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Disiplinlerarası Çalışmalar Dergisi Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

THE IMPERIAL EDICT OF SULTAN AHMED I APPOINTING GRAND VIZIER MALKOÇOĞLU ALİ PAŞA AS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE OTTOMAN ARMY ON THE HUNGARIAN FRONT

Ottoman sultans sometimes appointed grand viziers as the commanders-in-chief of their armies. They issued such appointments in documents called serdarlık beratı, which are an indispensable (though neglected) source in understanding the modus operandi and historical development of the Ottoman bureaucracy. This article examines the imperial edict Sultan Ahmed I (1603–17) sent to Malkoçoğlu Ali Paşa (d. 1604), dated Ramazan 1, 1012 (February 2, 1604), appointing him commander-in-chief of the Ottoman army on the Hungarian front. It also explores the contributions of the Malkoçoğlu family to the Ottoman conquests in Rumeli and the significance of Ali Paşa in this family. Ali Paşa was educated in the Ottoman Palace School (Enderûn) and served as the governor of Egypt. After he was appointed as Ottoman grand vizier, he was sent to the Engürüs (Hungarian) front but died en route. Yet his name lives on in the imperial edict examined here, a copy of which is contained in Reisülküttâb Sarı Abdullah’s münşeât, a collection of imperial letters and correspondence from the Ottoman sultans in the first half of the seventeenth century. The edict speaks of Süleyman the Magnificent’s conquest of Buda and Mehmed III’s conquest of Eger with admiration and reverence. It also compares Ali Paşa to Plato and Aristotle for his wise policies. This kind of comparison is rare in the Ottoman serdarlık berats. The document also makes some interesting claims, like the argument that Hungarians are similar to the tribe of Noah in their rebellious character. Like other serdarlık berats, this edict bestows great authority upon its addressee. This article compares the edict with other similar edicts in Sarı Abdullah’s münşeât. The uniqueness of the berat derives from the high praise with which the new Ottoman sultan Ahmed I speaks of his predecessors’ conquests on the Hungarian front and Ali Paşa’s governorship of Egypt and efforts to aid the poor.

Fatih Bayram

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