Medieval Egypt

December 5 2014

969-1171 Ismaili Shia Fatimid Caliphate

1171-1250 Kurdish Ayyubid dynasty founded by Saladin; Saladin had climbed the ranks of the Fatimid government and in the following years led campaigns against the Crusaders; he reincorporated Egypt in the Abbasid Caliphate

1250-1517 Mamluk sultans; Mamluk regiments, soldiers of slave origin from the Caucasus and Crimea, had constituted the backbone of the military under the Ayyubid dynasty; Ottoman Turks conquered Egypt in 1517

The main line of Sunni Caliphs – Rightly Guided, Umayyad, Abbasid – came to an end when the Mongols conquered Baghdad in 1258. A surviving member of the Abbasid house was installed at Cairo under the patronage of the newly-formed Mamluk Sultanate three years later. In 1517 the Ottoman Turks took the last nominal Abbasid Caliph at Cairo into custody and transported him to Constantinople, where the institution of the Caliphate went into abeyance for two and a half centuries.

One Response to “Medieval Egypt”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    Of course, none of three powers was confined to Egypt: they dominated Syria too. The Fatimid and Ayyubid dynasties were also major powers in north Africa.

    In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, on the Mamluk sultans:

    “Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Mamluks, who ruled Egypt and Syria from about 1250 to 1517. Originally slave soldiers who managed to depose their masters, they went on to repel the Mongols and the Crusaders to become the dominant force in the medieval Islamic Middle Eastern world. Although the Mamluks were renowned as warriors, under their rule art, crafts and architecture blossomed. Little known by many in the West today, the Mamluks remained in power for almost 300 years until they were eventually overthrown by the Ottomans.”

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