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(3,333 words)

Author(s): Douillet, G. | Ayalon, D.
, (A.), the whole field of equestrian knowledge, both theoretical and practical, including the principles of hippology ( k̲h̲alḳ al-k̲h̲ayl ), the care of horses and farriery ( bayṭara ), and siyāsat al-k̲h̲ayl , a more exact rendering of the concept of “equitation” in European languages, which can be defined as the art of training and using correctly a saddlehorse. The words farāsa and furūsa , more rarely used, embrace the same group of ideas. If we consult the indexes of the classical catalogues, such as the Fihrist of Ibn al-Nadīm or the exhaustive biblio…

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…


(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 …


(27,665 words)

Author(s): Khadduri, M. | Cahen, Cl. | Ayalon, D. | Parry, V.J. | Bosworth, C.E. | Et al.
, war. i.— Legal Aspect Ḥarb may mean either fighting ( ḳitāl ) in the material sense or a “state of war” between two or more groups; both meanings were implied in the legal order of pre-Islamic Arabia. Owing to lack of organized authority, war became the basis of inter-tribal relationship. Peace reigned only when agreed upon between two or more tribes. Moreover, war fulfilled such purposes as vendetta and retaliation. The desert, adapted to distant raids and without natural frontiers, rendered the Arabs habituated to warfare and fighting became a function of society. Islam, prohibiting …


(16,103 words)

Author(s): Colin, G.S. | Ayalon, D. | Parry, V.J. | Savory, R.M. | Khan, Yar Muhammad
i. — general In Arabic, the word nafṭ (Persian nafṭ) is applied to the purest form ( ṣafwa ) of Mesopotamian bitumen ( ḳīr —or ḳārbābilī ). Its natural colour is white. It occasionally occurs in a black form, but this can be rendered white by sublimation. Nafṭ is efficacious against cataract and leucoma; it has the property of attracting fire from a distance, without direct contact. Mixed with other products (fats, oil, sulphur etc.) which make it more combustible and more adhesive, it constituted the basic ingredient of “Greek fire”, a liquid incendiary compo…


(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…

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)


(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…

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…

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…


(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…


(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…


(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,…


(4,116 words)

Author(s): Ayalon, D. | Uzunçarşili, İ.H.
, I. The navy of the Arabs until the time of the Fāṭimids [see Supplement]. II. The navy of the Mamlūks. The Mamlūk sultanate came into being a long time af ter Christian Europe had established its uncontested naval supremacy in the Mediterranean. Throughout that sultanate’s existence this supremacy had been much strengthened. Under such circumstances there was little chance for Mamlūk sea power to demonstrate its existence. Mamlūk naval activities occupy a prominent place in the sources, mainly in connexion w…


(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


(16,216 words)

Author(s): Cahen, Cl. | Colin, G.S. | Bosworth, C.E. | Ayalon, D. | Parry, V.J. | Et al.
, siege. The following articles deal with siegecraft and siege warfare. On fortification see burd̲j̲ , ḥiṣn , ḳalʿa and sūr . i.— General Remarks Siege warfare was one of the essential forms of warfare when it was a matter of conquest, and not merely of plundering raids, in countries in which, from ancient times, most of the large towns had been protected by walls and where, during the Middle Ages, the open countryside was to an ever increasing extent held by fortresses [see ḥiṣn and ḳalʿa ]. Although the forces available were rarely sufficient to impose a co…


(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…


(5,138 words)

Author(s): Quelquejay, Ch. | Ayalon, D. | İnalcık, Halil
, The name of Čerkes (in Turkish čerkas , perhaps from the earlier "kerkète", indigenous name: Adi̊g̲h̲e) is a general designation applied to a group of peoples who form, with the Abk̲h̲az [ q.v.], the Abaza (cf. Beskesek Abazā ) and the Ubək̲h̲, the north-west or Abasgo-Adi̊g̲h̲e branch of the Ibero-Caucasian peoples. The ancestors of the Čerkes peoples were known among the ancients under the names of Σινδοί, Κερχεταί, Ζιχγοί, Ζυγοί, etc., and lived on the shores of the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea and in the plains of the Kuban to the south an…


(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…
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