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Further on Devshirmes

Reader comment on item: A Modern-day Version of Military Slavery

Submitted by Ali Koknar (United States), Jun 16, 2006 at 14:47

The boys were not always kidnapped by the Ottomans.

As the Devshirme (Turkish word meaning "recruited") Janissaries grew in size and budget, Christian families started to render their sons to the Ottoman Army so that they might have full board, learn to read and write and receive military training, and if they had exceptional skills, be promoted to higher rank and eventually join the elite few Christian-origin Janissaries who became Ottoman Pashas (generals) in the Sultan's court, contributing to the administration of the Ottoman Empire.

The most famous Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire the 'pater familias' of his own dynasty, Sokullu Mehmet Pasha is a good example of those who rose through the Janissary ranks.

You can also look at the Devshirme system as a military scholarship program with affirmative action results for Christian Ottoman subjects.

regards,

Ali

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