Süleyman Pasha (son of Orhan)

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Süleyman Pasha (c. 1316–1357) was the eldest son of Orhan I, the second bey of the newly established Ottoman Empire.

Taking the first part of Eastern Thrace for the Ottoman Empire[edit]

Süleyman Pasha struck a bold blow to the weakened Byzantine Empire, which gave the Turks a permanent establishment on the European side of the Hellespont. This event took place in 1354.

The Ottoman writers pass over in silence the previous incursions of the Turks into Europe, which gained no conquest and led to no definite advantage, but they dwell fully on this expedition of Süleyman, and adorn it with poetic legends of the vision that appeared to the young chieftain as he mused on the sea-shore near the ruins of Cyzicus. They tell how the crescent of the moon rose before him as the emblem of his race, and united the continents of Europe and Asia with a chain of silver light, while temples and palaces floated up out of the great deep, and mysterious voices blended with the sounding sea, exciting in his heart a yearning for predestined enterprise, and a sense of supernatural summons. The dream may have been both the effect of previous schemes, and the immediate stimulant that "made Süleyman put his scheming into act".

With only thirty-nine of his chosen warriors, he embarked at night in a Genoese bark on the Asiatic side of the Hellespont, and surprised the Castle of Tzympe (Cinbi), on the opposite coast. Reinforcements soon pushed across to the adventurers, and in three days Tzympe was garrisoned by three thousand Ottoman troops.

At this crisis, Cantacuzene was so severely pressed by his rival Palaeologus, that, instead of trying to dislodge the invaders from Tzympe, or even remonstrating against their occupation of that fortress, he implored the help of Orhan against his domestic enemy. Orhan gave up his brother-in-law's cause, and provided assistance to the old emperor. But he ordered that assistance to be administered by Süleyman, the conqueror of Tzympe, an axillary the most formidable to those with whom he was to operate. Ten thousand more Turks were sent across to Süleyman, who defeated the Slavonic forces which Palaeologus had brought to the empire, but the victors never left the continent on which they hid conquered. Cantacuzene offered Süleyman ten thousand ducats to retire from Tzympe. The sum was agreed on, but before the ransom was paid, a terrible earthquake shook the whole district of Thrace, and threw down the walls of its fenced cities.

Two of Süleyman's captains, Adjé Bey, and Ghas Fasil, instantly occupied the important town of Gallipoli, marching in over the walls which the earthquake had shattered, meeting no resistance by the awe-struck inhabitants. The fields in the neighbourhood still are named after Adjé; and the tombs of these two captains of the Osmanli host are yet to be seen in Gallipoli. They were buried on the scene of their great exploit. Turkish pilgrims gather there in veneration of the warriors, who gave to their race the strong city, the key of the Hellespont, the gate to easy passage into Europe.

Süleyman, on hearing that his troops had occupied Gallipoli, refused to give up Tzympe. He threw large colonies of Turks and Arabs across the straits, which he planted in the territory, which had been thus acquired. The fortifications of Gallipoli were repaired, and that important post was strongly garrisoned. Süleyman took possession of other places in the Thracian Chersonese, which he strengthened with new walls and secured with detachments of his best troops.

The Byzantine Emperor made a formal complaint of these aggressions to Orhan, who replied that it was not the force of arms that had opened the Greek cities to his son, but the will of Allah, manifested in the earthquake. The Emperor rejoined that the question was not how the Turks had marched into the cities, but whether they had any right to retain them. Orhan asked for time to think, and afterward made proposals for negotiating the restoration of the cities, but he had firmly resolved to take full advantage of the opportunities for expanding the Ottoman power.

The Ottoman power now had a basis for operations in Europe which had been acquired, and was afforded by the perpetual dissensions that raged between Cantacuzene and his son-in-law Palaeologus – each of whom was continually soliciting Orhan's aid against the other, and obtaining that aid according to what seemed best for the interests of the Ottoman sovereign.


Süleyman, in whom Orhan Gazi had seen grand prospects of further success for the house of Ottoman, died before his father. An accidental fall from his horse, while he was engaged in the favourite Turkish sport of falconry, caused his death. Süleyman was not buried at Bursa, but, by Orhan's order, a türbe (tomb) was built for him in Bolayır, on the shore of the Hellespont, over which he had led his people to a foothold in Europe.


  • Incorporates text from "History of Ottoman Turks: From the beginning of their empire to the present time", by Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy, vol. 1, 1854, pp. 30-33