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The sultan’s guards

Janissaries; the servant soldiers laid down the foundations for modern armies and determined the fate of the Ottoman Empire for five centuries. Let’s think of an army of today, with uniforms, regular salary and different divisions. Now let’s place this in the past. Done? If we turned back time to only the 1800s, i.e. the Napoleon wars, we’d be very surprised: the pioneers of modern warfare can be found in the middle ages, and what’s more, among the “faithless”, i.e. the Muslims. At the dawn of modern warfare, the janissaries, the infantrymen of the Ottoman army, at once signified long years of threat and an example of efficiency to the armed forces of Europe.

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Screenshot 2015-01-28 13.26

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