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Flower Bouquets in Vintage Envelopes

Kiev-based artist Anna Remarchuk showcases stunning images of her flower bouquets inserted in envelopes on her Instagram account. Remarchuk delicately styles lush flowers into vintage envelopes, which belong to her grandmother. The results are feminine, delicate and a creative craft, which are ideal for Instagram’s beauty and image crazed culture. 

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City Museum: A 10-Story Former Shoe Factory Transformed into a Massive Urban Playground

The 600,000 square-foot urban playground, City Museum, in St. Louis is probably the largest park of its kind anywhere. A former 10-story international shoe factory was constructed by artist and sculptor Bob Cassilly

The jungly gym contains 10-story slides, multiple floor slides, a rooftop Ferris wheel, restaurants, ball pits, an aquarium and the use of repurposed airplanes, among many other unbelievable features, which are perpetually under construction. If you are planning a last summer trip, this is the best bet for your kids! 

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I wanted to do a little feature on Krizmah bags for a long time because they are everything I love in handbags - they tell stories, illustrate a rich heritage and most importantly use women artisans on the ground to not only empower them economically but also allow them to tell their own stories through the images depicted on the bags. 

“Living with otherwise limited opportunities to improve the quality of their lives, KRIZMAH allows these mothers to embroider at home, without neglecting their daily housework and responsibilities. KRIZMAH is also providing scholarships to the daughters of these women, so that they benefit from a stronger education and secure a finer future for themselves and eventually their own families.”

Krizmah roots come from a valley located in Pakistan called, Chitral. The handbags tell tales of the traditions and history of Chitral through illustrations of local customs, beliefs, folklore, and Polo, a game very much part of the culture of Chitral that is still alive in this beautiful mountain valley. Chitral is home to one of the worlds highest polo ground in the world and the people of Chitral breathe this game like others breathe football or cricket. 

“Echoing the unique stories and aspirations of the hands that constructed it, each piece is an absolute original.”

Ottoman Military: Akinci and Deli

Suggested by haruspicus, kirkendauhl, deer-chaser, dolphingoeswoof

Ghazi

One of the meanings of ghazi is “to raid”, in Bedouin Arabia and the Steppes of Central Asia the act of pillaging, raiding and looting enemy caravans and livestock was commonplace (the prophet Muhammed himself led such raids). Their strategic objective was to take resources from the enemy with minimal loss. At first these ghazis raided and pillaged more as a means of survival, this can be seen in the alternative translations of ghazi to mean “to strive for” and “one who struggles”

Later on with the advent of Islam it also took on the connotations of conversion and the spread of Islam. Long held as an honorific title it reached another level of importance during early Ottoman rule.as most identified themselves as such including the Sultans. 

Umayyad period Bedouin poet Al-Kutami:
“Our business is to make raids on the enemy, on our neighbor and our own brother, in the event we find none to raid but a brother.”

Around 1402 AD the Ottoman poet Ahmedi described ghazi as meaning:
“- instrument of God’s religion, a servant of God who cleanses the Earth from the filth of polytheism…. the sword of God.”

Osprey - Men at Arms - Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300-1774
14th cent Ottomans

In 1071 AD the Byzantines were defeated by the Turko-Persian Seljuk Sultanate of Rum at the Battle of Manzikert, this led to their loss of lands in Anatolia. According to legend Suleyman Shah the Oghuz Kayi tribe fled from the Steppes of Central Asia, away from the Mongols into Syria where he drowned in the Euphrates River. Ertugrul Gazi (son or successor of Suleyman) took the reins and led them into Anatolia where Kayqubad I (Seljuk Sultan of Rum from 1220–1237) granted them the mountainous farmland around Angora (Ankara) in exchange for their assistance in holding back their western enemy (Byzantine Empire). 

These gazis would follow a leader but would often leave him for another leader if he showed more potential for profit and expansion. One such ghazi leader was Ertugrul’s son, Osman Gazi (r. 1258–1326), founder of the Ottoman Dynasty and Empire. According to legend Osman visited the wise and learned Sufii Edebali, he caught sight of the Sheikh’s daughter Malkhatun and fell in love. He wished to marry her but ruled a relatively young and poor vassal state so the coupling was unfit, he would later have a dream while staying at the Sheikh’s dargah and would recount to the him;

“From the bosom of Edebali rose the full moon, and inclining towards the bosom of Osman it sank upon it, and was lost to sight. After that a goodly tree sprang forth, which grew in beauty and in strength, ever greater and greater. Still did the embracing verdure of its boughs and branches cast an ampler and an ampler shade, until they canopied the extreme horizon of the three parts of the world. 

Under the tree stood four mountains; which he knew to be Caucasus, Atlas (West Africa), Taurus (Turkey), and Haemus (Balkans). These mountains were the four columns that seemed to support the dome of the foliage of the sacred tree with which the earth was now centered. From the roots of the tree gushed forth four rivers; the Tigris (Iraq), the Euphrates (Iraq), the Danube (Europe), and the Nile (Egypt).

“The winged multitude warbled and flitted around beneath the fresh living roof of the interlacing branches of the all-overarching tree; and every leaf of that tree was in shape like unto a scimitar. Suddenly there arose a mighty wind, and turned the points of the sword-leaves towards the various cities of the world, but especially towards Constantinople.

That city, placed at the junction of two seas and two continents, seemed like a diamond set between two sapphires and two emeralds, to form the most precious stone in a ring of universal empire. Osman thought that he was in the act of placing that visual ring on his finger, when he awoke.”

Osprey - Men at Arms - Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300-1774
15th cent Ottomans

Although Osman was a relatively poor man this dream and prophecy persuaded Edebali into allowing Osman to marry his daughter, seeing in this man that he had a bright future.   

As the new Bey (“lord”) Osman Gazi expanded the borders of his belyik (“province, emirate, principality, petty kingdom”) and achieved victories over the Byzantines, most notably at the Battle of Koyunhisar (Bapheus) in 1302 AD. After this victory there were influxes of Turkish migrants, refugees and mercenaries into Anatolia fleeing from the Mongol west. These migrants also sought a new home, profit and a base from which to expand the reach of Islam (at the expense of the weakening Eastern Roman Empire) and so with this increase of viable warriors the Ottomans were now capable or fielding a larger force (the majority of his army was made up of migrants).  

Orhan Gaza

Osman’s son Orhan was present at the Ottoman Capture of Bursa in 1326 AD (Osman died before or after this); the taking of this city and establishment of it as his capital not only cemented Turkish control of western Anatolia but also set the stage for future ghazis into Europe. The Ottomans were known as a ‘Gazi State’ and in 1337 AD Orhan is known to have described himself as, “Sultan, son of the Sultan of Gazis, Gazi son of Gazi…. march lord of the horizons.”

Expansions under Orhan Gaza

During two Byzantine Civil Wars (1341-1347 AD, 1352–1357 AD) the eventual Emperor, John VI Kantakouzenos hired the help of Orhan Gazi, the Bey of the Ottomans; he cemented this link by marrying his daughter Theodora Kantakouzene to him.  During these conflicts the Turks under Orhan’s son Suleyman Pasha raided Byzantine Thrace and in 1354 AD captured the evacuated city of Gallipoli, their first city in the European homeland. They now possessed a base from which to launch future ghazis from, this was the beginning of the inevitable Turkish conquest of the Balkans.

After the conquest of Gallipoli, Candarli Kara Halil proposed to the Sultan the pencik (Sultan’s claim to 1/5 of all human captives). Being that captives were sold for high prices the ghazis made this one of their key objectives during their raids, raids which not only brought them profit but with the selling of them the Ottomans began to be renowned for their ghazis and success against the Christians. With this new code, along with the devsirme (“blood tax”, levy of young foreigners who were trained to become part of the Ottoman state), the Ottomans began diminishing the power and control of the independent Ghazis and increasing that of the realm.

Akinci

(the c is pronounced with a j or dj sound)

As I’ve stated above, most ghazi war bands were made up the average Turkmen and mercenaries in search of profit or religious zealots. Though usually independent from the official Ottoman army some Ghazi warriors would volunteered to join in on military campaigns in exchange for the opportunity to plunder, these warriors were named Akinci (“raider”, plural ‘Akincilar’. Pronounced something like Akindji). Under great ghazi leaders and their families, these independent warbands would joined these semi-independent dynastic families of Akincilar linked to the Ottoman Beljik. 

Some of these great families like the Evrenosoğulları, and the Mihaloğulları date back to the early Ottoman expansions while others like the Malkovic family of Serbian origin entered after Serbia’s subjugation by the Ottomans at the Battle of Maritsa (1371 AD), the founder (Malkoc Bey, 1389-1396 AD) is said to have fought on the side of the Ottomans at the battles of Kosovo (1389 AD) and Nicopolis (1396 AD). A later descendant from this family by the name of Malkoçoğlu Balı Bey (1495-1548) was a Beylerbey (“lord of lords (beys)”) under Suleiman the Magnificence who led an army of Akinci.

“I take off to a great campaign - who has guts to come along, and if Allah wills, I procure all rich pickings” 

Akinci ride round the opponent’s army at the Battle of Nicopolis 1396

They would advance ahead of the main Ottoman armies and act as scouts; securing roads and passes ahead of them, gathering intelligence, and raiding their lands. Engaging in guerrilla warfare they would attack enemy baggage trains, trade routes and food supplies, harass the enemy, distract, divide and scatter them as well as raiding settlements and terrorizing the enemy populace (all of this would also be used as a means of checking the enemy land and forces for weak points). Enemy settlements that surrender to the Ottomans would be treated leniently and those who resisted were made examples of.

The majority of these Akinci were made of the horse archers, the core of their ancestral military. They would approach the enemy and rain down hails of arrows and swiftly follow this up with a cavalry charge, engaging in melee with the enemy forces and then retreat while firing off another shower of arrows. 

[Like the Parthian Shot tactic used at the famous Battle of Carrhae, a battle which ended in the massive destruction of a Roman force by a entire force of cavalry. Their cavalry was known for their agility as their horses were bred for it, use as scouting and skirmishing bow cavalry warranted this.]

The Delil and the Akinci are often mentioned to have been used to lure the enemy cavalry into combat by harassing them with arrow fire and once close enough these ghazi horsemen would scatter to the left and right while laying down Parthia shots an retreating behind the infantry. The enemy cavalry, continuing the charge, would fall into a wall of stakes and would be peppered with arrow and musket fire by the Azaps, Yaya-Piade and Janissaries infantry corps which laid beyond the trap. The light cavalry (Akinci, Delil) would then swing back around and flank them while the heavy cavalry sipahi would support the infantry and charge the now trapped enemy force. 

As an example, at the Battle of Nicopolis in 1396 AD the Franco-Burgundian army charged the Ottoman center where the Ottoman Akinci light cavalry stood. When they neared them the Ottoman Akinci horse archers shot of a flurry of arrows and then rushed out of the way so the French army rushed and stopped before the slope and spotted a wall of wooden stakes below. The Ottoman archers that lay uphill shot off volleys of arrows: “Hail nor rain does not come down in closer shower than did their shafts.“ To avoid dying a cowards death by arrow fire the men moved forward and attempted to take down the stakes under showers of arrows. “Some [Ottoman Azaps] held in their hand a spear, the others a sword, striking relentlessly the blue armor of their foes, while others brandished daggers.”

Akinci Sinan Bey duels with Hungarian knight Eugene, 1526, Suleymanname

The Akinci were not only used to infiltrate enemy lands beyond the frontiers of the Ottoman Empire as they were also used to prevent the enemy from doing the same. Many of the frontiers of the Ottoman Empire were governed by Uc-Beys (“border-lords” and “frontier-princes”) who would have control over the Akinci and although the Akinci were supposed to live off of plunder alone some were known to be given salaries and even land by their Uc-Bey.

Under the leadership of the Sanjak-Bey (“district-lord”, “flag/banner-lord”) Mihaloglu Hasan the Akinci raided Croatia and on route back to the Sanjak of Bosnia they were ambushed at the Battle of Vrpile (1491) by the Croatians and were decisively defeated, (half were killed, the others were imprisoned).

The Croatians were at war with Bosnia once again and so the new Sanjak-Bey Hadım Yakup Pasha raised an army of Akinci which the Croatians attempted to ambush but were instead drawn out by the Akinci and were themselves ambushed. This engagement was known as Battle of Krbava field (1493 AD), it is known by Croatians as the Krvavo polje, “Field of Blood”.

Battle of Krbava Field 

The Ottoman empire reached its highest extents under Suleiman the Magnificent (1520–1566), Selim II (1566–1574) and Murad II (1574–1595) but as this expansion simmered down the need for Akinci wore away.

At the Battle of Călugăreni (August 23rd, 1595) 100,000 Akinci sacrificed themselves to allow the main army under Sinan Pasha to retreat (from Wallachian forces) across the Danube river via a narrow bridge. This massive loss of cavalrymen and horses resulted in a massive hit to the akinci and although they were inevitably disbanded, these brave ghazis would live on in romanticized songs and stories.

Ottoman Empire  under Suleiman the Magnificent 

Deli (ler)

The Deli were a class of light cavalrymen originally formed in the Balkans at the end of the 15th century and 16th century who (unlike the early Turkish ghazis) would receive a fixed salary from their Beys (“lord”) or Beylerbeyi (“lord of lords”). Their horses were renowned for their strength and endurance

The name Deli or (plural Deliller), is said by some to refer to “one who shows the way, guide", denoting their early role as scouts. Other theories are that their bravery and reckless nature led to them being labeled as Deli, “brave, daring, heroic or madman, desperate, reckless, lunatic, crazy”.

They were used for reconnaissance (intel gathering, scouting and sabotage) and raiding (enemy settlements, weapons supplies, trade routes, food, water). They would incite fear, chaos and disorder behind enemy lines; distracting and demoralizing them while also diminishing their resources. 

The Deli from Rumelia (the Balkans) called themselves zataznicis (“knights”; sataznich singular). The Delis were an ethnically mixed force, consisting of Turks or those from the Balkan heritage (ie. Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia). To be accepted into the Deli cavalry corps one would to have be skilled in combat and be able to defeat 8-10 cavalry men.

“A new recruit was attached to the retinue of the agha (lord), after learning the customs of the odfak and proving his worth he took an oath to serve the Faith and the State and to be steadfast in battle. At the end of the ceremony, which included prayers, the recruit would then be entered as an agha-ttraghi (apprentice to an agha), a deli’s hat being ceremonially placed on his head. Delis breaking their oath, failing to observe the rules of the odiak, or deserting from the battlefield, were expelled and deprived of their hat.”

They are believed to have been first used as spies and scouts, later on they were used more so as the vanguard (the front lines) of Ottoman armies. As the vanguard they proved to be recklessly daring, seen rushing forth into the enemy lines as if they had no regard for their own safety. 

They were rumored to have taken the severed the heads of their enemies, publicly practice self-mutilation and slap marble until their hands were tough enough to be able to knock out, paralyze or kill an enemy combatant. They were the Berserkers of the Ottoman army; feared for their reckless bravery and willingness to throw themselves into the enemy lines, they were also said to intoxicate themselves before battle with opium to not only improve their morale but to also numb and dull the pain or their injuries.

“Not only were officials also soldiers, but even madmen had a regiment, the deli, or maniacs, Riskers of their Souls, who were used, since they did not object, as human battering rams, or human bridges." 

Most pictorial representations from the 16th century show the Deli armed with scimitars, lances, spears, and war-maces. The bozdogan (mace) was a symbol of strength to the Ottomans attached to the left side of their saddle. They would also use a concave rectangular shields would be adorned with one or two eagle wings but other than that they generally went without armor, believing that their fate was up to God to decide.

Bozdogan (mace)

The majority of their attire was made up of the skins of animals; their hats were made up of the skins of hyenas or leopards, trimmed with eagle’s feathers while their clothing and that of their horses were made from the hides of lions, tigers and foxes. They had a leopard pelt draped over their should which went over onto their back, on their backs they had 2 large eagle feathers attached Their breeches (pants that stop right under the knee) were made of the fur of wolves or bears and they wore yellow calf high boots with spurs (serfraddlik, “border boots”) and pointed toes. Though sources say that these are made up of animal pelts there are also others that mention some clothing simply being dyed and colored to look like leopard and tiger skins. 

End of the Akincis and Delis

While the Akinci were abolished before the 1600′s, the Janissaries and Delis weren’t outlawed until 1826 and 1829 AD respectively. In 1929 (after the Russian-Ottoman War of ) 2,000 Delis are said to have raided the region of Konya (once the realm of the Sultanate of Rum) and under Mahmud II they were defeated while others fled to Syria and Egypt. After their dissolution the Akinci and Deli’s ghazi lifestyle would live on with the mercenary irregular forces known as the Bashi-Bazouks, known for committing numerous atrocities [which I’ll cover if you’re interested].

Bashi-Bazouks with a water pipe (bong) by Stanisław Chlebowski

These Akinci and Delis are said to be the inspiration for the Hussars later used by the Serbians, Hungarians and the rest of Eastern Europe; the most famed variant was the more heavily armed and armor-clad Polish Hussars. 

“There is evidence that the Poles imitated the deli. An offical account of King Zygmunt III’s wedding in 1592 describes a unit of 60 ‘delia’ parading into Krakow wearing ‘tiger and wolfskin … eagle wings, white and blue plumes and kopia lances’.”

The Charge of the Winged Hussars by caastel

Battle of Vienna 1683 - charge of hussaria :

A witness to the charge wrote: “No sooner does a Hussar lower his lance than a Turk is impaled on its spike; disordering and terrifying the foe. That blow cannot be avoided or deflected…Oft transfixing two persons at a time. Others flee in eager haste… Like flies in a frenzy!” 

If anything here is incorrect then please privately inbox me and let me know so I can correct it.

Sources:

Richard Brzezinski, Polish Winged Hussar 1576-1775, Osprey Publishing
David Nicolle, The Janissaries, Osprey Publishing
David Nicolle, Nicopolis 1396, The Last Crusade, Osprey Publishing
David Nicolle, Armies of the Ottoman Turks
Brill - The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol 2
The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe

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