar; İnalcik, , ‘Bāyazid I’, in El (second ed.), places them in 1392Google Scholar, as does Uzunçarşih, İ. H., Osmanli Tarihi (second ed.), I, Ankara, 1961, 276, n. 2 (with some hesitation)Google Scholar; the year 1392 has been accepted by Yücel, , ‘Kastamonu'nun ilk fethine kadar’, 142–3Google Scholar; cf.idem, Kadi Burhaneddin Ahmed ve devleti (1344–1398), Ankara, 1970, 112–13; also by Werner, E., Die Geburt einer Grossmacht—die Osmaṉen (second ed.), Wien-Köln-Graz, , 1972, 169Google Scholar. Giesecke, H. H., Das Werk des 'Azīz ibn Ardašīr Āstarābadī, Leipzig, 1940, 86 and 132Google Scholar, dates the event to 1391.
10 Belgrano, L. T., Prima serie di documenti riguardanti la Colonia di Pera, secondo saggio delle spese delta Masseria, Atti della Società Ligure di Storia Patria, xiii, 1877–1884, 164Google Scholar: ‘quodam Jhansio turcho nuncio domini Jhalabi, qui portavit literam domini Jhalabi ad dominum potestatem de victoria quam habuit de Bassa de Castamen et quo modo percussit eum et obtinuit totum suum territorium’. ‘Jhansio’ is obviously a misreading of Jhausio (i.e. ça'ụş); ‘dominus Jhalabi’ is the usual expression of the Genoese for Bāyezīd I (see also infra, notes 37 and 40); ‘Bassa de Castamen’, i.e. Paşa of Kastamonu, is undoubtedly Süleymān II.
11 See note 6 above.
13 For the confusion in Chalkokondylas see Zachariadou, Elizabeth A., Der Islam, L, 1973, 368Google Scholar.
16 It is worth noting that the Wallachians are not mentioned.
24 Encyclopaedia of Islam (second ed.), s.v. ‘Burhān al-Dīn Ḳāḍī Aḥmad’, by J. Rypka.
25 Sümer, F., ‘Anadolu'da Moĝollar’, in Selçuklu Araştirmalari Dergisi, I, 1969, 1–147 and especially 115–16Google Scholar.
26 See above, n. 6.
27 The emperor's stay in Ankara is also known from his own theological work under the title ‘Dialogue which was held with a certain Persian, the worthy Mouterizes, in Ankyra of Galatia’; see on this matter Barker, , Manuel II, 97Google Scholar.
29 Dennis, , Letters, 49Google Scholar, proposes that Πεῖτζ⋯ς stands for a combination of the titles beg and shāh; there is no obvious reason why the letters g and sh should be transcribed by the Greek letters τ and ζ which produce a different sound. Πεῖτζ⋯ς as is obviously Begce, which was also the name of one of the sons of Evrenos: Encyclopaedia of Islam (second ed.), s.v. ‘Evrenos ogẖullari°’ (by I. Mélikoff). For the change g/i see Deny, J., Grammaire de la langue turque, Paris, 1921, 59Google Scholar. In Moravcsik, , Byzantinoturcica, ii, 250Google Scholar, Begce is inadvertently qualified as ‘Osmanischc Statthalter’.
31 For these principalities see Yücel, , Kadi Burhaneddin Ahmed ve devleti, 64–5, 89 and 111Google Scholar.
32 See below, p. 478.
33 For which see İslam Ansiklopedisi, s.v. ‘Osmancik’, by B. Darkot.
34 Kirk Dilim is a village near Çorum; a mountain in that region is also called Kirk Dilim Daĝ: Taeschner, F., Das anatolische Wegenetz nach osmanischen Quellen, I, Leipzig, 1924, 203Google Scholar. On the descendants of the Kuvvaddār-oglu see Oral, M. Z., ‘Kuwaddar ogullan’, in Belleten, xix, 73, 1955, 99–102Google Scholar . Keşrī, when relating events which he dates to 794 (1391–2), mentions a battle between Bāyezīd I and Burhān al-Dīn which had taken place earlier: Neşri, Mchmed, Kitáb-i Cihan-nümâ, ed. Köymen, F. R. Unat-M. A., i, Ankara, 1949, 320–1Google Scholar. Neşri's source is a chronological list in which the event is placed around the year 799 (1396–7), see Ménage, V. L., Nesẖri's history of the Ottomans, London, 1964, 16–17 and 76Google Scholar. As has been noted, Ibn Ardashir mentions the conquest of Kirk Dilim by Bāyezīd but not a battle against Burhān al-Dīn at this place, while Manuel ignores the Kirk Dilim episode completely. Is the chronological list reporting another incident which took place later, when Bāyezīd returned to Anatolia?
35 On Ankara see Wittek, P., ‘Zur Geschichte Angoras im Mittelalter’, in Festschrift G. Jacob, Menzel, T. (ed.), Leipzig, 1932, 329–54Google Scholar.
37 On 2 June the Genoese of Pera paid someone ‘pro portando litteras pro parte domini potestatis in Bursia Turchie ad dominum Jhalabi’: Belgrano, , Prima serie di documents, 172Google Scholar; cf. Jorga, N., ‘Notes et extraits pour servir à I'histoire des croisades au XVe siècle: registres de comptes de la colonie génoise de Pera’, in Revve de l'Orient Latin, iv, 1896, p. 78Google Scholar. Between February and June 1392 there was frequent coming and going of messengers and ambassadors between Bāyezīd I and the Genoese of Pera (Jorga, , ‘Notes et extraits’. 77–8)Google Scholar, whence one could guess that the sultan was in Bursa: but only in the passage quoted above is there a specific mention of this city.
38 Jorga, , ‘Venetia in Marea Neagră’, 1107–1109Google Scholar; Loenertz, , Démétrius Cydonès: Correspondance, II, 446–9Google Scholar; cf. Dennis, G. T., ‘The second Turkish capture of Thessalonica, 1391, 1394 or 1430?’, in Byzantinische Zeitsehrift, LVII, 1964, 54Google Scholar; also Thiriet, F., Régestes des délibérations du sénat de Venise concernant la Romanie, I, Paris-The Hague, 1958, 194Google Scholar.
39 Barker, , Manuel II, 105Google Scholar, produces some evidence to indicate that Mannel did not participate in an expedition of Bāyezīd at this time.
41 Makkai, A. Fekete Nagy-L., Documenta historiam Valachorum in Hungaria illustrantia, Budapest, 1941, 429–32Google Scholar, nos. 383–6; cf. Huber, A., ‘Die Gefangennehmung der Königinnen Elisabeth und Maria von Ungarn und die Kämpfe Känig Sigismunds gegen die neapolitanische Partci und die übrigen Reichsfeinde in den Jahren 1386–1395’. Archiv für österreichische Geschichte, LXVI, 1885, 535–7Google Scholar.
43 Loenertz, , Démétrius Cydonès: Correspondance, II, 446–9Google Scholar; Valentini, , Acta Albaniae Veneta, II, 169 and 183, v, 189–91 and 192, vi, 10–12 and 21–2Google Scholar, etc. It is to be noted that the confusion Paşa Yigit-Bāyezīd is to be found in a Greek medieval text in which Paşa Yigit appears as Παγιαζ⋯της: Schirò, G., Cronaca dei Tocco di Cefalonia di anonimo, Rome, 1975, 446 and 456Google Scholar.
44 Miklosich, F., Monumenta Serbica spectantia historiam Serbiae, Bosnae, Ragusii, Vienna, 1858, 220–2Google Scholar.
45 On the history of those years see Jireĕek, C., Geschichte der Serben, Gotha, 1918, ii, 114–15, 125–8Google Scholar.
45 Neşri connects Bāyezīd Kötürüm (dead since 1385) with those events.
47 Neşrī, ed. Unat-Köymen, I, 316–17.
48 On this episode see Decei, A., ‘L'expédition de Mircea Ier contre les akinci de Karinovasi (1393)’, in Revue des Etudes Roumaines, i, 1953, 130–51Google Scholar (where passages from other later Ottoman sources which repeat Neşri's version are translated).