Gazi Evrenos

Evrenos (Gazi Hadji Evrenos Bey; d. 17 November 1417 in Yenice-i Vardar) was an Ottoman military commander. He served as general under Süleyman Pasha, Murad I, Bayezid I, Süleyman Çelebi and Mehmed I.

Byzantine sources mention him as Ἀβρανέζης, Βρανέζης, Βρανεύς (?), Βρενέζ, Βρενέζης, Βρενές. A persistent Greek legend maintains that Evrenos' father was a certain Ornos, renegade Byzantine governor of Bursa who defected to the Ottomans after the city fell in 1326. He was known as Isa Bey Prangi, buried in the village of Prangi (also known as Sırcık or Kırcık in Ottoman sources), a busy ferry-place on the Evros river about six kilometres east from Didymoteicho. Stanford J. Shaw and Joseph von Hammer regard Evrenos as a Byzantine/Greek convert to Islam.

Evrenos was originally a Beg of Karesi, joining the Ottomans after their conquest of the beylik in 1359. He led many crucial Ottoman campaigns and battles in Rumelia, Thrace, Thessaly, Macedonia and Serbia. After having participated in the Ottoman conquest of Adrianopolis in 1362, Evrenos was appointed to Ucbeyi (Marcher Lord) of Thessaly. He and his akincis fought in the Battle of Kosovo (1389) and the Battle of Nicopolis (1396). Evrenos conquered Keşan, İpsala, Gümülcine, Feres, Xanthi, Maronea, Serres, Monastir, and, in 1397, Corinth. He founded the town Yenice-i Vardar, modern Giannitsa.

Evrenos was father of seven sons (Khidr-shah, Isa, Suleyman, Ali, Yakub, Barak, Begdje) and several daughters. Together with the Mikhal-oghullari, Malkodj-oghullari and the Turakhan-oghullari, Evrenos' descendants, the Ewrenos Oghullari (Evrenosoğulları), constitute one of the four ancient families of the Ottoman warrior nobility.

Gazi Evrenos died at an advanced age in Yenice-i Vardar. He was buried in a mausoleum there in 1417. The mausoleum survives but was badly mutilated in 19th century and served for a time as an agricultural store.

As one of the most successful Ottoman commanders, Evrenos acquired a considerable amount of wealth and founded numerous endowments (awqaf). Several monuments attributed to him survive in southeastern Europe. Of primary importance is his mausoleum, or türbe, with its accompanying epitaph in Giannitsa. A hammam of Evrenos stands to the south of the mausoleum. Two other monuments stand in Greek Thrace.


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