The Janissarys and the Millet System: Keystones of the Ottoman Empire

2318 Words May 10th, 2013 10 Pages
The Janissaries and the Millet System:
Keystones of the Ottoman Empire

Matteo McDonnell
Atlantic Communities I
Ms. Ford
5/20/13
The Ottoman Empire was a Muslim state spanning from Austria to the Persian Gulf, from Russia to Egypt. It was formed at the end of the thirteenth century by Osman I, expanded through the conquest of the Byzantine Empire, and lasted for over 600 years. It was dissolved after it lost (along with Germany and Austria-Hungary) to the western allies in the First World War. To deal with such a large area over such a long period of time, it needed a strong military and a system to keep social order. The Janissaries strengthened the military and the Millet System helped to organize Ottoman society and both were
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Murad observed and directed the battle from one of them. The Janissaries dug in behind ditches and two palisades. The right wing consisted of Kapikulus and Sipahis from Rumelia, and the left wing was made up by Akıncıs, Sipahis from Anatolia, and other forces. Janissary archers and Akıncı light cavalry were deployed on the Franga plateau. The other Ottoman flank assaulted the Hungarians and Bulgarians of Michael Szilagyi. Their push was stopped and turned back; then Sipahis attacked again. Hunyadi decided to help and advised Władysław to wait until he returned; then advanced with two cavalry companies. The young king, ignoring Hunyadi's advice, rushed 500 of his Polish knights against the Ottoman center. They attempted to overrun the Janissary infantry and take Murad prisoner, and almost succeeded. But Władysław had fallen in a pitfall in front of Murad's tent and was slain by the Janissary bodyguards, his head was cut off and later taken to the Ottoman court. The remaining Polish cavalry was destroyed by the Ottomans.
One of their most important battles was the conquest of Constantinople, which took place on the Bosphorus, in 1453. Constantinople was the last Christian city within the Ottoman Empire. It was receiving supplies from Russia. The Ottoman army was led by the current Sultan, Mehmet II against the Christians, led by Constantine XI. This city was