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 Pasha
^ a b c Lewis, Bernard (1986). "Bāb-i Serʿaskeri". The Encyclopedia
of Islam, New Edition, Volume I: A–B. Leiden and New York: BRILL.
p. 838. ISBN 90-04-08114-3.
^ Sinaplı, Ahmet Nuri. "Şeyhül Vüzera,
Serasker Mehmet Namık
Paşa". İstanbul: Yenilik Basımevi, 1987.
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