Resurrection Ertugrul: Who, indeed, was aware of the fact that one TV show comprised of a tale of episodes could enlighten us in an ample of ways! As the Muslim world is drawn into Ertugrul’s hysteria and related Ottoman dramas, it is pivotal that we discover what historical fact is, and what is merely for entertainment purposes, if we really want to take advantage of Ottoman history. I also love to watch Ertugrul and similar shows like ‘Yunus Emre’ and ‘The Magnificent Century’ teaching so many great lessons in life, not to mention Quranic stories and Hadith. But at the same time let us honor the facts in history instead of making imaginary heroes and praise our heroes for what they literally did.

I have collected material from multiple and distinct Turkish sources and social media posts along with references from new knowledge about the many heroic characters we have grown to love from this TV show. This is not a full account of their lives, but I have included the historically documented facts. Let’s shed some light on the real history of the characters of Resurrection Ertugrul.

Ertugrul Bey

Ertugrul is Osman’s father. With the small part of the Kayi tribe, Ertugurl, with just 400 tents, walked the daunting westward path and formed one of the largest empires. After Sadettin Kopek poisoned Sultan Aleaddin, he rebelled against the government of Kopek and declared his own state, the capital of the City of Sogut.

He was well recognized for his love and admiration for his wife. With Halime Sultan he had four daughters, and died at the age of 90. His last ten years of life were spent peacefully in his family, when he passed all of his duties to his youngest son Osman because of the old age. A historical evidence of his existence are the coins minted by Osman naming Ertuğrul as his father’s name, but aside from folktales not much is documented about him other than this.

There are records and historical details about him that are held in Turkish archives, in the chronologies of Ibn Arabi, in Western archives on Templars, in Byzantine chronologies, and in legends – but this material only amounts to about seven pages of sources as per the actor Engin Altan Duzyatan, who gave life to this great person. Notwithstanding this Engin finds it a great privilege to play Ertugrul as he was the first person in Turkish history to step away from nomadic lifestyle and aim for a state that has gone on for the past 600 years to create.

Resurrection Ertugrul: We do learn that he was buried in 1280 at Sogut. Tombs of Halime Sultan, Hayme Mother, his sons, Savci Bey, Gunduz,  Saru Batu and Osman, his brother Dundar, Turgut Alp, Samsa Alp, Abdurahman, and many others from his Alps, who approached Sogut with Ertugrul Bey, are all around his grave. Many that had not been buried there died along the way.

Osman I

Osman is regarded as the father of the Ottoman Empire, because the expansion of the Ottoman territories started from his Beylik (kingdom). You will see Ottoman rule sometimes referred to as the Osmanli dynasty in historical record. Osman had come to his parents very late. He was late born into the life of Ertugrul and Halime. When Osman (1258) was born, Ertugrul was around 67 years of age, and because Halime was also older, when usually women were no longer able to have children, he was considered a Miracle sent by God. Historians believe during Osman’s life a black hole in Ottoman history as what is stated about him was revealed 100 years after he died.

Gundogdu and Sungurtekin

They did not support the path of Ertugrul and as we understand, it vanished in history over time. They lived a quiet and unexceptional life, and not much about them is known or recorded. There are only verbal accounts, which people have been telling for generations. Compared to that, during a great Mongol invasion, they suffered major losses and what remained of them, they lived subordinately under the reign of the Mongols.

Dundar Bey

He was a courageous and renowned warrior, a good-hearted and caring man devoted to his uncle, tribe, and family. Yet as a poor personality, history records him and he made many mistakes in his full career. He died by Osman’s hand, aged 92 or 93. He rebelled against one move by Osman and that was Osman’s last straw.

Turgut Alp

He was one of Turkish humanity’s biggest and most renowned warriors, a blood-brother to Ertugrul and his best disciple and proponent, a very smart and able man. He lived an unusually long life, even for our time. He managed to survive Erugrul Bey by 35 years and was killed in a battle with his legendary battle axis in his hand at the age of 125! After Ertugrul passed away, Turgut became Osman’s main support, and he honored Turgut with the leading rank as governor of the new state when Osman founded his kingdom.

Ibn Arabi

Resurrection Ertugrul: As many of us recognize, Ibn Arabi is a renowned chronologist, mystic, philosopher, poet, sage, and one of the best spiritual teachers in the world. Ibn ‘Arabi was born in 1165 in Murcia, Andalusia, Spain and his writings had an enormous influence in the Islamic and Christian worlds. Today the fundamental ideas which underlie his thinking are of direct concern.

Ertugrul Bey has been a great source of inspiration and support. He died at the age of 75, in 1240. After his death, through his numerous writings, books, diaries, scriptures and other spiritual works, and through his disciples, Ertugrul Bey continued to draw inspiration from Ibn Arabi.

Halime Sultan

She was a Princess of Seljuk, very loyal to her husband and his biggest supporter. Due to her love for and devotion to Ertugrul Bey, she gave up her title and the life of her palace.  Two largest Turkish divisions were irreversibly united by blood links through her wedding to Ertugrul Bey, Seljuk Turks and Oguz Turks.

Hayme Mother

She lived a long life, and came all the way to Sogut with them. Since Suleyman Shah had passed, she was a smart, loving and courageous woman who served as the Bey of her family. She was highly known and was dubbed “the People’s Mother.” It is ambiguous whether Gundogdu was born, she certainly brought him up. One line of sources suggests that Gundogdu was her own son. But, because Suleyman Shah had lost his first child, there are some who claim that this young woman was born to Gundogdu before staining Hayme.

Saddetin Kopek

His only positive quality was his loyalty to his Government, according to Ottoman sources Saddetin Kopek is regarded an arrogant and evil man. He finally succeeded in poisoning Sultan Aleaddin, his second wife, the Ayyubid Princess and their two daughters. He then proclaimed the third and oldest son of Sultan Aleaddin (from his first marriage), as a new sultan by which Kopek gained complete power. Nevertheless, he was hanged from the wall of the Palace only a year later.

Artuk Bey

Recognized in the TV series as Ertugrul Bey’s right hand man but his story is so much more! Artuk Bey (also documented as “Son of Eksük” or Ibn Eksuk) was an eleventh-century Turkish General of the Great Seljuk Empire. Between 1085 –91 he was the Seljuk Governor of Jerusalem. Artuk Bey remained in Qüddus till he died in 1091.

Resurrection Ertugrul: Throughout the 1071 Battle of Manzikert Artuk Bey was one of the commanders of the Great Seljuk Empire army. After the battle he took part on behalf of the Seljuk Empire in the conquest of Anatolia. He conquered the valley at Yeşilırmak in 1074. He also ministered to the sultan by quashing a 1077 revolt.

His next goal was a plan to capture the Marwanids from Amid (modern Diyarbakır). He quarreled in this operation with the Commander in Chief Fahrüddevlet who had a desire to make peace with Marwanids. He beat Marwanids in a surprise assault with reinforcements. But when I learned about the case the Sultan Malik Shah I suspected Artuk Bey of dissension. Artuk Bey left the battleground and attended Tutush I who was the disagreeable younger brother of Malik Shah in Syria in 1084. In 1086, in a battle between Süleyman and Tutush, he was instrumental in defeating Süleyman, the Turkey’s sultan of the Seljuks.

Resurrection Ertugrul: The Artukids Beylik was titled after him, established by his sons 11 years after his demise. His courageous sons are El Gazi ibn Artuk, who fought Edessa’s Baldwin II at the Battle of Hab, Syria (1119) but lost and Soqman ibn Artuk, supporter of the hot-tempered Tugtekin Bey, the Governor of Damascus against the Crusaders at the War of Harran near Raqqa in 1104.

Crusader Knights Baldwin Il of Edessa, who called himself, King of Tripoli and Jerusalem, and Joscelin of Courtenay, who called himself Prince of Galilee, were eventually captured by the Seljuk Army. Nonetheless they later escaped. Soqman ibn Artuk is prominent and the late Artuk Bey is a real honour.

Emir Al-Aziz of Aleppo

Al Aziz Muhammad ibn Gazi (1213 – 1236) was the Ayyubi Emir of Aleppo and the son of az-Zahir Gazi and grandson of the great Salahuddin Al Ayubi, the Crusader and Templar liberator of Jerusalem. His mother was Dayfa Khatun, the Salahuddin’s brother’s daughter al-Adil. Al-Aziz was just three years old when at the age of fourty-five his father az-Zahir Gazi expired in 1216. He right away inherited the position of his father as Aleppo’s ruler. A council for the regency was established, naming Shihab ad-Din Tughril as its guardian. Over the next fifteen years Tughril was a Mamluk of az-Zahir Gazi and Aleppo’s successful ruler.

Resurrection Ertugrul: Al-Aziz did not actually take control of power until he was 17 years old, at which point he maintained Tughril as his treasurer. In general, he avoided getting drawn into the complex disputes between the various members of the Ayyubi dynasty, and instead focused on strengthening Aleppo’s resilience and infrastructure. Among the works begun by az-Zahir Gazi and finished by al-Aziz Muhammad were the re-fortification of the citadel, and the development of the fortress, the mosque, the arsenal and the water cisterns within it.

Al-Aziz is recognized to have married al-Kamil ‘s daughter Fatima Khatun, who reportedly shared his passion for the development and commissioned the construction of two madrasas in Aleppo. On 26 November 1236 Al-Aziz passed away at the age of just twenty-three. His eldest son, an-Nasir Yusuf, was just seven years old, so Dayfa Khatun, al-Aziz’s mother, took the regency on. Appropriately, Ghaziya Khatun, daughter of Al-Aziz, married Kaykhusraw II, the Seljuk Sultan of Rum.

Suleyman Shah

Resurrection Ertugrul: He was that time a highly prominent person, having 4 sons with Hayme Mother. He expired by drowning in the Euphrates River, and the spot near Aleppo, where he was buried in a holy place for Turks now in modern-day Syria, and that land still refers to Turkey, it is defended by the military guards of Turkey, and you need a passport to get in there to see the Suleyman Shah mausoleum. Although the remains were temporarily suspended last year given the situation around Aleppo due to the emergence of ISIS and the recent ruin of shrines and graves from nutcases, and brought to Turkey for preservation.

Bamsi Beyrek

He was a renowned hero; his life was mentioned in that time’s chronology book of medieval Ottoman titled “The Book of Dede Korkut.’ He was a devoted fighter, a good-hearted man and a very funny man. His love life was historic, as he split his heart between two loves. He was in a Byzantine fortress for 16 years, and the Queen, who lived in that fortress, fell in love with him and brought him back. It is not certain when he died or how long he survived; only that he lived for that time, and that he was hurled by trickery and murdered, leaving a wife and children behind him. We can only imagine how long the character in this series will be retained.

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