|Belongs to||Ottoman Empire|
|Soldiers in each unit||120|
|Produced from||Barracks or higher|
|Special abilities||Can Guard
|Turns to Train||1|
The janissaries are professional soldiers, hardened by arduous training and given the best equipment in the army.
As a force, they are the cream of the Ottoman army but, in comparison to some other nations, they fight in a slightly old fashioned way. This is small comfort to those who stand against them, as the janissaries are personally brave to the point of foolhardiness. They are also given to festooning themselves with weapons and hurling themselves into any fray!
Historically, the corps of janissaries (the term means “new soldiers”) dates back to the 14th Century. They were intended to replace the unreliable ghazi tribal warriors with a force indoctrinated to be completely loyal to the Sultan. This was achieved by taking boys as young as five for training and conversion to Islam if required. The janissaries had their own corps of engineers, supply troops and were even paid regularly, whether they were at war or not! Over time, however, they came to be used as bureaucrats and administrators, and this gave them too much power over the Ottoman Empire. Eventually, the janissaries’ entrenched position in government became arrogance and an entrenched position against change, and so helped the Ottomans to stagnate and decline.
Cemaat Janissaries are melee infantry. Among the major factions, they may only be recruited by the Ottoman Empire. They have fairly good melee statistics, but become difficult to use as the campaign progresses as firepower and firing drills make closing the gap for melee soldiers increasingly costly. If positioned well to strike at the rear or flank of their targets, however, they can inflict fearsome damage. They may still find use defending walls, so may make useful militia.