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The Janissaries

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The Janissaries comprised an elite corps in the service of the Ottoman Empire. It was composed of war captives and Christian youths pressed into service; all of whom were converted to Islam and trained under the strictest discipline. In many ways, Jannisaries reflected Ottoman society, which was itself dominated by a military elite and where there was much greater social mobility than in Europe. On top of this, the Turks looked upon Europe much as the early Americans viewed the Western Frontier – as a land of adventure, mission and opportunity. David Nicolle examines the history, organisation, weapons and uniforms of these elite Turkish troops.