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The Mamluk Conception of the Sultanate

Author(s): Amalia Levanoni


Source: International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Aug., 1994), pp. 373-392
Published by: Cambridge University Press
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Int. J. Middle East Stud. 26
(1994),
373-392. Printed in the United States
of
America
Amalia Levanoni
THE MAMLUK CONCEPTION OF THE
SULTANATE
During
their rule in
Egypt
and
Syria (1250-1517),
the Mamluks showed a certain
ambiguity
in their attitude toward the sultanate
including
its rules of succession and
the ruler's source of
power.
This
ambiguity
has led to a
variety
of
opinions
about the
nature of the Mamluk Sultanate in
scholarly
works on Mamluk
history.
David
Ayalon implies,
in "The Circassians in the Mamluk
Kingdom,"'
that the
principle
of
heredity
was
recognized
to various
degrees
in the Mamluk
state,
although
it was
weak
during
the Bahri
period
and
altogether
abandoned
during
the Circassian
period.2
In "From
Ayyubids
to
Mamluks,"
Ayalon
confirms that when the Mamluks
came to
power they
had not "ever dreamt of
creating
a
non-hereditary
sultan's
office" because most of the Bahri
period
was ruled
by
the
Qala'unid dynasty.
When
nonhereditary
rule came
about,
at least in the Bahri
period,
it was without
any
form
of
planning.
In his "Mamluk
Military Aristocracy:
A
Non-Hereditary Nobility,"
Ayalon
stresses that even
during pre-
and
post-Qala'unid
times the sultan's office
was
only nonhereditary
to a certain extent and that
"throughout
the
history
of the
Mamluk Sultanate there is not the
slightest
mention of the
non-hereditary
character
of the sultan's
office,
or of the intention of
turning
it into such."3
P. M. Holt
writes,
in "Succession in the
Early
Mamluk
Sultanate,"
that the Mam-
luks tried to establish the
right
of inheritance
during
the
years 1250-1310,
but the
idea was not
compatible
with Mamluk
tradition,
which did not
pass
down
privi-
leges
to descendants. Holt
suggests
that the
usurpations
so common in this
period
were their
way
of
resolving
the
problem
in Mamluk
politics (the Qala'unid dynasty
being
the
exception).4
In an earlier
article,
"The Position and Power of the Mamluk
Sultan,"
Holt
argues
that the
Qala'unid
rule lasted so
long
because it was conven-
ient to have a nominal sultan to act as a
faqade
for the
oligarchy
of the amirs.5
Robert
Irwin,
in The Middle East in the Middle
Ages,
indicates
by describing Bay-
bars's and
Qala'un's
accession to
power
that
hereditary
succession was not estab-
lished in the Mamluk Sultanate before the end of al-Nasir Muhammad's third
reign
(1310-41). During
the earlier
period
Mamluk amirs claimed
power
and became sul-
tan
by
virtue of their
abilities, achievements,
and the
acceptance
of their
leadership
by
their
peers.6
After al-Nasir Muhammad's third
reign,
which was both
long
and free
of civil
strife,
"no one
questioned
the
rights
of the descendants of
Qala'un
to the
Amalia Levanoni is a Senior Lecturer at the
Department
of Middle Eastern
History, University
of
Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel.
? 1994
Cambridge University
Press 0020-7438/94 $5.00
+ .00
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374 Amalia Levanoni
throne,"7
although,
as Holt
argued,
most of the
Qala'unid
sultans were in effect
pup-
pets,
and real
authority
remained in the hands of Mamluk amirs.8 Thus the
Qala'unid
dynasty reigned
"without
developing any explicit theory
of
hereditary succession,
still less of
primogeniture."9
Irwin also shows that an absence of
ideology
and irra-
tional
solidarity
bonds in the Mamluk caste
lay
behind the
political instability
of the
Mamluk
Sultanate,
and
only
a
willingness
to
pursue
a
pragmatic approach
allowed
the Mamluk faction
system
to
keep
the Mamluks in
power.10
This article seeks to show
that,
although
the Mamluks seemed to waver between
the two extremes of
dynastic
rule and
military oligarchy, they basically preferred
the latter because it was consistent with the Mamluk
nonhereditary system.
Be-
cause factional strife remained the
key
to
power throughout
the Mamluk
period,
the Mamluks conceived of the sultan as the
representative
of the coalition of the
dominant factions and as a tool to ensure their
positions
and interests.
Thus,
it
would seem that the
prolonged
rule of the
Qala'unid dynasty,
which lasted for
about
forty years
after al-Nasir Muhammad's
death,
could be
explained only by
a
shift in the Mamluk attitude in favor of
dynastic
rule,
even
though
the
dynasty
proved
weak and was
always
directed
by
Mamluk factions headed
by
dominant
amirs.
However,
it is in al-Nasir Muhammad's third
reign
and in the
changes
he
introduced into the Mamluk
system
that one should look for the source of the
pro-
longed Qala'unid
rule. After al-Nasir's death the Mamluk
system
that had formed
the foundation for factional
integration collapsed
because the
oligarchy
had be-
come
paralyzed.
Ambitious amirs were no
longer
able to attain the
sultanate,
and
they managed
to conduct the affairs of state
only
in
unsteady
coalitions behind
ephemeral
sultans of
Qala'unid
descent.
Ultimately,
a consultive council
(majlis
al-mashura)
was established whose members
agreed
to
recognize
the
supremacy
of one
among
them
(al-amir al-kabir)
and to
give
effective
authority solely
to the
amir thus
designated. By
the time
Barquq
removed the
Qala'unids
from
power
in
1382 the
process
had come full circle. The Mamluks once
again
established a
strong
sultanate,
and the sultan reassumed his function as
primus
inter
pares,
in
the Mamluk factional rule.
THE SULTANATE
Social conditions in the Mamluk state remained
unchanged throughout
the auton-
omous rule of the
Mamluks;
its
ruling military
elite never ceased to
augment
its
ranks with new recruits and to restrict its
membership
to mamluks. Its economic
basis-land tenure as a
system
of
payment
to the
army (iqtd')ll-was
never aban-
doned,
although
there were
changes
in how it was
apportioned.12 Although
these
practices kept
Mamluk
society
from
becoming
an
aristocracy
that could
pass
on its
privileges
to
succeeding generations, they explain why
Mamluks strove to
exploit
the
power
attached to their status for as
long
as
they
retained it.13 Yet Mamluks
could retain their status
only
when
they belonged
to a Mamluk faction that func-
tioned as an effective interest
group
and was
strong enough
to
impose
its will on
other factions. Ambitions could be
promoted only
within the factional framework.
The Mamluk Sultanate was the outcome of a Mamluk rebellion
against
the
Ayyubids
in which the Mamluks of al-Salih
Ayyub, acting
as a
faction,
fought
to
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The Mamluk
Conception of
the Sultanate 375
preserve
their
position.14
After
that,
factionalism would be the
mainspring
of
Mamluk
politics,
and Mamluk sultans would
always
be
dependent
on Mamluk re-
cruits from
among
their
peers (khushdiishiyya),
their own
household,
or both.'5
Mamluk sultans who were successful in
recruiting, training,
and
emancipating
their own Mamluk households and
consolidating
their hold on
key positions
in the
army
and
government
were able to exercise authoritative rule and act with almost
arbitrary
discretion.
However,
when their rule was backed
by
a coalition of domi-
nant Mamluk factions headed
by
senior
amirs,
they
served
merely
as heads of a
military oligarchy
while their
position
remained vulnerable and their
authority
re-
stricted. Here we
may
be able to
point
to a
pattern
in
political
Mamluk
history-
otherwise so turbulent and difficult to trace-that can
help
to
explain why
some
periods
had
long
and
relatively
stable Mamluk rule and others rather short and un-
stable ones.
Qala'un's reign (1279-90),
for
example,
was
strong
because it was sustained
first and foremost
by
his own
household,
which he had been able to build
up
dur-
ing
his
long
amirate under
Baybars.'6 By having
the
support
of his own mamluks
and his
peers (al-Salihiyya),
he could
impose
his rule on his rivals from al-Zahir-
iyya,
the mamluk household of al-Zahir
Baybars.'7
Al-Zahir
Baybars,
in
contrast,
had
begun
his rule
(1260-76) greatly dependent
on his
peers (al-Salihiyya)
and
only slowly
and
gradually
had succeeded in
building up
his own household and
giving
his mamluks
key positions
in the
army
and
government.
Yet,
even
though
he had his mamluk household to
rely
on,
Baybars
continued to treat his
colleagues
generously,
for
only by
broad
support
could he defend himself from the
repeated
attempts
to
dispose
him.'8
Similarly, during
the first
period
of his rule
(1382-89)
Barquq
was unable to maintain his rule without
satisfying
the ambitions of the
various Mamluk factions who were
competing
for
power
and to whom he was
forced to
dispense government
and
military
honors while
putting
the advancement
of his own mamluks in
abeyance.19
On his return to
power, therefore, one of the
first
things
he did was to rid himself of the
majority
of his
opponents
so as to
open
the
way
for the advancement of his own household.20 In contrast with these
long
rules, we find, for
example, Kitbugha
and
Baybars al-Jashankir, who were soon
ousted and killed because the factions that
supported
their rule failed to consoli-
date their
power.2'
The Mamluk factional
pattern
had its
bearing
on the Mamluk
conception
of the
sultanate. Because the Mamluk sultan was
dependent
almost
exclusively
on force
at all times, his hold on
authority
was tenuous. Mamluks
regarded
the sultan, es-
pecially
when he was their
peer,
as their
representative
whose function was to safe-
guard
their own
grip
on the state's resources. From the outset of the Mamluk state-
when the Salihi Mamluks cohered in an interest
group
and rebelled
against
the
Ayyubids-the
Mamluks made various efforts to
shape
their ideas about
rulership,
and
although they
never reached an
orderly theory
of
rulership, they
did arrive at
a normative form of
rulership
that
they acquired by
trial and error.
During
the re-
bellion, no individual
among
the Mamluks was
recognized
as
having
a
right
to the
throne. After
they
had seized
power,
their dominant amirs formed a council and
chose one from
among
their rank as sultan whom
they
entrusted with their
authority
and made their
representative. Selecting
a sultan from
among
his
peers
became the
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376 Amalia Levanoni
established
practice
of succession after a factional
struggle
over
power. Although
the choice was sometimes
predetermined,
the sources all describe decisions of the
amirs as
expressions
of common consent-the
phrase
used is
ittafaqa
Cald,
"they
reached
agreement."
Thus,
the first Mamluk
sultan,
Aybak
al-Turukmani,
was elected in 1250 to the
sultanate
by
the amirs and the
Bahriyya
who met in council in Cairo.22
Then,
in
1260,
the Mamluks
agreed
on Amir Rukn al-Din
Baybars
"after
discussing among
themselves whom
they
should
appoint
to rule over them."23 Al-Muzaffar
Qutuz,
al-Mansur
Qala'un,
al-Mansur
Lajin,
and al-Muzaffar
Baybars
were all elected
by
their fellow amirs when their factions attained
power.24
The sultan's elevation
through
the consent of his
peers
indicates that
they
had
no intention of
relinquishing power.
In
theory any
amir was
eligible
to become
sultan,
and the election of one of them
by
the others was understood to
imply
that,
although
the electors had
put
aside their own ambitions for the sultanate and un-
dertook to
support
his
rule,
the sultan was committed to
safeguarding
their status
in return.
Baybars
and
Qala'un,
who both were
partly supported by
the faction of
their
peers,
are
praised
in Mamluk sources as rulers who on the whole did not be-
tray
their
solidarity
with their
colleagues (khushdashiyya)
and continued to treat
them
generously throughout
their
reigns.25
The sultan's
obligation
to ensure the in-
terests of his
supporters
was
expressed when, after
Mongol
warriors arrived in
Egypt
from the Persian Ilkhanate and were allowed into the Mamluk
army by Bay-
bars, the Mamluk amirs
expressed
concern that this recruitment would do
away
with the factional
equilibrium
in the
army
and undermine their
political power.
The sultan reassured them: "Whoever wants
something
from the
army,
he can
have it. I am not more than
any
one of
you.
I need no more than one horse, and all
the horses, camels and
property
which are with me are
yours
...
26
Al-Mansur
Lajin,
when he was elected sultan in 1296, was
required
to swear an oath that he
would act as one of his
peers
and would make no decision on his own.27 The
Burji
Mamluks
compelled Baybars
al-Jashankir to
accept
the sultanate (1308)
to safe-
guard
their economic and
political
interests
against
a rival Mamluk faction.28
A
greater
restriction on the sultan's
authority
was the threat to his rule from the
senior amirs because
they
did not
always
abandon their own ambitions or refrain
from
undermining
the sultan's
power
after he was chosen. To ensure his
position
the sultan not
only
had to
protect
the interests of the amirs who had
appointed
him
but also had to foster a new Mamluk
guard
that would be
loyal
to him and that he
could
place
in
key positions. Usually
this new
guard
was nurtured at the
expense
of the
existing one, whose members
regarded
the rise of a fresh Mamluk
genera-
tion as a threat. When
they
considered themselves
strong enough,
the old
guard
felt
justified,
even
obliged,
to overthrow the sultan and to install a new one who
would
protect
their status as the
power-wielding body
of the realm.29 Thus, the
sultan had the
support
of his
peers only
as
long
as he abided
by
the
agreement.
It was because al-Muzaffar
Qutuz
failed to
protect
their interests that
Baybars
al-Bunduqdari
and his
colleagues
broke their
allegiance
to him and assassinated
him in 1260.
According
to one version, Qutuz reneged
on his
promise
to
appoint
Baybars
na'ib in
Aleppo.30
Another version holds that
Baybars
and his friends sus-
pected Qutuz
of
planning
to kill them,3' a third that there was a clash of interests
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The Mamluk
Conception of
the Sultanate 377
between the Bahri
Mamluks,
to which
Baybars belonged,
and
al-Mu'izziyya, Qu-
tuz's faction.32 Al-Muzaffar
Lajin
was murdered
by
his
peers
because he was
deemed to have violated his oath when instead of them he
began
to
promote
his
own mamluks.33
The
justification
the Mamluks adduced for his assassination shows that
they
were relentless in their determination to retain their share of
power against any
inroads an incumbent sultan tried to make. When a sultan was
murdered,
the as-
sassins became the leaders of their
faction,
and the Mamluks even
regarded
one
of them as
having
a
preferential right
to the throne34-because their action was
intended to defend the
faction,
it was considered
legitimate. Legitimacy
was natu-
rally
a matter of
force,
as the
power
to
legitimize political
decisions was arbi-
trarily
bestowed
upon
itself
by
the victorious faction.
Baybars
and
Aqtay
were
both commended for the murder of Sultan Turanshah in their revolt
against
the
Ayyubids.
After the assassination
Aqtay
was the natural candidate to become sul-
tan,
but he was himself
unexpectedly
murdered
by Aybak al-Turukmani,
who at
the time was
atdbak al-'asdkir (chief
commander of the
army)
and coveted
power.
Baybars
fled from
Aybak, only
to return and seize
power
later and to
lay
the foun-
dations for the administration of the Mamluk state.35
The sources tie the election of
Baybars
in the council of amirs to his
having
slain Sultan
Qutuz. Al-CAyni, by citing Baybars
al-Mansuri,
reports
that the
Mamluks
regarded
the
outstanding
amir
among
the
participants
in the sultan's as-
sassination as the more suitable for the sultanate: "Faris al-Din
Aqtay
al-Atabak
al-Musta'rib said to them: 'Who overcame him
by
his sword and was the first to
cause his
quick
death?'
They
said: 'Amir Rukn al-Din
Baybars al-Bunduqdari.'
He
said: 'The first to hit is more
worthy
and we
regard
him entitled to the throne.' "36
In similar
fashion,
Baydara
and,
after
him,
Lajin
claimed the sultanate on the
grounds
that
they
had
helped
murder al-Ashraf Khalil.37 Yet
Baydara's
claims
were
ignored
because his faction did not
gain enough power
to seize the sultan-
ate.38 The amirs
Kurji
and
Tughji subsequently
demanded the office of vice-sultan
and sultan after
they
had killed
Lajin (1299).
The amirs of the rival factions
op-
posed
the
pair
but could not
formally deny
them the sultanate
owing
to the deed
they
had done. Able to exert
enough pressure Kurji
and
Tughji
made the amirs re-
scind their decision to restore al-Nasir Muhammad to
power. Only
the return of
the
army
headed
by
Baktash al-Fakhri from the
conquest
of Lesser Armenia
(Bilad
Sis),
because it
upset
the balance of
power among
the Mamluk factions and
put
Kurji
and
Tughji's
faction at a
disadvantage,
enabled the amirs to
deny
them the
right
to
govern.39
DYNASTIC RULE IN THE MAMLUK STATE
That the Mamluks
rejected dynastic
rule
they
made obvious on several occasions.
When Husam al-Din
Lajin
was elected sultan in December
1296,
al-Nasir Muham-
mad,
the son of
Qala'un
whom the Mamluks had
placed
on the
throne,
was
deposed
and exiled to al-Karak. Before he went into
exile,
Lajin apologized
to him in these
words: "If I knew that
they [the Mamluks]
would leave
you
in
power
I would allow
it,
but
they
will not leave
you
in
power."40
The firmness of their resolve to remove
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378 Amalia Levanoni
al-Nasir Muhammad shows that the son of a
sultan,
even if
placed
in
power by
Mamluks,
could not count on their
continuing support
but was
always
at risk of
being deposed by
them.
Lajin gave
al-Nasir Muhammad assurance that he would
reserve the seat of the sultanate for him when he was
older,
but
al-Nuwayri,
a con-
temporary, says-probably correctly-that
there was not a shred of truth in
Lajin's
declaration.41
Lajin
was in fact a
supporter
of his
colleague
the amir
Kitbugha
for
the sultanate,42 for he was afraid that al-Nasir Muhammad would take
revenge
on
him as he had been
prominent among
those
responsible
for the murder of his
brother Sultan al-Ashraf Khalil. Nor did
Lajin express any regrets
for his
deeds;
he
once admitted half
jokingly
that it had been his
plan
to
slay
al-Ashraf Khalil even
earlier,
while he was
serving
as his sildhddr.43 Al-Nasir Muhammad was well
aware of
Lajin's
motives,
and in his
reply
all he asked was that his life be
spared:
"Swear to me that
you
will let me live and I shall
go."44
The Mamluk attitude toward
dynastic
rule was manifested
again
in 1305
when,
from his
place
of
exile,
al-Nasir Muhammad
attempted
to undermine
Baybars's
rule. In
response,
the Mamluks threatened "that
they
would do what
they
had done
to the sons of al-Mu'izz
Aybak
and al-Zahir
Baybars"45-fate
had not been
partic-
ularly
kind to either of them.
Mamluk sources
try
to
justify
their
hostility
to the
dynastic principle by
refer-
ring
to Muslim
theology
and
jurisprudence.
At the enthronement
ceremony
for al-
Muzaffar
Baybars,
the Mamluk factions who favored his succession stated their
views in this
way:
"Know that the rule is barren and does not
[pass]
to
anyone by
heredity,
father to son or
generation
to
generation."46
A sworn statement
including
these words was
presented by
the
caliph
to the sultan in the
presence
of the four
chief
qadis
and was sent out to all the
mosques
in Cairo. A similar declaration was
made
by
the amir
Aqush al-Afram, the na'ib of Damascus, when he demanded an
oath of
allegiance
to Sultan
Baybars
from the amirs in
Syria:
"You know that
whoever sits
upon
the throne in
Egypt
is sultan, even if he is a black slave. ..
"47
Such statements
clearly
echo the debate that has
raged
from the dawn of Islam re-
garding
who had the
right
to
govern.
The doctrine of the
Kharijite movement, for
example,
had centered on the
perfection
of the ruler's faith and held that the com-
munity
had the
right
to choose
anyone
as leader, "even a black slave could be
ap-
pointed caliph
if his faith was
perfect."48
The Mamluks based their refusal to
recognize
the
authority
of a rule that did not
conform to their will on the
concept
of
predestination (qada' wa-qadar),
the sub-
ject
of the earliest
theological dispute
in Islam.49 The Mamluks ascribed the rise
and fall of a ruler to the will of God and
regarded
themselves as his instruments.
By placing
full
responsibility
for their deeds in the hands of God, they
freed them-
selves from the
obligation
of
recognizing any particular rule; in
practice
this
meant
appointing
whomever
they pleased
to the sultanate. The
15th-century
histo-
rian Ibn
lyas,
for
example,
exonerates Sultan
Barquq
of moral
responsibility
for
deposing
the last of
Qala'un's
sons. Ibn
lyas regards Barquq
as the
legitimate
sul-
tan chosen
by
Allah to
punish Qala'un
for
removing
the sons of
Baybars
from
power.50
Although
the
principle
of
dynastic
rule conformed neither to the Mamluks' view
of a sultanate headed
by
a sultan who was their
representative
nor to their
procliv-
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The Mamluk
Conception of
the Sultanate 379
ity
to
exploit power
while it
lasted,
Mamluk
sultans,
even those who seized
power
through
factional
strife,
occasionally
did
try
to establish a
dynasty bearing
their
name
by willing
the sultanate to their descendants.51 What is even more
surprising
is that the Mamluks consented to honor a deceased sultan's will and initiate the as-
cent of his son to the sultanate. Yet the
dynastic
rule that ensued cannot be com-
pared
to a
system
of inherited
monarchy,
but rather should be seen as
unique,
a
dynastic
rule
shaped by
the Mamluk outlook and
by
factionalism. The
royal
Mam-
luks whom the sultan had
purchased,
trained,
and manumitted were
loyal
to their
ustadh
(master) and,
after his
death,
transferred that
loyalty
to his son rather than
to the new
monarch,
because he was ibn ustddhihim.52 The
loyalty
of other fac-
tions,
which consisted of the households of the sultan's
predecessors
and the
amirs,
on the other
hand,
was never a
foregone
conclusion. Because the new sultan
was the head of the old sultan's
household,
the
royal
Mamluks
expected
no
change
in their
position,
whereas other Mamluk factions
might
be hostile to the new sul-
tan and use the
change
of rule as an
opportunity
to
improve
their
positions.
Thus,
the accession to the throne of a sultan's son never
gained
consensus in the Mamluk
army
and was
always
threatened
by
factional
maneuvering.
The
validity
of the
dynastic
rule of minors was
especially challenged by
rival
Mamluk factions because the son could never fulfill the traditional role of the
Mamluk sultan as the leader of his
peers
and his own mamluks as Muslim war-
riors.53 Thus, a deceased sultan's
royal
Mamluks could never sustain the rule of the
son for
long
under the
pressure
of
political turbulence, and therefore came to re-
gard
it as an
interregnum during
which
they
could determine who
among
them
should be the next sultan. The
royal
Mamluks often substituted a minor sultan
with a Mamluk warrior as a
pretext
for a decision to seize
power. Thus, for exam-
ple,
al-Mansur
'Ali,
the son of al-Mu'izz
Aybak,
Salamish 'Ali
Baybars's son, al-
Nasir Muhammad
(at
the end of his first
reign), Qala'un's son, and the
Qala'unid
al-Salih
Hajji
were all minors who were
deposed by prominent
amirs who
gained
support
for their own rule.54
Fate was not much kinder to adult sons of sultans
placed
on the throne because,
for all their initial enthusiasm to sustain their
rule, continuous threats came from
their father's
royal
Mamluks. The
royal
Mamluks of a deceased sultan
invariably
expected
his son to maintain their
priority
over other Mamluk factions in return for
their
support, thereby restricting
his
ability
to rule
effectively.
As the son
quite
nat-
urally
tried to introduce his own confidants into the
regime
and build
up
his own
household, clashes with his father's Mamluks were inevitable.
Naturally,
the new
sultans needed time to build a
loyal household, and this made them vulnerable;
they
were
easily deposed,
or even murdered, for their
attempts
to establish effective
rule. Thus, for
example,
al-Malik Sa'id Baraka Khan was
deposed (1279) by
his fa-
ther's Mamluks because of his decision to remove them from the
positions they
held and to
dispossess
them of their
iqtfdt,
which he then transferred to Mamluks
close to him, the
khassakiyya.55
Sultan al-Ashraf Khalil was murdered
(1293) by
his father's Mamluks, even
though
it was
they
who had
appointed him, "because he
put
them down and
promoted
the
young
mamluks of the
khdassakiyya."56
In contrast with al-Ashraf
Khalil, his brother al-Nasir Muhammad
clearly
gained
the
upper
hand in the factional
struggle.
When he ascended to
power
for
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380 Amalia Levanoni
the third time
(1310),
he
already
had at his
disposal
a Mamluk
guard
whom he had
recruited since his first accession in 1293.
Supported by
his own
Mamluks,
al-
Nasir Muhammad
could,
shortly
after his third
accession,
launch a
campaign
and
eliminate the senior amirs of his
predecessors'
households.57 Of all the
dynastic
rules in Mamluk
history, only
al-Nasir Muhammad's
reign
was
long
and
firmly
established-not
surprisingly,
he based the
legitimacy
of his rule not on
any dy-
nastic
principle
but on force. For
example,
when the
sage Shaykh
Nur al-Din 'Ali
al-Bakri criticized al-Nasir Muhammad and
questioned
the
legality
of his
expendi-
tures as
sultan,
he
actually
meant to
question
the
legitimacy
of his rule. In his re-
ply
the sultan asserted that the
legality
of his
expenditures
derived from his
right
to rule even
though
he was the son of a
sultan;
the
right
was
his,
not because of
any dynastic principle,
but because he had
triumphed
in a factional
struggle:
"I did
not take the rule
by heredity,
but I took it
by my
sword."58
Al-Nasir Muhammad himself did not think he was under
any obligation
to
pass
on his rule to one of his sons. In
1317,
when he fell ill and
thought
he was
dying,
he named one of the amirs closest to
him,
Tughay
al-Husami,
as his successor.
When,
subsequently,
he had al-Husami
killed,
this was not because he had
changed
his
mind,
but because
naming
him as successor had accorded to
Tughay
al-Husami a status that now threatened his own.59 About fifteen
years later, on 25
November 1331, before
departing
on the
hajj,
al-Nasir Muhammad
again brought
up
the
subject
of his successor. After
convening
the amirs, the four chief
qadis,
and the
caliph,
he informed them that he intended to
appoint
his son Anuk as his
heir and sent him in state
procession through
Cairo to the Citadel
bearing
the cer-
emonial
regalia (shiar al-saltana). After the
preparations
for the
ceremony
had
been made, al-Nasir Muhammad, for obscure reasons, reversed his decision "and
rescinded
everything,
and ordered Anuk to wear the decoration of the amirs, and
the title of sultan was not to be
given
to him."60 Anuk died in 1340, shortly
before
his father.
Even on his deathbed, al-Nasir Muhammad continued to adhere to the
principle
that the rule was not to be handed down from father to son. "0 amirs, I have
fifteen sons," he said, "How will one of them maintain his rule?"61 Nor did he be-
queath property
to his sons, for he believed that in the Mamluk state the
position
of
power they
had achieved allowed the Mamluks to
disregard
even the shari'a
laws of inheritance.
Seeing
that the children of
Aqush al-Afram, one of his father's
senior amirs and na'ib of
Syria,
had been left with
nothing,
al-Nasir Muhammad
said to Amir Bashtak, "On this account I will leave
my
children neither
property
nor
money."62
It was
actually
the Mamluk amirs themselves who forced al-Nasir Muhammad
in his final moments to
appoint
one of his sons as his successor. In
doing so, they
did not for a moment think of
releasing
the sultanate from their control, but
simply
anticipated
a
struggle
and were anxious to
place
a nominal sultan on the throne
until they resolved the issue.63 Al-Nasir Muhammad
clearly
shared the view that
the rule of his son was at best nominal; in his will, he said: "If
you
observe him
[the sultan] doing
wicked deeds not
befitting
the sultanate, and he does not
accept
the counsel of
any
of
you, drag
him
by
the
legs
and cast him out to the curse of
Allah and set
up
after him whomever
you
choose of his brothers. If he is suitable,
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The Mamluk
Conception of
the Sultanate 381
so much the
better,
but if he is
not,
deal with him as
you
did with the
former. . ."64
An examination of the
comparatively long
rule of the
Qala'unids actually
shows
that each of their
reigns
had characteristics
very
similar to those of
dynastic
rulers
before al-Nasir Muhammad's third
reign.
From the death of al-Nasir to the ascent
of
Barquq (r. 1341-82),
twelve sultans of the
Qala'uni
house were installed
(one,
al-Nasir
Hasan,
was in office
twice).
Most of them had no
training
at
all,
but were
placed
on the throne
directly
out of the harem.65
Eight
of the twelve were
minors,
and their rule was in name
only.
In the words of Ibn
Taghri
Birdi,
"Most of the
Egyptian
rulers who ruled after him
[al-Nasir Muhammad] obeyed
one of their
officials,
and that man became the sultan in
practice
and the sultan
obeyed
his
commands."66
All but one of the twelve
Qala'uni
sultans were
again
removed
by
the Mamluk
amirs
(al-Salih Ismacil
died of an
illness).
Seven were
deposed
and then murdered.
Their
reigns
were brief and nominal:67 five of them less than a
year;
two for less
than two
years;
three for four
years; only
two,
al-Nasir Hasan and al-Ashraf
Shacban,
retained the sultanate for
longer
than five
years.
Al-Nasir Hasan68 and al-
Ashraf
Shacban
were the
only Qala'unid
sultans in this
period
who succeeded in
recruiting
a household of their
own;
this was due to their
comparatively long
reigns.
Yet their households were smaller and weaker than those of the dominant
amirs who
actually
held
power,
and when these sultans
attempted
to rule autono-
mously they
aroused factional
struggles
in which each of them was defeated and
eventually
murdered.69
The offhand manner in which the Mamluks first elevated and then
deposed
the
Qala'uni
sultans
clearly
reflects the
insignificance they
attached to the
question
of
the
suitability
of the
person they
had
placed
in
power.
When al-Nasir Hasan took
office the first
time,
at the
age
of
eleven,
the Mamluks who installed him were not
even sure of his name.70 When
Yalbugha
al-Nasiri and Mintash
disagreed
in Feb-
ruary
1389 over who should be
sultan,
they
decided to cast lots
among
the
Qala'uni princes.
When the name of al-Mansur
Hajji,
who had
previously
been de-
posed,
was
picked
out,
he
simply
ascended a second
time.7'
The Mamluks were careful to divest the
Qala'uni progeny
of
any
real
power.
Abu
Bakr,
who became sultan on 6 June
1341,
by
virtue of the will left
by
al-
Nasir
Muhammad,
was removed after
fifty-nine days
when he showed that he was
ambitious,
eager
for
power,
and had
qualities
of
leadership.72
He was
replaced by
his
brother,
the
six-year-old
al-Ashraf
Kujuk.
Sources
report
that when the child
signed
decrees the hand
clutching
the
pen
was
guided by
his teacher
helping
him
inscribe the letters of his name.73 Al-Nasir Ahmad
attempted
to rule
independently
even before he ascended to the
throne,
so the Mamluk amirs decided
among
them-
selves when
they
elevated him that
they
would not let him act
freely
in
anything
so as to
prevent
the harm he
might
otherwise do.74 When al-Nasir Ahmad was
ap-
pointed
sultan in
1341,
Amir
Tashtamur,
who was the
power
behind his
throne,
concluded that al-Nasir Ahmad "would
sign only
the sultanic decrees that he
[Tashtamur]
selected and ordered the
hajib
that no one submit a
petition
to the sul-
tan
except
in his
presence."75
Al-Nasir Ahmad was
deposed
after about three
months in office.76
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382 Amalia Levanoni
In 1347 the amirs
decided,
in the
newly
constituted
majlis
al-mashara,
that the
sultan would no
longer
have
any
control over the
treasury.77
The sources state that
Sultan al-Salih Salih "was
subject
to a harsh
restriction,
he had no
authority
and
was unable to act as he saw fit in matters of
government."78
Al-Nasir Hasan was
deprived
of
any independence
of
action;
power
was held instead
by
Amir 'Izz al-
Din Azdamur al-Khazindar.
Later,
when al-Nasir Hasan tried to rule with some
measure of
autonomy,
he was slain
(1361) by
his own Mamluks.
Yalbugha
al-
CUmari,
who
placed
al-Mansur Salah al-Din on the
throne,
continued to rule as he
pleased,
whereas "al-Mansur was left with
nothing
but the title."79
The Mamluk amirs dismissed the tailor al-Mansur
Hajji
had chosen for himself.
Hajji's response clearly
reflects the nature of his
rule,
"If
my
command is not
obeyed
even when it concerns a
tailor,
what is the
point
of this sultanate?"80
The
Qala'unids, then,
despite
their
forty-year
rule,
never had the
opportunity
to
form a
permanent military regime
that could remain
loyal
to their
dynasty
and re-
place
Mamluk factionalism. Not
only
did the rule of the
Qala'unid dynasty
not
eliminate factionalism in Mamluk
politics,
it
actually
contributed to its mainte-
nance and to further turbulence. Seen
against
this
background,
the
prolonged
rule
of the
Qala'unids
does not
testify
to
any profound changes
in Mamluk
political
concepts,
but rather
provides
a hint of the strained factional interrelations that
pre-
vailed in the Mamluk
army
in the wake of al-Nasir Muhammad's death.
To consolidate his
power,
al-Nasir Muhammad set about
buying
the
fealty
of
the Mamluks to his rule. To this end he introduced new methods of
training
and
advancement into the Mamluk
army.
The mamluks were now treated
leniently,
and
generous
awards and honors were conferred on them in return for their
loyalty
to the sultan.
Already
noticeable
during
al-Nasir Muhammad's rule, but more con-
spicuous
after it, was a
change
in relations within the Mamluk factions. The
khushdashiyya-the fealty
of the mamluks to their overlord and their
solidarity
with their fellows-was
pushed
aside for more material rewards such as
larger
iqta', gifts,
and more
money.
The mamluks were soon found
ready
to
betray
their
master and
peers
for the sake of
gain.81
The amirs
played
their
part by encouraging
the mamluks to shift their
allegiance
from one faction to another, by bribing
them
with
money
and
privileges
to win them over.82
As the mamluks shifted
among
factions and the
struggle
for
power grew
more
intense, the
dependence
of the amirs on the rank-and-file mamluks became
greater
as well. The amirs could no
longer
be certain of the actual
strength
of their fac-
tion. In these circumstances
they
soon found themselves
incapable
of
deciding
who should rule. Because the mamluks were too
unmanageable
and could not be
trusted not to violate their
allegiance
at the crucial moment, the amirs
preferred
puppet
sultans of the
Qala'uni
house who
simply
served as a
pretext
for them to
postpone
decisions
among
themselves while
keeping
their
options open.
Unable to decide who should rule, coalitions were
continuously
formed and
again
disbanded
among
those who
actually
held
power
in the name of a
Qala'uni
sultan.
These coalitions consisted of at least two amirs who would
temporarily put
aside the
enmity
between them and
join
forces to seize control of the
government.
None of
the amirs who entered into these coalitions intended to
give up
his own ambition in
favor of some
colleague-each
member of the coalition remained
highly vigilant
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The Mamluk
Conception of
the Sultanate 383
because his
partners
could
always
succeed in
buying
the
loyalty
of his own
sup-
porters.
The coalition
usually
dissolved when one of the amirs killed the other in
collaboration with a third amir who would then form a new coalition with the sur-
vivor.
Examples
of this
pattern
abound in the literature:
Qawsun
and
Bashtak, Qaw-
sun and
Aydughmush, Aydughmush
and
Altumbugha
al-Maridini,
Mughlatay
and
Mankalibugha
al-Fakhri,
Mughlatay
and
Taz,
and Taz and
Shaykhu.83
RESTORATION OF THE SULTANATE
The Mamluk amirs were often
trapped
in
indecision,
but at the same time re-
mained on their
guard
so as not to let
power slip
from their hands.84 The
impetus
to reestablish a
strong
sultanate came from an economic crisis that beset their state
when,
after al-Muzaffar
Hajji
was
deposed
in December
1347,
they
found the trea-
sury empty.85
This led the amirs to call off their rivalries and set
up
a
ruling body
intended to
represent
a consensus
among
them. To this end
they
revived the
majlis
al-mashura. The
original majlis
al-mashiira
had
merely operated
as an
advisory
body
to al-Nasir
Muhammad;86
this new
majlis
consisted of nine amirs led
by
a
tenth who held the office of ra's nawba.87
The new
majlis
al-mashuira did not herald a new era in which the factions con-
ceded their
interests,
however. Mutual
suspicions remained,
and the
majlis
could
operate only circumspectly
on matters where the Mamluks could
agree
to
cooper-
ate. The amirs of the
majlis
were careful to
prevent any
one of their number from
obtaining
the
power
needed to
gain
control over the sultanate. To ensure
this,
they
first delineated those functions that related to
handling
state economic resources
and
delegated
them to different amirs. Amir
Shaykhu
controlled the sultan's trea-
sury (khizanat al-khass),
for
example,
and Amir
Baybugha
Rus administered the
distribution of
iqtdc
and the
promotion
of mamluks to the rank of amir in
Egypt
and
Syria.88
Nevertheless,
the
majlis
al-mashiura
was
important
because it established
prece-
dents for the restoration of the sultanate. The first
step
was an indirect one. To
guarantee
control of the state
economy,
the amirs of the
majlis
transferred the ad-
ministration of the
treasury
from the sultan to themselves.
They
decided "not to
allow the sultan to act as he saw fit with the
money
or to make
grants
to
anyone
and not to allow him
anything
he
might request."89
The
sultan,
who until then had
officially
controlled the
treasury,
now,
as
approved by
the
majlis,
received from it
an allowance of one hundred dirhams a
day
with a
supplementary
sum to cover his
daily expenses.
This allowance was
tellingly
called
jamikiyyat al-sultan,
or
nafaqat
al-sultan. In Mamluk sources the word
jamikiyya
refers to the
monthly
wage
that the sultan
paid
the
simple soldier,
and the word
nafaqa
was used for a
grant given
to the mamluks
by
the sultan on his installation or on the eve of their
departure
for a
military campaign.90
It was the second
step
that contributed
directly
to
restoring
the sultanate. After
another economic crisis in
1353,
which none of the amirs dared
try
to solve on
their
own,
the
majlis
was forced to
put
the administration of
government
in the
hands of that amir from
among
their number who would
agree
to take the risk. The
volunteer was Amir
Shaykhu,
who "set as a condition that no one but he alone
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384 Amalia Levanoni
would
speak
on
any
matter whether
grave
or
trivial,
and
they agreed."91
This
agreement
of the
majlis
al-mashura
unconditionally
to
obey
one of their number
virtually
assured the reinstatement of one-man rule. The amir elected to administer
the
government
was
given
the title of al-amir
al-kabir,
already indicating
that his
status was
higher
than that of his
colleagues.92
The executive
powers
which he was
granted
were those
formally
vested in the office of atabak al-'asakir.93
Shaykhu
was the first atabak al-'asdkir in the
history
of the Mamluk state to bear the title
al-amir
al-kabir,
and it was
through
this title that he wielded
power.94
From then on the holders of the office of al-amir al-kabir acted as
sultans,
and
the
Qala'uni
sultans were
stripped
of all real
power. Sarghitmish,
Azdamur al-
Khazindar,
and
Yalbugh
al-'Umari all directed the affairs of state as amir
kabir.95 Al-'Umari even established an
army
of his
own,
previously
the exclusive
prerogative
of the
sultan,
numbering
somewhere between
1,800
and
3,000
mam-
luks.96 The
appointing
of amir
mica
(amir
of a
hundred)
and
muqaddam alf (com-
mander of a
thousand),
as well as
military
and administrative
appointments,
had
been the
prerogative
of the sultan. Now these
powers
were
placed
in the hands of
Yalbugha
al-'Umari,
who made
many
of his mamluks
nuwwaib
in the
provinces
and
gave
them the rank of amir mi'a and
muqaddam alf.97
The status of
Yalbugha
al-'Umari as ruler was also reflected in court
ceremony.98
In
1377,
after the Mamluks rebelled
against
Sultan al-Ashraf
Shacban and
placed
his
eight-year-old
son al-Mansur 'Ali on the throne, Aynabak,
who then as
al-amir al-kabir held the
post
of atdbak al-'asdkir, decided to make the sultan's
building complex,
al-istabi al-sultanl, his official residence.99 It was
originally
the
sultan's stables and arsenals; it also housed the functionaries in
charge
of the ani-
mals and their
equipment.
Then in 1313 al-Nasir Muhammad had built above
these structures a
resplendent palace, al-Qasr al-Ablaq.100
The enthronement cere-
mony
of al-Mansur 'Ali was held at al-istabl al-sultdni.101 The installation of al-
amir al-kabir in this
residential-military complex
further increased his status and
provided
him with a
major strategic advantage.
At the
oath-taking ceremony
con-
ducted
by Aynabak
before the sultan left for the war
against
rebels in
Syria,
the
amirs swore
allegiance
first to
Aynabak
and then to the
Qala'uni
sultan.102
After
Aynabak
was assassinated
by Barquq
and his coalition
partner Baraka, it
became the custom for
ruling amirs, primarily
al-amir
al-kabir,
to live in al-istabi
al-sultani.103
Barquq,
who now became al-amir al-kabir and assumed the office of
atabak al-'asdkir, followed his
predecessors
and installed himself in the
complex.
Once there,
he acted, again
like his
predecessors,
as ruler of the land. He
bought
a
large
number of mamluks and
lodged
them in the
Qal'a.104
From this
position
of
power
he was able to assassinate Baraka and
destroy
his
power base,
and he be-
came the first amir kabir to rule in
complete independence
of an alliance of amirs
by bestowing upon
his mamluks and
appointing
his trusted followers to
key posi-
tions in the state.105
Barquq's
rule won such wide
support
that he became the first
amir kabir to mint coins
bearing
the
symbol (rank)
of his
amirate,
as sultans cus-
tomarily
did on their ascent to
power.'06
Once
Barquq
had won
recognition
for his
primacy among
the mamluks,
the
leadership
of the house of
Qala'uni
had come to
an end, and
Barquq
moved unhindered from al-istabl al-sultanl to the sultan's
palace.
107
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The Mamluk
Conception of
the Sultanate 385
Barquq's
rise to
power
resolved the
problem
of Mamluk rule. The Mamluks
once more could
regard
the sultanate as an institution of
government
that
they
awarded to those who came out the victors in the traditional
struggles among
Mamluk factions.
In the course of the 15th
century,
the Mamluks demonstrated their definitive re-
jection
of
dynastic
succession.108 At the time almost
every
sultan endeavored to
hand down the sultanate to his descendant
by
a
will,109
even
though
he could be al-
most certain that the will would be violated
shortly
after his death
by
his own
mamluks.1"0 Yet,
deposed
sons were treated
decently by
their father's Mamluks
and their
replacement by
Mamluk amirs was
generally
smooth and
easy.
Under
these
circumstances,
although
we do find sultans
attempting
to establish a
dynasty
bearing
their
names,
some form of mutual
understanding
seems to have existed be-
tween the sultan and his household
whereby
the sultan would will his rule to his
son to create an
interregnum
after his death in which his Mamluks could choose
one of their number to the sultanate.
Thus,
for
example,
al-Muzaffar
Ahmad,
the
son of
al-Mu'ayyad Shaykh,
al-'Aziz
Yusuf,
the son of al-Ashraf
Barsbay,
al-
Mansur
'Uthman,
the son of al-Zahir
Jaqmaq,
and
al-Mu'ayyad
Abi
al-Fath,
the
son of al-Ashraf Inal were all
put
on the throne
temporarily
until dominant amirs
seized the sultanate."'
There are
only
two instances of sons of sultans
trying
to establish effective
rule,
but in so
doing they
were doomed to death.
During
the six
years
of his second
reign (1406-12),
al-Nasir
Faraj, Barquq's
son,
fought
in vain to maintain his rule.
After seven
campaigns against
rival
factions,
he was
killed,
his
body
cast
upon
a
dung heap.'12
Al-Nasir Abu
al-Sacadat Muhammad,
Qaytbay's
son,
was
brutally
killed
by
his father's Mamluks when he tried to assert
independent
rule."3 His at-
tempt
was considered
by contemporary judges
"as
contravening
the
Egyptian po-
litical tradition."''114
Throughout
the 15th
century
the Mamluks enforced their
one-generation
rule
more
rigidly
than ever. Before the election of a
sultan,
street
fights
over
power
were routine: "It was a habit in the
fights
that the two factions confronted each
other with force . .. and the
fight
continued,
with each of the factions
hoping
for
victory,
till one of them
finally gained
it.""15
The sultan was elected
by
the victori-
ous factions. As had been the case in the formative
period
of the
state,
his
peers
regarded
him as a
representative
of their collective rule.
Al-Mu'ayyad Shaykh,
al-
Zahir
Tatar,
al-Ashraf
Barsbay,
and others became sultans after a
general agree-
ment to their rule on the
part
of the
supporting
Mamluk factions had been
reached. 16
That the sultan remained
dependent
on the
support
of the mamluks becomes ob-
vious in the sources of this
period. They
introduce the rather
surprising phrase,
kana murashshahan
lil-saltana,
"was a candidate for the sultanate." As in modern
times,
the term "candidate"
implies
that the electors have an
advantage
over the
would-be ruler.117
During
al-Zahir
Khushqadam's
terminal
illness,
for
example,
the
mamluks discussed who would be the next sultan
(1467):
"Few
[Mamluks]
were
regarded
as
candidates[;]
the sultan's mamluks elected
Yalbay....118
After al-
Zahir
Qansuh's
death the amirs differed over who should be elected the next sultan
(1498):
"So
Tany-Bak's candidacy
was
mentioned,
but the
army
did not
agree
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386 Amalia Levanoni
upon
it. Then there was Jan-Balat's and the
army again
did not
agree,
but Tuman-
Bay persisted
in
supporting
him till he became sultan."119
That the Mamluks' choice of sultan was often
openly
dictated
by personal
ambi-
tion was
clearly
admitted. As al-amir
al-kabir,
al-Zahir Tatar showered on the
amirs and mamluks all that had been
gathered
in the
treasury during al-Mu'ayyad
Shaykh's ten-year-reign (1412-21).
In
Syria
on a
campaign,
he said of his
prodigal
generosity:
"If I come back safe and
victorious,
money
will
[again]
be
found,
but
if this does not
happen
then it will be better not to leave
anything
to those who
come after us."120 After Tatar's death in
1421,
his Mamluks announced to Amir
Jani-Bak that
they
would
accept
his
leadership
if he
guaranteed
their
lives,
posi-
tions,
and
property.121
When in 1516 al-Ashraf
Tuman-Bay
was
preparing
for battle
against
the Otto-
mans,
the Mamluks refused to
accept
his excuses for the small awards he had
granted
them. When he threatened to
resign, they responded:
"If
you
want to act
as
sultan,
then
you
have to follow the conduct of the rulers who
preceded you,
but
if
you
want to
go,
let God's curse be on
you!
Another will come and be sultan
[in-
stead of
you]."'22
This rebuke
by
rank-and-file Mamluks indicates that the almost
total lack of
any
distance between mamluks and their leaders could
easily
lead to
anarchy.
Whereas in the formative
period
of the state sultans could act as autocrats
when their
power
was
sufficiently
consolidated,
by
the 15th
century they
were
continuously
and
strongly
dominated
by
the will and actions of their
supporters.
In
fact, the sultan's
reign
was safe
only
when the
power
of the Mamluks he himself
had
purchased
and trained
(al-ajlab
or al-mushtarawdt) was balanced
by
that of
veteran Mamluks who decided to attach themselves to him. Moreover, veteran
Mamluks were
generally
allowed to command ranks whereas the
ajlab
were
hardly promoted during
their master's lifetime. This clear-cut division between the
commanding
level and the rank-and-file
prevented
the
ajlab
from
establishing
their own
leadership.
When al-Zahir
Khushqadam
learned that his mamluks were
plotting
to murder him, he hurried to
appease al-Zahiriyya
veteran Mamluks, and
with their
support
he was able to restrain and control his own
(1463).123
In
many
other instances the veteran Mamluks were
brought
under control
by
the terror the
ajlab
could
inspire
in them.124
By exploiting
their decisive role in the balance of
power,
the Mamluks removed
all barriers between themselves and the sultan. On occasion, amirs did not
obey
the sultan's decrees of nomination and
iqta'
allocation or refused his orders to take
part
in battles.125 The
ajlab
were much less controllable.
They
often threatened to
desert when
they
were dissatisfied with the awards
they
had been
granted.126 They
frequently
abused the sultan and his officials and with
impunity
committed crimes
against
them as well as
against
Cairene civilians.127 Al-Zahir
Jaqmaq's ajlab,
for
example,
one
day
in 1442 climbed the roofs of their barracks and
began stoning
the officials as
they passed through
the
Qal'a gates. They
then broke into the sul-
tan's arsenal and stole
weapons.
When the sultan still refused their demands, they
killed eleven Mamluks and more than
thirty
civilians.128
In 1461, fear of his Mamluks caused al-Ashraf Inal to discontinue the custom-
ary
ceremonies of
slaughtering
animals and
distributing
their meat in the
Qal'a
on
the occasion of 'Id al-Adha; the
previous year
his Mamluks had humiliated and
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The Mamluk
Conception of
the Sultanate 387
stoned
him,
causing
him to flee the
ceremonies.'29
In
1498,
on the
anniversary
of
the
Prophet's
birth,
the Mamluks stoned the amirs and the
jurists
who came to
greet
the sultan and even
poured sewage
on them.130
Qaytbay's
Mamluks intended to set the house of the muhtasib Badr al-Din ibn
Muz'hir on fire because he had fixed maximum
prices
on consumer
goods (1486).
When
they
learned that he had
gone
into
hiding, they
turned to the
granaries
of the
sultan and the amirs and
plundered
those.
Qaytbay
sent the
khassakiyya
Mamluks
headed
by muqaddam
al-mamdlik,
the official in
charge
of their
discipline,
to
stop
them. When
they
failed to do
so,
Qaytbay personally
confronted the
ajlab.
On see-
ing
him
they
fled,
but
only
to
plunder
another official's
house,
and
they
did not
stop
until the
following day.
When order was
restored,
they
were not
punished,
but the civilian officials were
replaced.'13
During
most of this
period,
the sultan functioned under the
inescapable pressure
of Mamluk factionalism and
frequently
submitted to the Mamluks' decisions.
They
forced
him,
for
instance,
to fulfill their demands for fiefs
allocations,'32
pay-
ments,'33
and nominations.134
They
even interfered in
foreign-policy
decisions.'35
Against
this
background,
one is led to ask
why
the
post
of
sultan,
feeble as it
had now
become,
was
preserved
at all. As the sources
indicate,
the answer seems
to be that the sultan was needed to function as the elected
appeaser among
the
Mamluk
ruling
factions. To
put
it in the Mamluks' own words: "We want a man to
raise to the sultanate who will not
give priority
to one faction over
another,
but all
factions will be
equally
treated
by
him in
ousting
and
granting
and in
nominating
and
dismissing."'36
NOTES
Author's note: I thank Professor Nehemia
Levtzion, the Hebrew
University
of
Jerusalem,
and Pro-
fessor P. J.
Vatikiotis,
St.
Antony's College, Oxford,
for their
helpful
comments
during
the
preparation
of this
paper.
'David
Ayalon,
"The Circassians in the Mamluk
Kingdom,"
Journal
of
the American Oriental So-
ciety 69,
3
(1949):
145-46.
2Ibid., 139, 145, 146; idem,
"Studies on the Structure of the Mamluk
Army,"
Bulletin
of
the School
of
Oriental and
African Studies, pt. 2,
vol. 16
(1953):
457-58.
3Idem,
"From
Ayyubids
to
Mamluks,"
Revue des Etudes
Islamique 49,
1
(1981): 56; idem,
"Mam-
luk
Military Aristocracy,
a
Non-Hereditary Nobility,"
Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 10
(1987):
209-10.
4P. M.
Holt, "Succession in the
Early
Mamluk
Sultanate,"
Deutscher
Orientalistentag
16
(1985):
146, 148; idem,
"The Structure of Government in the Mamluk
Sultanate,"
in The Eastern Mediterra-
nean Lands in the Period
of
the
Crusades, ed. P. M. Holt
(Werminister, 1977), 46; idem, "Mamluks,"
Encyclopaedia of Islam,
2nd ed.
(Leiden, 1954-) (hereafter El2),
6:322-23.
SIdem,
"The Position and Power of the Mamluk
Sultan,"
Bulletin
of
the School
of
Oriental and
African
Studies
38,
2
(1975):
240.
6Robert
Irwin,
The Middle East in the Middle
Ages (London, 1989), 42-43,
65.
7Ibid.,
126.
8Ibid., 127, 128, 132, 134, 144,
149.
9Ibid.,
156.
?Ibid.,
154.
"On this
system,
see H.
Rabie,
"The Size and Value of the
iqta'
in
Egypt, 1169-1341,"
in Studies in
the Economic
History of
the Middle
East,
ed. M. A. Cook
(London, 1970), 129-38;
Robert
Irwin,
"Iqtac
and the End of the Crusader
States,"
in Eastern Mediterranean Lands in the Period
of
the
Crusades,
This content downloaded from 2.90.51.108 on Tue, 15 Jul 2014 07:11:59 AM
All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
388 Amalia Levanoni
62-73;
A. N.
Poliak,
"Some Notes on the Feudal
System
of the
Mamluks," Journal
of
the
Royal
Asiatic
Society (1937):
97-107.
20On
the connection between
ideology
and social
order,
see Ian
Robertson, Sociology (New York,
1981), 69,
608-13. On the structure of
ideology
and
pragmatic practice,
see Feliks
Gross, Ideologies,
Goals and Values
(London, 1985), 9, 27-29, 33-34, 44-47,
61-66.
13David
Ayalon,
"The Muslim
City
and Mamluk
Military Aristocracy," Proceedings of
the Israel
Academy of
Sciences and Humanities 2
(1968): 322; idem,
"Mamluk
Army," pt. 2,
456-58. Ulrich Haar-
mann,
"The Sons of Mamluks as Fief-holders in late Medieval
Egypt,"
in Land Tenure and Social Trans-
formation
in the Middle
East,
ed. Tarif Khalidi
(Beirut, 1984), 142-44; Holt,
"Mamluk
Sultan," 248-49.
'4Muhyi
al-Din Ibn CAbd al-Zahir,
al-Rawd al-zahir fi
sirat al-Malik
al-Zdhir,
ed. 'Abd al-'Aziz al-
Khuwaytir (Riyadh, 1976) (hereafter
Sirat
al-Zahir),
4.
5On
the formal source of the sultan's
power,
see
Holt,
"Mamluk
Sultanate,"
44-47.
'6Idem,
"Mamluk
Sultan,"
249.
17Rukn al-Din
al-Dawadar, Baybars al-Mansuiri,
Zubdat
al-fikra fi
ta'rikh
al-hijra,
British
Museum,
ms. no. add 23325
(hereafter Zubda),
fol.
97a, 98b-99b, 159b-160a; Shihab al-Din Ahmad ibn 'Abd
al-Wahhab,
al-Nuwayri, Nihdyat
al-arab
fi funiun al-adab,
Leiden
Library,
ms. or. no.
2m, 2n, 2o,
19b
(hereafter
al-Nuwayri), 2n,
fol.
2a-b,
45a-b.
18Muhammad ibn
Salim,
Ibn
Wasil, Mufarrij
al-kurub
ft
akhbdr Bani
Ayyub, Bibliotheque
Nation-
ale, ms.
arabe,
no. 1703
(hereafter
Ibn
Wasil), fol. 188b.
'9Jamal al-Din
Yuiisuf, Ibn
Taghri Birdi, al-Nujuiim al-zdhira fi
muluik Misr
wa-al-Qiihira, 16 vols.
(Cairo, 1963) (hereafter Nujuim), 11:263, 280, 289.
20Ahmad ibn 'Ali
al-Maqrizi,
Kitdb al-mawd'iz wa-al-i'tibdr
fi
dhikr al-khitat wa-al-dthdr, vols.
1-3
(Cairo, 1906-7) (hereafter Khitat), 3:347; Muhammad ibn Ahmad, Ibn
lyas,
Badd'i' al-zuhur fi
waqd'i' al-duhuir, vols. 1-3
(Bulaq, 1893) (hereafter Ibn
Iyas),
1:291.
21Al-Nuwayri, 2n, fol. 67a-b; Qutb
al-Din Musa ibn Muhammad al-Yuinini, al-Dhayl
cald mir'dt al-
zamdn, Topkapi Sarayi,
ms. Ahmet, no. 2907/E3
(hereafter al-Yunini), fol. 45a-b; 2907/E4, fol. 159b,
161a, 163a, 177b-178a.
22Ibn Wasil, fol. 91a, 95a; Qutb
al-Din Miiusa ibn Muhammad al-Yuiinini, Dhayl mir'it al-zamdn,
vols. 1-4
(Hayderabad, 1961) (hereafter al-Yuiinini), 1:55; 'Abd Allah ibn
Aybak,
Ibn al-Dawadari,
Kanz al-durar
wa-jimi' al-ghurar,
ed. Ulrich Haarmann, vols. 8-9 (Cairo, 1972) (hereafter Ibn al-
Dawadari), 8:13; Ahmad ibn 'Ali
al-Maqrizi,
Kitdb al-suluik
li-macrifat
duwal al-muluik, vols. 1-4, ed.
Muhammad Mustafa
Ziyada (Cairo, 1930) (hereafter Suluk), 1:362, 369; Nujuim,
7:54. The
placing
of
Aybak
on the throne was the result of a
compromise
reached
among
the senior Salihi, and
especially
the
Bahriyya,
amirs who had their
eyes
on the rule.
They
were sure that, when the time was
ripe,
de-
posing
him would be no
great problem
because of his weak
position.
23Al-Yuiinini, 2:371;
Ibn
al-Dawadari, 8:62; Isma'il ibn
'Umar, Ibn Kathir, al-Biddya wa-al-nihdya,
vols. 12-13
(Beirut, 1966) (hereafter Biddya), 12:223; Suluik, 1:436; Mahmuiid Badr al-Din
al-'Ayni, 'Iqd
al-jumdnfi
ta'rtkh ahl
al-zamain, Topkapi Sarayi (Istanbul),
Ahmet no. A2912/4
(hereafter CIqd),
fol. 79a.
24Al-Nuwayri, 2n,
fol.
81a; Zubda,
fol.
194b; Nasir al-Din Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Rahim, Ibn al-
Furat, Ta'rikh al-duwal wa-al-muluik, vols. 7-9, ed.
Qustantin Zurayq (Beirut, 1942) (hereafter Ibn al-
Furat), 7:145, 147, 152; 'Iqd.
fol.
177b; Suluik, 1:656, 658, 822; Nujuim, 8:99, 234-35.
25Ibn
al-Furat, 7:150, 168; 8:74; Zubda, fol. 43a, 90a-b, 159b-160a; Sirat al-Zdhir, 33, 73, 74, 79,
96. About
Aybak's
attitude to his
peers,
see
al-Yuinini, 1:59-60.
26SUliUk,
1:515.
27Al-Nuwayri, 2n,
fol.
81a; Zubda,
fol.
194b; 'Iqd,
fol. 177b; Suluk, 1:822; Nujuim,
8:99.
28Rukn al-Din
al-Dawadar, Baybars al-Mansuiiri, al-Tuhfa al-muluikiyya fi
al-dawla
al-turkiyya,
Aus-
trian National
Library,
ms.
Flugel
no. 904
(hereafter Tuhfa),
fol. 93a; Nujuim,
8:235.
29Ayalon,
"Mamluk
Army," pt.
1, 208-9; idem, "Circassians," 146-47.
30Nujum,
7:101.
31Sirat
al-Zdhir, 66-68; al-Yuinini, 1:370.
32Zubda,
fol. 40b-41a.
33Tuhfa,
fol.
70b-71a;
Sirat
al-Zahir, 69; Nujuim,
7:100.
34Ulrich
Haarmann, "Regicide
and the 'Law of the
Turk',"
in Intellectual Studies on
Islam, Essays
Written in Honor
of
Martin B.
Dickson,
ed. Michael Mazzaoui and Vera B. Moreen
(Salt
Lake
City,
Utah, 1990),
127-29.
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The Mamluk
Conception of
the Sultanate 389
35Ibn
Wasil,
fol.
89b-90a; al-Yunini, 1:58-59; 4:263;
Salah al-Din Khalil ibn
Aybak al-Safadi,
Kitab al-wdfi
bi-al-wafayat,
vols. 4-10
(Wiesbaden, 1980) (hereafter
Wafi), 10:446;
Cl.
Cahen,
"La
chronique
des
Ayyubids
d'al Makin b.
al-'Amid,"
Bulletin d'Etudes Orientales de
l'lnstitutfrancais
de
Damas 15
(1955-57): 159-60, (hereafter al-Makin); CImad al-Din
Ismacil,
Abui
al-Fida', Kitab al-
mukhtasarfi
akhbar
al-bashar,
4 vols.
(Hayderabad, 1954-61) (hereafter Abu
al-Fida'), 3:181;
Jamal
al-Din Abui
al-Mahasin,
Ibn
Taghri Birdi,
al-Manhal
al-sdfi wa-al-mustawfi
bacda
al-wafi,
6
vols.,
ed.
Muhammad Muhammad Amin
(Cairo, 1984-85) (hereafter Manhal), 2:502;
Sarim al-Din Ibrahim ibn
Muhammad,
Ibn
Duqmaq,
Kitab
al-jawhar
al-thamin
fi siyar al-khulafa
wa-al-saldtin, Bodleian Li-
brary,
Oxford,
ms.
Digby
or. no. 28 (hereafter Ibn
Duqmaq),
fol. 91b-92a.
36cIqd,
fol.
79a;
Sirat
al-Zdhir, 32, 68-69;
Ibn
al-Dawadari, 8:62; Bidaya, 13:223;
Abu
al-Fida',
3:207; al-Yunini, 1:370-71; Tuhfa,
fol.
lOa;
al-Nuwayri, 2m,
fol.
139a; Suluik, 1:436; Nujum,
7:102.
See
Holt, "Early
Mamluk
Sultanate," 145-46; Haarmann,
"Law of the
Turks,"
127-29.
37Al-Yunini,
fol.
45a; Suluik, 1:790;
Ibn
Duqmaq,
fol.
116b-117a;
Ibn
lyas,
2:10.
38Sulik, 1:791-93; Nujiim, 8:18-19;
Ibn
al-Furat, 8:167-68, 170; CAbd al-Rahman Ibn
Khaldun,
Kitab al-'ibar wa-diwin al-mukhtabar
ft ayyaim
al-'arab
wa-al-cajam
wa-al-Barbar wa-man
cdsa-
rahum min dhawi al-sultdn
al-akbar,
vol. 5
(Beirut, 1958) (hereafter Ibn
Khaldiin), 386-87; Shams al-
Din Muhammad ibn
Ibrahim, al-Jazari,
Jawdhir al-suluk
fi al-khulafdi wa-al-muliik, Bibliotheque
Na-
tionale,
ms. arabe no. 6739 (hereafter Jawdhir
al-suliik),
fol. 113a.
39Al-Nuwayri, 2n,
fol.
94a-b; Suluik, 1:866-67; Zubda,
fol.
202a-203a; Tuhfa,
fol.
70b-71a; Abu
al-Fida', 4:39-40;
Ibn
Duqmaq,
fol.
122a-123a;
Fadl Allah ibn Abi
al-Fakhr,
al-SuqaCi,
Tali kitdb
wafaydt al-aCydn,
ed.
Jacqueline
Sublet
(Damascus, 1974) (hereafter
al-Suqaci), 57; al-Yiinini,
2907/
E3,
fol.
134b, 141a-b;
K. V.
Zettersteen, Beitrdge
zur Geschichte der Mamlukensultane
(Leiden, 1919)
(hereafter Zettersteen, Beitrage), 51-52.
4Wafi, 4:356-57; Shihab al-Din ibn Fadl Allah Ahmad ibn 'Ali, Ibn
Hajar al-'Asqalani, al-Durar
al-kdmina f acydn
al-mi'a al-thamina, S vols. (Cairo, 1966) (hereafter Durar), 4:262.
41Al-Nuwayri, 2n, fol. 85a.
42Nujuiim,
8:49.
43Al-Nuwayri, 2n, fol. 93b-94a; Nujuim, 8:106; al-Suqa'i, 132; Jawdhir al-suluik, fol. 69b, 94b-95a.
44WaIf, 4:357; Muhammad ibn Shakir ibn Ahmad al-Kutubi, CUyuin al-tawdrikh, Cambridge
Univer-
sity Library,
add. no. 2923 (hereafter al-Kutubi), fol. 50a.
45Ibn Khalduin, 907-8; al-Nuwayri, 2o, fol. 45b; Zettersteen, Beitrage, 140; Zubda, fol. 70a-b;
Suluik, 1:418, 656, 658, 666, 669, 748-49.
46Nujuiim,
8:263.
47Ibid., 237.
48N. Levtzion, "Hakitot ba-Islam," (Sects in Islam) in Prakim be-Toldot ha-cAravim ve-ha-lslam
(Chapters
in the
History
of the Arabs and Islam), ed. Hava Lazarus-Yafeh (Tel Aviv, 1968), 178; I. Gold-
ziher, Introduction to Islamic
Theology (Princeton, N.J., 1981), 172; Cl. Cahen, "The
Body Politic," in
Unity and Variety
in Muslim Civilization, ed. G. E. von Grunebaum
(Chicago, 1955), 137; M. W. Watt,
Islamic Political
Thought (Edinburgh, 1968), 57; A. K. S. Lambton, "Islamic Political
Thought,"
in The
Legacy of Islam, ed. C. E. Bosworth (Oxford, 1974), 406.
49Goldziher, Islamic
Theology, 81-83.
50Ibn
lyas,
1:290. For similar cases, see ibid., 3:48, 133; Nujuim, 14:232, 373; 16:242, 243, 248, 394;
Suluiik, 4:608, 890; Taqi
al-Din Abui Bashir ibn Ahmad, Ibn
Qadi Shuhba, al-Dhayl 'alii ta'rikh al-Isliim
(Damascus, 1977) (hereafter Ibn Qadi Shuhba), 86; Yuiisuf ibn
Taghri Birdi, Hawddith
al-duhiurfi madd
al-ayydm wa-al-shuhuir, 2 vols., ed. Muhammad Kamal al-Din 'Izz al-Din (Cairo, 1990) (hereafter Ha-
wadith), 2:433; al-Jawhari 'Ali Ibn Dawuid, al-Sayrafi, Nuz'hat
al-nufus wa-al-abddn
fi
tawdrtkh al-
zaman, 3 vols., ed. Hasan Habashi (Dar al-Kutub, Cairo, 1971) (hereafter al-Sayrafi), 257-58.
51Al-Nuwayri, 19b, fol. 18b, 41b; 2m, 153a, 159a, 169b-170b, 190a-b; Biddya 13:254; Sirat al-
Zihir, 123, 203, 338; Ibn al-Furat, 7:186; 8:70, 98, 169-71; 'Iqd, A2912/4, fol. 78b, 99a; Nujuim,
7:144, 259; al-Yuinini, 3:322, 406; Ibn Khalduiin, 5:272; Suluk, 1:515, 633, 656, 682, 756, 798; Ibrahim
al-Misri, Ibn Wasif Shah, Kitdb jawdhir al-buhuiir
wa-waq1'i' al-umuir
wa-ajd'ib al-duhuir wa-akhbdr
al-diydr al-Misriyya, British Museum, ms. or. no. 25731 (hereafter Ibn Wasif), fol. 93b; Shafi' Ibn
'Ali,
al-FadI al-ma'thuir min sirat al-Sultdn al-Malik al-Mansur, Bodleian
Library, Oxford, ms. Marsh
no. 424 (hereafter Shafi' ibn
'Ali),
fol. 6a-b, 26a-b, 82b, 83a, 118b; David
Morgan,
The
Mongols
(New York, 1987), 146.
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390 Amalia Levanoni
52Al-Nuwayri, 2n,
fol.
93b;
Shams al-Din
al-Shujai,
Ta'rikh al-malik al-Nasir Muhammad Ibn
Qaldwun al-Salihi
wa-awlddihi,
ed. Barbara Schafer
(Wiesbaden, 1977) (hereafter
al-Shujaci), 105;
Ibn
al-Dawadari, 8:36;
Ibn
al-Furat, 7:148, 168; al-Sayrafi, 1:36; Nujum, 10:25-26; 12:187;
Zetter-
steen, Beitrdge, 140-41;
Ibn
lyas,
2:64.
53Holt,
"The Mamluk
Sultan,"
246-47.
54Zubda,
fol.
97a-b;
al-Nuwayri,
2n,
fol.
73a;
Ibn
al-Furat, 7:150;
Ibn
Wasif,
fol.
69b-70a, 72a-b,
73b;
Ibn
Duqmaq,
fol.
96a-b;
Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn CAbd al-Rahman
al-Sakhawi,
al-Daw' al-
lami' li-ahl
al-qarn al-tisi',
12 vols.
(Beirut) (hereafter Daw'), 3:11; al-Sayrafi, 1:36; Suluk, 1:658;
3:474-75.
55Al-Yunini, 4:42; Tuhfa,
fol. 33a; Zubda,
fol.
88b-89a, 91b-92a, 98a;
Ibn
al-Furat, 7:117, 140;
al-
Suq5Ci,
52.
56Zubda,
fol.
181b; Tuhfa,
fol.
59b; al-Nuwayri, 2n,
fol.
46a-47b; al-Suqaci, 70; Sulik, 1:792;
Ibn
al-Furat,
8:100-101.
57Al-Yunini, 2907/E4,
fol.
165a, 177b, 180b, 181a-b, 183b, 189b, 214a, 218a-b, 222b; al-Nuwayri,
2o,
fol.
48a; Suluk, 2:77; Nujum,
9:14.
58Al-Nuwayri, 2o,
fol.
70b;
see also
Haarmann, "Misr", EI2,
7:169.
59Al-Nuwayri, 2o,
fol. lOOb-lOla.
60Sulak, 2:343; Nujum, 9:99; Durar,
1:446.
61Mufaddal,
Ibn Abi
al-Fada'il, al-Nahj
al-sadid wa-al-durr
al-farid fima
bacda ta'rikh Ibn al-
CAmid,
ed. Samira Kortantamer
(Freiburg, 1973) (hereafter
Nahj),
105.
62Nujm,
8:8 1.
63Holt,
"Mamluk
Sultan,"
239-40.
64Nahj,
105-6. See the use
they
made of this will when
they deposed
al-Kamil Sha'ban in 1347:
Sulik, 2:709; Nujum, 10:134; Durar,
2:289.
65Nujum, 9:137, 187, 207; Manhal,
Bibliotheque
Nationale,
ms. arabe no.
2070,
fol.
173a; Sulak,
2:714.
66Nujum, 9:175.
67Haarmann, "Misr,"
170.
68Ibid.,
171.
69The
Nasiriyya
took a minor
part
in factional strifes after al-Nasir Hasan's death
(1361)
and al-
Ashrafiyya,
al-Ashraf Shacban's
household,
was
only
a minor
partner
in the factional coalitions that de-
posed Barquq
in 1389. The
Yalbughawiyya,
the household of one of al-Nasir Hasan's dominant
amirs,
however,
dominated Mamluk factionalism
during
the 1370s and
1380s,
and out of its ranks came the
Mamluk sultan
Barquq,
who
deposed
the
Qala'unids. Nujam, 11:258, 333, 334; Manhal, 3:94-95.
70Suluk, 2:745; Nujum,
10: 187.
7'Ibn al-Furat,
9:94.
72Al-Kutubi,
fol.
59a; Wafi, 10:250; Bidaya, 14:192; Durar, 1:495; Nujum, 10:18; Muhammad ibn
Ahmad
al-Dhahabi, Dhuyul
al-'ibar
(al-Kuwayt, n.d.) (hereafter
Dhuyul al-'ibar), 17:226-27; al-Shujaci,
134-35,
138.
73Ibn
Duqmaq,
fol. 159a;
al-Shujaci,
162-63; Suluk,
2:593.
74Al-Shujaci,
203-4.
75Sulak,
2:606.
76Ibid., 2:618, 619.
770n this
body
see n. 85.
Suluk, 2:751; Nujum,
10:190.
78Sulak, 2:919;
Ibn
Duqmaq,
fol. 164a.
79Suluk, 3:65, 82; Nujum,
11:6.
80Shihab al-Din Abui al-Fadl Ahmad ibn
CAli,
Ibn
Hajar al-'Asqalani,
Inba'
al-ghumr
bi-abnd' al-
Cumr fi al-ta'rikh,
vols. 1-2
(Hayderabad, 1976) (hereafter Inba'), 2:331-32; Suluk, 3:638;
Ibn al-
Furat,
9:113.
8'Al-Shujaci, 175; Suluk, 2:524-25; 4:1049, 1076-77, 1103; Nujum, 7:329, 332; 10:314;
Ibn
Iyas,
2:25; 3:102-5; Khitat, 2:183; Ayalon,
"Mamluk
Army," pt.
1,
211.
82Sulak, 2:567-68, 577, 580, 581, 586-87; 3:137, 142, 213, 275, 305, 365, 594, 600, 601, 602, 608,
609-10, 907; al-Shujaci, 136, 137, 149-50, 156, 161, 164, 165, 174, 175, 177, 179, 180, 200; Nujum,
10:29; 11:168, 223, 261, 267, 268, 276, 278; 12:188;
Ibn
Duqmaq,
fol.
194a-b;
Ibn
Qadi Shuhba, 9;
Inba', 1:310-11; Manhal, Dar al-Kutub
(Cairo),
ms. no.
1928,
fol.
431b-433a; al-Sayrafi,
1:50.
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The Mamluk
Conception of
the Sultanate 391
83See,
for
example,
Suluk, 2:560, 562, 568-70, 577, 580, 582, 590, 593-94, 598-99, 617-19,
677-
78, 680, 713-15, 729, 735-37, 743-44, 822-24, 828, 841, 842, 845-47, 889-90, 919, 920; ibid.,
3:4.
84Suluk, 2:751, 842; Nujium,
10:190.
85The
origins
of the crisis
lay
in al-Nasir Muhammad's
extravagance
and Amir
Qawsun's
and Sul-
tan al-Nasir Ahmad's
emptying
the
treasury
of
money
and valuables to
buy supporters
for their
regime;
al-Shujaci,
142-43; Suluk, 2:473, 572, 578, 586,
618-19.
86Al-cUmari mentions that the Mamluk sultan had a
consulting body, al-mashura,
which consisted
of
aged
and
magnate
amirs of a
hundred,
which
indicates,
later
on,
that the sultan of his time was al-
Nasir Muhammad: Shihab al-Din Ahmad Ibn
Yahya
Ibn Fadl Allah al-cUmari,
Masalik
al-absarfi
ma-
mdlik
al-amsdr,
ed. Dorothea
Krawulsky (Beirut, 1986), 101, 102, 107; Zettersteen, Beitrdge, 210;
Suliuk, 2:485, 498; Khitat, 3:339;
4:108.
87For a definition of his
function, see Ibn
al-CAbbas
Ahmad
al-Qalqashandi,
Kitdb subh
al-acshd
(Cairo, 1914) (hereafter
al-Qalqashandi), 4:18; Ayalon,
"Mamluk
Army," pt. 3,
60-61.
88Sulik,
2:75
1; Nujium,
10: 190.
89Suluk,
2:751.
90Ibid.; Tuhfa,
fol.
74b;
David
Ayalon,
"The
System
of
Payment
in Mamluk
Military Society,"
Journal
of
Economic and Social
History of
the Orient 1,
1
(1960):
48-53.
91Suluk,
2:890.
92Ayalon,
"Mamluk
Army," pt. 3,
81-85.
93Al-Qalqashandi,
81;
Ghars al-Din Khalil ibn
Shahin, al-Zahiri, Kitab zubdat
kashf
al-mamalik
wa-baydn al-turuq
wa-al-masailik
(Paris, 1894) (hereafter al-Zahiri),
112-13. On the
post
of al-amir
al-Kabir,
see
Holt,
"Mamluk
Sultanate,"
55.
94Jalal al-Din CAbd al-Rahman
al-Suyuti,
Husn al-muhiddara fi
akhbar Misr
wa-al-Qdhira (Misr,
1881), 2:113; al-Zahiri, 112-13; Nujum,
10:303.
95Suluk, 3:35, 43, 60-61, 65, 82, 132-33, 134; Nujum, 10:315;
11:6.
96Sulak, 3:139; Nujum, 11:47; Durar, 5:151,
213.
97Sulak, 3:85, 98-99, 128, 129; Durar, 5:213.
98Sulak, 3:19,
122-23.
99Ibid.
l?Ibid., 315, 316.
?10Inbda, 1:193; al-Zahiri, 27.
2Sulik,
3:310.
103Ibid., 315,
316.
04Ibid., 468, 474, 616; Nujum,
11:289.
05Suliik, 3:453;
Ibn
Qadi Shuhba,
63.
'06Sulak,
3:453-54.
107Ibid., 316,
323.
108Haarmann, "Misr,"
172.
109Daw', 2:327; 3:12, 72; 4:217; 6:168; 7:274; 10:303; Manhal, 4:274, 279, 294; 6:404; al-Sayrafi,
2:5, 478, 516; 3:415-16, 422; Suluk, 4:1, 539, 572, 1043, 1045, 1080; Nujum, 12:229, 230; 13:150;
14:103, 206; 15:102, 211; 16:61-62, 126, 156;
Ibn
lyas, 1:317, 349; 2:22, 34, 64, 65-66, 263;
Hawd-
dith, 2:399, 461, 462;
see also Robert
Irwin,
"Factions in Medieval
Egypt,"
Journal
of
the
Royal
Asi-
atic
Society (1986): 232, 233, 234, 237.
"ONujum, 16:36,
55.
"'Ibn
Iyas,
1:349; 2:10, 23, 263, 303, 305; Nujum, 14:107, 168, 198, 211, 221, 242; 15:103-4, 112,
222, 228, 233, 256, 452-53; 16:23, 45, 57, 156, 218, 247, 253, 377;
Badr al-Din
al-cAyni, 'Iqd al-jumdn
fti
trikh ahl
al-zaman,
ed. CAbd
al-Rafziq
al-Tantawi
al-Qarmiut (Cairo, 1989) (hereafter
al-'Ayni), 117,
144, 155, 158, 162, 180, 499, 501, 512, 515; Hawadith, 2:414, 415; Suliuk, 4:539, 572, 601, 1050, 1053,
1056, 1066, 1078, 1080, 1086; al-Sayrafi, 2:6, 8, 494, 518, 524; 3:5, 420, 422, 442, 444, 448; Daw',
5:127; 7:274; 10:303; Manhal, 3:259; 4:277; 6:398;
Ibn
Iyas, 2:10, 12, 13, 14, 23, 24, 37, 38, 39, 65-66,
70-71, 84, 297,
303.
"2Nujum, 12:318; 13:73, 83, 134-35,
147-48.
"3Ibn
Iyas,
2:348; Suluk,
4:563.
114ee
Haarmann, "Misr,"
172.
115Nujum, 16:244; al-Sayrafi, 3:420, 430,
437.
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392 Amalia Levanoni
116Nujam, 13:206; 14:3, 168-70, 196, 198, 232; 15:256; 16:229, 234, 237, 238, 239, 306, 373;
Ibn
Iyas, 2:90, 257, 297, 303, 350, 368, 369, 370; 3:57, 69; al-CAyni, 159, 180; Hawddith, 2:416; Suluk,
4:244, 569; al-Sayrafi, 3:5, 448; Daw', 3:8; Manhal, 3:261-62; 4:283; 6:287;
see also
Irwin,
"Fac-
tions,"
231.
70On linguistic relativity,
see
Robertson, Sociology,
70-74.
1'8Nujum,
16:359. For further
examples,
see
ibid., 14:198, 214; 15:535; 16:369;
Ibn
Iyas, 2:291,
297, 303, 330, 389; 3:57, 70,
72.
1191Ibn
lyas,
2:369.
l20Al-cAyni,
158. See also
Nujium, 14:222; Suliuk, 4:595; al-Sayrafi,
2:514. For another
example,
see
Suluik,
4:1190-91.
121Nujium,
14:215.
122Ibn
Iyas,
3:84. For further
examples,
see ibid., 2:330, 379, 381, 389, 390; Nujim, 13:45, 70, 146,
149; 14:100, 207-8, 236, 239; 15:229, 236, 276-77, 302; 16:36, 48, 60, 65, 72, 258-59, 363-64, 380,
381; Hawddith,
2:518.
23Nujium, 16:279-80,
282.
124Ibid., 14:212-13, 222-23, 327-28; 15:264-65, 327; 16:87-89;
Ibn
lyas, 2:153, 335, 337, 3:80;
Hawddith,
2:413.
25Nujium, 12:252, 271, 289, 304, 327; 13:56, 75, 194; 15:31; 16:59, 81, 131, 343; Ibn
lyas,
2:129-
30,
353.
'26Ibn
lyas,
2:239, 240, 241, 384; Nujium, 16:87, 91; Hawddith,
2:528.
'27Nujum, 12:280, 300, 327; 14:321, 327-28, 332, 340, 356; 15:50-51, 83, 90, 228, 230, 232, 233,
397-400, 410-11, 433, 434; 16:84, 95, 96, 112, 117, 123, 125, 130, 132, 133, 134, 136-37, 138, 141,
158, 276, 288, 290, 308, 361;
Ibn
lyas,
2:214, 215, 220, 226, 228, 230, 241, 245, 248, 287, 339, 342,
346; 3:33-34, 43, 54-55, 80; al-cAyni, 359, 628, 644, 656; Hawadith, 1:180-81, 266, 269, 271, 273;
2:333, 338, 448, 481, 486, 505, 517, 527, 529, 538, 568-69, 570, 586, 592-93, 595; Suluk, 4:100, 105,
480, 551, 749, 784, 800, 804, 805, 818, 864, 930, 931, 1009, 1026, 1027, 1056, 1058, 1177;
Muham-
mad Ibn CAbd al-Rahman al-Sakhawi,
al-Tibr
al-masbukfi dhayl
al-suliuk (Cairo, n.d.) (hereafter Tibr),
322-23; al-Sayrafi,
3:400, 401, 406, 433; Daw',
2:329.
128On what caused or what came out of this revolt the sources contain no
information; al-cAyni,
578; Nujiim, 15:352; Tibr,
41.
'29Nujum,
16:94. For more
instances,
see
ibid., 98, 101; Hawadith, 2:504, 547; Daw', 2:329.
130Ibn
lyas,
2:347. For other
examples,
see
Tibr, 260-61; al-Sayrafi, 3:279, 340, 425, 426, 433,
435-36,
440.
131Ibn
lyas,
2:239-40. For further
examples,
see ibid., 106, 141, 148, 149, 151, 153, 183, 218, 219,
229, 240-41, 247, 257-58, 259, 260-61, 263, 266, 269, 296, 323, 330, 339, 341, 343, 345, 346, 351;
3:5, 6, 16, 21, 69; Nujium, 12:196, 272, 297; 14:212, 222-23, 328, 330, 340; 15:31, 83, 264-65, 365,
410, 412-14; 16:87-88, 114, 118, 125, 131, 136-37, 139, 232, 277, 291, 296-97, 304, 320, 324, 361,
368, 387; al-'Aynl, 159, 414, 455;
Hawddith
2:505, 527, 548, 567; Suliuk 4:793, 1018; al-Sayrafi,
3:147, 157, 304,
305.
132Ibn
lyas,
2:269, 277, 278-79, 322; Nujam, 14:184-85, 190; 15:236; 16:142-43; Hawddith,
2:332, 410; Irwin, "Factions,"
231.
'33Nujum, 14:213, 330, 371; 15:227, 279-80, 435; 16:100, 112, 132, 139, 362; Hawadith, 2:426,
431-32, 434, 437, 449, 517, 529; Suluik, 4:480, 594, 804, 930, 1091, 1103; Tibr, 352;
al-Sayrafi,
3:160,
178.
134Nujum,
15:412; 16:40, 114, 136-37, 275; Hawddith, 1:267-68;
2:533.
'35Nujum, 16:147-48, 151-52,
159-60.
136Ibid.,
239.
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