Hermit crabs

May 28 2015

The ʿOsmanlis […] despised armour – perhaps on account of their own proficiency in the use of long-range missile weapons. (They inherited an aptitude for archery from their Nomad ancestors, and they took kindly to fire-arms.) The Janissaries [infantry] wore no armour at all, and the Sipahis [cavalry] seldom bothered to take any with them when they started on a campaign, since they counted upon being able to capture all that they wanted from the enemy. When they did wear armour acquired in this way, the Sipahis made a point of choosing pieces that did not fit, in order to show that they were hermit-crabs.

A Study of History, Vol III, OUP, 1934 (footnote)

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