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The Turks in Byzantium

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Feb 3, 2012

The Turks in Byzantium

After the Oguz Turks defeated the Byzantine army at Manzikert, they pushed on to Syria and Palestine, which they occupied by 1078. They reestablished Sunni ideology in the region. As of the late thirteenth century, a number of Turkish tribes were occupying the Anatolian highlands. Osman, who proved to be the strongest of the tribal leaders, founded the Ottoman dynasty in 1281.

Throughout seven centuries of steady warfare and continual attacks, the Islamic forces had never managed to take Constantinople; its fortifications were too strong for the weapons that existed in the early medieval period. With the development of artillery, however, the Turks finally succeeded in their objective. Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, marking the end of the Byzantine Empire and the beginning of the slow transition from Greek to Turkish cultural supremacy in the region. The change of Constantinople’s name to Istanbul is symbolic of this turning point in history. The Ottomans would go on to take over most of the Balkans. By 1517, they had absorbed Syria and Egypt into their new empire, and in 1538, they conquered the Arabian Peninsula (see Figure 11.1). These victories set the seal on the domination of Turkish Muslims over Arabian Muslims until after the Arab Revolt of 1916.

Rise of the Turks Ottoman Empire Map

Practice questions for these concepts can be found at:

Rise of the Turks Practice Test
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