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45 Degree

8 November 2014  |  0 comment  |  Zeynep Bakir

Axe Lady.


Axe Lady.

Janissaries were the military power keeping order in the Ottoman Empire. But how about ladies?Even if they were forbidden to get married, they were not forbidden to go on the loose and run after women. Every mighty janissary fell in love with a beauty. But he’s not the only womanizer at all! What if the tough guy of another janissary guild made advances to the woman he’s in love with? Not the mention the Ottoman officers with golden moustache, and European-style spendthrift boys.

Well, the solution was easy. Each janissary guild had a decoration consisting of specific symbols. This decoration was inlaid on a cloth with a long silver thread and hung on the neck of the woman the janissary is in love with. This inlaid cloth was called “axe” in the parlance. So, if you admire a woman with an inlaid cloth, this meant that you “hit the axe on stone” (made a blunder). When people saw such woman swagger around, they said “the Axe Lady” is passing to their companions.

So, many janissaries yelled for the sake of such ‘Axe Ladies’ and got into trouble in Istanbul. 

Kaynak: Reşat Ekrem Koçu, İstanbul Ansiklopedisi

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