Süleyman Hüsnü Paşa

Asker, Tarihçi, Şair

War Academy
Diğer İsimler

Soldier, poet and historian (B. 1838, Istanbul – D. 1892, Baghdad). He was the son of Mehmet Hâlet Efendi, who was a janissary aga. His full name was Süleyman Hüsnü Pasha and he used the pen name (pseudonym) Hüsnî in his poems. Süleyman Hüsnü, who began his primary education in local school, learned Arabic and Persian from Mudurnulu İsmail Efendi, who taught at Beyazıt Mosque. After Maçka Military High School he finished the War Academy (1859) and participated in the Montenegro campaign among the forces of Derviş Mehmet Pasha. He served in Yenipazar (Bosnia), Herzegovina and Shkoder. He was promoted to lieutenant colonelcy because of his success in the suppression of Crete uprising (1867). He had made great efforts in the foundation of military schools and arrangement of their programs.

When he returned to Istanbul he was appointed first as mathematics teacher and then as literary composition teacher in War Academy. After a while, he was appointed as the course director of the same school. Upon the death of Galip Pasha, who rendered great services in the reorganization and improvement of military education, he was appointed to the Ministry of Military Schools (1873), which was responsible for all the military schools and which was an empty position upon Galip Pasha’s death. Süleyman Pasha’s real significant service was seen in the works he accomplished while he held this position. First of all, he reorganized the academic program and curriculum of military schools and he wrote history and literature textbooks that were suitable for these programs.

He was sent away from Istanbul by being appointed to command post of Bosnia-Herzegovina under the rank marshal by Abdülhamid II who took into account that he had played a significant role in Sultan Abdülaziz’s dethronement. He suppressed the Montenegro uprising while he held this position. However, the Ottoman army got defeated in Russo-Turkish War (the ’93 War, 1877-78), in which he participated as the Chief Commander of Danube and Balkan armies. The Russian armies advanced into Bulgaria and reached the Shipka Pass. If they had managed to get through this pass there wasn’t going to be any barriers between them and Edirne and Istanbul. Therefore, Süleyman Pasha moved his troops to Dedeağaç by sea and from there he marched on Shipka Pass. Severe skirmishes had taken place here. Süleyman Pasha, who was promoted to marshal now, successfully commanded the operation. However, the heroism he showed could not prevent the Turkish army from getting defeated. After this war, he was remembered as the “Hero of Shipka”.



On the other hand, plots behind the front had their influence on Sultan Abdülhamid. Therefore, Süleyman Pasha was blamed for the defeat. He was brought to Istanbul after being arrested and he was imprisoned in Taşkışla. His trial here lasted for about a year. Although he was condemned to death at the end of his trial, Sultan Abdülhamid turned his death sentence into exile. He had lived in exile for fourteen years in Baghdad to where he was sent after he was stripped of his ranks (1878). He died in Baghdad and was buried at the entrance of Ebu Yusuf Hazretleri masjid within Musa Kâzım Mosque.

After having changed the curriculum of military schools to befit the spirit of the nation Süleyman Hüsnü Pasha had difficulty in finding schoolbooks, which were going to be taught at these schools. Translations made from foreign authors were mostly full of improper and groundless information on Turks. Therefore, Süleyman Pasha was forced to write the schoolbooks himself as it was impossible for those books to be used as schoolbooks. First he wrote religious culture, Turkish and history books. He wrote these books in a very clear and simplified Turkish. By this way, Süleyman Pasha, who supported Turkism against Ottomanism in the Tanzimat (T. N. reform) era, put his opinion into effect in military schools through schoolbooks by starting from history, language and religion fields.

Süleyman Pasha’s most important work is the world history book called “Tarih-i Âlem. In the prologue of this book, he wrote “Because the general history taught at military schools are exactly derived from foreign languages, there are things that are contrary to Islamic tenets and to national morals, for this reason and also because only a few chapters of the Ancient Ages were translated, it hasn’t been successful.” In “Tarih-i Âlem” Süleyman Pasha allocated a big part to the history of Turks before Islam. De Guignes’ “Hunlar Tarihi” (the History of Huns) and Raymond’s “Tatar Tarihi” (the History of Tatar) are among the sources referenced in the writing of the work. In this sense, “Tarih-i Âlem” is the first Turkish work, which was written by making use of the Turcology studies of the West.

Süleyman Pasha called the work he wrote as a Turkish grammar book “Sarf-ı

Türkî”. By then, such books were called “Sarf-ı Osmanî, Kavâid-i Osmaniye”.

He opened military junior high schools and teacher’s training schools while he was in the Ministry of Military Schools. He was awarded a second degree medal in the Geography Congress that was held in Paris in 1875 because of his work “Tarih-i Âlem”. Comprehensive information on his life and trial is found in the work “Süleyman Paşa’nın Muhakemesi” (1912) which was written by his son. In his work “Hiss-i İnkılâb” he had written about the events that had taken place during the dethronement of Sultan Abdülaziz.


LITERATURE-LANGUAGE: Mebâni’l-İnşâ (2 volumes, 1874), İlm-i Sarf-ı Türkî (Turkish grammar, 1875).

HISTORY: Târih-i Âlem (world history, involves the events dating from the creation of the Prophet Adam to the birth of Islam, 1874), Umdetü’l-Hakayık (This work, which is about the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, had been written as a criticism of “Harb-i Ahir ve İstihkamat”, which is a work that had been written to criticize the Russo-Turkish War of 1293 and which was published at Ceride-i Askeriyye. 6 volumes, 1828), Hisse-i İnkılâp (This work is about the dethronement of Sultan Abdülaziz and Murad V’s ascension to the throne, 1908.)    

RELIGION: İlm-i Hâl-i Sagir, İlm-i Hâl-i Kebir.

            TRANSLATION: Terceme-i İrâde-i Cüz’iyye (from Akkirmanî). 



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