The military ranks of the Ottoman Empire may be visually identified by the military insignia used during the Military of the Ottoman Empire.
Military personnel in the Ottoman Empire were assigned different duties according to their capabilities in order to administer the Armed Forces and particularly to be successful in battle. They were given various ranks so that they could conduct relations with each other and be fully aware of their duties. The issue of what sort of duties should be allocated to which unit or to which military institution used to be determined by the ranking within the Armed Forces. In Islamic countries, certain 'degrees', instead of ranks, were given in accordance with the categorization of government duties. In the course of time, these 'degrees' had taken on certain characteristics. In the Ottoman Empire, besides the ranks that were awarded after passing through certain stages of promotion, there was also the rank of "Pasha" that was given directly by the Ottoman Sultan. This rank, which continued until the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, was also given to civilian administrators who were approved of and found suitable. After the establishment of the Republic, the Sultanate was abolished, and the title became synonymous with the General rank, restricted to the Armed Forces only. Paymaster of a regiment - Captain of the Right Wing (Alay Emini - Sağ Kolağası): The rank of the Captain of the Right Wing was very high. The rank of the Adjutant and Paymaster of a regiment was also high but such individuals were not from the military class and they dealt with clerical duties and equipment needed by the regiment. Captain of the Wing - The Captain of the Left Wing- (Kolağası - Sol Kolağası): Captain of the Wing or the Captain of the Left Wing was the senior Captain. If he was educated in the regiment, he was called "Ağa" but if he was the son of a pasha, he was called "Bey".
|General officers||Field officers||Junior officers|
| Ottoman Empire
|Müşir||Birinci Ferik||Ferik||Mirliva||Miralay||Kaymakam||Binbaşı||Kolağası||Yüzbaşı||Mülazım-ı evvel||Mülazım-ı sani|
| Ottoman Empire
|General officers||Field officers||Junior officers|
| Ottoman Empire
|Müşir Amiral||Birinci Ferik Amiral||Ferik Amiral||Liva Amiral||Kalyon Kaptanı||Fırkateyn Kaptanı||Korvet Kaptanı||Yüzbaşı||Mülazım|
Agha, also Aga (Ottoman Turkish: أغا, Persian: آقا āghā "chief, master, lord"), is an honorific title for a civilian or military officer, or often part of such title, and was placed after the name of certain civilian or military functionaries in the Ottoman Empire. At the same time some court functionaries were entitled to the agha title.Binbashi
A binbashi, alternatively bimbashi, (from Turkish: Binbaşı, "chief of a thousand", "chiliarch") is a major in the Turkish army, of which term originated in the Ottoman army. The title was also used for a major in the Khedivial Egyptian army as Bimbashi (1805–1953). It was also used by the Serbian revolutionaries as Bimbaša (Serbian Cyrillic: Бимбаша) in 1804-1817.
Since the restructuring of the modern Turkish Army in 1934, Binbaşı means major; but in the Ottoman Army (and in the pre-1934 Turkish Army, during the early years of the Turkish Republic) the more correct equivalent of the Western rank "major" was Kolağası (senior captain), which ranked above Yüzbaşı (captain) and below Binbaşı.
When the rank Kolağası was removed from the Turkish Army in 1934, the rank Binbaşı was relegated to major (before 1934, the rank Binbaşı was also considered an equivalent of lieutenant colonel.) Until 1934, it was the duty of a Binbaşı to command a battalion (tabur) in the Ottoman (and pre-1934 Turkish) armies; but since 1934, it is the duty of a Yarbay (lieutenant colonel) to command a battalion.The collar mark (later shoulder mark) and cap of a Binbaşı had two stripes and one star during the early years of the Turkish Republic.Birindji ferik
Birinci ferik or ferik-i evvel (corresponding to the earlier Ottoman rank of Serdar) was a military rank of the Ottoman Army. It is translated as General (modern Turkish Orgeneral). The title means "First Ferik" and was senior to a Ferik and junior only to the Müşir (equivalent to Field Marshal).
The collar mark (later shoulder mark) and cap of a Birinci Ferik had three stripes and three stars during the early years of the Turkish Republic. The Ottoman Army and pre-1934 Turkish Army had three general ranks (similar to the British ranking system), while the current Turkish Army has four general ranks (similar to the American ranking system), with the inclusion of Brigadier General (Tuğgeneral) as the fourth and most junior general rank.
The title of Birinci Ferik was abolished with Act No. 2590 of 26 November 1934 on the Abolition of Titles and Appellations such as Efendi, Bey or Pasha.Boluk-bashi
Boluk-bashi (Turkish: bölükbaşı) was an Ottoman officer rank equivalent to captain (see Military of the Ottoman Empire). The holder was in command of a bölük, a sub-division of a regiment. It was higher than oda-bashi (lieutenant).Dizdar
Dizdar (Persian: دزدار, romanized: Dizdār, Turkish: dizdar, kale muhafızı) was the title given in the Ottoman Empire to a castle warden or fortress commander, appointed to manage troops and keep the fortress in its role as a defence point.
The word is of Persian origin, meaning gatekeeper, watchman, guardsman or castellan. It spread to the west following the Ottoman conquest of the southeastern Europe.
Dizdar commanded military unit in the fortress, but at the same time he was responsible for the settlement (village or town) under or around it as well, because the purpose of fortress was to defend the area.
As a commanding person, dizdar had his deputy, called chekhaya (Turkish: kâhya), and other subordinates (e.g. yasakci). His superiors were captain, sanjakbeg and other senior military officers.
In 1835 Ottoman Empire abolished captaincies; the titles like captain and dizdar ceased to exist.Ferik (rank)
Ferik was a military rank of the Ottoman Army. It is translated as Lieutenant General (Korgeneral). It was senior to a Mirliva (Major General, modern Tümgeneral in the Turkish Army) and junior to a Birinci Ferik (General, modern Orgeneral in the Turkish Army).
The collar mark (later shoulder mark) and cap of a Ferik had three stripes and two stars during the early years of the Turkish Republic. The Ottoman Army and pre-1934 Turkish Army had three general ranks (similar to the British ranking system), while the current Turkish Army has four general ranks (similar to the American ranking system), with the inclusion of Brigadier General (Tuğgeneral) as the fourth and most junior general rank.
The title of Ferik was abolished with Act No. 2590 of 26 November 1934 on the Abolition of Titles and Appellations such as Efendi, Bey or Pasha.Kaymakam
Qaim Maqam, Qaimaqam or Kaymakam (also spelled kaimakam and caimacam; Ottoman Turkish: قائم مقام, "sub-governor") is the title used for the governor of a provincial district in the Republic of Turkey, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and in Lebanon; it was earlier used as a title for roughly the same official position in the Ottoman Empire.Kol Aghassi
Kolağası (also written as Kol Ağası, Kol Aghasi) was a military rank of the Ottoman Army. It corresponds to a Senior Captain (modern Turkish: Kıdemli Yüzbaşı) or an Adjutant Major. Kol Ağası is a compound word composed of Kol (column in Turkish) and Ağa (chief in Turkish).
The rank was junior to the rank Binbaşı (originally corresponding to the Western rank of Lieutenant Colonel until 1934, the Turkish rank Binbaşı was later relegated to Major due to the removal of the rank Kolağası (Önyüzbaşı)), and senior to the rank Yüzbaşı (Captain) in the Ottoman Army and the pre-1934 Turkish Army.
Despite being a single rank, Kolağası was divided in two: Sağ Kolağası (Kolağası of the Right Flank) and Sol Kolağası (Kolağası of the Left Flank). Sağ Kolağası was senior to Sol Kolağası. After the rank of Yüzbaşı (Captain), an officer had to first become Sol Kolağası, before becoming Sağ Kolağası.
The rank of Kolağası was briefly renamed as Önyüzbaşı during the early years of the Turkish Republic, before being completely removed. The collar mark (later shoulder mark) and cap of a Kolağası (Önyüzbaşı) had one stripe and three stars during the early years of the Turkish Republic.List of Mamluk titles and appellations
List of Mamluk titles and appellations, The following terms originally come from either Turkish or Ottoman language (it is developed form of Turkish) that is composed of Turkish, Arabic, and Persian words and grammar structures.Miralay
Miralay or Mîr-i alay (Gendarmerie: Alaybeyi) was a military rank of the Ottoman Army and Navy. The modern Turkish equivalent is Albay, meaning Colonel. Miralay is a compound word composed of Mir (commander) and Alay (regiment).
Miralay was a Senior Colonel rank in the Ottoman Army and the pre-1934 Turkish Army (similar to the rank Brigadier in the British ranking system.) It was junior to the rank Mirliva (Major General) and senior to the rank Kaymakam (regular Colonel). The collar mark (later shoulder mark) and cap of a Miralay had two stripes and three stars during the early years of the Turkish Republic.
The Ottoman Army and pre-1934 Turkish Army had three general ranks (similar to the British ranking system), while the current Turkish Army has four general ranks (similar to the American ranking system), with the inclusion of Brigadier General (Tuğgeneral) as the fourth and most junior general rank.
The rank of Miralay was abolished with Act No. 2590 of 26 November 1934 on the Abolition of Titles and Appellations such as Efendi, Bey or Pasha.Mirliva
Mirliva or Mîr-i livâ was a military rank of the Ottoman Army and Navy. It corresponds to a Major General (modern Turkish: Tümgeneral) in the modern Turkish Army. Mirliva is a compound word composed of Mir (commander) and Liva (or Liwa, "brigade" in Arabic). The rank was junior to the Ferik (Lieutenant General) and superior to the rank Miralay (Senior Colonel) in the Ottoman Army and the pre-1934 Turkish Army.
Mirliva was the most junior general rank with the title Pasha.
The collar mark (later shoulder mark) and cap of a Mirliva had three stripes and one star during the early years of the Turkish Republic. The Ottoman Army and pre-1934 Turkish Army had three general ranks (similar to the British ranking system), while the current Turkish Army has four general ranks (similar to the American ranking system), with the inclusion of Brigadier General (Tuğgeneral) as the fourth and most junior general rank.
The title and rank of Mirliva was abolished with Act No. 2590 of 26 November 1934 on the Abolition of Titles and Appellations such as Efendi, Bey or Pasha.Mushir
Mushir (Arabic: مشير) is an Arab word meaning "counsellor" or "advisor". It is related to the word shura, meaning consultation or "taking counsel".
As an official title, it historically indicates a personal advisor to the ruler. In this use it is roughly comparable to the European titles of State Counsellor and counsellor of state.
In a military context, mushir became associated with the idea of the ruler's personal counsellor or advisor on military matters, and as such became the highest rank in Arab countries and the Ottoman Empire. It is used as the highest rank in most armed forces of the Middle East and North Africa, for armies, navies, and air forces. It is therefore equivalent to the ranks of Field Marshal and Admiral of the Fleet.Mülazım
Mülazım was a junior officer rank in the armed forces of the late Ottoman empire, equivalent to lieutenant. There were usually two grades:
Mülâzım-ı evvel, or first lieutenant;
Mülâzım-ı sani, or second lieutenant.However, a number of military reforms affected military ranks (and their names and uniforms) through the history of the Ottoman empire.Mütesellim
Mütesellim or mutesellim was an Ottoman gubernatorial title used to describe mainly the head of a nahiye, but also other positions within the Ottoman hierarchy, depending on the context. Mostly this title was used for civil governors of individual towns, who managed tax collection and maintained public order. In order to reduce conflicts between mütesellims, in some cases one mütesellim was appointed by the sanjak-bey as lieutenant governor in charge for the whole sanjak. The Ottoman Empire abolished the position of mütesellim in 1842. This position was often connected with conflicts between various parties who saw it as possibility to increase their personal wealth. In the period between 1842—1864 local military governors assisted by local administration were in charge for tax collection and control of the population instead of mütesellims. After 1864 and the creation of the vilayet system, the office of mütesellim was replaced with new position of mutasarrıf.Reis (military rank)
Reis (sometimes spelled rais) was a Turkish military rank, akin to that of a naval captain, that was commonly added to the officer's name as an epithet during the Ottoman Empire. Examples include:
Uluç Ali "Reis"
Seydi Ali "Reis"The rank Reis Pasha referred to an Admiral, while the Kapudan Pasha (akin to Grand Admiral; literally "Captain Pasha") title referred to the commander-in-chief of the Ottoman Navy fleet.Sanjak-bey
Sanjak-bey, sanjaq-bey or -beg (meaning "Lord of the Standard") was the title given in the Ottoman Empire to a Bey (a high-ranking officer, but usually not a Pasha) appointed to the military and administrative command of a district (sanjak, in Arabic liwa'), answerable to a superior wāli or other provincial governor. In a few cases the sanjak-bey was himself directly answerable to Istanbul.
Like other early Ottoman administrative offices, the sanjak-bey had a military origin: the term sanjak (and liva) means "flag" or "standard" and denoted the insigne around which, in times of war, the cavalrymen holding fiefs (timars or ziamets) in the specific district gathered. The sanjkabey was in turn subordinate to a beylerbey ("Bey of Beys") who governed an eyalet and commanded his subordinate sanjak-beys in war. In this way, the structure of command on the battlefield resembled the hierarchy of provincial government.The office of sanjak-bey resembled that of the beylerbey on a more modest scale. Like the beylerbey, the sanjak-bey drew his income from a prebend, which consisted usually of revenues from the towns, quays and ports within the boundary of his sanjak. Within his own sanjak, a governor was responsible above all for maintaining order and, with the cooperation of the fief holders, arresting and punishing wrongdoers. For this, he usually received half of the fines imposed on miscreants, with the fief holder on whose lands the misdeed took place, receiving the other half. Sanjak governors also had other duties, for example, the pursuit of bandits, the investigation of heretics, the provision of supplies for the army, or the despatch of materials for shipbuilding, as the sultan commanded.Serasker
Serasker, or seraskier (Ottoman Turkish: سرعسكر; Turkish pronunciation: [ˈseɾaskeɾ]), is a title formerly used in the Ottoman Empire for a vizier who commanded an army.
Following the suppression of the Janissaries in 1826, Sultan Mahmud II transferred the functions of the old Agha of the Janissaries to the serasker. The latter now became a distinct office at the head of the Ottoman military, combining the functions of a commander-in-chief and a minister of war. He also took over the Janissary Agha's former duties regarding the upkeep of order in Istanbul. Indeed, as the police system developed and expanded with the empire's progressive centralization, it became one of the main duties of the serasker until 1845, when it became a separate agency.The seat of the serasker and his department (bab-i seraskeri, or serasker kapısı—"Gate of the serasker") initially was in the Eski Saray, but were transferred to dedicated buildings in 1865. In 1879 the office was renamed to Ministry of War (Harbiye Nezareti) until 1890, when it reverted to its old name; it was finally renamed again to Ministry of War in 1908.Some notable seraskers:
Koca Hüsrev Mehmed Pasha
Mehmed Namık Pasha
Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha
Damat Rüstem Pasha
Mehmed Riza PashaSoubashi
The subaşi (Albanian: subash, Serbo-Croatian: subaša) was an Ottoman gubernatorial title used to describe different positions within Ottoman hierarchy, depending on the context. This title was given to Ottoman timar holders who generated more than 15,000 aspers per annum or to the assistants of the sanjak-bey. The term was also used for commander of the town or castle in Ottoman Empire, an ancient version of chief of police.A surname found among Balkan families, Subaša or Subašić, is derived from the title.Çavuş
Çavuş, also anglicized Chaush and Chiaus (from Turkish: çavuş / چاوش, "messenger") was an Ottoman title used for two separate soldier professions, both acting as messengers although differing in levels. It was a rank below agha and kethüda in units such as the Janissaries and Sipahi, and was also a term for members of the specialized unit of çavuşān (چاوشان, also çavuşiyye, çavuş(an)-i divan(i)) consisting of combined cavalry and infantry serving the Imperial Council (as in Ottoman Egypt). The leaders of the council's çavuş were titled çavuşbaşı / چاوش باشی (or başçavuş / باش چاوش). The çavuşbaşı was an assistant (or deputy) to the Grand Vizier, dealing with security matters, accompanying ambassadors visiting the Grand Vizier, and also carried out the first examination of petitions submitted to the Council, and led council meetings when the Grand Vizier was not present. The title has its origin in Uyghur use, where it was the title of ambassadors, and then entered Seljuq use for Byzantine imperial messengers, and Persian and Arabic use for various court attendants.The word gave rise to surnames, such as Çavuş (Turkish), Çavuşoğlu (Turkish), Čaušević (Serbo-Croatian), Čaušić (Serbo-Croatian), Baščaušević (Serbo-Croatian), Çaushaj (Albanian), Ceaușu (Romanian), Ceaușescu (Romanian), and others. It is also the stem of place names, such as Çavuş (in Turkey), Çavuşlu (in Turkey), Çavuşlar (in Turkey), Çavuşköy (in Turkey), Çavuşbayırı (in Turkey), Čauševac (in Bosnia), Čauševići (in Bosnia and Serbia), Čaušev Do (in Bosnia), Čauševina (in Bosnia), Čaušlije (in Bosnia), Čaušlija (in Macedonia), Chavusy (in Belarus), Çaushi (in Albania), and others. In the past in former Yugoslavia, the word čauš was also sometimes applied to the wedding-planner.
Military ranks and insignia by country
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