The Osmanli Dynasty, also the House of Osman, ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1281 to 1923, beginning with Osman I (not counting his father, Ertuğrul), though the dynasty was not proclaimed until 1383 when Murad I declared himself sultan. Before that the tribe/dynasty might have been known as Söğüt but was renamed Osmanli in honour of Osman.
The sultan was the sole regent and government of the empire, at least officially. The sultan enjoyed many titles such as Sovereign of the House of Osman, Sultan of Sultans, Khan of Khans, and, from 1517 till 1924, the head of the House of Osman was also Commander of the Faithful and Successor of the Prophet of the Lord of the Universe, i.e. Caliph, and the Ottoman Empire was synonymous with the Caliphate, the Islamic State.
Note that the first rulers never called themselves sultans, but rather beys. See the article on state organisation of the Ottoman Empire for further information on the sultan and the structure of power.
List of the Heads of the House
Post-imperial heads of the House
Also notable among the Osmanlis are the pretender Cem and the numerous wives of the sultans (for example Roxelana), though they were not really considered as being a part of the Imperial House.
When Mehmed II took over Constantinople on May 29, 1453, he took the title Emperor of the Roman Empire and protector of Orthodox Christianity. He let himself be crowned Emperor by the Patriarch of Constantinople Gennadius Scholarius, whom he protected and whose stature he elevated into leader of all the Eastern Orthodox Christians. As emperor of the Romans he laid claim to all Roman territories, which at the time before the Fall of Constantinople, however, extended to little more than the city itself, plus some areas in Morea (Peloponnesos) and the Empire of Trebizond.
From 1517 onwards, the Ottoman Sultan was also Caliph, which theoretically also gave him overlordship over other Muslim rulers around the world. For example, among the Mughal Emperors of India, only Aurangzeb had the Khutba read in his own name.
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Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04