Murad II
Painting of Murad II by Paolo Veronese, c. 16th century
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (Padishah)
First reign26 May 1421 – August 1444
PredecessorMehmed I
SuccessorMehmed II
Second reignSeptember 1446 – 3 February 1451
PredecessorMehmed II
SuccessorMehmed II
Born16 June 1404[1][2]
Amasya, Ottoman Sultanate
Died3 February 1451(1451-02-03) (aged 46)
Edirne, Ottoman Sultanate
Among others
Mehmed II
Murad bin Mehemmed Han[3]
FatherMehmed I
MotherEmine Hatun or Şahzade Hatun
ReligionSunni Islam
TughraMurad II's signature

Murad II (Ottoman Turkish: مراد ثانى, romanizedMurād-ı sānī, Turkish: II. Murad; 16 June 1404[1][2] – 3 February 1451) was twice the sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1421 to 1444 and from 1446 to 1451.

Murad II's reign saw a period of great economic development, with an increase in trade and a considerable expansion of Ottoman cities. In 1432, the traveller Bertrandon de la Broquière noted that Ottoman annual revenue had increased to 2,500,000 ducats, and that were Murad II to use all resources that were available to him he could have invaded Europe with ease.[4]

Early life

Murad was born on 16 June 1404 (or 1403[2][5]) to Sultan Mehmed I, while the identity of his mother is disputed according to various accounts. According to 15th century historian Şükrullah, Murad's mother was a concubine. Hüseyin Hüsâmeddin Yasar, an early 20th century historian, wrote in his work Amasya Tarihi that his mother was Şahzade Hatun, daughter of Divitdar Ahmed Pasha. According to historians İsmail Hami Danişmend, and Heath W. Lowry, his mother was Emine Hatun, daughter of Şaban Suli Bey, ruler of the Dulkadirids.[6][7][8][9]

He spent his early childhood in Amasya. In 1410, Murad came along with his father to the Ottoman capital, Edirne. After his father ascended to the Ottoman throne, he made Murad governor of the Amasya Sanjak. Murad remained at Amasya until the death of Mehmed I in 1421. He was solemnly recognized as sultan of the Ottoman Sultanate at sixteen years of age, girded with the Sword of Osman at Bursa, and the troops and officers of the state willingly paid homage to him as their sovereign.


Accession and first reign

Sultan Murad II at archery practice (miniature painting from 1584)

Murad's reign was troubled by insurrection early on. The Byzantine Emperor, Manuel II, released the 'pretender'[10] Mustafa Çelebi (known as Düzmece Mustafa) from confinement and acknowledged him as the legitimate heir to the throne of Bayezid I (1389–1402). The Byzantine Emperor had first secured a stipulation that Mustafa should, if successful, repay him for his liberation by giving up a large number of important cities. The pretender was landed by the Byzantine galleys in the European dominion of the sultan and for a time made rapid progress. Many Ottoman soldiers joined him, and he defeated and killed the veteran general Bayazid Pasha, whom Murad had sent to fight him. Mustafa defeated Murad's army and declared himself Sultan of Adrianople (modern Edirne). He then crossed the Dardanelles to Asia with a large army but Murad out-manoeuvered Mustafa. Mustafa's force passed over in large numbers to Murad II. Mustafa took refuge in the city of Gallipoli, but the sultan, who was greatly aided by a Genoese commander named Adorno, besieged him there and stormed the place. Mustafa was taken and put to death by the sultan, who then turned his arms against the Roman emperor and declared his resolution to punish the Palaiologos for their unprovoked enmity by the capture of Constantinople.

Murad II and Władysław III of Poland

Murad II then formed a new army called Azeb in 1421 and marched through the Byzantine Empire and laid siege to Constantinople. While Murad was besieging the city, the Byzantines, in league with some independent Turkish Anatolian states, sent the sultan's younger brother Küçük Mustafa (who was only 13 years old) to rebel against the sultan and besiege Bursa. Murad had to abandon the siege of Constantinople in order to deal with his rebellious brother. He caught Prince Mustafa and executed him. The Anatolian states that had been constantly plotting against him — Aydinids, Germiyanids, Menteshe and Teke — were annexed and henceforth became part of the Ottoman Sultanate.

Murad II then declared war against Venice, the Karamanid Emirate, Serbia and Hungary. The Karamanids were defeated in 1428 and Venice withdrew in 1432 following the defeat at the second Siege of Thessalonica in 1430. In the 1430s Murad captured vast territories in the Balkans and succeeded in annexing Serbia in 1439. In 1441 the Holy Roman Empire and Poland joined the Serbian-Hungarian coalition. Murad II won the Crusade of Varna in 1444 against John Hunyadi.

Abdication and second reign

Murad II relinquished his throne[1] in 1444 to his son Mehmed II, but a Janissary revolt[11] in the Empire forced him to return.

In 1448 he defeated the Christian coalition at the Second Battle of Kosovo (the first one took place in 1389).[12] When the Balkan front was secured, Murad II turned east to defeat Timur's son, Shah Rokh, and the emirates of Karamanid and Çorum-Amasya.[citation needed] In 1450 Murad II led his army into Albania and unsuccessfully besieged the Castle of Krujë in an effort to defeat the resistance led by Skanderbeg. In the winter of 1450–1451, Murad II fell ill, and died in Edirne. He was succeeded by his son Mehmed II (1451–1481).

As ghazi sultan

When Murad ascended the throne, he sought to regain lost Ottoman territories that had reverted to autonomy following his grandfather Bayezid I's defeat at the Battle of Ankara in 1402 at the hands of Timur. He needed the support of both the public and the nobles "who would enable him to exercise his rule", and utilized the old and potent Islamic trope of the ghazi king.[13]

In order to gain popular international support for his conquests, Murad II modeled himself after the legendary Ghazi kings of old. The Ottomans already presented themselves as ghazis, painting their origins as rising from the ghazas of Osman, the founder of the dynasty. For them, ghaza was the noble championing of Islam and justice against non-Muslims and Muslims alike, if they were cruel; for example, Bayezid I labeled Timur Lang, also a Muslim, an apostate prior to the Battle of Ankara because of the violence his troops had committed upon innocent civilians and because "all you do is to break promises and vows, shed blood, and violate the honor of women."[14] Murad II only had to capitalize on this dynastic inheritance of doing ghaza, which he did by actively crafting the public image of Ghazi Sultan.

After his accession, there was a flurry of translating and compiling activity where old Persian, Arab, and Anatolian epics were translated into Turkish so Murad II could uncover the ghazi king legends.[14] He drew from the noble behavior of the nameless Caliphs in the Battalname, an epic about a fictional Arab warrior who fought against the Byzantines, and modelled his actions on theirs.[14] He was careful to embody the simplicity, piety, and noble sense of justice that was part of the ghazi king persona.

For example, the Caliph in Battalname saw the battle turning in his enemy's favor, and got down from his horse and prayed, after which the battle ended in a victory for him. In the Battle of Varna in 1444, Murad II saw the Hungarians gaining the upper hand, and he got down from his horse and prayed just like the Caliph, and soon after, the tide turned in the Ottoman's favor and the Hungarian king Wladyslaw was killed.[14][13] Similarly, the Caliph in the epic roused his warriors by saying "Those of you who die will be martyrs. Those of you who kill will be ghazis"; before the Battle of Varna, Murad II repeated these words to his army, saying "Those of us who kill will be ghazis; those of us who die will be martyrs."[14] In another instance, since the ghazi king is meant to be just and fair, when Murad took Thessalonica in the Balkans, he took care to keep the troops in check and prevented widespread looting.[13] Finally, just as the fictional Caliph's ghazas were immortalized in Battalname, Murad II's battles and victories were also compiled and given the title "The Ghazas of Sultan Murad" (Gazavat- i Sultan Murad).[14]

Murad II successfully painted himself as a simple soldier who did not partake in royal excesses, and as a noble ghazi sultan who sought to consolidate Muslim power against non-Muslims such as the Venetians and Hungarians. Through this self-presentation, he got the support of the Muslim population of not only the Ottoman territories, for both himself and his extensive, expensive campaigns, but also the greater Muslim populations in the Dar-al-Islam – such as the Mamluks and the Muslim Delhi Sultanates of India. Murad II was basically presenting himself not only as "a ghazi king who fights caffres [non-muslims], but also serves as protector and master of lesser ghazis."[14]


Bertrandon de la Broquière met with Murad II in Adrianople, and described him in the following terms: "In the first place, as I have seen him frequently, I shall say that he is a little, short, thick man, with the physiognomy of a Tartar. He has a broad and brown face, high cheek bones, a round beard, a great and crooked nose, with little eyes".[15]



Murad II had at least six consorts:[16][17][18][19]


Murad II was the sultan who conferred on his sons and their male descendants the title of Şehzade, meaning "descendant of the Şah", replacing the simple honorific of Çelebi. The title of Şehzade remained in use until the abolition of the Ottoman Empire.

Murad II had at least eight sons:


Murad II had at least six daughters:


Murad II is portrayed by İlker Kurt in 2012 film Fetih 1453, by Vahram Papazian in the Albanian movie The Great Warrior Skanderbeg in 1953, and by Tolga Tekin in the 2020 Netflix series Rise of Empires: Ottoman.


  1. ^ a b c "Murad II | Ottoman sultan". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  2. ^ a b c محمد فريد; حقيق: الدُكتور إحسان حقّي (2006). تاريخ الدولة العليَّة العُثمانيَّة. Beirut - Lebanon. p. 153.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  3. ^ Avery Plaw, (2012), The Metamorphosis of War, p. 128
  4. ^ Halil İnalcık (1973). The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age 1300-1600. pp. 21–22.
  5. ^ أحمد منجم باشي; دراسة وتحقيق: د. غسَّان بن عليّ الرمَّال (2009). كتاب جامع الدُول: قسم سلاطين آل عُثمان إلى سنة 1083هـ. Beirut - Lebanon: دار الشفق لِلطباعة والنشر. p. 396.
  6. ^ Sakaoğlu, Necdet (2015). Bu Mülkün Sultanları. Alfa Yayıncılık. p. 72. ISBN 978-6-051-71080-8.
  7. ^ Inalcik, Halil (2006). "Murad II". TDV Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. 31 (Muhammedi̇yye – Münâzara) (in Turkish). Istanbul: Turkiye Diyanet Foundation, Centre for Islamic Studies. pp. 164–172. ISBN 978-975-389-458-6.
  8. ^ M. Çağatay Uluçay (1992). Padişahların Kadınları ve Kızları. Ankara : Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevı. pp. 27 n. 2. ISBN 978-9-751-60461-3.
  9. ^ Heath W. Lowry (2003). The Nature of the Early Ottoman State. Albany: SUNY Press. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-7914-8726-6.
  10. ^ Finkel, C., Osman's Dream:The History of the Ottoman Empire, Osman 2005, pp.43, Basic Books
  11. ^ Kafadar, Cemal, Between Two Worlds, University of California Press, 1996, p xix. ISBN 0-520-20600-2
  12. ^ Mesut Uyar and Edward J. Erickson, A Military History of the Ottomans: From Osman to Atatürk, (ABC-CLIO, 2009), 29.
  13. ^ a b c Finkel, Caroline (2007). Osman's Dream. New York and London: Basic Books. pp. 39, 41, 46.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Anooshahr, Ali (2009). The Ghazi Sultans and the Frontiers of Islam. New York and London: Routledge. pp. 123, 142, 143, 150, 151, 164.
  15. ^ Vryonis, Speros Jr (1971). The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 278.
  16. ^ Franz Babinger, Mehmed the Conqueror and His Time, (Princeton University Press, 1978), 14.
  17. ^ Necdet Sakaoğlu, Famous Ottoman Women, (Avea, 2007), 40.
  18. ^ Murat Iyigun, War, Peace, and Prosperity in the Name of God, (University of Chicago Press, 2015), 119.
  19. ^ Peter F. Sugar, A History of East Central Europe:Southeastern Europe under Ottoman Rule, 1354-1804, Vol. 5, (University of Washington Press, 1996), 16.
  20. ^ Franz Babinger (1992). Mehmed the Conqueror and His Time. Princeton University Press. pp. 11–12. ISBN 978-0-691-01078-6.
  21. ^ Lowry, Heath W. (2003). The nature of the early Ottoman state. Albany: State University of New York Press. p. 153. ISBN 1-4175-2407-3. OCLC 55896257.
  22. ^ Afyoncu, Erhan (2009). Truva'nın intikamı: Fatih Sultan Mehmed ve İstanbul'un fethi'nin bilinmeyen yönleri (in Turkish). Yeditepe Yayınevi. p. 150. ISBN 978-605-4052-11-0.
  23. ^ Li Tang; Dietmar W. Winkler (2013). From the Oxus River to the Chinese Shores: Studies on East Syriac Christianity in China and Central Asia. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 308. ISBN 978-3-643-90329-7.
  24. ^ Hollmann, Joshua (2017). The religious concordance : Nicholas of Cusa and Christian-Muslim dialogue. Leiden. p. 116. ISBN 978-90-04-32677-4. OCLC 965535039. Mehmed's maternal ancestry is shrouded in mystery. Franz Babinger notes that his mother was a 'slave', which ensures that she was not of Turkish origin, and that she probably was of Greek descent (Franz Babinger, Mehmed the Conqueror and his Time, edited by William C. Hickman and translated by Ralph Manheim, Bollingen Series xcvi (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978), 12).((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  25. ^ The second was Selçuk Hatun, Murad II's half-sister.
  26. ^ According to sources which consider Hundi and Ümmügülsüm to be two distinct consorts, he was the son of Hundi Hatun.
  27. ^ According to sources which consider Hundi and Ümmügülsüm to be two distinct consorts, she was the daughter of Ümmügülsüm Hatun.
  28. ^ a b Alderson, A. D. (1982). The structure of the Ottoman dynasty. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. XXVI. ISBN 0-313-22522-2. OCLC 8115229.

Further reading

Media related to Murad II at Wikimedia Commons

Murad II House of OsmanBorn: 1404 Died: 3 February 1451 Regnal titles Preceded byMehmed I Ottoman Sultan 1421 – 1444 Succeeded byMehmed II Preceded byMehmed II Ottoman Sultan 1446 – 1451