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FOUR The Military Corps (Janissaries and Spahis) and the Police Very soon after the conquest of the island, the Porte assigned garrisons to castles located in strategic places. All of the castles except Lefko§a were on the coast. Of course, the presence of fortifications was the main consideration in deciding where to establish new defensive positions, for it was far cheaper to repair and restore existing fortifications than to build new ones. The existing fortifications had been constructed on sites the strategic significance of which was already manifest. An analysis of the allocation of soldiers and money for these places in 1571-1572 (979-980) reveals much about how the Ottoman government regarded them. Surprisingly the funds allocated for the fortresses and defenses of Tuzla, Lefko§a, and Magosa were at the same level. A sum of 2,671,280 akce was budgeted for the defense of Tuzla. Several classes of soldiers, 1045 in all, including 102 canoneers, were assigned there. Among the 1130 soldiers assigned to Lefko§a were 152 canoneers; 2,562,502 akce was allocated for the castle. Although a breakdown of kinds and numbers of soldiers was not provided for Magosa, 2,618,222 akce was allocated for its defense. The defense of Baf, which received only about 300/0 of the funds assigned to Tuzla, Lefko§a, and Magosa, was the responsibility of 310 soldiers with various specialties. The 774,658 akce allocated for Baf was more than twice the 353,110 akce provided for the castle of Girniye, and that was almost twice the 180,738 akce allocated for the defense of Limosa. The allocation of resources for the defense of those six places tells much about what the Ottomans hoped for them. The most important commercial harbor on the island was Larnaka, I07 108 The Military Corps or Tuzla, as the Ottomans referred to it. Most foreign ambassadors resided there. The castle (kalCe) officially had a garrison of 30 or 40 soldiers (merdan) and 10 or 15 canoneers (topciyan) to protect the harbor. Between 17,000 and 20,000 akce was officially allocated annually for the soldiers and between 7500 and 8500 akce for the canoneers . The Janissary Corps Originally the janissary corps was an elite Ottoman infantry composed entirely of slaves whose only loyalty was to the sultan. Conscripted for life as children from Christian villages, constantly drilled, converted to Islam, and garrisoned near the royal palace, they constituted one of the two great Ottoman military corps. With the weakening of the central government, their discipline broke down, free men were admitted, and their numbers increased. They spread to the provinces, where they participated in local economies.1 Starting in the 16th century admission to the janissary corps was first opened to freeborn Muslims. Soon the practice became widespread. The changes in recruitment patterns were profound. In 1593-1595 only 46% of janissaries whose full names are cited as legal agents (vekil), witnesses (§uhud), creditors, and lenders were of slave (non-Muslim) origin. In 16°9-1611, that proportion had fallen to 250/0, and by 16331637 it had reached 16%.2 Among the military creditors and debtors whose full names are given (that is, the name and father's name, with cAbdullah used where the man is a convert), 29% (26 of 91) were converts to Islam, the other 71% were born Muslims. A breakdown of the number of converts by time period gives a striking indication of the new origins of janissaries after 1620. In both 1593-1595 and 16°9-1611 36% of the military creditors and debtors whose full names are cited (10 of 28 and 12 of 33, respectively ) are converts, 64% being native Muslims. However, in 16331637 that proportion had fallen by one-third to 12%, versus 88% native Muslims. Obviously recruitment patterns of Ottoman soldiers on Cyprus had changed drastically. In the traditional Ottoman system the janissary corps was paid salaries directly by the Porte, while the spahis were supported by stipends from the revenues of agricultural taxes (the timar system). Those taxes The Military Corps 109 were arranged in units of revenue reflecting the rank of the cavalryman and were paid locally rather than through the imperial government. However, in Cyprus on at least a few occasions janissaries actually held timars. A timar worth 6,299 akce in Lefko§a nahiye was awarded to janissary Sefer be§e bn cAbdullah (2 19-3; 1016). Christian Simas made a claim against haci Mehmed bn...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814743744
Related ISBN
9780814741818
MARC Record
OCLC
794701057
Pages
429
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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