Echoes of the Eurasian Steppe in the Daily Culture of Mamluk Military Society

Reuven Amitai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and Syria (1250-1517 ce) was based on a military-political elite of Eurasian Steppe provenance, brought to the Eastern Mediterranean as youths. In the early decades of the Sultanate, most of these were Qipchaq Turks, but additional groups of Turks, Mongols and others were also well represented. The impact of the Eurasian military tradition has been long noted by scholars. However, some other aspects of the Inner Asian legacy have not been fully explored. In this paper I will look at a few characteristics of this cultural heritage: names, daily language, drinking habits, sports, hunting, religious rituals, and cultural awareness. The question of identity of the ruling strata of the Dawlat al-Turk/al-Atrak (The Dynasty/State of the Turks), as the Mamluk Sultanate was then known in Arabic, will be broached at the end of the paper.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)261-270
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Royal Asiatic Society
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

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Copyright © The Royal Asiatic Society 2016.


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