Taking their name from the Turkish yeniçeri—meaning "new troop"—Janissaries were elite members of the Ottoman Empire's army from the late 14th to the early 19th century. Originally formed using of prisoners of war, the corps later "recruited" members through a "blood tax" known as devsirme, which required Balkan vassals to hand over Christian youths to be converted to Islam and placed in the service of the sultan. What early firearms were commonly used by the Janissaries?
Back in the day
Nephew of Francis Joseph, emperor of Austria and king of Hungary, Ferdinand became heir apparent in 1896. While visiting Sarajevo, he and his wife were assassinated by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. Austria soon declared war on Serbia, prompting countries allied with Austria-Hungary—the Central Powers—and those allied with Serbia—the Triple Entente—to declare war on each other, precipitating WWI. The assassination was not the first attempt on his life. What had happened earlier that day?
Born on a day like today
Rubens was a prolific 17th-century Flemish Baroque painter whose exuberant style emphasized movement, color, and sensuality. Known for his altarpieces, portraits, and landscapes, Rubens ran a large studio in Antwerp where he produced more than 2,000 paintings by supervising an enormous workshop of skilled apprentices. Also a diplomat, Rubens was knighted by both Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England. Aspects of Rubens's paintings gave rise to the term "Rubenesque," which means what?