Topal Osman Pasha

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For the 20th-century Ottoman militia leader, see Topal Osman.

Topal Osman Pasha (1663–1733) was an Ottoman military officer who served as general against the Venetians and the Austrians and as governor in several provinces, eventually rising to the position of Grand Vizier in 1731–32.


Osman was born ca. 1663 in the Morea (Peloponnese) peninsula in Greece, but his family hailed from Konya in Anatolia. At a young age he entered the Sultan's service, enrolling in the corps of the kozbekçi and then the pandurs. By the age of 24, he had already risen to the rank of beylerbey.[1] Sent on a mission to the Governor of Egypt, his ship was attacked en route by a Spanish privateer. Osman was captured after a fight, in the course of which he received a wound which left him lame in one foot for life, earning him the epithet "Topal" (Turkish for "lame").[1]

Taken initially to Malta, he was soon ransomed and returned to Istanbul. He then participated in the 1710–11 Pruth River Campaign, was appointed to the honorary post of kapıcıbaşı, and then sent to the Rumeli Eyalet where he served as commander of the Christian irregular militia, the armatoloi. In this role he served in the 1715 campaign that recovered the Morea from the Venetians, where he so distinguished himself that he was promoted to the rank of pasha with two horse-tails, and appointed governor of the Sanjak of Tirhala.[1] During the opening operations of the Austro-Turkish War of 1716–18, he was in charge of supplying the army, but soon returned to the Morea (late 1716) as a pasha with three horse-tails (the highest rank) and serasker (commander-in-chief) of the Morea Eyalet, in order to suppress local revolts and prevent any Venetian attempts at recovering the province. [2]

In 1720 he was appointed as governor of Bosnia, before being shifted to Rumeli in the next year. He remained at this post until 1727, when he returned to Bosnia for two years. In 1729 he was re-appointed to Rumeli, before being shifted back to Bosnia in 1730, and again to Rumeli in 1731. During this period, he eliminated the surviving supporters of the rebel Patrona Halil, who had taken refuge in the western Balkans, particularly Albania.[3] On 10 September 1731, he was named Grand Vizier by Sultan Mahmud I. Although he served only for six months as Grand Vizier, he tried to enact reforms to stabilize the volatile situation in the capital, Istanbul, by stabilizing prices, restoring order and ensuring the city's supply with food. He also encouraged the efforts of the French army officer Claude Alexandre de Bonneval in reforming the humbaracı artillery corps after Western models.[3]

After his dismissal, Topal Osman served briefly as governor of the Trebizond Eyalet and of Tiflis, before being appointed serasker of Anatolia in the Ottoman–Persian War of 1730–35. In July 1733 he dealt a decisive defeat on the Persians, who under Nader Shah had invaded Iraq, but was killed shortly after near Kirkuk when engaging another Persian invasion. He was buried in the Imam Qasim mosque in Kirkuk.[3]


His son, Ahmed Ratib Pasha, had married Aishe Sultan, a daughter of Sultan Ahmed III. His great-grandson was the noted writer and Young Ottoman political activist Namık Kemal.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Mantran 2000, p. 564.
  2. ^ Mantran 2000, pp. 564–565.
  3. ^ a b c d Mantran 2000, p. 565.


Political offices
Preceded by
Kabakulak Ibrahim Pasha
Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
10 September 1731 – 12 March 1732
Succeeded by
Hekimoğlu Ali Pasha