Monday, May 28, 2012
This is coolbert:
From the Daniel Pipes web site we have some extracts of an article originally posted by Dr. Pipes as of 2000. The military slave and the apparantely "unique phenomenon" of such an institution in the Islamic world. Thanks to Dr. Pipes in all instances. The level of scholarship is indeed that of scholarship.
"Military Slaves: A Uniquely Muslim Phenomenon"
I think most students of military hisotry are familiar with the Janissary of the Ottoman Empire or the Mamelukes of the various Egyptian Islamic dynasties. Military soldiers professionals their entire adult lives, having been raised from an early age to be military men, owned by the ruler, and beholden only to same.
Children having been enslaved [Christian in the case of the Janissary and Circassian in the case of the Mameluke] knowing no other life than that of the soldier and as described a tradition and "phenomenon" perhaps UNIQUE to the Islamic world?
"Even a cursory glance at the history of Muslim peoples reveals the extraordinary role played by men of slave origins in the armed forces. They served both as soldiers and as officers, then often acquired preeminent roles in administration, politics, and all aspects of public affairs."
A tradition and "phenomenon" last for a period of a thousand years [1,000] and hardly confined to the Ottoman or Egyptian Islamic empires.
"For a full millennium, from the early ninth century until the early nineteenth century, Muslims regularly and deliberately employed slaves as soldiers. This occurred through nearly the whole of the Muslim world, from Central Africa to Central Asia, from Spain to Bengal, and perhaps beyond. Few dynasties within this longtime-span and broad area had no military slaves."
The status of the military slave much enhanced beyond that of the "ordinary slave"! The military slave not subject to the endless toil of the domestic or field slave, that military slave having a role in society and opportunities not available to the "ordinary slave".
"Far from being lowly domestics or servile laborers, they enjoy the respect and the power of soldiers. Although slaves, they are part of the ruling elite; they bear arms, have access to the ruler, fill important positions, and enjoy the amenities of wealth and power. Indeed, they enjoy many advantages which most free men cannot attain and, as a result, their slave status carries with it no stigma. On the contrary, it becomes a badge of distinction; slavery, in an extraordinary reversal, gives access to power and social superiority which free birth might deny. Far from considering it a humiliation, free men covet this status and slaves jealously guard it. None of this, of course, holds true for ordinary slaves."
That carrying of arms ["bearing arms"] it should be recognized as normally only a "right" as conferred to free men, not to slaves. PRIVILEGES AND ADVANTAGES AVAILABLE TO THE MILITARY SLAVE EVEN INDEED THAT "MOST FREE MEN CANNOT ATTAIN"!!
It should be noted that the Mameluke prowess in battle according to all accounts was awesome, the Mongol defeat at Ain Jalut the high water mark of Mongol conquest no one other than those military slaves of the Egyptian able to vanquish the Mongol in a similar manner.
During the American Civil War it was SUGGESTED by both Robert E. Lee and Patrick Cleburne that enslaved blacks be armed and enlisted into the forces of the Confederacy. Suggestions rejected without discussion or comment.