Ertuğrul (Ottoman Turkish: ارطغرل, Erṭoġrıl; often with the title Gazi) (died c. 1280) was the father of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. While his historicity is proven by coins minted by Osman I which identify Ertuğrul as the name of his father, nothing else is known for certain about his life or activities. According to Ottoman mythic tradition, he was the son of Suleiman Shah, leader of the Kayı tribe of Oghuz Turks, who fled from eastern Iran to Anatolia to escape the Mongol Conquests. According to this legend, after the death of his father, Ertuğrul and his followers entered the service of the Seljuks of Rum, for which he was rewarded with dominion over the town of Söğüt on the frontier with the Byzantine Empire. This set off the chain of events that would ultimately lead to the founding of the Ottoman Empire. Like his son, Osman, and their future descendants, Ertuğrul is often referred to as a Ghazi, a heroic champion fighter for the cause of Islam.
According to Ottoman tradition, Ertuğrul was chief of the Kayı tribe of Oghuz Turks, as a result of his assistance to theSeljuks against the Byzantines. Ertuğrul was granted lands in Karaca Dağ, a mountainous area near Angora (nowAnkara), by Ala ad-Din Kay Qubadh I, the Seljuk Sultan of Rûm. One account indicates that the Seljuk leader's rationale for granting Ertuğrul land was for Ertuğrul to repel any hostile incursion from the Byzantines or other adversary. Later, he received the village of Sögüt which he conquered together with the surrounding lands. That village, where he later died, became the Ottoman capital under his son Osman I. Ertuğrul had two other sons, Saru Batu Savcı Bey and Gündüz Bey.
In the 19th century, the Ottoman Navy frigate Ertuğrul was named in his honor. The Ertuğrul Gazi Mosque in Asgabat,Turkmenistan is also named in his honor. In the TV series Diriliş: Ertuğrul, Ertuğrul is portrayed by Turkish actor Engin Altan Düzyatan.
Turkey's new television series "Resurrection: Ertuğrul" ("Diriliş Ertuğrul" in Turkish), the first episode of which aired on Wednesday night on the television channel TRT, has topped television ratings.
The series was the most-watched program on Wednesday, according to the rating figures of the AB group, which represents educated and high-income earners in Turkey. Many social media users praised the series for its accurate description of Ottoman history, and the hashtag #Diriliş (Resurrection) became one of the most popular trending Twitter hashtags.
The series centers on the life of Ertuğrul, the father of Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire. Ertuğrul was the leader of the Kayı clan of the Oghuz Turks. When he arrived in Anatolia from Merv (Turkmenistan) with his 400 horsemen to aid the Seljuks of Rum against the Byzantines, he set off a chain of events that would ultimately lead to the founding of the Ottoman Empire. The series gives a glimpse of what the Ottoman Empire was like when it was first founded.
The first episode shook Turkish social media with some people comparing it to the "Game of Thrones" series, aired in the U.S. Another TV series, "The Magnificent Century," which depicted the era of Suleiman the Magnificent during the Ottoman Empire, also attained great success both in Turkey and around the world. The series drew about one third of prime time viewers to the screen and aired in more than 45 countries worldwide. The interest of Turkish viewers in historical series focusing on Ottoman sultans and their period, indicates that there is a great desire to learn Ottoman history and establish a bond with their ancestors.
Indeed, historical TV series in general open a window for viewers to explore their history through both visual and audial means. To illustrate, "Muhteşem Yüzyıl" (the Magnificent Century) was criticised when it was broadcast on a Turkish private TV channel, yet viewers enthusiastically watched it for four seasons. Furthermore, they were able to increase their knowledge about the religious, political and military developments during the heyday of the Ottoman Empire. It even created sympathy toward the historical figures of that time. The period, clothing, lifestyle and social structure were the leading visual effects. Similar to "The Magnificent Century," "Diriliş: Ertuğrul" (Resurrection: Ertuğrul) has drawn the same level of attention even with its first episode.
Although the proposal for mandatory Ottoman language lessons in high schools has been a storm in a teacup until recently, the gradually increasing interest in such historical TV series deserves critical attention. Those who attempt to create an emotional connection with history turn to these TV productions. Bear in mind, language is the best communication instrument between cultures. The masses who cannot read Ottoman texts try to connect with their past through TV series which portray explicit descriptions of history. It would be more influential to learn history using original materials and texts. A generation that has sufficient knowledge of the Ottoman language can fill the gap in its historical knowledge, while creating a healthy and close relationship with the past.
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