The Pilgrimage as a Means of Regional Integration in the Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Sultans were at a disadvantage vis à vis many other Near Eastern rulers where legitimation was concerned. They could not claim descendance from Chingiz Khan, still an important means of legitimation in the Turco-Mongol world of the fifteenth century. Even worse, the second Mongol conqueror Timur had all but annihilated the first empire built by Bayezid I Yıldırm, captured its ruler and reduced Yıldırım’s heirs to the status of warring princelings on a remote frontier of Islam. Nor could they claim descent from the Prophet Muhammad, as the medieval Fatimids, and in later times the Sharifid dynasty of Morocco or the Safavid ruler Shah Ismail had done. Or possibly ‘could’ is the wrong word here, since genealogies can be manipulated and ancestors can be discovered. The Ottoman Sultans elected not to use this manner of legitimation, but we know nothing about their motives. Instead they chose other means.
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