Tuesday, April 14, 2015

J is for Janissaries

Janissaries are a military force whose origins date back to the 14th century. Like many elite military groups, Osprey even has a book covering them.  In the fiction novel, The Religion, by Tim Willoocks, the main character is a former Janissary.

According to good old Wikipedia, they have a few traits that sound just about 'standard' and could be fit inspiration for any military organization.

Their original formation was as bodyguards and to be an elite unit. They were taken from slaves. Normally Greek and Albanian, due to the close proximity of those countries.

Hundreds of years later? That elite ranking is no longer in place and instead of being by deed, it was hereditary. Instead of being known for their loyalty and fighting ability, they became known for their corruption.

By the time their end came around? They were able to hold the government itself hostage with their numbers and positions. Not a palce you want to be for long term viability because at that point, you're no longer a benefit.

The Janissaries are a fascinating look at how a military organization changes with the times and not always for the better.