1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Murad

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MURAD, or AMURATH, the name of five Ottoman sultans.

Murad I., sumamed Khudavendighiar (1319-1389), was the son of Orkhan and the Greek princess Nilofer, and succeeded his father in 1359. He was the first Turkish monarch to obtain a definite footing in Europe, and his main object throughout his career was to extend the European dominions of Turkey. The revolts of the prince of Caramania interfered with the realization of this plan, and trouble was caused from this quarter more than once during his reign until the decisive battle of Konia (1387), when the power of the prince of Caramania was broken. The state of Europe facilitated Murad's projects: civil war and anarchy prevailed in most of the countries of Central Europe, where the feudal system was at its last gasp, and the small Balkan states were divided by mutual jealousies. The capture of Adrianople, followed by other conquests, brought about a coalition under the king of Hungary against Murad, but his able lieutenant Lalashahin, the first beylerbey of Rumélia, defeated the allies at the battle of the Maritsa in 1363. In 1366 the king of Servia was defeated at Samakov and forced to pay tribute. Kustendil, Philippopolis and Nish fell into the hands of the Turks; a renewal of the war in 1381 led to the capture of Sofia two years later. Europe was now aroused; Lazar, king of Servia, formed an alliance with the Albanians, the Hungarians and the Moldavians against the Turks. Murad hastened back to Europe and met his enemies on the field of Kossovo (1389). Victory finally inclined to the side of the Turks. When the rout of the Christians was complete, a Servian named Milosh Kabilovich penetrated to Murad's tent on pretence of communicating an important secret to the sultan, and stabbed the conqueror. Murad was of independent character and remarkable intelligence. He was fond of pleasure and luxury, cruel and cunning. Long relegated to the command of a distant province in Asia, while his brother Suleiman occupied an enviable post in Europe, he became revengeful; thus he exercised great cruelty in the repression of the rebellion of his son Prince Sauji, the first instance of a sultan's son taking arms against his father. Murad transferred the Ottoman capital from Brusa to Adrianople, where he built a palace and added many embellishments to the town. The development of the feudal system of timars and ziamets and its extension to Europe was largely his work.

Murad II. (1403-1451) succeeded his father Mahommed I. in 1421. The attempt of his uncle Prince Mustafa to usurp the throne, supported as it was by the Greeks, gave trouble at the outset of his reign, and led to the unsuccessful siege of Constantinople in 1422. Murad maintained a long struggle against the Bosnians and Hungarians, in the course of which Turkey sustained many severe reverses through the valour of Janos Hunyadi. Accordingly in 1444 he concluded a treaty at Szegedin for ten years, by which he renounced all claim to Servia and recognized George Brancovich as its king. Shortly after this, being deeply affected by the death of his eldest son Prince Ala-ud-din, he abdicated in favour of Mahommed, his second son, then fourteen years of age: But the treacherous attack, in violation of treaty, by the Christian powers, imposing too hard a task on the inexperienced young sovereign, Murad returned from his retirement at Magnesia, crushed his faithless enemies at the battle of Varna (November 10, 1444), and again withdrew to Magnesia. A revolt of the janissaries induced him to return to power, and he spent the remaining six years of his life in warfare in Europe, defeating Hunysdi at Kossovo (October 17-19, 1448). He died at Adrianople in 1451, and was buried at Brusa. By some considered as a fanatical devotee, and by others as given up to mysticism, he is generally described as kind and gentle in disposition, and devoted to the interests of his country.

Murad III. (1546-1595), was the eldest son of Selim II., and succeeded his father in 1574. His accession marks the definite beginning of the decline of the Ottoman power, which had only been maintained under Selim II. by the genius of the all-powerful grand vizier Mahommed Sokolli For, though Sokolli remained in office until his assassination in October 1578, his authority was undermined by the harem influences, which with Murad III were supreme. Of these the most powerful was that of the sultan's chief wife, named Safié (the pure), a beautiful Venetian of the noble family of Baffo, whose father had been governor of Corfu, and who had been captured as a child by Turkish corsairs and sold into the harem. This lady, in spite of the sultan's sensuality and of the efforts, temporarily successful, to supplant her in his favour, retained her ascendancy over him to the last. Murad had none of the qualities of a ruler. He was good-natured, though cruel enough on occasion: his accession had been marked by the murder, according to the custom then established, of hit five brothers. His will-power had early been undermined by the opium habit, and was further weakened by the sensual excesses that ultimately killed him. Nor had he any taste for rule; his days were spent in the society of musicians, buffoons and poets, and he himself dabbled in verse-making of a mystic tendency.

His one attempt at reform, the order forbidding the sale of intoxicants so as to stop the growing intemperance of the janissaries, broke down on the opposition of the soldiery. He was the first sultan to share personally in the proceeds of the corruption which was undermining the state, realizing especially large sums by the sale of offices. This corruption was fatally apparent in the army, the feudal basis of which was sapped by the confiscation of fiefs for the benefit of nominees of favourites of the harem, and by the intrusion, through the same influences of foreigners and rayahs into the corps of janissaries, of which the discipline became more and more relaxed and the temper increasingly turbulent. In view of this general demoralization not even the victorious outcome of the campaigns in Georgia, the Crimea, Daghestan, Yemen and Persia (1578-1590) could prevent the decay of the Ottoman power; indeed, by weakening the Mussulman states, they hastened the process, since they facilitated the advance of Russia to the Black Sea and the Caspian.

Murad, who had welcomed the Persian War as a good opportunity for ridding himself of the presence of the janissaries, whom he dreaded, had soon cause to fear their triumphant return. Incensed by the debasing of the coinage, which robbed them of part of their pay, they invaded the Divan clamouring for the heads of the sultan's favourite, the beylerbey of Rumelia, and of the defterdar (finance minister), which were thrown to them (April 3, 1589). This was the first time that the janissaries had invaded the palace: a precedent to be too often followed. The outbreak of another European war in 1592 gave the sultan an opportunity of ridding himself of their presence. Murad died in 1595, leaving to his successor a legacy of war and anarchy. Murad

It was under Murad III. that England's relations with the Porte began. Negotiations were opened in 1579 with Queen Elizabeth through certain British merchants; in 1580 the first Capitulations with England were signed; in 1583 William Harebone, the first British ambassador to. the Porte, arrived at Constantinople, and in 1593 commercial Capitulations were signed with England granting the same privileges as those enjoyed by the French. (See CAPITULATIONS.)

Murad IV. (1611-1640) was the son of Sultan Ahmed I., and succeeded his uncle Mustafa I. in 1623. For the first nine years of his reign his youth prevented him from taking more than an observer's part in affairs. But the lessons thus learnt were sufficiently striking to mould his whole character and policy. The minority of the sultan gave full play to the anarchic elements in the state; the soldiery, spahis and janissaries, conscious of their power and reckless through impunity, rose in revolt whenever the whim seized them, demanding privileges and the head of those who displeased them, not sparing even the sultan's favourites. In 1631 the spahis of Asia Minor rose in revolt, in protest against the deposition of the grand vizier Khosrev; their representatives crowded to Constantinople, stoned the new grand vizier, Hafiz, in the court of the palace, and pursued the sultan himself into the inner apartments, clamouring for seventeen heads of his advisers and favourites, on penalty of his own deposition. Hafiz was surrendered, a voluntary martyr; other ministers were deposed; Mustafa Pasha, aga of the janissaries, was saved by his own troops. But Murad was now beginning to assert himself. Khosrev was executed in Asia Minor by his orders; a plot of the spahis to depose him was frustrated by the loyalty of Koes Mahommed, aga of the janissaries, and of the spahi Rum Mahommed (Mahommed the Greek); and on the 29th of May 1632, by a succesful personal appeal to the loyalty of the janissaries, Murad crushed the rebels, whom he surrounded in the Hippodrome. At the age of twenty he found himself possessed of effective autocratic power.

His severity has remained legendary. Death was the penalty for the least offence, and no past services–as Koes Mahommed was to find to his cost–were admitted in extenuation. The use of tobacco, coffee, opium and wine were forbidden on pain of death; eighteen persons are said to have been put to death in a single day for infringing this rule. During his whole reign, indeed, supposed offenders against the sultan's authority were done to death, singly or in thousands. The tale of his victims is said to have exceeded 100,000.

But if he was the most cruel, Murad was also one of the most manly, of the later sultans. He was of gigantic strength, which he maintained by constant physical exercises. He was also fond of hunting, and for this reason usually lived at Adrianople. He broke through the alleged tradition, bequeathed by Suleiman the Magnificent to his successors, that the sultan should not command the troops in person, and took command in the Persian war which led to the capture of Bagdad (1638) and the conclusion of an honourable peace (May 7, 1639). Early in 1640 he died, barely twenty-nine years of age. The cause of his death was acute gout brought on by excessive drinking. In spite of his drunkenness, however, Murad was a bigoted Stmni, and the main cause of his campaign against Persia was his desire to extirpate the Shia heresy. In the intervals of his campaignings and cruelties the sultan would amuse his entourage by exhibiting feats of strength, or compose verses, some of which were published under the pseudonym of Muradi.

See, for details of the lives of the above, J. von Hammer-Purgstall, Geschichte des osmanischen Reiches (Pest, 1840), where further authorities are cited.

Murad V. (1840-1904), eldest son of Sultan Abd-ul-Mejid, was born on the 21st of September 1840. On the accession of his uncle Abd-ul-Aziz, Prince Mahonuned Murad Effendi–as he was then called–was deprived of all share in public affairs and imprisoned, owing to his opposition to the sultan's plan for altering the order of succession. On the deposition of Abd-ul-Aziz on the 30th of May 1876, Murad was haled from his prison by a mob of softas and soldiers of the “Young Turkey” party under Suleiman Pasha, and proclaimed “emperor by the grace of God and the will of the people.” Three months later, however, his health, undermined by his long confinement, gave way; and on the 31st of August he was deposed to make room for his younger brother, Abd-ul-Hamid II. He was kept in confinement in the Cheragan palace till his death on the 29th of August 1904.

See Kératry, Mourad V., prince, sultan, prisonnier d'état 1840-1876 (Paris. 1878): Djemaleddin Bey, Sultan Murad V., the Turkish Dynasty Mystery, 1876-1895 (London, 1895).