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All Empires history community sitesinde TurcopolesEdit

  • Who were they? (Tribes or clans)
  • were did they live? (countries)
  • wich monarchies did they serve or were they just mercinaries?
  • When did they serve?(time)
  • were there any other Turcopolis other than the gagauz

any info is welcome


Turcopole
If you mean Turcopoles, they were light cavalry/skirmishing force which is AFAIK mentioned both in service of Christian and Muslim armies during Crusading era in the Near East. Their origin was probably mixed

I rather be a nomadic barbarian than a sedentary savage

I thought Turcopoles strictly refered to Turks who fought for christians & mostly were christian themselfs

While undoubtly, at least initially, the largest ethnic component was Turkic, often they became inhabitants of some non-Turkic land and eventually got assimilated.

Turcopoles-a good article covering the issue (and a very good blog, mainly on ottoman history).


Turcopoles first mention and recruitment took place in the Byzantine army of 12th century (Komnenean era ) as Turkopouloi.

They were actually light skirmishing fighters of mixed parentage (Greek-Turkish) and mostly christians.

In fact their name means sons of Turks in Greek (ending -opoulos/-oi like in many modern greek surnames-also medieval ones (etc .Fragopoulos ,officer of Constantine Paleologos )

Such units of mixed origin in the byzantine army were also the Gasmouloi .These had mixed Greek/Latin(=western European(mainly French/Italian)) parentage.
They served as marines or servants in the navy.


When the Crusaders arrived in Holy Land they also employed turcopoles regardless of their religion (the Muslim ones, when captured, were imediately executed as traitors).

'There's still much controversy about their offensive equipment, some saying that they were light horse archers, some saying that they used javelins instead. The Teutonic order also had "turcopolen ", although by this time the name reflected more their equipment and tactics than their origin (just like the French Zouaves , at first of Algerian origin, later made exclusively of metropolitan French - the Algerians were recruited as "'Turks "! - or the American Zouaves who were Anglo-Saxons ).




In my research I have found the Turkopoles were not the same as the Byzantine Turkopouloui . Nor did the Turkopoles have any relations to the Turkoman .

I use to think Turkopoles came from a specific ethnic group and were muslims. This is not the case. Turkopoles came from many different areas, the Levant , Byzantium , Anatolia , and Europe . This is supported by an incident that happened during the 3rd crusade .

2 Turkopoles and a Bedouin were sent to reconnoiter a caravan. The 3 were approached by those guarding/escorting the caravan. Sources state only the Bedouin was to do the talking and the other two were to remain silent. Had the Turkopoles spoke they would have been compromised. What wasn't clear was whether or not the turkopoles spoke Arabic or not. It does state they were dressed in Arab fashion. It is clear however, that some Turkopoles did speak Arabic or Turkish. During a siege (I forget which one, a Templar castle) the Mamlukes encouraged the Turkopoles to give up their loyalty to the Franks. Many did so and climbed over the walls. To prevent any further "desertions" the Templars enforced strict disciplinary actions against the Turkopoles.

The role of the Turkopoles within the Latin armiesEdit

The role of the Turkopoles within the Latin armies was relegated to scouting, raiding, ambushes, skirmishing in small engagements, and during large battles they were used (as lightly armed shock cavalry) to augment the knights during the charge. They did not deploy in front of the army and fight in the Turkoman fashion.

Echelon and TurkopolesEdit

In many different sources the charge of the Frankish cavalry is described as "echelon". Due to the lack of numbers there is no way the knights could have charged in echelon. However, if they are backed up by sergeants and Turkopoles then the echelon is possible.

It does appear the bow was the primary weapon of the Turkopoles and they did carry a sword & shield. Usamah ibn Munqidh describes them as the archers of the Franks.

What he didn't state was weather or not they were equivelent to the Turkomen.

In a paper written by Yuval Harai (The Military Role of the Frankish Turkopoles; A Reassessment), they found the Turkopoles could make up as much as 50% of the mounted forces in the Frankish army. Turkopoles were an important aspect of the Frankish army. The article can be obtained through BYU. That's a very relevant info you posted here.

Can you tell me exactly what does BYU means? I would like to read that article first hand...

Brigham Young University. Located in Provo, Utah, U.S.

Mavi boncukEdit

The Marshal of the Order was the Templar in charge of war and anything that was related to it. In this sense the Marshal could be viewed as the second most important member of the Order after the Grand Master. His personal retinue was comprised of two squires, one turcoman, one turcopole and one sergeant. He also had four horses at his command.Turcoman one can guess, but, who was the turcopole?

During the Crusades, turcopoles', turcoples, or turcopoliers (Greek: "sons of Turks") were mounted archers.

The crusaders first came across Turcopoles in the Byzantine army during the First Crusade. They were children of mixed Greek and Turkish parentage, and were at least nominally Christian although they may have been practising Muslims. Some Turcopole units accompanied the First Crusade and then seem to have formed the first Turcopole units in the crusader states.

In the crusader states they were not necessarily Turks or mixed-race soldiers, but many probably were recruited from Christianized Seljuqs , or perhaps from the Eastern Orthodox Christians under crusader rule. In the Holy Land , Turcopoles were more lightly-armoured than knights and were armed with lances and bows to help combat the more mobile Muslim forces. They served as light cavalry: skirmishers, scouts, and mounted archers, and sometimes rode as a second line in a charge, to back up the knights and sergeants. They had lighter, faster horses than the knights or sergeants, and they wore much lighter armour, usually only a quilted aketon and a conical steel helmet. There were Turcopoles in the secular armies but they were also often found in the ranks of the military orders, where they were more likely to be mounted Frankish sergeants. In the military orders, however, they were of a lower status than the sergeants, and were subject to various restrictions, including eating at a separate table from the mounted soldiers.

The Mamluks considered Turcopoles to be traitors and apostates: their policy was to kill all those whom they captured. The Turcopoles who survived the Fall of Acre followed the military orders out of the Holy Land and were established on Cyprus with the Knights Templar and Rhodes and Malta with the Knights Hospitaller. The Teutonic Order also called its own native light cavalry the "Turkopolen".

[1] Crusader States : Former territories on the Palestine coast taken by the Christian army during the first of the Crusades. The states were established as the kingdom of Jerusalem (1099 – 1187), the principality of Antioch (1098 – 1268), the county of Edessa (1098 – 1144), and the county of Tripoli (1109 – 1289). Threats to the states led the pope to call for future crusades.

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