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By Mark L. Stein

The seventeenth-century Ottoman-Habsburg frontier used to be the scene of power clash. The defences of either empires have been in line with a line of fortresses, spanning the border. Mark Stein supplies us a desirable perception into daily life at the frontier during this turbulent time, by means of investigating the social, monetary and army facets of Ottoman forts and garrisons in a brand new comparative procedure. Drawing on a variety of Ottoman and Western archival and narrative assets, Guarding the Frontier assesses the nation of early-modern Ottoman army structure and siegecraft; the Ottomans' skill to besiege, safeguard, construct and service fortifications within the 17th century is punctiliously dissected, as is the connection among the principal and provisional administrations. together with his study into an intensive database compiled from seventeenth-century garrison check files, Stein has supplied an important addition to the sphere of Ottoman reviews.

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The Habsburgs fully modernized the defenses at Yanık and Uyvar, but the other outposts along the frontier were only partially improved. 79 In both cases, despite the improvements, the forts ended up in Ottoman hands. When the Ottomans did build forts, they did not build large, up-to-date structures. Ottoman forts were not as well designed and built as European ones. Montecuccoli describes them as THE FORTRESSES 49 inferior and notes that they were not built in a “modern” style, lacked real flanks, were narrow, open in the middle, and made of wood.

40 At Vienna sources list as many as 5,000 paid miners working in the Ottoman trenches. 41 Although these figures may be exaggerated, like those in many contemporary records, the large numbers give a sense of the perceived scale. Clearly large incentives were offered, and many miners and other skilled workers were needed to conduct a siege. Ottoman Artillery European military historians long held that the Ottomans favored size over mobility in forging cannon in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

It is not surprising that the Ottomans would adapt European names for their cannon as the technology of gun casting, and in many cases the guns themselves, were of European origin. 49 The bacaluşka took large shot, variously reported at 11, 14, 16, 18, and 20 okka. On average these guns fired a ball of 16 okka. 50 The large gun called şayka was another type associated with sieges, but usually on the defensive side. Again, there is some confusing nomenclature. There was also an Ottoman boat called şayka.

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