How To Maintain An Empire

Posted: December 4, 2013 in Articles
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In my history, I read about an Ottoman Sultan named Murad. Murad inherited the Ottoman throne when he was eleven but his mother “helped” him rule for ten years. During this time, Murad exercised and practiced shooting his bow. He threw spears and wrestled until he was an expert at all three sports.

Finally, Murad gained the throne – and faced problems along with it. When he was twenty-three, his army revolted. The rebels came to the castle and said, “Give us your Grand Vizier! Listen to us, not him!” The Grand Vizier, in order to protect Murad’s throne, drew his sword and charged at the rebels – but his head was cut off.

The revolt was temporarily put down, but the Sultan realized that the army would attack him again if he didn’t agree to listen to their demands. He listened to them, but he secretly sent spies to find the leader of the revolt. Rejeb Pasha was found to be the leader, and surprisingly, Murad didn’t try to have him killed right away. In his ignorance as to Rejeb really was, he had made Rejeb his new Grand Vizier! Later, a servant told Rejeb that Murad wanted to speak with him. When Rejeb walked into the room specified by the servant, he was ambushed by Murad’s personal assassins. They surrounded him, the Sultan ordered his head cut off, and it was done.

The revolt wasn’t the only problem Murad faced. The Ottoman Empire had become too large and was running out of money. Ottoman silver coins had become worthless because of the gold coming from South America. Also, Murad’s officials had become corrupt, and the Ottomans even lost their prize city, Baghdad! Thus, Murad began to rule the land with an iron fist – and by doing so, saved it from falling apart.

Murad did save the Ottoman Empire; however, he was extremely cruel. After the revolt was quashed, he killed anyone who had been involved in it. He killed anyone who was seen as a traitor. He even killed doctors who didn’t heal him fast enough or musicians who played Persian songs! His methods of keeping the country strong were common – kill anybody who didn’t agree with him.

As I read, I could draw an easy comparison to several tyrants, in particular Abraham Lincoln. Now we know that most everyone loves “Honest Abe”, but they probably haven’t read that much about him. Lincoln saved the Union (never mind that the union was meant to be voluntary), but he did so only by killing hundreds of thousands of people who disagreed with him.

by John

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