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kaznder View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27-May-2009 at 18:17
Hello everybody, i had few questions about the Mamluks and the Mamluk system, since I've searched on the web and found as many contradicting opinions as anyone can find I don't know what i the reality of this culture anymore, some say from the beginning of the operation the mamluk is kidnapped, other say a slave boy sold, some say prionars of war, and others say poor families selling their children for the Emirs, many Arabic book contradict with other books from other countries about these matters, what is right i have no idea.

 which raise another question about how are we going to define history in the future if it is all built on personal opinions or cultural backgrounds and personal benefit, everyone i writing history according to his terms, we must find a middle ground for all our differences and write the truth only.........

anyway that' another subject, the question here why Islamic empires brefared to have slave warriors rather than ordinary warriors, such phenomena never appeared except in these empires...........

who are the mamluks?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-May-2009 at 09:36
Originally posted by kaznder kaznder wrote:

some say from the beginning of the operation the mamluk is kidnapped, other say a slave boy sold, some say prionars of war, and others say poor families selling their children for the Emirs, many Arabic book contradict with other books from other countries about these matters, what is right i have no idea.

Hi Kaznder,
In fact, all of these are correct just in a slightly different persepective. We have to remember that Mamlukes (and Ghulams) were used over a very long period, roughly 1000 years, and the sources of the slaves did vary somewhat.

I'll explain what happened in the 13th century, at the early period of the Mamluke dynasty of Egypt and Syria. In the mid and late 13th century the Mongols were in control of the nearer steppe (Ukraine), which at the time was inhabited by Qipchaks. The mongols enslaved many Qipchaks through either kidnapping, or taking them as prisioners of war. The mongols sold a large number of these boys to Venetian slave traders, who in turn sold them to the Sultan of Egypt or other wealthy people in the Middle East.

So the Egyptians purchased boys, the Mongols kidnapped or captured, and the Venetians traded. From the perspective of the Qipchak slave all three happened!

Before and after the Mongols Mamlukes were sourced from other markets, but always preferrably from those peoples that were poor and away from civilisation. They were seen as being better warriors. I don't know of a specific case but I'm almost certain that some families in these regions probably did sell their children.
Quote the question here why Islamic empires brefared to have slave warriors rather than ordinary warriors, such phenomena never appeared except in these empires...........

The short answer is because they were more loyal. The Sultans could rely on their slaves, while they were unsure about the loyalties of freemen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-May-2009 at 16:42

Hello to you all

First of all, slaves were bought from markets directly. Baibars was bought in Damascus, Qalawoon was bough in Egypt etc. There is no evidence up to my knowledge that slaves were kidnapped specifically. All what I know slave traders allover the mediterranean brought ships laden with male slaves hoping to sell them to the Auybid and later Mamluk authorities.

As for why slaves were used instead of free men well this is a bit complicated.

Initially soldiers were from tribes and grouped into tribal formations that varied in size. Come the Umayyads a sort of a professional army was established with fixed service duration, fixed regular units with specified sizes and tasks and a uniform selection and training process. Though the regulars were still tribal in nature they did incorporate many none Arabs in them. However the same problem that faced the Romans with their legions faced the ummayyads with their regular army.

Auxilaries both regional and tribal always competed with the regulars. Regular's loyalties were dubious at best and many of their commanders led open rebellions like legion comanders. But they had one thing in common which prevented their ending, they were damn good. Tribal and auxilaries failed in several tests but regulars stood fast and won important campaings like the great Berber rebellion and Khazar invasions. However they switched loyalties once the Ummayyad star fell.

Come the Abbasid attitudes changed. Initially Abbasids kept the old tribal based regular military and even enhanced it. But as Persians took over the state and dominated the bureaucracy they wanted to fully Romanize the army, that is cancel tribal dominated formations and make them pure professional. This lead to conflict, rebellion and apathy from the Arabs who formed the majority of soldiers.
 
The total halt in the conquest movement which always helped make the army busy, the privitization of the state by giving certain individuals or families full rights ro run their own states and the privitization of the army itself by making tribes and private militias fight paved the way for the introduction of the Ghulam system. These gain massive influence and by the middle of the 9th century the regular army was disbanded and the Caliphate became totally dependent on them.
 
Later on the same problems that Arabs in the regular army had with the Abbasids later dynasties had with their free population. Saladin failed to stop the 3rd crusade because his troops refused to fight when ethnic riots between Kurds and Turks occured. Many Turks switched sides then and Arabs angry after Hattin left the army altogether. Arabs abandoned the Aybids again in the 5th crusade and the Khazars did the same in the 6th one.
 
Only the Mamluks and native Egyptian units showed loyalty yet because Mamluks were slaves it was easier to raise an army from them rather than an army from Egypt.
 
It isn't because they were better that they were used, history tells us the best armies were the Arab based armies of the umayyads and then early Abbasids. Same thing with the Saljuqs whos free armies conquered half the Islamic world yet their slaves were a disappointment. It was all about loyalty.
 
Al-Jassas 


Edited by Al Jassas - 28-May-2009 at 16:45
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote malizai_ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-May-2009 at 02:37
Good posts Omar and Jassas.Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JRScotia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-May-2009 at 16:54
Fascinating that a slave army would be more loyal than a rulers own subjects. I keep wondering what the explanation would be for this. Maybe they felt that an invader wouldn't free them any more than their current masters would?  Would they have automatically been executed?

I find the concept of slaves being that loyal a bit baffling.


Edited by JRScotia - 29-May-2009 at 16:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-May-2009 at 18:28
Mamluks weren't chained and bound to land as in the American south. They lived in their own barracks (which are still there in Cairo), they got monthly salaries and even pension.
 
These were raised from their childhood to be loyal to the state since the state not an individual owned them and they were told that the state was their giving parent.
 
free men on the other hand were free. They had no say in the state since it was not democracy and in many cases they hated government policies. These were in the army for pay not nationalism and since the idea of the universality of Islam was dominant, any guy riding the horse of raising the banner of Islam will get more loyalty especially if he was perceived as being more "pure". This is why Ottomans won and why Seljuqs won and why Abbasids won.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Basmachi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-May-2009 at 22:04
Mamluk Dynasty were Qipchak Turks (modern Kyrgiz, Kazakhs) but the citizens were local people. Tomanbai, the last Sultan of Mamluks, was allied with Shah Ismail Xetai, ruler of another Turkish state; Safavids. But another Turkish sultan, I.Selim finished Mamluks. What a shiny age for Turks :)

There is a source about it:
http://books.google.com/books?id=3C2tzBSAp3MC&pg=PA192&dq=mamluks+kipchak+turks&lr=&hl=en

( Isichei, Elizabeth (1997). A History of African Societies to 1870. Cambridge University Press. pp. 192. Retrieved on 2008-11-08.)

Edited by Basmachi - 29-May-2009 at 22:14
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-May-2009 at 07:13
[quote-JRScotia]Maybe they felt that an invader wouldn't free them any more than their current masters would?[/quote]
No, they weren't particularly interested in freedom as such. In the ME tradition of slavery the slaves had a loyalty to their owner like son has to his father. For example, in the latter Mamluke dynasty one of the Sultan's mamlukes killed the Sultan, and this was shocking to the whole society.
Quote Would they have automatically been executed?

Often they were, but because they were Soliders & Governors loyal to the previous dynasty, not because they were slaves. Actually, in the 19th century, the banning of slavery was used as a way of wiping out the Mamluke & Jannisaries.
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

These were raised from their childhood to be loyal to the state since the state not an individual owned them and they were told that the state was their giving parent.

I'm not sure that's completely true, like after a Sultan died, and one of his slaves took over, the new Sultan would try to place all of his own slaves in the best positions to ensure loyalty.
So while it is true to say they were loyal to and owned by the state, they were also loyal to and owned by particular people in the states.
Originally posted by Basmachi Basmachi wrote:

Mamluk Dynasty were Qipchak Turks (modern Kyrgiz, Kazakhs)

Qipchaks are not Kyrgiz nor Kazakhs, nor were all Mamlukes Qipchaks.
Quote Tomanbai, the last Sultan of Mamluks, was allied with Shah Ismail Xetai, ruler of another Turkish state; Safavids.

I don't have my books with me at the moment, but most of the Mamlukes in the latter Mamluke sultanate were Cirracasian not Turkish. Plus, the Safavids are much more Irani than Turkish, just like the Mamluke dynasty is more Egyptian-Syrian than Turkish.
Quote But another Turkish sultan, I.Selim finished Mamluks. What a shiny age for Turks :)

Selim actually ordered his men to "kill all the Turks" [meaning the mamlukes] after capturing Egypt.
The mamlukes didn't end their, they continued as a class in Egyptian society until Muhammed Ali abolished slavery. (Remember, Napoleon fought the Mamlukes)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-May-2009 at 08:25
Hello Omar
 
Well there is alot of confusion about mamluks because of their pretty complex system. Mamluks initially were grouped in groups of 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10 slaves. Each group had its own prince from its own ranks who takes over once the previous prince dies. The prince gets automatic freedom if he was chosen to be one. Only Free men can raise a mamluk division and his offspring do not inherit his position.
 
Qalawoon for example was a Salehi mamluk, that is the free man who raised his division, or regiment, was named Saleh (actually his real name is Al-Malik Al-Saleh, an Auybid sultan). The regiment will always have the name of the man who raised it.
 
Now there was a special division of mamluks named the Sultani mamluks. These were the elite of elites as historical narritives tell us. These were established for the Sultan and were his own property no matter who he was.
 
Later during the Burji mamlukes it was they who made the most trouble.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Basmachi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-May-2009 at 13:36
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Qipchaks are not Kyrgiz nor Kazakhs, nor were all Mamlukes Qipchaks.


Then who are the Qipchaks, tell me.

All Mamlukes weren't Qipchak but most of them were. I wrote a source link, you can look it. Also you can find list of Mamluke Sultans. Most of them have Qipchak names. Like Tomanbai, Beybars, Aybek. These are all names of Qipchak Turks.

Quote I don't have my books with me at the moment, but most of the Mamlukes in the latter Mamluke sultanate were Cirracasian not Turkish. Plus, the Safavids are much more Irani than Turkish, just like the Mamluke dynasty is more Egyptian-Syrian than Turkish.


Some of them Circassian, you can understand who they are by their names. Dou you know there was many Turks living on Circassia then?

Safavids were exactly Turks. Do you know about Shah Ismail Xetai? I.Selim is Turk, isn't he? Shah Ismail is more Turk than I.Selim. Although I.Selim wrote in Persian language his letters and some of his poems, Shah Ismail always wrote in Turkish. Further, Shah Ismail censured I.Selim because of his letters in Persian language.

Safavids founded by 27 Turkish scouts. There was many Turks Iran then. Iran was governed by Turks by 11th Century (starts with Ghaznavids) to 20th Century. Ghaznavids, Seljuqs, Khwarzemshahs, Safavids, Afshars, Kachars were all Turks.

Dude, you don't know anything about Shah Ismail.


Edited by Basmachi - 30-May-2009 at 13:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bulldog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-May-2009 at 14:19
Basmachi the Mamlukes of Egypt are split into two periods, the first period was ruled and dominated by Turks, Mamluke state during this period was known as "Dawlat al-Turk", they wrote Turkish-Arabic dictionaries to forge better ties with the locals. The later dynasty the Buhri Mamluk state was known as "Dawlat al-Jarkuz" state of the Cherkhez.

There is no need to get so aggressive, Shah Ismail did have Turkish lineage and did write alot of his works in  Turkish, however, the later Safavids did become more Persophone, the millitary was run by the Turks, the bureaucracy was run mostly in Farsi. However, in the Ottomans Turkish was the official language of the state at all levels thats why its referred to as being "Turkish" more than the Safavids.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kaznder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-May-2009 at 03:52
thanks a million Al Jassas and Omar for all the valuable information you have posted.........
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