Northern Syria between the Mongols and Mamluks: political boundary, military frontier, and ethnic affinities

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On Friday, 3 September 1260, the apparently relentless advance of the Mongols into the Muslim world was halted at cAyn Jālūt in northern Palestine by the Mamluk rulers of Egypt. The Mongol conquest of the Islamic Middle East had begun with the campaigns of Chinggis (Genghiz) Khan into northeastern Iran in 1219–23. In subsequent decades, Mongol-controlled territory expanded to include almost all of present-day Iran, the area south of the Caucasus, and most of Anatolia. During the early 1250s, Chinggis Khan’s grandson, Hülegü, was dispatched by his brother, the Great Khan (Qa’an) Möngke, to reorganise previously conquered territory in the Islamic countries, and to continue expansion to the west and south. A milestone in this campaign was the taking of Baghdad in 1258 and the subsequent execution of the Caliph; the Mongols thereby put an end to a moribund political institution, which yet had remaining symbolic importance to most Muslims. By the beginning of 1260, the Mongols were ready to move into northern Syria. To the majority of the local population and rulers, not to say the Mongols themselves, it was clear that no one was capable of stopping this march.2
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationFrontiers in question
Subtitle of host publicationEurasian borderlands, 700–1700
EditorsDaniel Power, Naomi Standen
PublisherMacmillan Education UK
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9780333684535, 9781349274390
StatePublished - 1999

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