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Soldiers on an Ottoman Island: The Janissaries of Crete, Eighteenth-Early Nineteenth Centuries

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This essay is a contribution to the study of provincial janissaries through the case of Crete. After a brief survey of the history of the janissary corps as the wider framework within which the janissaries of Crete have to be studied, the essay focuses on them, resolving the confusion between janissaries and other military groups, discussing the differences between imperial and local janissaries, and offering an explanation as to why various sources exaggerate the number of janissaries while officially they were relatively few. Finally, it is argued that, from a socio-economic point of view, the janissaries must be seen as inclusive and expansive urban and rural networks that placed their members at an advantageous position over others through legal privilege and access to funds.

Affiliations: 1: University of Crete and Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FO.R.T.H., ; 2: Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FO.R.T.H.,


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