I had to look up Devsirme (the Ottoman practice of collecting boys from the Baltic Christian states, converting them to Islam and training them for soldiers or other civic duties).
It violated Islamic law, but was used countermand the spread of the power of the Turkic nobility. It was illegal for Muslim families to do it, even though they tried to put their own children into the ranks.
The Ottomans were an interesting empire, that’s all I can say.
The Janissaries were elite and powerful as hell, compare to how european levies basically got sent to die in mud while their families starved due to lack of manpower to farm.
This is interesting. I think one of the reasons isn’t only to form a powerful loyal army for the Sultan, but also to pacify the region / people. Having these boys as janissaries will eventually spread the Ottoman-ization over the region. One boy in the army, the family is pacified, so yeah, there’s a mean of control as well. (Hi hello! :D)
Which could actually be seen in some eyes as worse than the things the Western empires were accused of. Rather than just getting rid of a culture outright, you’re slowly eroding it under the guise of progress (and yes, I do understand that coming from a Brit that can be seen as hypocritical). And hi. c:
IMHO it’s to counter the growing nationalism in the Balkan peninsula. Also, I think I remember not all regions suffered from this (as in experiencing equal suppression of the people). If I’m not mistaken only in Rhodopes region that the (forced) mass-conversion happened at its worst, and this is because of the strategical importance for the region. I digress—-but this can be taken into consideration—-in the mid of 1600s the Ottoman was fighting the Holy League backed up by the Holy Roman Empire (which they lost since they were defeated at the Siege of Vienna). And then they were also met with fierce resistance from Wladyslaw IV (?) Vasa and John Hunyadi at the Battle of Varna (this time they won). Of course this would be potential threat, so at first they’d strip the people of their identity. First as a Christian / Orthodox, second as a Slav. Embracing the Ottoman’s way of life means like, becoming an Ottoman. If everybody was ‘Turkish’ then there wouldn’t be any reason left to fight.
That is a logical way to look at it. Kind of a fear induced thing due to the believe that the military losses of the Ottoman Empire would incite the Slavic populations to revolt, which I think only happened once?
Fear is also a mean of control anyway. Demoralizing the opponent is a part of warfare itself. One of this demoralizing ‘methods’ would be targeting women / children. Maybe the janissary case can be included in this, if we are to look from this perspective (and being ‘heartless’ to follow the warfare course). Make the boy (children) one of them, his family will follow because they are the ‘guarantee’ so he stays loyal. If the boy converts he can also convert his family (and to be fair, I beg to differ from hard-lined nationalists; I genuinely believe religion crosses borders, so I don’t think the Slavs who embraced Islam must have gotten at it by force / mass conversion). This ‘weakens’ the population because the society will be divided and fought against each other (eg. Bulgarian muslims might not be seen as ‘true Bulgarians’—-rather they are either victims or traitors, even if they became muslims out of free will). A dispersed population is easier to control.
I think there had to be revolts here & there, but maybe the scale & intensity was low. Maybe it wasn’t really recorded in history because the revolt was regional and smaller-medium scale. Maybe a group of janissaries even ever revolted but you know history was written by the stronger and the winner, so…
If I recall correctly, there was quite a revolt in Romania in the 1800s. This is also nice to analyze considering the growing Balkan nationalism and Slavic solidarity / pride / whatever the term is. And maybe the liberation of Bulgaria under Alexander II actually triggered the movements, which in turn, fueled the fights.
This is really interesting.
This is interesting for me too since I’ve only just started researching this in full. I only knew the bare minimum for the forced conversion and the janissaries.
I also do agree that religion can cross borders, but many times, especially moreso in imperial conquests, religion is used as a divide and conquer tool. I think the Ottomans did use it as an effective means of suppression since, as you said, there were very few revolts, up until the Greek War of Independence and I think you’re referring to the 1812 Wallachian Uprising. And you’ve also got the treatment of the Armenians in the east, but that’s a different kettle of fish.
I haven’t actually figured out how many notable revolts ever recorded in history, and what criteria would make a revolt ‘notable’ other than the number of people involved or the casualties. I think generally speaking suppressions became harder and more imposing after the Empire was shaken—-whether it was out of revolt, or losing battle against another party (maybe in this case the Catholic League would fit being ‘that party’). Politically speaking religion could serve as a mean of alliance but in this case, probably not always—-if I’m not mistaken wasn’t there a notable Bosnian hero called Dragon of Bosnia—-Husein Gradascevic if I’m not mistaken. If memory serves me right Gradascevic revolted against Ottoman’s Mahmud II and his Tanzimat reform. Again if I’m not mistaken Tanzimat is basically a reform of attempt of Ottoman-ization to counter the growing Balkan nationalism movements, but these happened in the 1800s. And yes I think it’s the Wallachian Uprising. I think we should see it from war / conflict cycle by mapping the battles the Ottomans fought and see which ones they lost and what excess it brought to the other region. I’m pretty sure rules and oppressions were tightened after rebellion attempts… doing so would give you a pattern and maybe out of this we can draw a hypothesis ;D
(Is this what I’d have to in university level history? Because my brain hurts just by looking at it :p)
This is a completely new area of study for me (I’ve just been flitting back and forth between Napoleonic military, Renaissance and medieval era), so so much of this just goes right over my head. I’m not saying I don’t understand it, it’s just…. politics. So…. so much politics. ugh…
I’m not a history major, Dear (surprise! xD), so I can’t answer that question…
That’s as far as I know. Won’t dare to speak of things I haven’t really known yet lol c: but yeah, I’m approaching it from the political part. And warfare (they are related, right? XD)
But yes, IMHO you can’t really separate politics-history-warfare from each other. Even casually talking about international issues will be better with knowledge of historical context. Besides, things happening ten, fifteen years ago, aren’t they also history? :)
— From I Wish I’d Been There, Book Two edited by Byron Hollinshead and Theodore K. Rabb (via historyismyboyfriend)
Guessing Game Time!
"hte wurld wars only onvloved white ppl no poc"
Guess which one:
A) White supremacist trying to deny the sacrifices of POC who fought and/or died in service and/or civilians affected by fighting and wartime conditions in their homeland, whose contributions are often forgotten or ignored
B) Idiot Tumblr user who thinks that they’re really sticking it to Da Man
The niece of the great Mongol leader, Kubla Khan, Princess Khutulun was described by Marco Polo as the greatest warrior in Khan’s army. She told her uncle she would marry any man who could wrestle her and win. If they lost they had to give her 100 horses.
She died unmarried with 10,000 horses."
— (via Sandi Toksvig’s top 10 unsung heroines | Books | guardian.co.uk) (via hesmybrother-hesadopted, aubade) (via nevillegonnagiveuup) (via sallyjessyrofl) (via tothelibrary) (via demogorgons) (via penrose-stairs)
Susan Borda, The Creation of Anne Boleyn
Borda is writing about a specific fantastic episode in Boleyn’s life that has been repetitively asserted as truth, but I think the quote also has an application regarding history in general.
I wish people understood that the study of history isn’t an endless stream of “here’s the hidden truth” moments. It’s actually detective work in a very real sense. That is to say, it involves constantly asking yourself things like: what benefit does this person have to gain by lying to me? Who was writing this guy’s paycheck? What angle is the writer coming from? There are a lot of times when you do learn little facts that are interesting, but the research aspect is primarily figuring out why a long-dead bureaucrat is reaching through time to blow smoke up your ass.
Sometimes you may feel bad about yourself and your life choices, but gather ‘round, children, and I will tell you a story that will hopefully put things in perspective
Nedeljko Čabrinović was among the group of Black Hand assassins that planned to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914. Unlike more his famous BFFL Gavrilo Princip, our homeboy Čabrinović was significantly less successful.
[cue Musical Accompaniment]
First, he tried to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand by throwing a bomb at Ferdinand’s car while it passed. Unfortunately, Čabrinović forgot about the 10-second delay, and ended up blowing up a car behind AFF, injuring the passengers and some bystanders.
Now of course Čabrinović’s knew he had to bounce, because even if you failed, you don’t do something like try to bomb and Archduke and not get the fuzz all up in your cheese. Now, of course, staying on the lam wasn’t really practical for him and wasn’t glorious and heroic, so Čabrinović was, like any good Black Hand Scout out to get his Serb Hero Merit Badge, prepared. No, he lived by the principle of “Live fast die young bad Serbs do it well” (even when they really don’t at all).
He swallowed some cyanide, fled, and tried to jump into the river Miljacka. So far so good, die of poison and fload down the river instead of winding up in the slammer. But this is Nedeljko Čabrinović, and as we’ve learned by now Nedeljko Čabrinović was a man whom fate decided deserved a dick in the ear.
The cyanide was expired, and only made him vomit. But hey, at least the river swept him away to martyrdom, right? No, because the River Miljacka was roughly 4 inches deep. The authorities found him in the river, hauled him out, and locked him up until his death by TB in 1916.
So remember, kids, if you ever feel like you’re a loser who makes poor life choices, just remember Nedeljko Čabrinović, who thought he would die a hero, but instead not only failed to kill his target, but also ended up sitting in a glorified mud puddle until the po-po arrived, puking like a frat boy after his 11th jäger bomb.