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Janissaries
(64 Messages in 7 pages - View all)
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1.       thehandsom
7403 posts
 28 Mar 2008 Fri 11:49 pm

Janissaries:
(I really enjoyed compiling this. I hope you like reading it )

(Yeniçeri) meaning "new soldier", a huge power base in ottoman politics, first models of sobriety in Europe, first proper army in Europe since the Roman Empire at the time;
Impeccable fighters, policemen, custom officers, fire fighters, body guards of sultans, responsible for sultan's hunting dogs, greyhounds and falcons;
"Great corps composed of brave champions of the faith, on which rests the blessing of him who is shadow of god on earth and the consideration of men on earth"

Janissaries was Formed by Sultan Murad I around 1365 (some sources tell that it was before), from non-muslims because, the loyalty and morale of the tribal fighters could not always be trusted.
First Janissary units comprised war captives and slaves. Later on, with sultanMehmet I, recruitment of janissaries was the results of taxation in human form called devshirmeh.

Non-Muslim, usually Christian Balkan boys, taken at birth at first at random, later, by strict selection – to be converted to Islam and trained. Initially they favoured Greeks, Bulgarians, Armenians and Albanians (later on Serbs, Russians, Ukrainians), usually selecting about one boy from forty houses, but the numbers could be changed to correspond with the need for soldiers.

They were composed of 165 (later they riched up to 196) units (called ortas) and each unit would have 100 men each (in theory). And they were the best FED army of the time. (Actually, food played a very central role in janissaries life that the commander of each orta called corbaci -soup cook- and as a sign of hic rank he wore a soup ladle from his belt).
Each orta had its own flag, displaying symbols like a lion , a mosque etc.
They wore uniforms of blue cloth and majestic plated white head dress like a giant sleeve, some times decorated with plumes and jewels. (when janissaries bowed their heads at the same time , they were looked like a field of ripe corn, rippling in the breeze.

They had special military band called mehter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mehter)
some samples :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd9dl7ISuG8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acffqnNec3I&feature=related)

out of 196 ortas, 60th,66th, 62nd and 63rd were sultans body guards. 64th was responsible for sultans hunting dogs, 69th for falcons.
They were also policemen, fire figthers, custom officials of the capital.
They lived in the barracks between suleymaniye mosque and golden horn. Their supreme commander, 'aga' of the janissaries, lived there in a a palace (it was so splendid that suleyman the magnificent once said :'If i could be Aga of janissaries for just 40 days')
They were paid on Tuesdays, every three month. Grand Vazir would superveise the occasion while janissaries took their salaries inside a leather bag after kissing the Grand vazir's cloak.
And the sultan himself was a member of 61st orta, and he would recieve its payment but return it back!!
And some stats here about the number of janissaries: (from wiki)
1475 6.000
1514 10.156
1680 54.222
1800 109.000

well..This was the nice part so far about janissaries.lol

Altough they were the best army at the time, Janissaries always had interest in changing sultans!
Because simply it meant 'bonus' to them. And in the absence od representative institions like parliment, sometimes, they acted as an equivelant. Some times, they represented the social unrests but at the same time they were manipulated by vezirs or ulemas.

The sound of janissaries overturning their pilav cauldrons meant a munity. (Then, they shouted 'we want the brother' ,' long live the brother')
In 1566, when they did not recieve the bonus, at belgrade, they insulted the corps of suleyman the magnificent. (Grand Vezir sokollu Mehmet pasha might have got to do with the incident as well) And they did not let sultan to enter istanbul until they were twrown coins at them!!

As normally janissaries were formed from non muslims, but the idea of devshirme started to be abandoned later on (starting in 1582 ) And it was completely abandoned in 1703..(the reason for that was because it was a well paid job. They started to accept the sons of Janissaries first and later on all pashas enlisted their servants as janissaries in order to transfer the cost to the state!!)

In the end, pay as well as power caused unrest in janissaries.

They sometimes called sultans back to istanbul by threatining with fires or mutiny. (they forced selim I to abandon the attack on persia in 1514, in 1529 they make suleyman abandon the siege of viena because they wanted to go back to istanbul )
Fire was used from time to time for mutiny and unrest against the sultan

Basically they terrorised Istanbul for a long time but their worst crime was loosing the war in 1792 against russins (they frightened everybody except the enemy)
Then a new army started to emerge called 'Nizami cedit' (by selim III)
Although they showed they were better than janissaries in battle fields, in 1807 May 25th a revolt broke out and Sultan het to dissolve the new army and had to sacrifice some of his closer advisers to janissaries. On 29 of May, they forced sultan and he abdicated in favour of his borther Mustafa IV.

But a pasha (mustafa bayraktar) did not accept this abdication and he took control of istanbul with the aim for restoring Selim III back to reign. He surrounded topkapi and hesitated to go further (because of his respect to sultan). But during this brief stand of, janissaries mutilated Selim III. (his young cousin Mahmud was saved by his servants by escaping through the chimney!!)

And this incident started the reign of mahmud II and of course, Mustafa Bayraktar Pasha become the grand vezir.
But janissaries attacked the palace again in 1808 and grand vezir blew himself up to avoid surrender.
Janissaries hunted down all disbanded nizami cedid soldiers and killed them!! For weeks Istanbul was in fire..

However, Mahmud II had the will power and he was a good politician.
During his power, the struggle between sultan and janissaries continued. But in 1826 sultan started to modernize the army.
On 13 June, 20.000 janissaries started to revolt again. They shouted they did not want military exercise of infidels.
But some of the army remained loyal to sultan. Janissaries stormed topkapi again (for the last time) when sultan was not in.
Sultan arrived by boat to his palace and sent messages to everybody in Istanbul to hurry to topkapi to save sultan and caliph. Sultan was so determined, he said that ' Either the janissaries will be masaccared or cats will walk over the ruins of Istanbul'
Istanbul population was ready for the fight.

This was the last battle for janissaries.
They lost this time. Their barracks were set on fire. Many charred bodies found later on.
Every corner of Istanbul was searched and they got killed at the spot (their bodies were left in the middle of Hippodrom for 3 days)
On june 17 1826, janissaries formally abolished.

And this is the end of story.

sources:
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janissary
-Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924
(http://www.amazon.co.uk/Constantinople-City-Worlds-Desire-1453-1924/dp/0719568803/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206740281&sr=1-1)
And some Turkish sites/blogs which I dont remember the names

2.       janissary
0 posts
 29 Mar 2008 Sat 12:05 am

thanks for the informationIm really affected by ur reseach. I know that I make ur mind busy much. Im sorry if ı took ur time)

yes. my grand grand father was non muslim. and maybe Im greek, polish or something. BUT Im proud of being turkish (citizen of Turkey). I love my country, my flag, my hometown, other ethnic parts of this land, fishes in the water, birds on a tree, flowers on high mountains, the people who love everything about my country...And Elhamdulillah Im muslim. I look forward future and I work for my country to develop better.

3.       thehandsom
7403 posts
 29 Mar 2008 Sat 12:13 am

Quoting janissary:

thanks for the informationIm really affected by ur reseach. I know that I make ur mind busy much. Im sorry if ı took ur time)


It was a nice one..
But however, after 1600, I dont think we/turks should be very proud of them though..
But of course, you are free lol

4.       janissary
0 posts
 29 Mar 2008 Sat 12:17 am

Quoting thehandsom:

Quoting janissary:

thanks for the informationIm really affected by ur reseach. I know that I make ur mind busy much. Im sorry if ı took ur time)


It was a nice one..
But however, after 1600, I dont think we/turks should be very proud of them though..
But of course, you are free lol



At least u learned how to do a reseach. like giving source


Ne Mutlu Türküm Diyene!

5.       thehandsom
7403 posts
 29 Mar 2008 Sat 12:22 am

Quoting janissary:

Quoting thehandsom:

Quoting janissary:

thanks for the informationIm really affected by ur reseach. I know that I make ur mind busy much. Im sorry if ı took ur time)


It was a nice one..
But however, after 1600, I dont think we/turks should be very proud of them though..
But of course, you are free lol


At least u learned how to do a reseach. like giving source
Ne Mutlu Türküm Diyene!


I always give the source..And I did not do any search for this speacially.
I just compiled what I read at different times.
So it is not a result of a research..

6.       hubbabubba
16 posts
 29 Mar 2008 Sat 12:29 am

Thank you for this story thehandsome!
I really enjoyed the reading, it is always good to learn something new.

7.       lady in red
6947 posts
 29 Mar 2008 Sat 12:37 am

Very interesting bit of Turkish history - thank you thehandsom

8.       Deli_kizin
6376 posts
 29 Mar 2008 Sat 12:48 am

Quoting janissary:

I look forward future and I work for my country to develop better.



9.       teaschip
3870 posts
 29 Mar 2008 Sat 12:58 am

Very interesting handsom..Great to learn something new...

10.       janissary
0 posts
 29 Mar 2008 Sat 11:50 am

Quoting Deli_kizin:

Quoting janissary:

I look forward future and I work for my country to develop better.





what? didnt u like my english or what?

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