Back to ʿAyn Jālūt, again

Reuven Amitai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The battle of ʿAyn Jālūt between the Mamlūks and Mongols in northern Palestine (3 September 1260) has received much attention among researchers and popular writers, and efforts have been made to explain the Mamlūk victory and its impact on the history of the region. This paper offers some new evidence for the conduct of the battle and its results, as well as looking again at its significance for both contemporaries and modern observers. It begins with a short rendition of what is already known about the battle, based mostly on the author’s previous studies. This is followed by three sections, each dealing with a passage that has hitherto not received the attention that it deserves. The first is from the recently published and translated short history of the Mongols in Iran attributed to the well-known scholar Quṭb al-Dīn Shīrāzī (d. 1311). The second passage is from the Jāmiʿ al-tawārīkh by Rashīd al-Dīn (d. 1318) regarding some of the units that composed Kedbuqa’s army at the battle. The third passage is an exceptional anecdote in an otherwise banal account found in the chronicle by the famous al-Maqrīzī (d. 1442), showing that this author’s version of events may be a little more complicated than previously thought. The paper concludes with some considerations on the importance of the battle, suggesting that in spite of the relatively small numbers of the troops involved (certainly when compared to future battles between the two sides), it was indeed a crucial encounter, setting the stage for the history – military and otherwise – of the region for many subsequent decades.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)225-254
Number of pages30
JournalJerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam
Issue number50
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Max Schloessinger Memorial Foundation, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. All rights reserved.


  • Arabic and Persian historiography
  • Ilkhanate
  • Mamlūks
  • Military history
  • Mongols
  • Palestine
  • ʿAyn Jālūt


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