-What's the secret behind the Janissaries strength?

-Historically, The Janissaries were one of the strongest military units in the entire Ottoman army:

  • They played key roles throughout the Ottoman wars.

  • They were the core units in the Ottoman army.

  • They achieved many triumphs for some centuries, beating Balkan armies.

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    There's no "secret" to elite forces, you just make sure that they're well trained, well equiped and well motivated. Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 19:56
  • & Please, Before putting my post [on hold]... Kindly, Read the note I added.
    – K. M.
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 20:01
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    The wikipedia article does a good job of answering why they were initially successful and how they became decadent and corrupt and, ultimately, declined. Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 20:40
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    In the Stack Exchange community questions that lack information about the author's research are forwned upon, maybe that's why the admins are putting your question on hold. You should read the wikipedia page about Jannisaries and edit your question to include some point that are not covered to the extent of your interest, or maybe ask about specific battles where Janissaries made a big difference
    – RMalke
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


You could read most of that on Wikipedia yourself, but, there are a few main points, most of the comming from the fact that its members were picked(stolen) as children:

  • they had a very good and heavy training programme, so the only ones that survived to become Janissaries were strong and have spent their whole life training how to fight

  • because they were children when they first "enlsited", it was easier for them to form friendships and bond with their commrades, and as an effect they had a high esprit de corps(which, as Napoleon said a few centuries later, is highly crucial for a fighting force)

  • being children, they were easily brainwashed into thinking whatever was needed, so they were extremely loyal and professional - couple that with good morale and good, long and hard training, and you have the basis of every good, professional fighting force like.. ever.

But, as with most Ottoman institutions, they got corrupt and lazy, and in the end when they were dissolved they were a less than impressive force.

  • I'm not sure if they were as impressive as is often made out...we know they existed...but so did the Mamlukes who unlike the Janissaries actually ran Egypt. Until Napoleon came along the Mamelukes ran Egypt quite well actually. As with most slave based societies they were highly resistant to change...although Ottoman unlike Egyptian culture was not slave based...unless you were a Christian for the former of course. Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 1:06

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