Mamluk


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Mamluk

or

Mameluke

(măm`əlo͞ok) [Arab.,=slaves], a warrior caste dominant in Egypt and influential in the Middle East for over 700 years. Islamic rulers created this warrior caste by collecting non-Muslim slave boys and training them as cavalry soldiers especially loyal to their owner and each other. They converted to Islam in the course of their training.

Mamluk Rule

The Mamluks were first used in Muslim armies in Baghdad by the Abbasid caliphs in the 9th cent. and quickly spread throughout the Muslim world. They served the Ayyubid sultans from the 12th cent. onward and grew powerful enough to challenge the existence of the rulers who were theoretically their masters. Aybak, the first Mamluk to actually rule, persuaded (1250) the mother of the last Ayyubid sultan to marry him after she had murdered her son. For more than 250 years thereafter, Egypt and Syria were ruled by Mamluk sultans supported by a caste of warrior slaves, from which the sultans were chosen. The Mamluks took advantage of their power to become the principal landholders in Egypt.

The Mamluk sultans are usually divided into two dynasties, the Bahris (1250–1382), chiefly Turks and Mongols, and the Burjis (1382–1517), chiefly Circassians who were chosen from the garrison of Cairo. The Bahri sultans were usually selected from a few chief families, but during Burji times there was scant respect for hereditary principle in the selection of rulers. Neither dynasty was able to exercise more than a limited power over the turbulent Mamluk soldiers. The sultans reigned, on the average, less than seven years and usually met violent ends. In spite of the dangers that threatened the sultans at home, they usually conducted a vigorous foreign policy. They defeated the last of the Crusaders and repulsed the Mongol invasion of Syria. At times they held all Palestine and Syria and the holy places of Arabia.

One of the strongest Mamluk rulers, Baybars IBaybars I
, 1223–77, Mamluk sultan (1260–77) of Egypt and Syria. Once a Turkish slave, Baybars became a commander of the Ayyubid and then Mamluk armies. In 1260 he led Mamluk troops to victory against the Mongols at the Battle of Ayn Jalut.
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 (1260–77) defeated the Mongols at Ain Jalut in Syria (1260), the first serious setback they had received. Baybars also installed a relative of the last Abbasid caliph of Baghdad as a Mamluk puppet caliph at Cairo. The long reign of al-Nasir from 1293 to 1340, although interrupted three times, was one of ostentation and luxury that helped to undermine the Bahri dynasty. The Burji period that followed was one of bloodshed and treachery. It was marked by war against TimurTimur
or Tamerlane
, c.1336–1405, Mongol conqueror, b. Kesh, near Samarkand. He is also called Timur Leng [Timur the lame]. He was the son of a tribal leader, and he claimed (apparently for the first time in 1370) to be a descendant of Jenghiz Khan.
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 and by the conquest (1424–26) of the Christian-held island of Cyprus.

Decline

Toward the end of the 15th cent. the Mamluks became involved in a war with the Ottoman Turks who captured Cairo in 1517. The Mamluks favored the cavalry and personal combat with sword and shield. They were no match for the Ottomans, who skillfully used artillery and their own slave infantry, the JanissariesJanissaries
[Turk.,=recruits], elite corps in the service of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). It was composed of war captives and Christian youths pressed into service; all the recruits were converted to Islam and trained under the strictest discipline.
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, to defeat the Mamluks. The Ottoman ruler, Selim ISelim I
(Selim the Grim) , 1467–1520, Ottoman sultan (1512–20). He ascended the throne of the Ottoman Empire by forcing the abdication of his father, Beyazid II, and by killing his brothers.
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, put an end to the Mamluk sultanate and established a small Ottoman garrison in Egypt. He did not, however, destroy the Mamluks as a class; they kept their lands, and Mamluk governors remained in control of the provinces and were even allowed to keep private armies.

In the 18th cent., when Ottoman power began to decline, the Mamluks were able to win back an increasing amount of self-rule. In 1769 one of their number, Ali Bey, even proclaimed himself sultan and independent of Constantinople. Although he fell in 1772, the Ottoman Turks still felt compelled to concede an ever greater measure of autonomy to the Mamluks and appointed a series of them as governors of Egypt. The Mamluks were defeated by Napoleon INapoleon I
, 1769–1821, emperor of the French, b. Ajaccio, Corsica, known as "the Little Corporal." Early Life

The son of Carlo and Letizia Bonaparte (or Buonaparte; see under Bonaparte, family), young Napoleon was sent (1779) to French military schools at
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 during his invasion of Egypt in 1798, but their power as a class was ended only in 1811 by Muhammad AliMuhammad Ali,
1769?–1849, pasha of Egypt after 1805. He was a common soldier who rose to leadership by his military skill and political acumen. In 1799 he commanded a Turkish army in an unsuccessful attempt to drive Napoleon from Egypt.
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.

Bibliography

See studies by Sir William Muir (1896, repr. 1973), N. A. Ziadeh (1953), D. Ayalon (1956), and J. Glubb (1974).

References in periodicals archive ?
The other gates are named after prominent Islamic cultures, such as the Mamluk and Umayyad Gates.
The researchers took a close look at studies that involved drinking up to 32 grams of alcohol per week, equivalent to about two pints of beer or two glasses of wine, Mamluk said.
Young and established scholars of Mamluk history discuss Mamluk social and cultural issues, women in Mamluk society, literary and poetic genres, the politics of material culture, and regional and local politics.
The impact of their craftsmanship was widespread, with orders for goods made in Mamluk workshops coming from Western Europe.
In the Mamluk period in Cairo, the historical texts are divided between those wanting to ban and remove people with disabilities, expelling the physically disabled to remote areas and locking the mentally disabled up in hospitals lest they be visible on the streets, and others that record permissions granted to the disabled to practice begging, to receive charity to ease their lives, and to be exempt from taxes.
Araiji underlined "the importance that foreign officials visit the National Museum during their stay in Lebanon, as this headquarter embodies Lebanon's history in its various eras starting from the Stone Age till the Mamluk era.
3) In this essay, I propose a historicized reading of Zinevra's novella by considering the context of Genoese-Mamluk relations and in particular the singular travels of a Genoese merchant, Segurano Salvaygo, who was active in the Mamluk sultanate in the early 1300s.
An important part of the currently existing castle goes back to the Mamluk period, during the reign of [Mamluk Sultan] Al-Zahir Baybars," Yovitchitch explained.
This got the attention of the Mamluks from Egypt, who rode east across the Sinai and up the coast, violently repulsing Crusaders and Mongols alike until they ended up with Damascus, capturing and making it into a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate; the rest of Syria eventually followed.
Al-Rabweh is one of the historical Damascene parks as it has been always a place for entertainment since the Mamluk reign" Assistant Director-General of Antiquities and Museums Department and Director of the Historical and Archeological Buildings Department Mohammad Nazir Awad said.
The prosecution charged that Samaha and Syrian security services chief Ali Mamluk transported explosives and planned attacks and assassinations of political and religious figures in Lebanon.
Samaha was arrested in August 2012 over allegations that he and Syrian security services chief Ali Mamluk planned attacks and assassinations of political and religious figures in Lebanon as mentioned above.