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Open the online Arabic language course

Open map of OmanOttoman Empire /

1. Organization
2. Rulers
3. Demography and Culture
4. Rise and Fall: Explanations
5. History

The army of Süleyman 1 Kanuni besieging Vienna in 1529.
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The main institution in the Ottoman Empire was the army, which was put together of both Turkish cavalry called sipahis, and financed by grants of government revenues, and from the middle of the 14th century slave soldiers, called kapikulli. The extension of the army with kapikulli was necessary as the there were not available troops among the Turks.
While it is correct to call the kapikulli slaves, they were not mistreated slaves in the Western sense of the word. Most of them were Christian youths from the Balkans that had been taken from their families at an early age, and taken through education and training. In many circumstances, the members of the kapikulli represented the elite in the society, even if they were slaves — the property of the sultan. It was f.x. kapikulli troops that formed the famous janissary infantry which was famous for its military skills.
The administration of the society had 3 main parts: The sultan's household; departments administered by the Grand Vizier; Muslim religious institutions which were in charge of law and education.
The empire was divided into military districts ruled by officials. These were in charge of putting together the armies of free Turks, as well as raising money and supplies for the kapikulli troops. The districts were also in charge of constructing roads and bridges in order to facilitate warfare.

By Tore Kjeilen