Isidoros Glabas on the Devshirme

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“The sermon of Isidoros Glabas on the devshirme”
The devshirme in Ottoman society became an important practice implemented to increase the manpower of the empire. Speros Vryonis goes into detail on the debate of when the devshirme and the Janissaries came to being, but I think there is more to take from this source. As Speros states, the creation of the devshirme is not entirely certain, but one cannot help to know that the Ottomans needed these children for a particular reason.

We know what the role of the devshirme was. It was to serve the Sultan under his imperial institutions, whether that may be in the Palace or on the battlefield. An idea that can be taken from the devshirme and the Ottoman Empire may be that the Ottomans needed more men to help rule the empire, or did it perhaps have religious purposes? It is possible that the child tributes were taken from their non-Muslim families and converted to Islam simply to spread the religion.

The devshirmes were technically slaves, but many climbed very high up the social ladder. Devshirmes could potentially become grand visiers, and receive other important titles, socially or militarily. It is very interesting how many of the devshirmes stayed loyal, since they were slaves. One would think that there would be many who may not stay loyal, after being taken from their families. Although, there were those who embraced being taken as a slave of the Sultan. Coming from a poor family, it can be understood how the parents may want their child to become a devshirme. Being a devshirme gives great opportunity for one to move up within the empire.

I found it significant how in the translation of “Capitulations of Jannina” they clearly specify the difference between enslavement and ‘the taking of your children’. They were originally seen as slaves of the Sultan but it is possible throughout the years people realized how the devshirme can positively affect someone’s life. This is very opinionated, or perhaps what...
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