By David Nicolle
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Extra info for The Ottomans: Empire of Faith
The Mente§e Ogullari (c. 1280-1424) ruled, at least nominally, the rugged and indented coastal region immediately west of Hamid and Teke. The father of Mente§e Bey, the founder of this dynasty, may have been the Amir-i Sawahil or "governor of the coast" for the Seljuq sultans of R u m , but this might have been a family legend designed to justify Mente§e Ogullari rule. Given their geographical position it is hardly surprising that they soon took to the sea, raiding Venetian maritime trade routes and the island possessions of the crusader Hospitallers of Rhodes.
In naval and to some extent military terms, the Aegean Sea was dominated by the Latins—people of western European origin and culture. Many Latins had, of course, been long resident in this region. It was they, rather than the Byzantines, whom the Turks had to face if they wished to extend their influence, power, culture, or trade across the Aegean. In 1204 the Fourth Crusade had conquered Constantinople to establish a short-lived Latin empire. This had little lasting impact on the Byzantine empire other than to weaken it still further in the face of its Turkish neighbors in Anatolia.
The city's impact and its classical architecture were the result of centuries of development. The earliest Ottoman monumental buildings, mosques, madrasas, and tombs were linked to the Seljuq architectural traditions of Anatolia, but they soon began to betray strong Byzantine and even Italian influences. The most obvious contribution of Ottoman designers and builders to the history of Islamic architecture is undoubtedly the domed mosque. Today the domed mosque plan is so widespread across the Islamic world and beyond that the fact that it is essentially an Ottoman invention is usually forgotten.