Janissaries were the elite combat troops of the Ottoman Army and the first professional standing army in Europe. They were under the direct command of the Sultan, answerable only to the Sultan himself. What made the Janissary Corps unique was that they were all recruited from among the fittest Christian children in conquered territories under a system called Devshirme, roughly meaning conversion. Until the system was adulterated or abandoned in about the 17th century, no Muslims could be recruited into the Janissary Corps.

Janissaries A Phenomenon In Transformative Education

The recruits were first converted into Islam, taught Turkish, and then received the best training in military arts to excel as combatants. Although they were called Kapikulu, slaves of The Sublime Porte or The  Imperial Crown, they received a handsome salary, job security and prestige that was without equal throughout or outside the Empire. Janissaries were part of Askeri, military class, that was the ruling elite of the Ottoman Empire. Many Janissaries rose through the ranks to the highest offices in the land, Vazirs, or the Sultan’s ministers. Janissaries had a strict honor code and, at least in the first few hundred years, unquestionable loyalty to The Crown. As demonstrated to a certain extent by the U.S. Marine Corps, Janissaries can be relevant today for the creation of a new identity and professional excellence through training.

Ottoman Turks

Ataturk In Janissary Uniform