The House of Osmani, The Sultans of the Ottoman Empire.
The Ancestors of Osmani, Sayds
Research carried out by C.Said-Vassallo.
A small though familiar Maltese surname established on the Maltese Isles since the 16th century. Established the future for the Knights of the order of St John, which history hasn’t documented so well, which was of relevance to the next several centuries. A family of Imperial blood, that played importances in Europe as the heirs of the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Djem Osman, the younger son of Sultan Mehmed III, though elder son born during the reign of his father, took the reins of the Empire. His eldest brother and heir were furious and left his governing province for the Empire’s capital to inherit what he had assumed his rightful legacy. Battle took place, brother against brother, though Djem failed to secure his believed rights of the Ottoman Empire. Djem fled first to Egypt, under the protection of the Sultan of Egypt, then to Rhodes Islands. The orders of St John were Masters of the Isles and had hoped to gain help to resecure his claim age. Djem stay on the Rhodes Islands was interesting as his union with an Italian Noblewomen produced several descendants. After several years, Djem found that he was no closer then when he arrived, so upon an invitation to the Papal States and the grace and favour of Pope Alexander VI Borgia which started Djem and his descendants their pretension of the Ottoman Empire in Europe. The Pope had acknowledged Djem’s sons as Princes of Royal and Imperial blood, with the title of “Prince de Sayd” in 1492.
Sultan Djem’s invitation to Rome was the start of his European tour to gain support for his “Christian” conversation of the Ottoman Empire from the European powers such as France, Holy Roman Empire, Spain and the Italian States and Kingdoms. During his tour he gain many acknowledgements and honours though support for a “Crusade” was lacking and uninteresting to the European Powers.
Further note: Sultan Djem was recognized by the following as ‘H.I.H, Prince and Sultan Djem Sayd of the Ottoman Empire.
- Knight of St John in Rhodes Island, 1482 by Pierre d’Aubusson and the successive Grand Masters of St John in Rhodes Island;
- Pope Alexander VI Borgia-Acknowledged Djem’s eldest son as Prince de Sang;
- Pope Innocent VIII Cybo- Acknowledged Djem as Prince of Ottoman Empire;
- King Charles VIII of France-Acknowledged Djem with the titles of Prince de Sang in France and his descendants in 1484;
- Duca Ercole I of Ferrara, and Reggio, Acknowledged and Created Djem a Noble of Ferrera and Reggio;
- The Doge of Genoa, acknowledged Djem as Prince de Sang, Patrician of Genoa. The Doge Doria, later offered his grand-daughter to Djem’s son in marriage;
- Duca Lodovico Sforza of Milian acknowledged Djem and offered one of his illegitimate daughters in Marriage;
- Duca Alfonso II d’Este of Modena, acknowledged Djem ;
- King Ferrante I of Naples, acknowledged Djem as a Royal cousin and provided the title of Viscount to Djem’s son;
- King Ferrante II of Naples, reacknowledged Djem;
- Duca Carlo I di Savoie, acknowledged Djem;
- Duca Carlo II di Savoie ;
- King Ferdinand II of Sicily, acknowledged as King of Aragon, Spain and of Sicily.
- Grand Duke Lorenzo I de Medici of Tuscany
- Conte Guidone Ubaldo I of Urbino
- Doge Marco Barbarigo of Venice
- Doge Giovanni Mocenigo of Venice
- Emperor Frederick III of the Holy Roman Empire acknowledged Djem as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and granted Djem and his descendants Hereditary Knighthood of the Holy Roman Empire. Recognised Djem as Prince de Sang. Also offered Djem a Duchy in the Balkans.
- King John II of Portugal
- Queen Isabella I of Castile and Leon, Queen of Spain
- Queen Catalina de Albert of Navarre
- King Fernando II of Aragon, King of Spain.
- King Hans of Denmark
- Grand Master Martin von Wetzhausen of the Teutonic Order
- Duke Magnus II of Mecklenburg
- Duke Wilhelm IV of Juliers
- Landgraves Wilhelm I of Hesse
- Duke Johann II of Cleves
- Duke Albert IV of Bavaria
Upon his return to Rome, he settled his family outside Rome. His eldest son had married a daughter of a Genoese diplomat in Rome. Djem’s son, the Principe de Sayd moved to the Neapolitan capital of Naples. Djem was dead, poisoned by the Borgia household, though some suspect that it could have been the Pope or his sister. But this has been unproven, but sources have stated that Djem’s brother, the Sultan had paid off the Pope to kill Djem ‘off’.
The Knights of St John fought and lost Rhodes Islands then moved to the Neapolitan Kingdom waiting for a defence to retake their lost island. But under the Spanish succession, Malta, seem to be the likely place where the Knights could move. Malta was a fief under the Spanish Neapolitan kingdom and was given as a token to the Knights. The family of Sayd has established in Malta by this stage, with the younger branch of the 1st Prince de Sayd. Initially the Younger branch established at Birgu, and then moved to Santi, and Zebbug.
Another family in Malta were of Arabic origin whom were scattered throughout Malta, a small family, which only a branch succeeds today. The descendants of Djem arrived in two stages. The elder branch moved from Naples to Sicily and the younger branch moved to Malta about the 1500’s. The elder branch was claimants to the throne of Ottoman Empire and intermarried with Sicilian families. In the mid 17th century, the head of the Imperial House moved to Malta and lived at Mdina as grace and favour of the Grand Masters. Though the elder line died out during the late 17th century, though in Sicily, an illegitimate heir took upon his pretensions to his claimant. The importance of having such Imperial family living in Malta was considered as a safe haven, but also as bait to the Ottoman Turks.
Within several years of the Princely family settlement in Malta, the Grand Siege of Malta had begun. The Ottoman Empire knew the threats of the pretentsive family and what it meant to an Empire that was strong and mighty. All enemies to an Empire were needed to be exhausted.
The Grand Master knew of what fate lay ahead, though through determination and strength from the Maltese, Knights and the European powers to over power the Turks once and for. Success was achieved eventually and the Turks left to never be heard of again.
Upon the succession of the Grand Siege of Malta, the imperial family lost favour and respect. There was no further need of them and slowly and eventually moved into civilian life. The elder line died out at the end of the 17th century, with succession and acknowledgement by the Grand Master of Malta, of Salvatore Sayd, as the Prince de Sayd e Bibino Magno with rights as “His Highness”, instead of “His Imperial Highness”.
The younger branch who settled at the beginning of the 16th century became successful and their descendants widespread throughout the islands. The elder branch that carried the Sicilian title of Barony and Princely di Bibino Magno was succeeded by marriage to Salvatore Sayd. Principi Salvatore Sayd had lived in Zebbug and at Santi in Malta.
The family continued at each generation with styles of their titles, but led a peaceful life as landowners of properties throughout Malta. Upon Napoleon’s overthrow of the Knights in Malta and the burning of ‘Letters Patents’ of many noble families and executions of many whom led coups against the French. Principi Giovanni Maria Sayd, led a revolt against the French with many of the educated and members of the leading families of Malta were caught and all lined up to be executed by the firing squad of 1799.
Principi Giovanni Maria Sayd’s descendants, since the execution have lived almost recluse non-public life and under the British, never bothered to obtain recognition for their inheritance. Fortunately, the elder line kept key documentation and data, which survived, to the present family.
Today, acknowledgement has been plenty some and their aim to continue its heritage for successive generations to come and also to inform other families’ member of such history it has.
The late Head of the family was the second son of Principi Francesco Saverio Sayd. The elder son had acknowledged and accepted his rights to his younger brother, with only succession to the Maltese Barony of Baccari. Further more inheritance of monies was agreed upon before moving to Australia prior to World War Two.
Further evidence can be found in "History of Malta-convictions and conjectures volume four" pages 80-84. by Giovanni Bonello, Patrimonju Publishing, Malta, 2003.
For descendants to view: