AYDIN   Or Aidan;  anciently Talles.

City in southwestern Turkey, on the River Menderes, southeast of Ãzmir (Smyrna), and the capital of:-

  1. A Turkish Emirate;
  2. A modern province.

1.  The Emirate of Aydin was one of several Turkish ghazi principalities in western Anatolia, which emerged in the early 14th century, just as the Mongol Ilkhanate, the great power in the region, which was centred on Iran and Iraq, was beginning to break up.   The ghazi rulers were committed to fighting the infidel and between them they eventually drove the Byzantine Empire out of Asia.

The Aydin Emirate was founded in 1308 and during the reign of its second ruler, Umar I, in particular, inflicted much damage on the Christian cause, not only in Anatolia but, because Umar had a navy, in the Aegean islands and on the European mainland as well.  So dangerous a ruler called forth a vigorous Christian response and in 1344 Christian crusaders seized Umar’s great port of Smyrna.

Umar died in 1348, and as it turned out it was not his family but one that in his day seemed much less significant, the Ottomans, who were to establish a great Turkish Empire.   In 1390 the Aydin Emirate fell to the Ottomans, but the disaster of the Ottoman defeat by Tamerlane in 1402 allowed the temporary reappearance of the Aydin Emirate.   In 1425 it fell forever.

2.  The present-day Turkish province of Aydin occupies the lower valley of the River Menderes.

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