Constantinople Ancient and Modern, with Excurſions to the Shores and Islands of the Archipelago and to the Troad.
By James Dallaway. M.B. F.S.A. late Chaplain and Phyſician of the British Embassy to the Porte.
London. Printed by T.Bensley, for T. Cadwell Junr. & W.Davies, in the Strand. 1797.


[Version without special characters]
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SECTION VI.
JANISSARIES, THEIR INSTITUTION AND PRESENT STATE-SKETCH OF MILITARY DISCIPLINE AND ARRANGEMENT-BOSTANDJIS TOPDJIS-GREEK CHURCHES CONVERTED INTO MOSQUES-THE FANAL-FOUR HIGH OFFICES GIVEN TO GREEKS-OF THE PRINCES AND THEIR FAMIILIES-DEPENDANCE OF THE GREEK GENTRY.

THE prtorian guards, the mamalukes, and the janiſſaries, have been celebrated amongſt ſoldiers for valour and military achievements ; and in the firſt ages of their inſtitution the laſt mentioned have ſcarcely merited an inferior degree of praiſe.

    Certain authors place the eſtabliſhment of theſe troops under Oſmn I. but others, more accurately, under Mord II. They were originally compoſed of the boys given in tribute from Macedonia, Bulgaria, and the Greek provinces, who were ſent at a very early age, educated as muſulmans, and called hadjm-oglr, the children of ſtrangers. The policy of the Porte led them in time to commute this kind of tribute, when, that ſupply of the army having been relinquiſhed, the corps of janiſſaries was made up ſolely of young volunteers, who were obliged to undergo a noviciate, and to ſhew ſome proof of valour, before they could be enrolled *. Theſe were called yeni-tcher (new ſoldiers), which the Franks have corrupted to janiſſary. Their chief is the yenitchr-agh, a title likewiſe aſſumed by the governor of a garriſon, in the abſence of a ſuperior officer. The janiſſaries, whoſe indocility is as ancient as their inſtitution,

* Cantemir, p. 37-41. Gibbon, R. H. v. vi. p. 320, 410.

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are now diſperſed over every province of the empire. In time of peace their pay is very ſmall, and varies according to the intereſt or ſuppoſed merit of the individual; but in war they demand more, and to be paid in advance. Their number is doubtleſs very great, and has been very differently calculated. As the title is hereditary, few are found who, though practiſing mechanic arts, or engaged in trade, are not enrolled in ſome odh, or regiment of their choice, in order to avail themſelves of privileges annexed to their order, which exempt them from being baſtinadoed on the foot, but not on the back, and reſerve to them the honour of being ſtrangled when they are condemned to die. There are a hundred and one legions of janiſſaries, and the ſultan is enrolled at the head of the firſt, and on ſtated days receives his pay in the ſecond court of the ſeraglio, when they are fed with pilv from the imperial kitchen. The number of each regiment is not regulated, as volunteers are admitted to any extent; and their commanders are only leſs ignorant of tactics and military diſcipline than the common ſoldier.

    In analyſing the body of janiſſaries they ſeem more reſemblant of peaceful citizens than deſigned as the tutelary guardians of the empire. Each on his admiſſion, and during his youth, is forced to be the ſcullion and valet of his orth, or barrack-chamber; the noviciates are commanded by a corporal, whom they obey implicitly and in ſilence, as a younger brother works in a convent without replying to his ſuperior. They wear a girdle of leather, with two large plates of copper placed before; they have the care of the kettles, and diſtribute the meſs. From this ſervice they are freed as ſoon as their muſtachios are grown. The ſymbol which diſtinguiſhes the odh to which they belong is marked on their naked arm, which being blown with gunpowder, can never be effaced. The firſt bears a creſcent ; others have groteſque figures like animals, as the lion, or rhinoceros; the thirty-firſt has the anchor, and is employed in the ſea ſervice. This

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laſt is the moſt famous ; for when one ſoldier praiſes another, he ſtyles him "otoz bir," one of the thirty-firſt.

    Their ſenſe of military honour does not exert itſelf to preſerve their colours, but the greateſt calamity that can befall a regiment is the loſs of their kettles; and to remedy this calamity, they have two ſets of cooking utenſils. When both are taken by the enemy, the regiment is broken, and a new one formed, to whom new kettles are given. The Ruſſians never ſhocked them ſo much as during the laſt war, when having ſeized their camp equipage, they uſed their kettles in the preſence of the Turkiſh captives, who were ſcandaliſed by ſuch a profanation..

    On days of gala the janiſſaries wear a large felt cap, certainly of Egyptian invention, with a ſquare piece falling down behind and covering half their back; in front is a ſocket of copper, originally intended to carry feathers, which they bore in honour of any ſignal feat in war, but lately to hold a wooden ſpoon for their pilv; for a good janiſſary conſiders his ſpoon to be as military an accoutrement as an European would his ſword or bayonet. Although they are eſteemed the beſt infantry in the empire, thoſe who are rich enough to provide horſes are diſpenſed with marching on foot, without quitting their company, which confuſion naturally produces extreme diſorder. When on duty in the capital they are unarmed, and carry only a large walking-ſtick as a badge of their office.

    The chief of the janiſſaries enjoys great credit at the Porte; and when the body at large were more formidable to the ſultan than at preſent, it was thought expedient to prevent his being too popular with them, by various intrigues. As the ſultan appoints and changes him at pleaſure, leſs danger is to be apprehended from his influence.

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The janiſſaries form ſo great a number of the inhabitants of Conſtantinople, and are ſo different both in diſcipline and habits of life from others diſperſed over the provinces, that to deſcribe them diſtinctly appeared neceſſary. True it is, that ſo enfeebled as they are by a certain deſcription of luxury, ſo corrupted by eaſe and licentiouſneſs, and ſo lapſed from their former auſterity and ſimplicity of manners, their degeneracy becomes more apparent contraſted with their earlier fame, and they no longer are animated by that ſpirit which once could lead them in the van of victory from the Euphrates to the Danube.

    The ſubjoined ſketch of their march to the field and their conduct in battle, is the reſult of many converſations on the ſubject with an Engliſh gentleman, who ſerved the greater part of thirty years in the Turkiſh army.

    The ſpahs form the cavalry, divided into ſixteen legions; they enjoy lands under the title of zam, or fiefs, for the ſervice of bringing ſo many horſemen perfectly-equipped into the field. They relinquiſh their kettles with leſs reluctance than their ſtandards, but are equally ignorant of tactics. The chief of the cannoneers has the command of ſome thouſands: their artillery is ſo heavy as to require twenty horſes, or thirty buffaloes, to draw it, and is ſoon diſmounted by the rapid fire of the enemy. The bombardiers are under the ſame regulation as the ſpahs, and were equally ignorant. The volunteers, both horſe and foot, compoſe many corps, commanded by officers of their own choice ; they receive neither pay nor maintenance till they join the army : upon their arrival they are entitled to the ſame pay as the janiſſaries, and ſhare the plunder, which is the ſole motive with them for enliſting under the ſtandard. The Turks have no uniforms ; the turban is the ſole diſtinction in the army, as well as in every rank in ſociety. The ſultan does not furniſh the troops with

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clothing, excepting when a defeat makes a number of recruits neceſſary, when the Porte gives money ; but generally each officer and ſoldier is well or ill dreſſed according to his private wealth, and carry arms more or leſs handſome, without the leaſt regard to order or uniformity. The luxury of the Turks is conſpicuous in their horſe furniture of ſilver, or ſilver gilt; their guns and piſtols are mounted with the ſame, and their daggers are enriched with jewels. Their tents are magnificent: the viſier's pavilion is covered with cloth of gold, with deep fringe of immenſe coſt. Their habits are of fine cloth or ſtuff; and when they marched to the laſt war, the dreſs of a common ſoldier was of more value than that of a Ruſſian field-officer.

    When the grand viſier commands the army, which he is obliged to do whatever be his military abilities, each pſha ſelects from the janiſſaries thoſe who are beſt prepared for a campaign; they are then regiſtered, and forage provided till they reach their place of deſtination. The companies depend on their commanders for number and force. Their flowing dreſſes impede their march, and the weight of arms oppreſſes them. They have uſually a fuſil flung acroſs their ſhoulders; a ſabre, a dagger, and a pair of piſtols, with a cartouch, in their girdle.

    The Aſiatic troops are cavalry, excepting on the ſhores of the Black ſea, which are infantry only. Syria, Diar bekir, and the diſtricts of the Euphrates, produce excellent horſes of the Arab kind, which are ſpirited and active, yet unable to break the line of the heavy and well diſciplined Germans. Amongſt the baggage of a Turkiſh camp the tents and the kettles only are included. The ſoldiers in common with their officers take the field with a ſingle ſhirt, and when waſhed, they wait with patience till the ſun has dried it. They have waggons drawn by two buffaloes to convey their ammunition and proviſions. The troops moſt in eſteem are the Boſniacs :
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for the janiſſaries of Conſtantinople, enervated by luxury and weakened by indolence, are generally leſs able to ſupport fatigue ; they are likewiſe the moſt adroit deſerters in the army, as the means taken to prevent it are ſo ineffectual, and they haſten back to their families if the plunder does not anſwer their expectation.

    To prevent deſertion guards are placed on the routes, who ſuffer none to paſs but to the camp, and none to return but with the orders of the commander in chief. The Turks diſdain to fortify their camps ; they pitch their tents, without regularity, round the pavilion of the viſier, or their chiefs, and chooſe a ſpot as near as poſſible to a river, or otherwiſe commodious.

    The grand viſier has always a camp peculiar to himſelf, the troops of which are immediately under his command. The agh of the janiſſaries has another, and the artillery have a third, at an equal diſtance between both, ſo that the whole army is divided into three encampments ; and when they are forced to retreat, they are entirely defeated, without the reſource of a camp properly intrenched. The army forms neither into a line nor columns, either to ſecure themſelves from ſurpriſes, or to facilitate their march into an enemy's country. Thoſe who exerciſe any trade are ſure to get forward to ſet up their ſhops, which they occupy as in a town ; ſo that a camp is rather a fair of artiſans, than an army of ſoldiers. The place of encampment being fixed, each ſoldier marches faſt or ſlow as he pleaſes, without immediately following his chief or colours, which are ſometimes almoſt deſerted. The day's march ſeldom exceeds ſix leagues or hours, which they make at once, without halting, or proceed and reſt as they pleaſe. Woe to the villages through which they paſs, where the inhabitants, eſpecially Chriſtians, are abandoned to every kind of rapine and violence, which the Turkiſh ſoldiers purſue without bounds, particularly in Moldavia and

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Wallachia. The commiſſaries of forage precede the march, and content themſelves with iſſuing their orders to the villages and diſtricts to ſend ſupplies, which arriving tardily, a dearth ſometimes enſues. All the ammunition carried by carts drawn by two buffaloes is packed up in ſmall quantities, on account of the difficulty of the route and the total neglect of fixing regular relays of corn and proviſion. It is ſufficient to announce that the army is on the march to all the villages, and no other precaution is taken to provide neceſſary ſubſiſtence. The ration of bread is diſtributed daily to each ſoldier, every morning meat and vegetablcs, and twice a week rice and lard to make pilav, are given them. Upon long or forced marches they have biſcuit inſtead of bread ; but the exact quantity depends upon dearth or plenty. When they have advanced within a few days march of the enemy's lines, the viſier appoints a lieutenant, whom he ſends forward with ſufficient force to reconnoitre or engage them. This plan of dividing the army is always diſadvantageous; for the advanced guard, too diſtant from head quarters for ſuccour, it never fails, if they are defeated, that they retreat in the greateſt diſorder, and ſpread alarm through the whole camp of the grand viſier, who, ſeeing no other means of ſaving the remainder of his forces, takes to precipitate flight, as it frequently happened during the laſt war. In theſe retreats they plunder and deſtroy each other ; and at Matchin, near Ibril, on the Danube, the military cheſt and pavilion of the grand viſier were rifled by his own ſoldiers, and he dared not make inquiry, or inflict puniſhment.

    Although perſonal bravery cannot be denied to the Turks, we ſhould recollect the manner in which they mutually encourage each other, by aſſurances that they are purſuing the path of truth, and that the Chriſtians know only ſorcery and inchantment, to faſcinate them and draw them into ambuſcade ; ſo that when they ſee a ſingle Chriſtian, ten Turks ought to fall upon him, for fear that the other

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Chriſtians, whom an evil ſpirit renders inviſible, ſhould kill them all at once. I know not if all the Turks think ſo, but it is certainly a popular opinion. A thouſand Ruſſlans were never encountered by an equal force ; and in every ſkirmiſh with the Auſtrians they declined engagement, excepting that they were three or four times more numerous. At Shumblh, during the laſt war, 80,000 Turks fled from 12,000 Ruffians.

    The Albanians, who are good troops, have acquired the reputation of being always the firſt in the attack, and are conſidered as the forlorn hope; in ſome inſtances they have ſhrunk from that honour, as in moſt they would incur the riſk of being deſerted by the reſt of the army, and abandoned to their fate.

    The Turks have till lately refuſed to ſubject themſelves to military tactics which might check their impetuoſity. The infantry is not divided into battalions, nor the cavalry into ſquadrons, and they form no line. The chiefs give the command, and carry the ſtandards ; they are the firſt to attack. The cry of war is allh ! which inſpires them with courage, and their enemies with terror. There is no inſtrument to give the charge, or to ſound the retreat. Their fury drives them within the enemy's lines, which diſadvantage occaſions their being taken. Whilſt their artillery fires almoſt at random, the cavalry, with that velocity which always diſtinguiſhes them, and the infantry with that fury which they exert till the moment of being defeated, fall into the enemy's hands, when the panic becomes univerſal, and the Turks complete their own overthrow, being unuſed to rally; and their camp, open on all ſides, offers no aſylum after the loſs of the day. When the Turks were formerly Victorious, the lot of the priſoners was lamentable, for they were loaded with chains, cruelly inſulted, and devoted either to ſlavery or death: but in the laſt war the expediency of exchanging them introduced better treat-

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ment. The Turks are very eaſy with reſpect to fortifying their frontier towns. Religious obſervers of treaties in the quiet of peace, they never think of making preparations for another war, whilſt they conſider themſelves as moving batteries, more able to reſiſt the enemy than the firmeſt baſtions. They have no regularly fortified towns, excepting thoſe on the banks of the Save and Danube, which are the works of French engineers, and ſome of the old Greek or Genoeſe caſtles ; for they are as little verſed in the art of fortifying a town as in defending it. Military duty is performed without any regularity; and the ſentinels paſs more of their time in ſmoking with the guard than on their poſt.

    There is another deſcription of ſoldiers, confined to Conſtantinople, called boſtandjis, literally “ gardeners,” who are at preſent the ſultan's body guard, and ſeveral thouſands in number. Originally they were few, and employed in the menial offices of the ſeraglio ; but it has been thought politic to give them ſuperior rank and pay, and to increaſe them, ſo that by their number and perſonal attachment to the ſultan they might be a conſtant check on the janiſſaries. Their commander, the boſtandji baſhi, has the civil juriſdiction of the ſeraglio, and the populous villages on either ſide the Boſporus. That branch of police which reſpects unfortunate women is peculiar to him, and exerciſed, as I have before deſcribed, with unjuſtifiable ſeverity. They have likewiſe the conduct of the imperial barge whenever proceſſions are made by ſea. The topdjs, or cannoneers, about 10,000 men, inhabit the new caſernes at Tophanah, and are trained to military exerciſe and tactics by European officers, chiefly French and Swedes. Hitherto they have not ſhewn much tractability. When they exerciſe the battery guns they do not neglect to charge them with ball cartridges, and from a window at Pera I have ſeen many ſhots bounding and ſmoking in the ſea, to the infinite peril of the boats that were paſſing and repaſſing to the harbour, or city.

Source



This is a source used for 'Ladle-Bearer To The Janissaries' in Miller's Costume of Turkey, 1802
Illustrations of Ottoman Costume & Soldiers



Version without special characters:
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SECTION VI.
JANISSARIES, THEIR INSTITUTION AND PRESENT STATE-SKETCH OF MILITARY DISCIPLINE AND ARRANGEMENT-BOSTANDJIS TOPDJIS-GREEK CHURCHES CONVERTED INTO MOSQUES-THE FANAL-FOUR HIGH OFFICES GIVEN TO GREEKS-OF THE PRINCES AND THEIR FAMIILIES-DEPENDANCE OF THE GREEK GENTRY.

THE prtorian guards, the mamalukes, and the janissaries, have been celebrated amongst soldiers for valour and military achievements ; and in the first ages of their institution the last mentioned have scarcely merited an inferior degree of praise.

    Certain authors place the establishment of these troops under Osman I. but others, more accurately, under Morad II. They were originally composed of the boys given in tribute from Macedonia, Bulgaria, and the Greek provinces, who were sent at a very early age, educated as musulmans, and called hadjem-oglar, the children of strangers. The policy of the Porte led them in time to commute this kind of tribute, when, that supply of the army having been relinquished, the corps of janissaries was made up solely of young volunteers, who were obliged to undergo a noviciate, and to shew some proof of valour, before they could be enrolled *. These were called yeni-tcheri (new soldiers), which the Franks have corrupted to janissary. Their chief is the yenitcher-agha, a title likewise assumed by the governor of a garrison, in the absence of a superior officer. The janissaries, whose indocility is as ancient as their institution,

* Cantemir, p. 37-41. Gibbon, R. H. v. vi. p. 320, 410.

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are now dispersed over every province of the empire. In time of peace their pay is very small, and varies according to the interest or supposed merit of the individual; but in war they demand more, and to be paid in advance. Their number is doubtless very great, and has been very differently calculated. As the title is hereditary, few are found who, though practising mechanic arts, or engaged in trade, are not enrolled in some odah, or regiment of their choice, in order to avail themselves of privileges annexed to their order, which exempt them from being bastinadoed on the foot, but not on the back, and reserve to them the honour of being strangled when they are condemned to die. There are a hundred and one legions of janissaries, and the sultan is enrolled at the head of the first, and on stated days receives his pay in the second court of the seraglio, when they are fed with pilav from the imperial kitchen. The number of each regiment is not regulated, as volunteers are admitted to any extent; and their commanders are only less ignorant of tactics and military discipline than the common soldier.

    In analysing the body of janissaries they seem more resemblant of peaceful citizens than designed as the tutelary guardians of the empire. Each on his admission, and during his youth, is forced to be the scullion and valet of his ortah, or barrack-chamber; the noviciates are commanded by a corporal, whom they obey implicitly and in silence, as a younger brother works in a convent without replying to his superior. They wear a girdle of leather, with two large plates of copper placed before; they have the care of the kettles, and distribute the mess. From this service they are freed as soon as their mustachios are grown. The symbol which distinguishes the odah to which they belong is marked on their naked arm, which being blown with gunpowder, can never be effaced. The first bears a crescent ; others have grotesque figures like animals, as the lion, or rhinoceros; the thirty-first has the anchor, and is employed in the sea service. This

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last is the most famous ; for when one soldier praises another, he styles him "otooz bir," one of the thirty-first.

    Their sense of military honour does not exert itself to preserve their colours, but the greatest calamity that can befall a regiment is the loss of their kettles; and to remedy this calamity, they have two sets of cooking utensils. When both are taken by the enemy, the regiment is broken, and a new one formed, to whom new kettles are given. The Russians never shocked them so much as during the last war, when having seized their camp equipage, they used their kettles in the presence of the Turkish captives, who were scandalised by such a profanation.

    On days of gala the janissaries wear a large felt cap, certainly of Egyptian invention, with a square piece falling down behind and covering half their back; in front is a socket of copper, originally intended to carry feathers, which they bore in honour of any signal feat in war, but lately to hold a wooden spoon for their pilav; for a good janissary considers his spoon to be as military an accoutrement as an European would his sword or bayonet. Although they are esteemed the best infantry in the empire, those who are rich enough to provide horses are dispensed with marching on foot, without quitting their company, which confusion naturally produces extreme disorder. When on duty in the capital they are unarmed, and carry only a large walking-stick as a badge of their office.

    The chief of the janissaries enjoys great credit at the Porte; and when the body at large were more formidable to the sultan than at present, it was thought expedient to prevent his being too popular with them, by various intrigues. As the sultan appoints and changes him at pleasure, less danger is to be apprehended from his influence.

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The janissaries form so great a number of the inhabitants of Constantinople, and are so different both in discipline and habits of life from others dispersed over the provinces, that to describe them distinctly appeared necessary. True it is, that so enfeebled as they are by a certain description of luxury, so corrupted by ease and licentiousness, and so lapsed from their former austerity and simplicity of manners, their degeneracy becomes more apparent contrasted with their earlier fame, and they no longer are animated by that spirit which once could lead them in the van of victory from the Euphrates to the Danube.

    The subjoined sketch of their march to the field and their conduct in battle, is the result of many conversations on the subject with an English gentleman, who served the greater part of thirty years in the Turkish army.

    The spahis form the cavalry, divided into sixteen legions; they enjoy lands under the title of zaim, or fiefs, for the service of bringing so many horsemen perfectly-equipped into the field. They relinquish their kettles with less reluctance than their standards, but are equally ignorant of tactics. The chief of the cannoneers has the command of some thousands: their artillery is so heavy as to require twenty horses, or thirty buffaloes, to draw it, and is soon dismounted by the rapid fire of the enemy. The bombardiers are under the same regulation as the spahis, and were equally ignorant. The volunteers, both horse and foot, compose many corps, commanded by officers of their own choice ; they receive neither pay nor maintenance till they join the army : upon their arrival they are entitled to the same pay as the janissaries, and share the plunder, which is the sole motive with them for enlisting under the standard. The Turks have no uniforms ; the turban is the sole distinction in the army, as well as in every rank in society. The sultan does not furnish the troops with

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clothing, excepting when a defeat makes a number of recruits necessary, when the Porte gives money ; but generally each officer and soldier is well or ill dressed according to his private wealth, and carry arms more or less handsome, without the least regard to order or uniformity. The luxury of the Turks is conspicuous in their horse furniture of silver, or silver gilt; their guns and pistols are mounted with the same, and their daggers are enriched with jewels. Their tents are magnificent: the visier's pavilion is covered with cloth of gold, with deep fringe of immense cost. Their habits are of fine cloth or stuff; and when they marched to the last war, the dress of a common soldier was of more value than that of a Russian field-officer.

    When the grand visier commands the army, which he is obliged to do whatever be his military abilities, each pasha selects from the janissaries those who are best prepared for a campaign; they are then registered, and forage provided till they reach their place of destination. The companies depend on their commanders for number and force. Their flowing dresses impede their march, and the weight of arms oppresses them. They have usually a fusil flung across their shoulders; a sabre, a dagger, and a pair of pistols, with a cartouch, in their girdle.

    The Asiatic troops are cavalry, excepting on the shores of the Black sea, which are infantry only. Syria, Diar bekir, and the districts of the Euphrates, produce excellent horses of the Arab kind, which are spirited and active, yet unable to break the line of the heavy and well disciplined Germans. Amongst the baggage of a Turkish camp the tents and the kettles only are included. The soldiers in common with their officers take the field with a single shirt, and when washed, they wait with patience till the sun has dried it. They have waggons drawn by two buffaloes to convey their ammunition and provisions. The troops most in esteem are the Bosniacs :
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for the janissaries of Constantinople, enervated by luxury and weakened by indolence, are generally less able to support fatigue ; they are likewise the most adroit deserters in the army, as the means taken to prevent it are so ineffectual, and they hasten back to their families if the plunder does not answer their expectation.

    To prevent desertion guards are placed on the routes, who suffer none to pass but to the camp, and none to return but with the orders of the commander in chief. The Turks disdain to fortify their camps ; they pitch their tents, without regularity, round the pavilion of the visier, or their chiefs, and choose a spot as near as possible to a river, or otherwise commodious.

    The grand visier has always a camp peculiar to himself, the troops of which are immediately under his command. The agha of the janissaries has another, and the artillery have a third, at an equal distance between both, so that the whole army is divided into three encampments ; and when they are forced to retreat, they are entirely defeated, without the resource of a camp properly intrenched. The army forms neither into a line nor columns, either to secure themselves from surprises, or to facilitate their march into an enemy's country. Those who exercise any trade are sure to get forward to set up their shops, which they occupy as in a town ; so that a camp is rather a fair of artisans, than an army of soldiers. The place of encampment being fixed, each soldier marches fast or slow as he pleases, without immediately following his chief or colours, which are sometimes almost deserted. The day's march seldom exceeds six leagues or hours, which they make at once, without halting, or proceed and rest as they please. Woe to the villages through which they pass, where the inhabitants, especially Christians, are abandoned to every kind of rapine and violence, which the Turkish soldiers pursue without bounds, particularly in Moldavia and

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Wallachia. The commissaries of forage precede the march, and content themselves with issuing their orders to the villages and districts to send supplies, which arriving tardily, a dearth sometimes ensues. All the ammunition carried by carts drawn by two buffaloes is packed up in small quantities, on account of the difficulty of the route and the total neglect of fixing regular relays of corn and provision. It is sufficient to announce that the army is on the march to all the villages, and no other precaution is taken to provide necessary subsistence. The ration of bread is distributed daily to each soldier, every morning meat and vegetablcs, and twice a week rice and lard to make pilav, are given them. Upon long or forced marches they have biscuit instead of bread ; but the exact quantity depends upon dearth or plenty. When they have advanced within a few days march of the enemy's lines, the visier appoints a lieutenant, whom he sends forward with sufficient force to reconnoitre or engage them. This plan of dividing the army is always disadvantageous; for the advanced guard, too distant from head quarters for succour, it never fails, if they are defeated, that they retreat in the greatest disorder, and spread alarm through the whole camp of the grand visier, who, seeing no other means of saving the remainder of his forces, takes to precipitate flight, as it frequently happened during the last war. In these retreats they plunder and destroy each other ; and at Matchin, near Ibrail, on the Danube, the military chest and pavilion of the grand visier were rifled by his own soldiers, and he dared not make inquiry, or inflict punishment.

    Although personal bravery cannot be denied to the Turks, we should recollect the manner in which they mutually encourage each other, by assurances that they are pursuing the path of truth, and that the Christians know only sorcery and inchantment, to fascinate them and draw them into ambuscade ; so that when they see a single Christian, ten Turks ought to fall upon him, for fear that the other

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Christians, whom an evil spirit renders invisible, should kill them all at once. I know not if all the Turks think so, but it is certainly a popular opinion. A thousand Russlans were never encountered by an equal force ; and in every skirmish with the Austrians they declined engagement, excepting that they were three or four times more numerous. At Shumblah, during the last war, 80,000 Turks fled from 12,000 Ruffians.

    The Albanians, who are good troops, have acquired the reputation of being always the first in the attack, and are considered as the forlorn hope; in some instances they have shrunk from that honour, as in most they would incur the risk of being deserted by the rest of the army, and abandoned to their fate.

    The Turks have till lately refused to subject themselves to military tactics which might check their impetuosity. The infantry is not divided into battalions, nor the cavalry into squadrons, and they form no line. The chiefs give the command, and carry the standards ; they are the first to attack. The cry of war is allah ! which inspires them with courage, and their enemies with terror. There is no instrument to give the charge, or to sound the retreat. Their fury drives them within the enemy's lines, which disadvantage occasions their being taken. Whilst their artillery fires almost at random, the cavalry, with that velocity which always distinguishes them, and the infantry with that fury which they exert till the moment of being defeated, fall into the enemy's hands, when the panic becomes universal, and the Turks complete their own overthrow, being unused to rally; and their camp, open on all sides, offers no asylum after the loss of the day. When the Turks were formerly Victorious, the lot of the prisoners was lamentable, for they were loaded with chains, cruelly insulted, and devoted either to slavery or death: but in the last war the expediency of exchanging them introduced better treat-

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ment. The Turks are very easy with respect to fortifying their frontier towns. Religious observers of treaties in the quiet of peace, they never think of making preparations for another war, whilst they consider themselves as moving batteries, more able to resist the enemy than the firmest bastions. They have no regularly fortified towns, excepting those on the banks of the Save and Danube, which are the works of French engineers, and some of the old Greek or Genoese castles ; for they are as little versed in the art of fortifying a town as in defending it. Military duty is performed without any regularity; and the sentinels pass more of their time in smoking with the guard than on their post.

    There is another description of soldiers, confined to Constantinople, called bostandjis, literally “ gardeners,” who are at present the sultan's body guard, and several thousands in number. Originally they were few, and employed in the menial offices of the seraglio ; but it has been thought politic to give them superior rank and pay, and to increase them, so that by their number and personal attachment to the sultan they might be a constant check on the janissaries. Their commander, the bostandji bashi, has the civil jurisdiction of the seraglio, and the populous villages on either side the Bosporus. That branch of police which respects unfortunate women is peculiar to him, and exercised, as I have before described, with unjustifiable severity. They have likewise the conduct of the imperial barge whenever processions are made by sea. The topdjis, or cannoneers, about 10,000 men, inhabit the new casernes at Tophanah, and are trained to military exercise and tactics by European officers, chiefly French and Swedes. Hitherto they have not shewn much tractability. When they exercise the battery guns they do not neglect to charge them with ball cartridges, and from a window at Pera I have seen many shots bounding and smoking in the sea, to the infinite peril of the boats that were passing and repassing to the harbour, or city.



An extract on Janissaries and other soldiers from Travels of Ali Bey in Morocco, Tripoli, Cyprus, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, and Turkey. Between the years 1803 and 1807. by Domingo Bada y Leblich, 1816
Illustrations of Ottoman Janissaries (Janizary, Yeniceri)
Ottoman Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers
Index of Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers


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