woensdag 2 januari 2013

Military Slaves: A Uniquely Muslim Phenomenon

By Daniel Pipes

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.

As this conference makes clear, slaves have been used as soldiers in many places around the world; but I shall argue that there was something unique about their use in the Muslim countries. Among Muslims, this use of slaves acquired a systematic quality that permitted slaves to take on central military functions and to rise in the hierarchy of the state, sometimes even taking it over. I believe that the systematic use of slaves as soldiers constituted the single most distinctive feature of Muslim public life in premodern times.

To begin with, some terminology. Slave as used here means "a person of slave origins" regardless of his subsequent status. The term does not indicate whether he is later free in law, in fact, or both. This special usage corresponds to the use of slave in Muslim vernaculars. A military slave is a person of slave origins who undergoes acquisition in a systematic manner, followed by training and employment as a soldier. This term does not apply to all slaves who fight in wars, but only to those whose lives revolve around military service. The military slave keeps this appellation even after he attains legal or real freedom. Military slavery is the system which acquires, prepares, and employs military slaves.

Lees verder http://www.danielpipes.org/448/military-slaves-a-uniquely-muslim-phenomenon

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