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A group of four Janissaries


Painting of Janissaries under sultan Mehmed IV
We adopted firearms very early, starting in 15th century. By the 16th century, our main weapon was the musket. We also made extensive use of early grenades and hand cannon. After a while, we neglected our military training and ignored military technological advances. This might have lead to the decline of the Ottoman empire.



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The Ottomans forced a bunch of us Christian boys from the Balkans to enroll in the army. Soon after, we obtained a reputation for being loyal to the sultan and for being ready to use new military technology whenver we were needed. After the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, our discipline became a little less severe and by the seventeeth and eighteenth centuries, we were able to brilliantly outsmart the palace groups and gained political status. As we became aware of our own importance in Ottoman society, we wanted a better life for ourselves and therefore, revolted for higher wages, the right to marry whoever who choose, and not having our sons enlisted in the same training we were. We got rid of Selim II, catalyzed the Ottoman decline, and fought in the Greek Wars of Independece. We always wore uniforms, were paid in cash as regular soldiers, and marched to distinctive music, the mehter. I guess one could say we were similar to a modern marching band. All of these features set us apart from most soldiers of the time.


We are Christian and are therefore forced to follow the devishirme, which makes us susceptible to be in the army at the sultan's decree.


1. It is not a good time to be a Christian boy in the Balkans right now. The Ottomans are being bullies-making us serve in their military by force. It's all because of this stupid devishirme the Ottomans instated. Now, whenever they need an army, we are the first to be drafted. I guess it's not too bad though. We have the reputation of not only being extremely loyal to the sultan (unlike those tribal ghazis!) but also of having military skill. Hopefully it will come in handy one day. Until then...

2. We are just realizing that our military skill can be used for our advantage! Hmm....a bunch of us are thinking of rebelling for higher wages, civil rights, and for our predescessors to not have to undergo the crazy training we did. We just held the soon to be famous "Janissary Rebellion of 1622." We think it would be really easy to undermine the Sultan's rule because of our influence...we could just organize and reorganize the palace coups as we see fit.

3. Oh man! A bunch of us just killed Sultan Selim III in hopes that we could modernize the army on Western European lines. I think we might be making the Ottoman Empire decline faster than it would naturally. We catalyzed it's decline before when we started neglecting our military training and the allowed the borders to shrink southwards after the Battle of Vienna. Our bad.

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The Wall


Ottoman Turks
. 1998 Applied History Research Group, University of Calgary. <http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/endmiddle/ottoman.html>.

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