chapter  III
15 Pages

THE EUROPEAN STATES FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE FIFTEENTH TO THE MIDDLE OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY

Sultan was converted to Islam, and for that matter the Turks made no effort to convert them. From the religious standpoint it glorified Allah sufficiently that His faithful should reign over the giaours; from the political standpoint all that was necessary in order to maintain the State, which never rose above the primitive conception of a pure military régime, was to reduce the Christians to the status of taxpayers. Thus their religion, by depriving them of all rights of whatever kind, helped to ensure their servitude. From the reign of Selim I (1512-1520) even their flesh and blood was subjected to taxation. Periodically the most beautiful children were torn from their parents, the girls to serve men’s pleasure, and the boys to be enrolled in the corps of janissaries, having first been initiated into Islam.