Throughout the medieval world there was a strong belief in supernatural beings. If you lived in the Middle East, they would be called djinn, demons or devils. If you dare want to know more about these monsters, read on!
The Mamluks had a long tradition of deposing and/or killing their own rulers. Only a few sultans could meet the challenges posed by revolts, civil wars, and internal struggles.
The Mongols presented the greatest threat to the early Mamluk sultanate.
This column will focus on the wars between the Mamluks and the Crusaders / Franks in the Near East. It was a struggle that began in the thirteenth century and would last until the end of the Middle Ages.
How was the Mamluk military system organized? Which types of units could be found in their armies? What was the size of these forces?
Baybars’ story is exemplary of the careers of many slave soldiers of the medieval and early modern Muslim world. He rose from being a refugee and slave to become a soldier, officer, and then a ruler.
How did the armies of the Abbasid Caliphate and the Tang Dynasty, two empires that were worlds apart, meet in Central Asia?
Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafi was the Umayyad caliphate’s most famous and most able governor. He administered the eastern “super province” of the caliphate which included Iraq, Khurasan, and Sijistan from 694 to 714.
In the Mamluk state there were several ways to avoid being executed, including physical beauty.
Seventh-century North Africa would see the rise of a warrior queen named al-Kahina. Who was she and how was she able to wage a war against the Umayyad Caliphate?
In the tenth century Alp Tegin would find himself serving as a slave soldier for one empire. He would rise through the ranks, and get to the heights of political power. When his fortunes turned, he would embark on a campaign to create his own empire.
In 750 the Umayyad caliphal dynasty was overthrown by a popular revolution that had its origins in the eastern regions of the Muslim world, primarily in Khurasan.
The emir Ahmad ibn Ismail was assassinated in the year 914. This is the story of why he was killed and the power struggle that took place in the aftermath of his death.
Some of the most useful sources on medieval warfare are the ones written by the warriors themselves.
The story of the Buyids in Iran and Iraq is an extraordinary tale of the rise from obscurity of three ambitious brothers to dominate the core regions of the Muslim world.
In the fourth part of this series that looks at northern Iran in the Middle Ages, the decline of the Alid dynasty opens the door for Daylami mercenary leaders to seize power.
In part three of this series that looks at medieval northern Iran the focus turns to the emergence of the Alid dynasty and their struggle to gain and hold power in the ninth and tenth centuries.
The Daylamis provided a strong immovable wall of skilled and disciplined infantrymen that formed the main battle line of the army.
This is the first of a series of articles on the history of Northern Iran and its people during the 10th and 11th centuries.
During her life and career Khayzuran rose from the status of slave to becoming the caliph, al-Mahdi’s (r. 775-785), favorite concubine, and then his legal wife and a queen in her own right who wielded an immense amount of political power and whose wealth was second only to that of her husband’s in the entire caliphate.
After generations of oppression, an army of slaves rose up to challenge the Abbasid Caliphate.
During the course of a century, medieval military commanders from Eastern Europe to India would make use of wagons as their key element in winning on the battlefield.
They were scouts, raiders, skirmishers, heavy cavalry, and shock cavalry all in one; and could operate as infantry as well if the need arose.
In the medieval world it was rare for a woman to hold power. It seems incredible to read the story of Raziya of Delhi, not only because she was chosen to lead a realm, but the way she fought to keep it.