The Armenian Kingdom and the Mamluks: War and Diplomacy during the Reigns of He'um II (1289-1307)

The Armenian Kingdom and the Mamluks: War and Diplomacy during the Reigns of He'um II (1289-1307)

The Armenian Kingdom and the Mamluks: War and Diplomacy during the Reigns of He'um II (1289-1307)

The Armenian Kingdom and the Mamluks: War and Diplomacy during the Reigns of He'um II (1289-1307)

Synopsis

This volume gives an in-depth account of the relations between the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and Syria and the Armenian Kingdom, centred on Cilicia in southern Asia Minor, in the period after the collapse of the Crusader States. As well as diplomatic encounters, the work describes in detail, for example, the course of the Mamluk invasions of Cilicia, and the Armenian involvement with the Mongol invasions of Mamluk Syria.The work is substantially based on sources written in Arabic in the Mamluk Sultanate. Using them in conjuction with more pro-Armenian sources, it demonstrates the value of these Arabic histories, which provide many new insights and details. Both in its subject, and in its use of sources, this work demonstrates an important new direction for scholars of the Middle East.

Excerpt

The end of the seventh/thirteenth century was a period of momentous change in the Near and Middle East. Following the Mongol conquests earlier in the century, Hülegü and his successor Ilkhans created a new, expansionist, state, based in northern Persia; another, rival, Mongol khanate, that of the ‘Golden Horde’, was formed in the steppelands to the north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea. Dominated by the Mongols of Persia, and threatened by the growing power of Türkmen confederations, the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum was in steep decline, heading towards its eventual oblivion. Having to deal with these changes to its north and east was the remnant of the old Byzantine Empire, once again centred on Constantinople. As the Romans regained their city, so another ancient dynasty, the ʿAbbāsids, finally lost their own, Baghdad. The Caliphate was revived, as a shadow of its former self, in Cairo. Even without the residence of the Caliph, Cairo had become the focus of Muslim rule throughout the region, with the rise of the Mamluk Sultanate. In Egypt, the Mamluks deposed their Ayyūbid Sultan, but in Syria they were able to occupy the vacuum caused by the Mongol destruction of the Ayyūbid states there (although some Ayyūbid princes survived for a while). The Mamluks consciously sought the mantle of the defenders of the dār al-islam, the leaders of the jihād against the infidels.

These were difficult times for the Christian states of the eastern Mediterranean. At first, there was uncertainty and difference of opinion as to how to react to the new Mongol and Mamluk neighbours, and when the Mongols came to be seen as the Great Hope, it was perhaps too late. Riven by internal tensions, and confronted by the full awesome power of the Mamluks, the Crusader States—the legacy of Bohemond, Tancred, Baldwin, Raymond and Godfrey—collapsed. Antioch fell to the Mamluks in 1268; Tripoli in 1289; and Acre and the last few remaining coastal towns in 1291. The more secure kingdom of Cyprus, which sought to regain toeholds in Syria through continued alliance with the Ilkhans, was nevertheless equally affected by the same sort of factionalism that had dogged the last century of the other Frankish states of Outremer.

The kingdom of the Armenians established in 1198 in Cilicia and . . .

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