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Atābak al-ʿAsākir

(112 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
After the decline of the office of the viceroy ( Nāʾib al-Salṭana ) the Atābak al-ʿAsākir (Commander-in-Chief) of the Mamlūk Army became the most important amīr in the Sultanate. His functions were much broader than the name of his office indicates. For all intents and purposes he had become the sultan’s viceroy. Very frequently the title mudabbir al-mamālik or mudabbir al-mamālik al-islāmiyya was appended to his name. It was common, especially in the Circassian period, for him to succeed the sultan on the throne. (See D. Ayalon, Studies on the Structure of the Mamluk Army , in BSOAS, 1954,…

Amīr Silāḥ

(118 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
, grand master of the armour. In the Mamlūk kingdom he was in charge of the armour-bearers ( silāḥdāriyya ) and supervised the arsenal ( silāḥk̲h̲āna ). It was his duty to bear the sultan’s arms in public ceremonies and to convey them to him in battle and other occasions. In the early Mamluk period the office of amīr silāḥ was not ¶ very high (cf. amīr mad̲j̲lis ); under the Circassians it was the second office among the highest amīrs of the kingdom. The amīr silāḥ had the right of sitting as the raʾs al-maysara in the sultan’s presence. (D. Ayalon) Bibliography L. A. Mayer, Saracenic Heraldry, index D…

Wāfidiyya

(895 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
(a.), a collective formation from wāfid “one who comes, makes his way, in a delegation or group”, in the Mamlūk Sultanate applied to troops of varying ethnic origins who came to Egypt and Syria to join the Sultanate’s military forces. There is no better proof for the superiority of the Mamlūk socio-military system over any other military form during a great part of Islamic history than the attitude of the Mamlūk Sultanate to the Mongol warriors and others, such as Kurds, K̲h̲wārazmians, etc. who, for this or that reason, sought and found refuge within its boundaries as Wāfidiyya . The mainly …

al-Amīr al-Kabīr

(112 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
, “great amīr ”, title which had originally been granted in the Mamlūk kingdom to “all those who had seniority in service and in years”. Consequently there was a whole group of amīrs of which every individual was called al-amīr al-kabīr . In the days of S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ūn al-ʿUmarī (752/1352) the title became reserved for the commander-in-chief ( atābak al-ʿasākir ) of the kingdom. From that date onward it became the most common title of the commander-in-chief beside that of his rank. (D. Ayalon) Bibliography M. van Berchem, CIA, l’Égypte, 276, 290, 452, 593 Maḳrīzī, Histoire des Sultans Mamlo…

K̲h̲āṣṣakiyya

(247 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
(under the Mamlūks). These were the sultan’s bodyguard and select retinue. Most of them usually belonged to the corps of the reigning sultan’s freedmen ( mus̲h̲tarawāt , ad̲j̲lāb , d̲j̲ulbān ). Most of the commanders ( amīrs ) rose from the khāṣṣakiyya . They were considered to be the most prestigious body within the Mamlūk military aristocracy, and were the closest to the sultan. Frequent reference is made to their being sent on special missions inside and outside the Mamlūk sultanate, their being appointed govern…

al-Baḥriyya

(399 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
a Mamluk regiment in Egypt. Most of the Ayyūbid sultans had mamlūks in their service, but it was only Sulṭān al-Ṣāliḥ Nad̲j̲m al-Dīn Ayyūb (637-47/1240-9) who recruited them in very great numbers. He seized the opportunity of the influx in the Muslim markets of Turkish slaves from the Ḳipčāḳ steppe and neighbouring areas who were uprooted from their homelands by the Mongol advance and created from amongst them a regiment of picked bodyguards numbering between 800 and 1000 horsemen. He called thi…

Amīr Āk̲h̲ūr

(97 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
, in Persian mīr āk̲h̲ūr , “high equerry”, one of the highest officials in the court of Oriental princes. Under the Mamlūks the amīr āk̲h̲ūr was the supervisor of the royal stables. He was generally an amīr of a thousand and had under his orders three amīrs of fourty. In the Circassian period he occupied the fourth place among the grand amīrs, cf. A. N. Poliak, Feudalism in Egypt , Syria , etc ., London 1939, 30; D. Ayalon, Studies on the Structure of the Mamluk Army , BSOAS, 1954, 63, 68. (D. Ayalon)

Ḥimṣ

(988 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
(The battle of). The first great trial of strength between the Mamlūks and the Mongols took place more than twenty years after the battle of ʿAyn Ḏj̲ālūt [ q.v.] at Ḥimṣ in 680/1281. Though this battle was won by Ḳalāwūn, the real architect of the victory was undoubtedly Sultan Baybars [ q.v.], who, in the seventeen years of his rule (658/1260-676/1277), built a war-machine which, in spite of the decline it underwent during the four years following his death, proved to be strong enough to break one of the mightiest armies which the Mongol Īlk̲h̲āns ever put into the field. In the battle of ʿAy…

Mamlūk

(8,527 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
(a.), literally “thing possessed”, hence “slave” [for which in general see ʿabd , ḳayna and k̲h̲ādim ], especially used in the sense of military slave”; for these last in various parts of the Islamic world, with the exception of those under the Mamlūk sultanate of Egypt and Syria [see next article], see g̲h̲ulām . Although for many centuries the basis of several Islamic powers, the institution of military slavery can in many ways best be studied within the framework of the Mamlūk sultanate of Egypt and Syria (648-922/1250-151…

Amīr Mad̲j̲lis

(157 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
, master of audiences or ceremonies, one of the highest dignitaries of the Sald̲j̲ūḳs of Asia Minor (see sald̲j̲ūḳ ). In the Mamlūk kingdom the amīr mad̲j̲lis had charge of the physicians, oculists and the like. The sources do not elucidate the connection between the rank of amir mad̲j̲lis and this particular task, which seems to be of no special importance. Although the rank of amīr mad̲j̲lis was in the early Mamlūk period superior to that of amīr silāḥ [ q.v.], neither of them was of great significance at that time. In the Circassian period the amīr mad̲j̲lis, though inferior to the amīr silāḥ,…

Ḥalḳa

(897 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
, term used in Ayyūbid and Mamlūk times for a socio-militaiy unit which, during most of the period ot Mamlūk rule, was composed of non-Mamlūks. The sources do not indicate the date of its foundation, and there is no convincing explanation of the meaning of its name (for two different views, see Quatremère, Histoire des Sultans mamlouks , i/2, 200-2 and A. N. Poliak, in BSOAS, x (1940-42), 872). The ḥalḳa had been in existence during most of the Ayyūbid period, being mentioned for the first time in 570/1174 (see H. A. R. Gibb, The armies of Saladin , in Cahiers d’Histoire Égyptienne

Dawādār

(348 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
, also Dawātdār , Duwaydār and Amīr Dawāt , the bearer and keeper of the royal inkwell. Under the ʿAbbāsids the emblem of office of the wazīr was an inkwell. The post of dawādār was created by the Sald̲j̲ūḳs, and was held by civilians. Sultan Baybars transferred it to a Mamlūk Amīr of Ten. Under the Baḥrī Mamlūks the dawādār did not rank among the important amīrs, but under the Circassians he became one of the highest amīrs of the sultanate, with the title Grand Dawādār ( dawādār kabīr ), and with a number of dawādārs under him. The office of dawādār ranked among the seven most important office…

Burd̲j̲iyya

(732 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
The Burd̲j̲iyya regiment was second in importance only to the Baḥriyya [ q.v.] regiment throughout the history of the Mamlūk sultanate. It was created by Sulṭān al-Manṣūr Ḳalāʾūn, who selected for this purpose 3,700 of his own Mamlūks and quartered them in towers ( abrād̲j̲ , sing. burd̲j̲ ) of the Cairo citadel. Hence its name. The sources mention the creation of this unit only when they sum up Ḳalāʾūn’s career at the end of his rule, without specifying any date. It was composed of Mamlūks belonging to Caucasian peoples ( al-Ḏj̲arkas wa ’l-Āṣ = Circassians and Abk̲h̲āzīs). Al-Maḳrīzī ( Ḵh̲iṭa…

al-D̲j̲abartī

(1,967 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Ḥasan , the historian, b. 1167/1753, d. 1825 or early 1826, was a descendant of a Ḥanafī family from al-D̲j̲abart [ q.v.]. According to al-D̲j̲abartī the people of that region were very strict in their religion and were inclined to asceticism. Many of them went on foot to the Ḥid̲j̲āz, either as pilgrims or as mud̲j̲āwirūn . They had three riwāḳs , of their own: one in the mosque of Medina, one in the mosque at Mecca, and one in the mosque of al-Azhar at Cairo. The forefather of the Egyptian branch of the family of al…

Awlād al-Nās

(434 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
The mamlūk upper class constituted an exclusive society. Only a person who himself was born an infidel and brought as a childslave ¶ from abroad, who was converted to Islam and set free after completing his military training and who usually bore a non-Arab name, could belong to that society. These rules implied that the mamlūk upper class should be a non-hereditary nobility, for the sons of the mamlūks and mamlūk amīrs were Muslims and free men by birth, were born and grew within the boundaries of the mamlūk sultanat…

Awlādal-Nās

(452 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
La classe supérieure mamlūke était une société très fermée; ne pouvaient en faire partie que ceux qui, nés infidèles, avaient été capturés à l’étranger dans l’enfance, élevés dans l’esclavage, puis convertis à l’Islam et enfin affranchis après avoir terminé leur formation militaire, et qui, généralement, ne portaient pas un nom arabe. Cette définition impliquait l’impossibilité pour cette noblesse de se transmettre héréditairement, car les enfants des mamlūks et des amīrs mamlūks étaient musulmans et hommes libres de naissance, naissaient et grandissaient à l’int…

al-Amīr al-Kabīr

(99 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
, «grand amīr», à l’origine titre octroyé dans le royaume mamlūk à «tous ceux qui avaient vieilli au service de l’État». Aussi y avait-il un grand nombre d’ amīrs dont chacun était appelé al-amīr al-kabīr. A l’époque de S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ūr al-ʿUmarī (752/1352), le titre fut réservé au commandant en chef du royaume ( atābak al-ʿ asākir). Depuis lors, il devint le titre normal du commandant en chef en dehors de celui de son rang. (D. Ayalon) Bibliography M. van Berchem, CIA, LÉgypte, 276, 290, 452, 593 Maḳrīzī, Histoire des sultans mamlouks, trad. Quatremère, I, 3 Poliak et Ayalon, voir Amīr Āk̲h̲ūr.…

K̲h̲aṣṣakiyya

(232 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
, sous les Mamlūks, garde du corps et suite choisie du sultan, dont la majorité des membres appartenaient généralement au corps des affranchis du souverain régnant ( mus̲h̲tarawāt, ad̲j̲lāb, d̲j̲ulbān). La plupart des officiers de haut rang ( amīrs) en sortaient. Les k̲h̲āṣṣakiyya étaient considérés comme le corps le plus prestigieux de l’aristocratie militaire et le plus proche du sultan. Il est souvent fait allusion à leur envoi en mission spéciale à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur du sultanat mamlūk, à leur nomination en qualité de gouverneurs de provinces syriennes et au rôle dont ¶ il…

Burd̲j̲iyya

(728 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
, régiment mamlūk qui, par son importance, venait immédiatement après celui des Baḥriyya [ q.v.], durant toute l’histoire du sultanat mamlūk. Il fut créé par le sultan al-Manṣūr Ḳalāʾūn, qui choisit à cet effet 3700 de ses propres Mamlūks et les logea dans des tours ( abrād̲j̲, sing. burd̲j̲) de la citadelle du Caire; de là, le nom du ¶ régiment. Les sources ne mentionnent la création de cette unité que lorsqu’elles résument la carrière de Ḳalāʾūn à la fin de son règne, sans spécifier aucune date. Le régiment était composé de Mamlūks appartenant aux peuples caucasiens ( al-Ḏj̲arkas wa-l-Āṣ = …

Atābakal-ʿAsākir

(104 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D.
Lorsque la charge de vice-roi ( nāʾib al-salṭana) se fut dégradée, l’ atābak al-ʿasākir (commandant en chef) de l’armée mamlūke devint le premier amīr du sultanat. Ses fonctions dépassèrent de beaucoup les attributions attachées au nom de sa charge. Il était devenu le vice-roi du sultan dans tous ses projets et ses réalisations. On ajoutait très souvent à son nom le titre mudabbir al-mamālik ou mudabbir al-mamālik al-islāmiyya. Il était fréquent, surtout à l’époque circassienne, qu’il succédât au sultan sur le trône. (Voir D. Ayalon, Studies on the Structure of the Mamluk Army, dans BSOA…
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