From the fifteenth to the sixteenth century, the janissaries were the scourge of Europe. With their martial music, their muskets and their drilled march, it seemed that no one could withstand them. Their loyalty to their corps was infinite as the Ottomans conquered the Balkans as far as the Danube, and Syria, Egypt and Iraq. They set up semi-independent states along the North African coast and even fought at sea. Their political power was such that even sultans trembled. Who were they? Why were they an elite? Why did they decline and what was their end? These are some of the questions which this book attempts to answer. It is the story of extraordinary personalities in both victory and defeat. 'An incredible book a tour de force' Middle East International 'Well written and lucid.' Muslim World Books Review 'Goodwin has done so much in his scholarly career to introduce a wide audience to Ottoman culture.' Financial Times
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