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Ottoman Renaissance

The rise of the Ottoman Empire has long held a fascination with me. From obscure and unlikely beginnings, the family of Osman fought its way to dominate the Middle East and threaten Christendom itself. My keen readership will be aware that the early Ottoman army from 1281 to 1361, is quite a one dimensional army. In De Bellis Antiquitatis, the army comprises two elements of cavalry, the feudal Timariot fiefdom holders, seven Ghazi light horse elements, serving out of religious fervour, and some poor quality Azab “batchelor” foot.


The early army doesn’t look like a classic battle winner. Supporting your light horse with another, evens the odds against cavalry but you risk more units! I used the Old Donnington miniatures to represent the early Jannisaries, with some Essex slingers- unpleasantly referred to as babies by my sons!

The later army in DBA is a much tougher proposition. The guard cavalry Qapukulu make an appearance. I have painted a unit that would accompany the Sultan but in the Big Base variant, the general is detachable. There are now three Sipahi cavalry with a reduced number of light horse borderers or Akinji searching for loot.


In this scale, one only gets a single base of Jannisaries but when have we let that stop us! In the Renaissance version of DBA, you can have four units with bows, so I painted four! The arquebusers are next on the shopping list! I love the uniforms on these troops and would dearly love to visit Istanbul to see the modern reconstructions.


My choice of Big Base DBA was partly inspired by my desire to replicate the look of a contemporary army. The plan is below, Serb knights and artillery to be added later…



More research led me to collecting Levantine horde. These acted like a police force in conquered areas and I represented them with Turcoman spearmen. 

As the empire stretched into Eastern Europe, Delis and Voynuks can be added. I used Essex miniatures for Dellis and need to send to Old Glory for the heavily armoured Voynuks foot. I have two units of such horsemen to represent an Albanian ally. There remains plenty of scope for more purchases like Bedouin, religious berserkers and even fire lance armed incendiaries ( made by Baueda by the way!)


And there’s warwagons and Tartars…….and so on. I hope you like the collection so far. I’m not going to put them all on the bigger bases as I think the units blend quite well. I do have to say goodbye to some figures who aren’t part of the reorganised armies so keep an eye on eBay for some bargains looking for a new home! (Below)

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