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Gentile Bellini. A Turkish Janissary. British Museum, London, UK. More. [Order a Print][Order a Hand-Painted Reproduction]

Gentile Bellini. A Turkish Janissary.
A Turkish Janissary. Janissaries were elite troops of the Sultan, recruited as children from Christian families, forcibly converted to Islam and subjected for many years to rigorous military and religious training; some had been additionally trained as sappers and engineers. Legally they were slaves, in that they enjoyed no personal rights outside their regimental life; but they received regular salaries and were anything but servile: as recently as 1451 they had staged a near-mutiny for higher pay, and janissary revolts were to be a regular feature of Ottoman history until well into the nineteenth century

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