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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Janissaries: Myth and Reality

The meaning of the term janissary or janissaries clearly pictures an ideological and religious human profile. The “yeni-çeri”, the new militia, is the soldier defending mainly a religious power. According to the Encyclopedia Encarta the janissaries are the Turkish elite soldiers, recruited from Christians from the Balkans, who formed the personal guard if the Sultan from the fourteenth century until 1826. The Forthrights’s Phrontistery describes them as the fanatic loyal followers of a certain religion, while the entry of the Oxford Dictionary defines them as regular soldiers who formed the personal guard of the Sultan. The janissaries’ corps was organized in the fourteenth century, was manned through the mass kidnapping of Christian children until the sixteenth century and by Muslims of the Ottoman Empire thereafter and it was abolished in 1826 by the regular army, when the janissaries revolted against the Sultan.