Story of Ertugrul and Halime

Amal Chatterjee
16 min readFeb 15, 2021


Source : Google photo of Ertugrul

Synopsis : It is said that all great things have a small beginning. When a brave fighter of the Kayi tribe in Turkey took up his sword to protect the poor and helpless from bandits and tyrants to give them justice, he became the star who rallied all the tribes that came under his leadership to root out the evil hordes of Genghis Khan and later the Knight Templars and the Byzantine rulers. This is the story of Ertugrul Bey and his incredible struggle to lay the foundation of the greatest empire that his son Osman 1 founded later called the Ottoman empire. Ertugrul fought for equality, justice for all and protection of the poor and needy. He never turned away anyone who needed his help.

How many of you have ever heard of Ertugrul the brave heart? I suspect most people do not know their own history let alone Ertugrul, the brave heart. He lived a long time ago in the 11th century but left behind an empire that lasted over 600 years called The Ottoman empire based in Turkey. It was an empire that outlasted all others and was known as the glorious period in the Islamic world that left its mark in the annals of history as the one that started when a young man stepped forward to fight injustice and tyranny during his time.

He was the son of a great warrior Suleiman Shah who was the head of the Kayi tribe and his equally illustrious mother Hayme who taught young Ertrugul that fighting injustice and tyranny anywhere was a very noble cause so the young dashing boy grew up believing it and trained very hard for his cause just like his other brothers and the young men of his tribe.

They were nomads who wanted peace and lived in tents that they moved to greener pastures for the goats and sheep but they were assailed on all sides by their enemies that included the Knights Templars, the Mongol marauders, other tribes that wanted their land, bandits who attacked them and their markets where they sold their beautiful rugs and later the Byzantine Christians who saw them as threats to their ambition to rule the world from Constantinople. They were at first dismissed as goat herders but soon learned to their dismay the superb fighting skills of the tribe under Ertugrul who emerged as their leader they would die for in battle.

The Kayi tribe was known for its most excellent woolen rugs of intricate designs and dazzling colors woven by the Kayi women that were highly prized in many European countries and in the Middle East. With the income from the sale of their carpets and rugs, they bought food and other necessities but every woman knew the dangerous time they all lived in and trained in horse riding ,archery and how to defend themselves so they all carried knives in their waist.

The young men constantly honed their skill in sword fighting, archery, horse riding and in hand to hand combat because they never knew when they would be attacked. They were peace loving people who were generous to a fault to anyone who sought their protection and shelter and extended their protection to other tribes that often came under attack. There were many such tribes spread out over a vast area of the present day Turkey that a noble Sultan tried to bring together to fight their common enemy that put their very existence in jeopardy. This was Genghis Khan and his blood thirsty hordes that wanted to conquer the whole world and nearly did. The Knight Templars also posed a serious threat to all Moslems who lived in the area because they too wanted to capture Moslem territories and expand their influence so they occupied Jerusalem causing a lot of bloodshed.

They fought the Byzantine soldiers because by this time the Christian Church was divided into the Catholics ruled by the Pope in the Vatican and the Orthodox Christians ruled by a king from Niceae and later from Constantinople who was also their Pope. The world’s greatest Orthodox Christian church was built in Constantinople that still stands today but not as a Church anymore. It has been turned into a mosque now. The Templars were the military arm of the Catholic church who protected Jerusalem from the Moslems and made lots of money through trade and loaning money at usurious rates to the European kings who sent many crusades to Palestine to occupy Jerusalem.

Ertugrul who was the third son of the tribe chief Sulayman Shah changed the history forever but even he did not know how his fight for truth, justice and equality would lay the foundation of a vast empire that someday would shine as a glorious beacon to all that would outshine all the empire building powers of that period.

This is the mesmerizing story of a great man who fought his enemies tooth and nail, suffered a great deal when his enemies captured him and tortured him, beat him to break his bones, nailed his hand to a tree with a spike, poisoned him, kidnapped his baby son and posed a direct threat to his beautiful wife Halime Sultan, his mother Hayme and to his tribe. He never let down his father Suleyman Shah who came to trust the judgment of Ertugrul more than all his other sons. But he fought on and managed to survive his imprisonment and tortures escaping many times to regain his strength to continue his struggle. His trusty fighting campanions Bamsy, Turgut, Abderrahman, Artuk Bey and Dundar Bey among others formed a very formidable fighting force and fought numerous battles and won most of them.

His story starts when one day while hunting in the forest for deer, he came upon a group of heavily armed Templar soldiers who had in their custody a beautiful princess , her father and younger brother. The Templars were on their way to their castle to lock up their prisoners in their dungeon to use them as pawns for political bargaining in their effort to expand their territory.

Ertugrul and a few of his close associates came upon the scene and promptly killed all the Templars and rescued the princess called Halime Sultan. He gave them shelter in his tribe and vowed to protect them all the time. He also fell in love with the beautiful princess who also fell in love with him so his parents gave their blessing to their marriage later.

Halime was no ordinary princess. She came from a ferocious tribe that had fallen on hard times. She was very educated and superbly trained in sword fighting, horse riding and archery. She was an artist when it came to design beautiful patterns in the carpet and introduced dazzling colors that she extracted from plants and barks of some trees to dye the wool so her new designs and colors drew great admiration in the market. The traders paid in gold a good price that increased the income of the tribe.

He fought many battles with the Templars who were the enemy of all Moslems and eventually captured their castle and killed them all. He found huge amount of gold in their castle that he distributed to all the poor people of his tribe who had lost their sons in the battle. He equally helped Christians, Greeks and others who needed his help and protected them. But the Mongol warlord Noyan gave him the most trouble whom he was able to kill when he managed to escape from his captivity in the Mongol camp.

Source : Google photo of Mongol warlord Noyan who tortured Ertugrul

The Real History of Ertugrul and Halime

The following information on Ertugrul Bey, Halime and his parents, brothers and other important persons in the life of Ertugrul are drawn from the Islamic history , written records of Ibn Arabi and other sources like Byzantine records, records of Knight Templars etc . The photos shown here are from the Turkish U tube episodes called Dirilis meaning Insurrection that is wildly popular.

Source : Google photo of Ertugrul Bey and Halime Sultan

With the small part of Kayi tribe, Ertugurl with only 400 tents, went on the challenging path toward the West and made foundation for one of the greatest empires. After Sultan Aladdin was poisoned by Sadettin Kopek who was his vizier, Ertugrul revolted against Kopek’s government, and proclaimed his own State, the City of Sogut its capitol.

His love and respect for his wife was widely known. He had four sons with Halime Sultan, and he died when he was 90 years old. The last ten years of his life were spent quietly in his tribe when due to the old age, he transferred all his responsibilities to his youngest son Osman. A historical proof of his life are the coins minted by Osman which identify Ertuğrul as the name of his father, but beyond this not much is known about him apart from folklores.

There is information and historical facts about him that are kept in Turkish archives, within Ibn Arabi’s chronologies, in Western archives about Templars, in Byzantine’s chronologies and in legends — but this information only amounts to around 7 pages according to the actor Engin Altan Duzyatan, who gave life to this great character. Despite this Engin considers it a great privilege to play Ertugrul as he was the first person in Turkish history to move away from the nomadic lifestyle and look to establish a state that went on to last 600 years.

We do know he was buried in Sogut in 1280. Around his tomb are graves of Halime Sultan, Hayme Mother, his sons, Gunduz, Savci Bey, Saru Batu and Osman, his brother Dundar, Turgut Alp, Samsa Alp, Abdurahman, and many others of his Alps, who reached Sogut with Ertugrul Bey. The ones that were not buried there, died along the way.

We all know that everything comes to an end someday so did the life of Ertugrul in Sogut one day when he was 90 .He is buried here in Sogut but what wrenched my heart was to see the simple grave of Halime Sultan near the entrance to the mausoleum of Ertugrul as shown in the following video. How tragic that in death they were separated.

Source : Google photo of the grave of Ertugrul Bey in Sogut , Turkey

Source : U tube video of the grave of Ertugrul in Sogut, Turkey

Here you will find the short description of the principal characters who played a decisive role in the life of Ertugrul and Halime starting with Osman1.

Osman 1:

Source : Google photo of Osman 1 , founder of the Ottoman empire, 4th son of Ertugrul and Halime Sultan

The extent of the Ottoman empire

Source : Google map of the Ottoman empire, its rise and fall

Osman is known as the father of the Ottoman Empire as from his Beylik (principality) the expansion of the Ottoman territory began. In the history books you will often see Ottoman rule referred to as the Osmanli dynasty. Osman came very late to his parents. He was born late in Ertugrul and Halime’s life. When Osman was born in 1258, Ertugrul was around 67 years old, and as Halime was older too, when normally women cannot have children anymore, he was considered a Miracle child sent by God. Historians consider a black hole in Ottoman history during Osman’s life as what is written was discovered more than 100 years after his death.

Gundogdu & Sungurtekin

Source : Google photo of Gundogdu and Sungurtekin, brothers of Ertugrul Bey

They did not support Ertugrul’s path and as we know, and over time faded in history. They lived a quiet and unremarkable life, not much is known or written about them. There are only verbal accounts, which were told by people through generations. According to that, they suffered big losses during a great Mongol invasion, and what was left of them, they lived subserviently under the Mongol’s rule.

Dundar Bey

Source : Google photo of Dundar Bey, younger brother of Ertugrul Bey

He was a brave and renowned warrior, a goodhearted and loving man, devoted to his brother, his tribe, and his family. He was the younger brother of Ertrugul but history documents him as of a weak personality and he made a lot of mistakes throughout his long life. He died aged 92 or 93, by Osman’s hand. He rebelled against one of Osman’s decision and that was the last straw for Osman.

Turgut Alp :

Source : Google photo of Turgut Alp

He was one of the greatest and most renowned warriors in Turkish history, a blood-brother to Ertugrul and his best follower and supporter, a very smart and capable man. He lived an unusually long life, even for our time. He outlived Ertugrul Bey by 35 years, and he was killed in a battle, with his legendary battle-axe in his hand aged 125 years old! After Ertugrul passed away, Turgut become the main support to Osman, and when Osman established his Sultanate, he rewarded Turgut with the highest position, as a Governor of the new State.

Bamsi Beyrek

Source : Google photo of Bamsi

He was a legendary hero; his life has been described in the book of medieval Ottoman’s chronologies of that time, titled ‘’The book of Dede Korkut” . He was a fierce warrior, goodhearted and very funny man. His love life was legendary, since his heart was divided between two loves. He spent 16 years in a dungeon in a Byzantine castle where the Princess, who lived in that Fortress fell in love with him and helped him escape. It is not known when he died or how long he lived; only that he lived for a long time and he was ambushed by trickery and killed in a battle leaving behind a wife and children.

Ibn Arabi

Source : Google photo of Ibn Arabi, mystic, philosopher, poet,sage

As many of us know Ibn Arabi is a famous chronologist, mystic, philosopher, poet, sage, he is one of the world’s great spiritual teachers. Ibn ‘Arabi was born in Murcia, Andalusia, in Spain in 1165 and his writings had an immense impact throughout the Islamic world and Christian world. The universal ideas underlying his thought are of immediate relevance today. He was great inspiration and support to Ertugrul Bey. He died in 1240 aged 75. He was the spiritual master of Ertugrul and gave many advice and support to him when he was struggling.

After his death, Ertugrul Bey continued to draw support from Ibn Arabi, through his numerous writings, books, diaries, teachings and his other spiritual works, and through his followers.

Halime Sultan

Source : Photo of Halime Sultan, wife of Ertugrul Bey and the love of his life

She was a Seljuk Princess, very dedicated to her husband and his greatest supporter. She gave up her title and her Palace’s life due to her love and dedication to Ertugrul Bey. Through her marriage to Ertugrul Bey, Seljuk Turks and Oguz Turks, two greatest Turkish branches were irrevocably united by blood ties.

Hayme Mother

Source : Google photo of Hayme , mother of Ertugrul Bey

She lived a long life and she came with them all the way to Sogut. She was a smart, caring and brave woman, who acted as the Bey of her tribe, after Suleyman Shah had died. She was widely much respected and she was called ‘’the Mother of the people’’. It is not clear whether she gave birth to Gundogdu, she certainly brought him up. According to one line of sources, Gundogdu was her own son. But, since Suleyman Shah had lost his first wife, before marrying Hayme, there are some who believe that Gundogdu was the son of Hayme.

Suleyman Shah

Source : Google photo of Suleyman Shah, father of Ertugrul Bey

He was a greatly respected figure of that time, he had 4 sons with Hayme Mother. He died by drowning in River Euphrates, and the spot near Aleppo, where he was buried in a sacred place for Turks which is now in modern day Syria, and that territory still belongs to Turkey. It is guarded by Turkey’s military guards and you need a passport to get in there to see the mausoleum of Suleyman Shah although due to the emergence of ISIS and the recent ruin of shrines and tombs from extremists, the remains were temporarily removed last year due to the situation around Aleppo and brought to Turkey to preserve.

Saddetin Kopek

According to Ottoman sources Saddetin Kopek is considered an ambitious and evil man, his only good quality was his devotion to his State. He eventually managed to kill Sultan Alladdin, his second wife, the Ayyubid Princess and their two sons by poisoning in 1238. He then proclaimed Sultan Alladdin’s third and oldest son (from his first marriage), as a new Sultan through whom Kopek gained total power. However, only one year later, he was hanged from the Palace wall. He always conspired against Ertugrul and tried to kill him many times whom he considered his enemy..

Artuk Bey

Source : Google photo of Artuk Bey , fighter and healer

Known as Ertugrul Bey’s right hand man in the TV series, but there is so much more to his story! Artuk Bey (also known as “Son of Eksük” or Ibn Eksuk) was a Turkish General of the Great Seljuk Empire in the 11th century. He was the Seljuk governor of Jerusalem between 1085–1091. Artuk Bey lived in Qüddus up to his death in 1091.

Artuk Bey was one of the commanders of the Great Seljuk Empire army during the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. After the battle, he took part in the conquest of Anatolia on behalf of the Seljuk Empire. He captured the Yeşilırmak valley in 1074. He also served the sultan by quashing a rebellion in 1077.

His next mission was a campaign to capture Amid (modern Diyarbakır) from the Marwanids. In this campaign he quarrelled with the Commander in Chief Fahrüddevlet who tended to make peace with Marwanids. In a surprise attack he defeated reinforcements to Marwanids. However, when the Sultan Malik Shah I heard about the event he suspected Artuk Bey of dissension.

Artuk Bey left the battle field and attended to Tutush I who was Malik Shah’s discordant younger brother in Syria in 1084. In 1086 he was instrumental in defeating Süleyman, the sultan of Seljuks of Turkey in a battle between Süleyman and Tutush.

The Beylik of Artukids was named after him, founded 11 years after his death by his sons. His valiant sons are El Gazi ibn Artuk who battled Baldwin II of Edessa at the Battle of Hab, Syria (1119) but lost and Soqman ibn Artuk, the ally of the hot tempered Tugtekin Bey, The Governor of Damascus against the Crusaders in 1104 at the Battle of Harran near Raqqa.

On this battle the Seljuk Army finally captured Crusader Knights Baldwin Il of Edessa who called himself, King of Tripoli and Jerusalem and Joscelin of Courtenay who called himself Prince of Galilee. Although, they managed to escape later. Soqman ibn Artuk become famous and a true honour to the late Artuk Bey.

End of the Ottoman empire : By the time the British arrived in the Middle East and started spreading its influence, the great Ottoman Empire was in decline so their rule and influence waned. When Lawrence of Arabia came to unite the scattered Bedouins of Arabia to form a viable state later named Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, he gave a decisive blow to the Turkish rule there by training the Bedouins and leading them to attack the Turkish troops. His attack on Aqaba was the final blow when he crossed the Nefud desert to surprise the Turks from behind.

At the end of the first world war, the Ottoman empire collapsed entirely giving rise to a young army officer called Kamal Ataturk who established the modern dayTurkey, banned veils for women, encouraged education for all and rapid development of the country under a democratic government. This was somewhat similar to what Ertugrul himself promoted centuries ago . His remaining descendants were exiled to various countries thus ending the Ottoman rule forever after some 600 years. The last descendant of the great Ertugrul just died a few weeks ago.

Thus ends the story of the handsome fighter Ertugrul and his beautiful wife Halime Sultan who lie in their eternal sleep in Sogut , Turkey but what a tumultuous life they led, how they suffered and how they overcame their challenges together ! It is a great inspiring story that comes from a forgotten past.

Note : To know the story of Ertugrul in detail, please watch the movie called Resurrection ( Dirilis) in U tube that has English sublitles.

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