Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition

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Sipāhī
(2,094 words)

(p.), from the Persian sipah , sipāh “army”, hence basically meaning soldier. It has given such European words as English sepoy (see below, 2.) and French spahi (see below, 3.).

1. In the Ottoman empire.

Here, sipāhī had the more specific meaning of “cavalryman” in the feudal forces of the empire, in contrast to the infantrymen of the professional corps of the Janissaries [see yeñi čeri ]. Such feudal cavalrymen were supported by land grants ( dirlik “living, means of livelihood”) at different levels of income yield. Below the k̲h̲āṣṣ [q.v.] lands granted to members of the higher ech…

Cite this page
Bosworth, C.E., Temimi, Abdeljelil and Haig, T.W., “Sipāhī”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 10 July 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_COM_1087>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007



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