Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1455 Ottoman akıncı
Subjectakıncı light cavalry raider
Culture: Turkmen, Balkan
Setting: eastern Europe, Ottoman empire 15-16thc
Evolution1326 Ottoman ghazi > 1455 Ottoman akıncı 

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Nicolle ill. McBride 1983 p12-14
"Ottoman auxiliary cavalry made a deep impression in Europe.  They were fast-moving, far-ranging and ruthless, appearing as if from nowhere.  During the 14th and 15th centuries most auxiliaries were of nomad Turcoman origin.  With the creation of a professional army, these warriors had been relegated to frontier regions in Rumelia where, instead of being called gazis, they were now known as akincis (raiders). ...
    "The role of akincis during a major campaign was to precede the army, raid deep into enemy territory, terrorise the foe and disrupt his communications.  At the same time they gathered information, and seized control of roads and passes before the main army arrived.  At other times akincis defended Turkish frontiers from counter-raids.  They were also sent to conquer difficult mountainous areas or, if this proved impossible, to contain any threat by constant guerilla warfare against those who resisted Ottoman rule.
The organization of akinci forces was simple but effective.  Until the mid-15th century most frontier regions were administered by hereditary  beys (frontier governors).  They controlled the akincis and were a counterweight to the Turkish nobility who controlled most sipahis.  Some akincis held land or were paid salaries by their bey, but most were supposed to live by plunder.  Few Ottoman frontiers were regularly garrisoned during the 16th century.  One exception was the re-organised Hungarian march where, after 1533, akincis were maintained by timar fiefs.  During the 15th century Christian Serbia also provided auxiliary horsemen, as well as sipahis and vassals, while many early 16th-century Balkan akincis were new converts, probably from old Christian sipahi families."

* Mártin 1980 p78-79
"Los akindschis [fueron] caballería irregular, empleada para invasiones o expediciones de saqueo.  Era el último vestigio de la antigua caballería de las estapas.  Organizada en cinco grados y con mando propio, combatía por dos motivos: la guerra santa y el botín, y llevó a cabo una permanente <<guerra de guerrillas>> contra los estados cristianos vecinos. No se les pagaba y, por lo tanto, les corresondía todo el botín de guerra, salvo una quinta parte, que se separaba para el sultán.  Su fuerza combativa consistía en su celeridad y la penetración con la que invadían los territorios cristianos limítrofes.  De acuerdo a la situación, operaban en unidades de quinientos a veinte mil hombres.
    "El reino húngaro no poseía arma comparable alguna.  Antes de que las pesadas dotaciones de nobles alcanzaran el campo de batalla, los akindschis estaban ya de vuelta a sus bases con el botín.  Los turcos, a su vez, se occuparon de tal modo de la seguridad de los caminos, del comercio y de la producción campesina en los territorios ocupados que sostuvieron en consecuencia una esforzada guerra permanente, la cual, a fuerza de desgaste, acabó por someter al poder bélico de los estados cristianos."

* Sugar 1977 p39
"The oldest of these [irregular] fighters were the akıncıs, volunteers raised in the European provinces among Turks.  They performed scouting duties and were feared as raiders.  They lived from booty and always had the chance to become timarlı, if they distinguished themselves sufficiently."