Janissaries

or Janizaries, a celebrated militia of the Ottoman Empire, raised by Orchan in 1326, and called the Yengi-tscheri (new corps). It was blessed by Hadji Bektash, a saint, who cut off a sleeve of his fur mantle and gave it to the captain. The captain put the sleeve on his head, and from this circumstance arose the fur cap worn by these foot-guards. In 1826, having become too formidable to the state, they were abolished.

“There were two classes of Janizaries, one regularly organised ... and the other composing an irregular militia.” —Chambers: Encyclopædia, vol. vi. p. 279.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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