Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1595 Ottoman deli
Subjectdeli raider
Culture: Balkan / Ottoman
Setting: Ottoman empire 15-17thc
Evolution1326 Ottoman ghazi > 1455 Ottoman akinci > 1595 Ottoman deli

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

* Nicolle/McBride 1983 p14  
"A series of defeats in 1595 led to the official disbanding of akincis.  However, the delis remained.  Their name may have been a corruption of delil, meaning guide.  Appearing late in the 15th century, most of the first such delis were recent converts from Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia.  Delis were recorded elsewhere in Rumelia and Anatolia in the 16th century, but only appeared in Syria in the 17th, by which time they also included Turks and Kurds."

* Rosenthal/Jones 2008 p453 (Cesare Vecellio, writing in 1590)
"TURKISH STRONGMAN, called Roncassi  In Turkey, as in other nations, can be found men who are truly brave and high-spirited, and others who try to seem so but who are really cowards.  These, however, are called strongmen among the Turks.  In these regions, they follow behind the BassasSanghiacchi, and Beglierbei and are employed by them; and because they make a career, in a manner of speaking, of being warriors, they are called Delli, which in Turkish means crazy or daring; for without provocation or any just cause -- indeed, for no reason whatsoever -- they challenge anyone to compete with lances on horseback or on foot and in single combat."


* Rosenthal/Jones 2008 p453 (Cesare Vecellio, writing in 1590)
"On their heads they wear these two wings or many feathers to show that they are mad, fierce, and impulsive.  And no one is allowed to wear wings of this kind except a man who has done something on foot or horseback to make himself famous and distinguished.  So such wings and feathers are highly valued, as the ornament of a valiant cavalier.  Their garments are short and closely fitted, suited to combat, and more or less valuable according to how much their masters give them.  They wear doublets and leggings in the Turkish style, and short boots in yellow, red and turquoise or studded leather in their particular style."

* Nicolle/McBride 1983 p37 (reconstructing a Deli scout, c.1600)
"The Balkan origins of the deli scouts were shown in their weaponry and clothing.  Such light cavalry often sported extravagant feathered, animal-skin headgear and carried eastern European-style shields."  [references omitted]

* Elgood 2009 p155
"The deli (Turkish 'crazy', in the sense of madly brave) warriors who accompanied the Turkish armies of in the 16th century ... wore eagle feathers as part of their elaborate shamanistic bear- and leopard-skin dress."


* Rosenthal/Jones 2008 p453 (Cesare Vecellio, writing in 1590)
"Their weapons are of iron in the manner of other nations, especially when they ride horseback; and they behave in a bold, arrogant way, as if wanting to warn everyone to flee and beware of their terrible rage.  The weapons of such men are scimitars and daggers, and in their hands they carry sharpened hatchets or hammers on one side, and on the other many pointed weapons."


* Metropolitan Museum of Art > Stone Gallery of Arms and Armor
"[W]ing shaped shields, with the distinctive upward-sweeping back edge, were the characteristic light-cavalry shields of Hungary. During the sixteenth century, the style was adopted across much of eastern Europe by both Christian and Islamic horsemen. The shield's elongated upper edge was designed to defend the back of the head and neck against cuts from the saber, the preferred cavalry weapon in that region." ...