Janissaries


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Janissaries

(jăn`ĭsâr'ēz) [Turk.,=recruits], elite corps in the service of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). It was composed of war captives and Christian youths pressed into service; all the recruits were converted to Islam and trained under the strictest discipline. It was originally organized by Sultan Murad I. The Janissaries gained great power in the Ottoman Empire and made and unmade sultans. By 1600, Muslims had begun to enter the corps, largely through bribery, and in the 17th cent. membership in the corps became largely hereditary, while the drafting of Christians gradually ceased. In 1826, Sultan Mahmud IIMahmud II,
1784–1839, Ottoman sultan (1808–39), younger son of Abd al-Hamid I. He was raised to the throne of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) upon the deposition of his brother, Mustafa IV, and continued the reforms of his cousin, Selim III.
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 rid himself of the unruly (and by now inefficient) Janissaries by having them massacred in their barracks by his loyal SpahisSpahis
or Sipahis
, Ottoman cavalry. The Spahis were organized in the 14th cent. on a feudal basis. The officers held fiefs (timars) granted to them by the sultan and commanded the personal loyalty of the peasants who worked the land.
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.

Janissaries

 

the regular Turkish infantry, organized in the second half of the 14th century, who, together with the spahis and akinji (cavalry), formed the core of the Ottoman army. Originally, janissaries were youths who had been driven into slavery; later, Christian boys were forcibly recruited. Converted to Islam, they were considered slaves of the sultan and lived in barracks; they were forbidden to marry or maintain their own households. In addition to service in military campaigns, they were assigned garrison duty in the Balkans and the Arab countries. The janissaries were headed by an aga and were closely associated with the Bectashi dervish order.

The decline of the janissaries began in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Members of the corps settled down with families and engaged in trade and handicrafts. Gradually they were transformed into agents of palace revolutions and a support for the forces of feudal-clerical reaction. In 1826 the janissary corps was destroyed by the Turkish sultan Mahmud II.

Janissaries

elite Turkish infantry. [Turk. Hist.: Fuller, I, 499, 508]
References in periodicals archive ?
Osman II's attempts to restrict the economic power of the Janissaries (in the form of closing their coffee-shop network) prompted his assassination in 1622.
Thus, Sosa describes how Janissaries who work as cooks in peacetime exploit their status as elite warriors to pilfer food stocks (149-50).
Soliman acknowledges Erastus's professional skills of knighthood to select him as a captain of Turkish Janissaries and to be his close friend:
But what such indictments are unable to conceal is that the Ottomans weren't simply a barbaric regime either, and that they had elaborate mechanisms of providing security in civil life, of which the janissaries were a prominent example, irrespective of how well or completely such arrangements worked, and which would probably compare favorably to the law and order protocols of early modern Europe as a whole.
Mihailovic became such a trusted soldier that the sultan left the Serb in control of a fort at Zvecaj (in today's Croatia), commanding four dozen Janissaries against the Hungarian King Matthew Corvinus (Matyas in the text).
Janissaries were not allowed to marry or to own property, which prevented them from developing loyalties outside of the imperial court.
The list includes all those on stipends (preachers, prayer-leaders, scribes, trustees of charitable organizations, tax collectors and overseers, dervish convents, Qur'an reciters, and the like); semi-professional auxiliary troops; descendants of the Prophet; special services such as falcon-raisers, mountain pass guards, bridge-keepers, messengers, share-croppers on state land, rice cultivators, sheep producers, sheep and cattle dealers, copper miners, deputy judges, and city wardens, and, finally, Janissaries and sipahis--that is, some 1,053 members or thirty-six percent of all the households, which Canbakal estimates at five times the size of the estimated 'askeri population (ibid.
It also demonstrates the importance of the Janissaries and strel 'tsy in further strengthening the sultan's and the tsar's position.
London-based Libyan journalist and dissident Ashur Shamis said Qadhafi also had a force - dubbed Janissaries, after the elite Ottoman-era soldiers - who had been taken into the army at a young age and drilled in loyalty to the leader.
The paintings depicting the events of the revolt of janissaries in 1730 led by Patrona Halil are the last known from the artworks of Vanmour.
A brief explanatory text discusses the role of Janissaries (quasi-slave soldiers, collected as children from non-Turkish-occupied territories) in the period, then immediately introduces us to one (Christos Passalis, "Dogtooth") as he collapses, wounded, in front of a remote Greek cloister.