Cross vs Crescent- Mythology vs Reality

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1 - 8 of 8 Comments Last updated Mar 26, 2014

Since: Mar 14

Hungary

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#1
Mar 26, 2014
 
The Christians who fought in the Ottoman armies were not simply Greeks, but also Serbs, Bulgarians and Romanians. If we take a look at the roll-call registers of Ottoman soldiers stationed on the banks of the Danube in the 1550's, about twenty years after the Battle of Mohacs, the presence of Christian-Slav soldiers amongst the lists of names is quite striking. Out of over 6,200 soldiers listed, well over 1,200 are Christians. In Pest two artillery companies were under the command of Christians, mostly Eastern Orthodox Serbs who had passed into the service of the Ottomans after the fall of Timisoara.

The mix of Christian and Muslim names in the registers is quite revealing - an "Ali from Bosnia" next to a "Dimitri Diragas", a "Murad Abdullah" next to a "Nikola Manoylo" - and suggests that soldiers from both faiths fought quite closely together, in very small companies (rarely more than a dozen were found in an Ottoman oda).25 Slav names such as Vuk, Petri and Lazar abound, and can be found in the same small companies as Muslims - even though, it should be said, the general tendency seems to have been to have Muslim soldiers in their own companies, and Christians together with new Muslim converts.

We know who the fresh converts to Islam are in the registers, because they are usually called "Abdullah" or "son of Abdullah". Ottoman clerks were reluctant to write down the Christian names of converts' families in their registers, so they simply wrote 'son of Abdullah'. Their number is enormous - practically over a quarter of the so-called 'Muslim' soldiers listed were recent converts, probably from Bosnian or Serb Christian families. Although we regularly use the word 'Turkish' to describe these armies stationed in Hungary, the number of actual ethnic Turks in these garrisons is very low - perhaps as little as five per cent. As the historian Dimitrov puts it, Ottoman rule in Hungary was established mainly through Balkan and Bosnian Christians, Islamized Christians and the immediate descendants of these newly-converted Muslims.

Certainly, different kinds of Christians served in the Ottoman armies at a variety of different
levels, and in a variety of different ways. The Ottoman voynuks - one of the largest military formations within the Ottoman empire - almost completely consisted of Bulgarian serfs. Some Christians worked as artillerymen (topcilar) or with the heavy cannons (humbaracilar). Most Christians could be found fighting as unattached soldiers (martolos) alongside the official regiments of the Sultan, as soldiers in castles or in the Ottoman fleet on the Danube. Thousands of Christians also served as raiders (akincilar), troops recruited mostly from the northern Balkans who carried out slash-and-burn raids on pre-selected areas before a campaign.27 The greater part of the back-up for an Ottoman army - the Ordnance corps who supplied the gunpowder, provisions, repairs, etc - were mostly local Christians: carpenters, armourers, smiths. The shipbuilders of Pest, for example, were almost exclusively Christian.
Finally, there were the least-privileged 'helpers' of the Ottomans - the cerehor or common labourers, an enormous sub-group of usually poor Christian peasants who assisted in the construction or transportation of the army's infrastructure.

Since: Mar 14

Hungary

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#2
Mar 26, 2014
 
Today's international trade in arms and weapons technology, the reader may be depressed to learn, also had its mirror image in the Ottoman sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A surge in the development of military technology was taking place in the Ottoman empire, most of it driven by both Western and Ottoman Christians. Foreign military experts, particularly those with artillery expertise, were regularly employed or, in some cases, captured. During the Siege of Belgrade (1456), for example, many of the cannons were operated by Germans, Italians or Hungarians. Western travellers to Istanbul often remarked upon the striking number of Christians and Jews working in the foundries - in 1510, twenty of the eighty workers from one foundry were said to be of Christian or Jewish origin.28 The work of the historian Ágoston reveals Istanbul to be a hive of technological innovation, where Venetian shipwrights, Persian blacksmiths, Jewish iron-workers, Dutch engineers and Armenian and Greek miners and sappers would all have rubbed shoulders with one another to provide teeth for the Ottoman war-machine.

Since: Mar 14

Hungary

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#3
Mar 26, 2014
 
The point is, all of Balkan, from Bulgarians to Romanians, from Greeks to Serbs, from Bosnians to Albanians, as well as Armenians, Dutch, Germans, Persians, Jews, Italians, French and last but not least, Hungarians collaborated with the Ottomans at one point in time.

Please keep this thread civil, it is not meant to be an attack on anybody, though I know for some it's hard to accept the historical truth, and they insist that their specific nation fought against Ottomans 100% while everybody else collaborated.

Historical reality is different from national pride boosting myths.


Thank you.

“A man's character is his fate”

Since: Jun 10

Heraclitus

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#4
Mar 26, 2014
 
Vitez wrote:
The point is, all of Balkan, from Bulgarians to Romanians, from Greeks to Serbs, from Bosnians to Albanians, as well as Armenians, Dutch, Germans, Persians, Jews, Italians, French and last but not least, Hungarians collaborated with the Ottomans at one point in time.
Please keep this thread civil, it is not meant to be an attack on anybody, though I know for some it's hard to accept the historical truth, and they insist that their specific nation fought against Ottomans 100% while everybody else collaborated.
Historical reality is different from national pride boosting myths.
Thank you.
Its not the point about crooked selfish noblemen, individual careerists, mercenaries and war dogs or vassality forceful conditions.

Its about heart....and general attitude....

Since: Mar 14

Hungary

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#5
Mar 26, 2014
 
The_Baron wrote:
<quoted text>
Its not the point about crooked selfish noblemen, individual careerists, mercenaries and war dogs or vassality forceful conditions.
Its about heart....and general attitude....
What do you think of League of Lezhe? Their hearts and attitude?

I simply point out the fallacy of <insert Balkan country> sitting on their high horse and labelling others as Turks or Turk collaborators.

“A man's character is his fate”

Since: Jun 10

Heraclitus

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#6
Mar 26, 2014
 
Vitez wrote:
<quoted text>
What do you think of League of Lezhe? Their hearts and attitude?
I simply point out the fallacy of <insert Balkan country> sitting on their high horse and labelling others as Turks or Turk collaborators.
I think all the best. Beside Skanderbeg, about whom i was writing, Stefan Crnojevic was a member too.

It lasted from 1444 – 1450.

6 years.

Since: Jul 13

Genova, Italy

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#7
Mar 26, 2014
 

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Vitez wrote:
Today's international trade in arms and weapons technology, the reader may be depressed to learn, also had its mirror image in the Ottoman sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A surge in the development of military technology was taking place in the Ottoman empire, most of it driven by both Western and Ottoman Christians. Foreign military experts, particularly those with artillery expertise, were regularly employed or, in some cases, captured. During the Siege of Belgrade (1456), for example, many of the cannons were operated by Germans, Italians or Hungarians. Western travellers to Istanbul often remarked upon the striking number of Christians and Jews working in the foundries - in 1510, twenty of the eighty workers from one foundry were said to be of Christian or Jewish origin.28 The work of the historian Ágoston reveals Istanbul to be a hive of technological innovation, where Venetian shipwrights, Persian blacksmiths, Jewish iron-workers, Dutch engineers and Armenian and Greek miners and sappers would all have rubbed shoulders with one another to provide teeth for the Ottoman war-machine.
in the 500 years of Ottoman rule there is to discuss of resistance, collaboration, identity, murder, self-styled deportations, mythology, complexity, well-being...

We all often impute to the Ottoman Empire the cultural backwardness of the Balkan peoples against the West. It is too often deliberately forgotten that, the Ottoman Empire was a historical of identity for many generations to which we all have contributed, Muslims or Christians.

Since: Jul 13

Genova, Italy

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#8
Mar 26, 2014
 
The_Baron wrote:
<quoted text>
I think all the best. Beside Skanderbeg, about whom i was writing, Stefan Crnojevic was a member too.
It lasted from 1444 – 1450.
6 years.
League of Lezhe was just an union of the big Albanian families,where all were in the relations between them,Crnojevic included(Kastrioti's sisters were married with two of them).Thus it was a question of big family the resitance agaist Ottomans...

In the battle of Kosovo, Lazar called his two sons in law,Vlatko Vukotic and Vuk Brankovic, and all came after them,so it was an question of big family,where the whole chain of friendship follows others....

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