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Category: History

Symbolism and the power during government of the sultan Abdul-Hamid II (1876-1909)



Influence of the traditional monarchic power on society strongly differed from influence of the modern authorities. Today by means of mass media we can watch political activity and even private life of statesmen. In the past the monarchic power was not connected by continuous relationship with citizens, often being just hidden from them.

And the master throughout the board often knew about the citizens, only by hearsay from the confidants very little. Masters and citizens could meet with each other only during the official ceremonies.

The sixth century of existence of the Ottoman state strongly differed from previous, as well as 19th century in general, for all monarchy, resembled not former times. The sovereigns allocated with "the divine power" began to lose the influence on citizens, and monarchy - to collapse one by one under the pressure of revolutions.

T7 ~ to the beginning of the XIX century the Ottoman Empire stood before угро-1^ the deputy, proceeding as from within, and because of limits impe-AZh-rii. As the real force of the state decreased, the symbolics and a ritual gained new values. And if the European empires placed emphasis on magnificence, then the Ottoman Empire whose material resources considerably lagged behind other European powers, placed emphasis on maintaining former traditions of the power which, in turn, relied on ancient traditions and Islamic tsennosti1.

The main ceremonies of Ottoman sultans were: accession to the throne and oath of allegiance, a podpoyasyvaniye a saber, a ceremony of following of the sultan to the mosque on Fridays, a congratulation on holidays and formal receptions. Let's dwell upon the first two.

Ceremony of accession to the throne and oath of allegiance (Cülus ve Beyat). It passed during ascent of the sultan on a throne for acquaintance to court and representations of the new governor of the state, and sometimes and the new state doctrine. This ceremony had exclusively political character. In essence it is similar to the ceremonies of feudal Europe which also initially did not have religious character. To the sultan we can find sources of a ceremony of oath of allegiance in Islamic history. Prophet Muhammad, saying before accepted Islam a prayer, created Muslim society new in essence. These ceremonies were recognition of leadership and Prophet superiority over Muslim society. They were transformed later to a ceremony of acquaintance to the new governor, a form of legitimization of the power and a certain agreement between the sovereign and citizens.

The ceremony of oath of allegiance had several stages, it is probable for prevention of an undesirable meeting of different population groups. In the beginning there took place the oath ceremony for the upper class and government officials of a high rank,

1 Deringil S. Legitimacy Structures in the Ottoman State: The Reign of Abdulhamid II (1876-1909)//International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 23, No. 3, 1991, p. 345.

ABIDULIN Alim Maratovich, graduate student of department of history of modern and latest times and international relations of Saratov State University of N.G. Chernjshevsky.

and then for leaders of tribes, the city nobility and the people. Participants of a ceremony for the aristocracy only disclosed a name of the new master and swore to it on fidelity then it was presented to more wide range poddannykh1. During the ceremony all swearing shook hands with the new master: this ritual was one of indispensable conditions. In times Abbasidov this ceremony began to wear a uniform of the written contract of the governor with citizens.

Under Islamic laws the ceremony of the oath was obligatory for the sultan, without it he had no legitimate authority on a throne. Usually to the sultan in the hall of sacred relics of Prophet Muhammad "N_gka-_ Baayoe1" of the Topkapi Palace first of all Pris Yagali the highest figures of the state: The sheikh - ul-Islam representing the higher spiritual authority (Sharia) and the chief vizier representing the higher political authority (vezirat). Originally attendants of a harem also participated in this ceremony, but over time their quantity began to decrease, and they were eliminated participants of a ceremony. There could also be also participants of a plot who displaced the former sultan and also favourites of the new sultan, or representatives of groups whose interests and whose influence were represented by the sultan, for example leaders of Islamic religious awards.

If the sultan died a natural death, then at first showed to his successor a body of his predecessor. At this time the master of ceremony sent invitations to alleged participants of a ceremony of oath of allegiance, one invitation went also to the new sultan. After the end of a ceremony in the hall of sacred relics of Prophet Muhammad "N_gka-_ Baayoe" the cannon salute announced the citizen accession to the throne of the new sultan, being the first official statement of the new governor. Continuation of a ceremony took place before the Gate of happiness of Bayvvayoe of the palace where the sultan, sitting on a throne, took the oath of court. Recently for this ceremony the so-called throne of Shah Ismail brought to the palace during the rights - was usually used

1 Cripple N. of RaSh^a_t of £ок Ua? and! Oetap Beu1e1: TT 8op Yyz U іІі Ma Merasim1er. Mapi1, 2004. 8. 29.

line of the sultan Yavuz. The gold throne was decorated with emeralds and rubies.

During the ceremony the sultan sat down on a throne to the applause of citizens and the first to it were sworn by the representative of a family of Prophet Muhammad (пак1Ъи1е$га1:) or Sheikh - ul-Islam. Between an applause the citizens delivered to the sultan laudatory speeches, for example, "with the God's help live one thousand years for the state". At the beginning and at the end of a ceremony the orchestra played a festive march three times. All participants during the ceremony cried out "Long summer to the padishah!". The sheikh - ul-Islam or the representative of a family of Prophet Muhammad stood opposite to a sultan throne and by a loud voice said prayers. The sultan listened to a prayer standing, having opened palms. During the ceremony only the sultan could sit, all other citizens stood. During the oath ceremony Abdul-Hamid II the number of participants of a ceremony strongly increased in comparison with the number of participants of former ceremonies. Therefore continuation of a ceremony took place in the Dolmabakhche palace. Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, according to contemporaries, during the ceremony in the Topkapi Palace, and then in Dolmabakhche, "without rising from a throne", took the oath of sheikhs of religious awards, military and civil officials. And if at former ceremonies the leaders of non-Muslim societies sent only written congratulations to the sultan, then Abdul-Hamid of II they were already present at an oath ceremony as direct participants of a ceremony. Thus, the oath ceremony to the sultan Abdul-Hamid of II, was the first where there were so many citizens, representatives of different groups of Ottoman society. There were at this ceremony no ambassadors of the foreign states as they were not the sultan's citizens and therefore they sent letters of congratulations to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Ottoman Empire.

News of accession to the throne of the new sultan went to vilayets and counties, and from now on this day was celebrated annually. For three days, five times a day the festive salute was given, institutions were closed for the weekend, and the city was decorated. In the evening in mosques, shops and yawls on Bosphorus were lit

lamps, special permission at the Istanbul judge for this purpose undertook, fireworks and illumination were organized and also played orchestras. In vilayets and counties in public places was read firman about accession to the throne of the new sultan, in mosques after a Mohammedan prayer prayers in health of the new sultan were said. Congratulations and from abroad which went to the palace came.

During government of the sultan Abdul-Hamid II day of accession to the throne was celebrated especially magnificently, in the cities there took place celebrations. Crown princes, governors, religious leaders (as Islamic, and other religions of the empire), the heads of commercial communities, owners of newspapers expressing the congratulations to the sultan, and sometimes even congratulations on behalf of the wives participated in a ceremony of celebration. Translators read congratulations of foreign ambassadors. Newspapers printed congratulations of the emir of Mecca and Egyptian Hediva.

"the podpoyasyvaniye a saber" or "obtaining the right to carrying a saber" (Kiliç kuçanma) was other ceremony of Ottoman sultans. After the ceremony of oath of allegiance at which there was only a limited number of citizens one more ceremony at which citizens had to see the new master was necessary. For this reason there was such ceremony — "a podpoyasyvaniye a saber". In sources it has different names — "taklid-i seyf" (a podpoyasyvaniye a saber) and "talik-i seyf" (suspension of a saber). Sources of emergence of this ceremony go from the understanding of a sword existing long since as symbol of the power and therefore during the ceremony "a podpoyasyvaniye a saber" the governor received the symbolical power over citizens. Besides, the sword was always a symbol of justice and legality. This ceremony can be considered as an analog of coronation of the European monarchs, only in this case the crown was replaced by a sword. For the first time this ceremony appears during formation and distribution of Islam. It was used also by some Caliphs mameluxky sultanata1. In Ottoman

1 Karateke H. Op. cit. S. 46. D’Ohsson. Tableau general de l’Empire othoman. Paris, 1787-1824, t. 2. river 519.

empires this ceremony received final registration and absorbed in itself traditions of different cultures. Perhaps, this ceremony was one of rituals of traditional military communities, and the sultan as the commander-in-chief received thus the power over yanycharsky army.

A ceremony "the podpoyasyvaniya a saber" is not especially east Islamic ceremony as well as the ceremony of a crowning is not especially European. The crowning ceremony for the first time appeared in the east, in Persia, later it was adopted by Byzantines, and from Byzantium already got to Europe. But in the Islamic world, except Persia, coronation of governors. Existed anywhere any more in the Ottoman Empire only the concept of the crowned person, or owner of a crown was used. The exception is made only by the sultan Suleyman I Velikolepny (Kanuni) for whom in Venice a helmet with four crowns and the sealing wax seals on letters of sultans which, since 19th century, in imitation the European traditions began to have the image of a crown was made. In the prayers said in health of the sultan it was told not about "the owner of a sword", and about "the owner of a crown" (1aye-yoag), and the sultan as "the governor the owner of a crown" was called (1aye-yoag-1 tigajat). Though as one of possible options of replacement "a podpoyasyvaniye" could be approved by a saber a ritual of "putting on of a turban".

One of the first ceremonies "a saber" took place podpoyasyvaniye in the Ottoman Empire in effective date on a throne of the sultan Murad II in 1421 near Bursa. The conqueror of Constantinople, the sultan Mekhmed II Fatih in 1453 in the address to inhabitants Galatians calls themselves "girded by a saber by right". Since the end of the XVI century the ceremony began to take place in Istanbul in the Region of Eyyup where there was a grave of the associate prophet Muhammad Eyyup el Ansari. In 1574 there took place the ceremony "a podpoyasyva-niya a saber" the sultan Murad of III. After sultans ceased to participate in military campaigns, this ritual turned into a ceremony. With what sabers sultans at first girded, it is unknown, perhaps it could be the sword "Othman Ghazi" as Prophet Muhammad's sabers and other swords used later in ceremonies were at -

vezena to Istanbul the sultan Selim I Yavuz only in 1517 together with other Muslim relics. Obviously only what throughout existence of this ritual of any certain sword for a ceremony did not exist and sultans used various swords for this ceremony. In spite of the fact that Prophet Muhammad's sword had to become the most suitable for this ceremony, it was not used constantly. Now two swords belonging to Prophet Muhammad are stored in the Topkapi Palace. Obviously, Prophet sword was very valuable Islamic relic and therefore it was used infrequently, or its big size and weight was the cause of rare use of so valuable sword.

Some sultans girded with two swords, it occurred, in particular, at Murad IV (1623), Mahmoud II (1808) ceremonies and Abdul-Hamid of II (1876). Mahmoud of II used in this ceremony Prophet Muhammad's sword and a sword "Othman Ghazi" as one of swords was a symbol of the spiritual power, and another was a dynasty symbol. Also and the sultan Abdul-Hamid of II at first girded with Omar's sword, and then girded with "a sultanate sword" which the sword "Othman Ghazi" was.

During the sultan's ceremony usually "either the representative of a family of Prophet, or Sheikh - ul-Islam girded a saber", and in some ceremonies this function was executed by the famous religious figures.

Representatives of various power groups and religious figures were usually direct participants of a ceremony. Till 1826, up to abolition of yanycharsky army, Janissars also participated in a ceremony. The top officials of the state were obligatory participants of a ceremony: the chief vizier representing the supreme political authority, Sheikh - ul-Islam representing the supreme religious authority and also the Minister of War, government officials.

The venue of a ceremony Eyyup (mosque and a tomb) was and remains one of the most esteemed holy sites in Istanbul. There is a tomb of the associate Prophet Muhammad Eyyup

Ansari's ale, found to or right after capture by Turks of Constantinople by the sheikh Akshemseddinom.

As is written by the eyewitness of events, the Ottoman intellectual Ahmet Mitkhat Efendi, day of holding a ceremony "a podpoyasyvaniye" Abdul-Hamid II was announced by a saber Thursday September 7, 1876, the sixth day after the introduction of the sultan on a throne. As day of holding a ceremony was announced in advance, to Istanbul there could arrive thousands of residents of the nearest towns: Edirne (Adrianople), Filippolya, Izmit, Calais Sultaniye (Chanakkale), Varna and Sinop and also from the outskirts: Bosphorus, San Stephano and Princes Islands. Watched 600 — 700 thousand people a ceremony.

The ceremony "a podpoyasyvaniye" the sultan Abdul-Hamid II began a saber with departure of a sultan procession from the Dolmabakhche palace what the volley from seven guns announced. In process of approach of the sultan to Eyyup the Ottoman and foreign ships in the Gulf Golden Horn began to salute. After that the Makhmudiye battleship fired 120 volleys from the tools. Sailors of the imperial fleet, saying "Long summer to the padishah!", saluted the new sultan.

In Eyyup the sultan was met on pier Chemlekchilar, on two sides of the road there were Ottoman soldiers dressed in a form of times of the sultan Adbul Medical kike. Thousands of citizens, being ashore, enthusiastically cried out "Long summer to the padishah!". The sultan went to the mosque on a white Arab racer.

The ceremonies based on traditional Islam throughout long time actively were used by the power of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman state for that time was the only Islamic State of Europe which followed in the 19th century a way of modernization when maintaining traditional values of Ottoman society. Traditional rituals successfully fitted into modern reality as at the yards of the European monarchs there were similar ceremonies. The Ottoman sultan, thus, became the member of big family of the European crowned persons, keeping at the same time ancient traditions of Islam and the Ottoman Empire.

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