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Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: Regional History or Period History
Forum Name: Medieval Europe
Forum Discription: The Middle Ages: AD 500-1500
Printed Date: 27-Nov-2022 at 11:41
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.56a -

Topic: Turcopolis/Turkopolis
Posted By: xi_tujue
Subject: Turcopolis/Turkopolis
Date Posted: 17-Nov-2007 at 21:14
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

thank you Smile

I rather be a nomadic barbarian than a sedentary savage

Posted By: Chilbudios
Date Posted: 17-Nov-2007 at 21:38
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.

Posted By: xi_tujue
Date Posted: 17-Nov-2007 at 23:28
^I thought Turcopoles strictly refered to Turks who fought for christians & mostly were christian themselfs

I rather be a nomadic barbarian than a sedentary savage

Posted By: Chilbudios
Date Posted: 17-Nov-2007 at 23:41
While undoubtly, at least initially, the largest ethnic component was Turkic, often they became inhabitants of some non-Turkic land and eventually got assimilated.

Posted By: Desperado
Date Posted: 21-Nov-2007 at 02:04 - Turcopoles -a good article covering the issue (and a very good blog, mainly on ottoman history).

Posted By: Brainstorm
Date Posted: 21-Nov-2007 at 16:29
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.


Posted By: Sikander
Date Posted: 22-Nov-2007 at 19:37
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).

Posted By: shurite7
Date Posted: 23-Nov-2007 at 05:07

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 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.  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.



Posted By: Sikander
Date Posted: 26-Nov-2007 at 23:05
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...

Posted By: shurite7
Date Posted: 01-Dec-2007 at 02:18
Brigham Young University.  Located in Provo, Utah, U.S.
The article is quite interesting and well worth obtaining.



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