Mentions of blue cloth for Janissaries in
Narrative of Travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa, in the Seventeenth Century, by Evlíya Efendí.
Translated from the Turkish by the Ritter Joseph von Hammer, F.M.R.A.S, &c. &c.
2nd quarter of the 17th century. Translation published 1834.


The emperor having graciously granted this request, Abáza proceeded as follows : " My emperor! at the time your brave brother Othmán of glorious memory, actuated by a zeal for the true faith, undertook the campaign of Hotin, in order to be avenged on his enemies, he saw that the Janissaries, though few in number, were well paid. He wished to review them, but they would not consent. Afterwards, when with a thousand difficulties the emperor opened the trenches, the Janissaries made it as plain as day that they were the enemies of the faith, inasmuch as they constantly associated with the infidels, to whom they sent food, and received wine in return. The governor of Bude, Kara Kásh Páshá, was killed, and his army dispersed, without their offering the least assistance ; and they even sent to the Tátár Khán, who was coming to the assistance of the imperial army, requesting him to slacken his march instead of accelerating it. Some of the vezírs seized several spies who were paid by the Janissaries, brought them into the presence of your brother Othmán, and killed them before his eyes. It was in this manner that the siege of so small a fortress as Hotin was abandoned by their taking to flight. Seven thousand purses, and many hundred thousands of Ottoman subjects were lost, together with the glory of the Sultán, against whom they rebelled on his return to Islámbol. When Sultán Othmán went to their mosque, the Orta-jáme', he was assailed with the most abusive language; and when he held by one of the windows on the left side of the mehráb, whilst he earnestly appealed for assistance from the people of Mohammed, an abject wretch, worse than an infidel, and of the ignominous name of Pehleván, thus insulted him : ' Othmán Chelebí! you are a fine boy ; come along with us to Yúsuf Sháh's coffee-house or to our barracks.' Othmán Khán not accepting this impudent invitation, the audacious fellow struck the arm with which the emperor held the window a blow which broke it. From the mosque they carried him in a cart to the Seven Towers, where he was barbarously treated, and at last most cruelly put to death by Pehlevén. Whilst his sacred body was exposed upon an old mat, the Jebbehjí-báshí, Káfir Aghá, cut off his right ear, and a Janissary one of his fingers, for the sake of the ring upon it. The former brought the ear and the finger to Dávud Páshá, who rewarded the bearer of such acceptable news with a purse of money. The Jebbehjí-báshí said to Dávud Páshá: ' My lord, may your name be everlasting in the world, and may the family of the Dávuds always be in power.' For this wish he was rewarded with the place of ághá of the Janissaries, and actually entered into a plan to raise his own son, Soleďmán Beg, to the throne of the Ottomans ; and promised the Janissaries that, instead of the blue cloth of Salonik, they should wear fine scarlet cloth. This story having circulated throughout the city, it raised the indignation and excited the greatest grief in the hearts of all true believers and faithful subjects. A mob of Ajem-oghláns and Janissaries assembled at the mosque of Sultán Mohammed II., and there killed many thousands of the learned and worthy divines, and threw their bodies into the wells : the houses also of many honest men were entirely pillaged. On hearing of these dreadful events, I endeavoured to alleviate the grief of my heart, caused by the martyrdom of such a monarch as Sultán Othmán. It was then that a zeal to show I was deserving of his bread and salt, took possession of your lálá (tutor) Abázá, and I instantly resolved upon avenging the innocent blood of Sultan Othman. Having at that time been appointed governor of Erzerúm by your uncle Sultan Mustafá, I was in the habit of offering up my daily prayers in the mosque of the late Láleh Páshá. I heard the rebellious 'Janissaries saying, ' Abáza Láleh, you go to the kílisíá (church) of your nearest relation Láleh.' Thus they dared to call that noble mosque a church! When went through the city, they cried out ' oush! oush !' as if they were speaking to barking dogs ; but it was intended for me. 1 pretended, however, to take no notice of it, and continued to show them many favours. Still, my emperor, I was insulted in a thousand ways. They brought kabab (roast meat) and wine to the divan, and said, ' Abáza, we are come to your play-house to make a feast, to dance and sing to your music.' I suffered even this profanation of the imperial divan, and provided them with refreshments. They then began to plunder the houses and shops of the wealthy, and I have, my emperor, the legal attestations of the depredations they committed in this way." Here Abáza handed over to the Sultán the legal documents. " My emperor," he continued, " this mutinous state of the Janissaries did not escape the notice of the Persian sháh, who taking advantage of it, besieged the fortress of Akhiska. I immediately resolved to relieve it: but not a single Janissary would move from the wine tavern, or the buzá-house; and the consequence was, that the Persians took possession of this noble fortress, which had been so gloriously taken by Sultán Selím. My beglerbegs being like myself disgusted with the dastardly conduct of the Janissaries, united themselves with me by solemn oath to avenge the blood of Sultán Othmán, and each swore to subdue the Janissaries under him. On an appointed day I fulfilled my oath, took possession of the interior fortress of Erzerúm, subdued the Janissaries, and became their master. In the mean time the begs and vezírs, who had taken the same obligation, deserted me. From that hour my affairs have every day become worse. This, my emperor, is a true statement of my conduct. Whatever I have done has been from a pure zeal, for the best interests of the Sublime Porte. Your servant Abáza, a poor slave bought for seventy piastres, is not ambitious to obtain dominion in the world through rebellion."


The fourteenth is the Inspector of the cloth-magazines ; he has the inspection of the cloth, and a company of Janissaries is at his command. The blue cloth for the eighty thousand Janissaries of the Ottoman Empire, which comes from Salonica, is deposited in the magazine, which is opened once a year on the holy night (Kadr). On this night the first Lieutenant-General of the Janissaries (Kolkiagassí), attended by the ághás of the corps, the inspector of the magazine and its Colonel receive the officers of all the sixty-two regiments of Janissaries with their men, who each get, according to the constitution of Sultán Súleimán, ten yards of blue cloth, a piece for the turban, and a piece of cotton for the shirt. This distribution lasts three days and nights. This magazine (enbár) is a large square building within the enclosure of the mint. The Inspector of the cloth and the colonel with their suite pass before the Imperial koshk, each carrying a piece of cloth on their shoulder.


See also An extract on Janissaries and other soldiers from Constantinople Ancient and Modern, with Excursions to the Shores and Islands of the Archipelago and to the Troad by James Dallaway, 1797
An extract on Janissaries and other soldiers from Travels of Ali Bey in Morocco, Tripoli, Cyprus, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, and Turkey. Between the years 1803 and 1807. by Domingo Badía y Leblich, 1816
Illustrations of Ottoman Janissaries (Janizary, Yeniceri)
Ottoman Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers