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Janissaries of the Ottoman Empire



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    One of the things that the Ottoman Empire was known for, was their powerful Janissaries. These were captured people that were enrolled in the military or on other areas. At first, the Janissaries were young men and children that were captured in wars. After some time, children were abducted from Christian families so that they could become Janissaries. These children were given to special Turkish families so that they could learn traditions, Islam culture, and Turkish language. After they finished learning in the Turkish families, they were sent to a school in the capital city.

    At this school, the rookies were selected to be trained in different areas (military, craftsmen,etc. ) according to their talents and abilities. They received a strict education in their area, and were forced to work and learn in monastic conditions. These were conditions in which the Janissary must give up to their pursuits, and put his whole soul and mind into his job. Janissaries belonged to the sultan. This was a benefit to the sultan, since the Janissaries could protect him of any threat. The Janissaries were taught to treat the Sultan as their dad, and anyone in the house as a family member.

    While with the sultans, Janissaries had to prove themselves the best in order to achieve the rank of a “True Janissary”. If a Janissary proved himself, he would get that rank at the age of 24 or 25. The Sultan was the one who managed and owned the Janissary corps, but there was always a supreme commander that organized the corps. The corps were organized in “ortas”, or batallions. There were 3 main divisions in a corp: The Cemmat (frontier troops), the beuluks (Sultans bodyguard) and the seirnen. The Janissaries had characteristics that differentiated them from other military corps.

    Janissaries were strictly disciplined, were able to marry, and were paid regular salaries. They had many advantages over other corps. They had the advantage of having a better support . When the Janissaries were traveling, they had a support corps walking in front of them preparing the roads, and another corps that prepared their tents and food in the night. At first, Janissaries had to live in barracks for their whole life, and then marry, but over time, Janissaries were allowed to live in other places and marry whenever they wanted. They also enjoyed a high living standard and a respected social status.

    Other characteristics that differentiated them was that they were the first army to wear unique uniforms, marched to music, lived in barracks, and that their main weapons were firearms. This is no surprise, given the fact that they were the army of the “Gunpowder Empires”. During their training, Janissaries learned various fighting techniques, which included the use of firearms. Janissaries excelled in this skill, and this caused the Ottoman army to become extremely efficient and powerful. At the end, Janissaries helped, with their skills, to expand the Ottoman Empire and cause an economic boom.

    Janissaries of the Ottoman Empire. (2016, Oct 01). Retrieved from

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