ISLAMIC STATES IN 13TH & 14TH CENT.
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Examines rulership, economics, social aspects, threats, fragmentation, military, reunification, instability & internal rivalries.... More...
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Examines rulership, economics, social aspects, threats, fragmentation, military, reunification, instability & internal rivalries.
ISLAMIC STATES AND RULERSHIP IN 13TH AND 14TH CENTURIES This research paper discusses the most important developments in the nature of Islamic states and rulership during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (1200-1400 A.D.). By 1200 the great Arab expansion and consolidation of Muslim imperial rule which had begun in the 7th century had peaked and receded under the pressure of external military threats from the West and Central Asia and the effects of internal processes of political fragmentation and decay. During the succeeding two centuries, that process of disintegration continued, even accelerated largely in response to the invasions of the Crusaders and the Mongols, but the first steps were taken toward the reunification of portions of the Islamic world on a new basis. That new basis varied considerably
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The chaotic conditions within the Abbasid Caliphate and the declineof the Byzantine state in Anatolia opened their northern and easternfrontiers to migrations and incursions by nomadic peoples from the steppesaround the Caspian Sea, most notably the Seljuk Turks who defeated theByzantines in two major battles in Anatolia in 1 71 and 1176. Their motives for leaving the steppe were easy tounderstand: "veneration of the chiefs . Decline and Collapse of the Abbasid Caliphate By the mid-1 th century, the Sunni Muslim Abbasid Caliphate (75 -1258) with its capital in Baghdad lost control over Egypt, which was ruledfrom 969 to 1171 by Fatimids of the dissident Ismaili sect, North Africaand Spain. After the Christians invaded Egypt, Nuri intervened in the fractiousaffairs of the declining Fatimid Caliphate resulting eventually in itsoverthrow by his appointee, Salah al-Din (Saladin) in the 117 s. Lapidus says "theMongol invasion . Before the Persian ilkhanate finallydissolved in 1336, only to be briefly revived during the period of theconquests of Tamerlane (137 -14 5), the Mongols left behind highlymilitarized states whose authority was respected and which had considerableregional autonomy. The Mamluks succeeded during the13th century in removing the last vestiges of Frankish settlements inPalestine and later along the Lebanese coast. Conclusion The Muslim world struggled during the 13th and 14th centuries torecover the unity it once had and made substantial progress toward thatgoal despite enormous difficulties and external threats. The Age of the Crusades The Near East from the Eleventh Century to 1517. Three outstanding Muslim rulers led thecounteroffensive. The principal areas in contention in the West in the 13th centurywere Syria, Egypt and Palestine. Harlow, Essex: Addison Wesley Longman, 1986.Lapidus, Ira M. Ascentral authority disintegrated, public works such as irrigation decayedand trade declined. On the other hand, Mamluk rule was periodicallyinterrupted by regicide, plots, coups and ethnic rivalries between Turkishand Circassian slaves. That newbasis varied considerably in the East and the West. ISLAMIC STATES AND RULERSHIP IN 13TH AND 14TH CENTURIES This research paper discusses the most important developments in thenature of Islamic states and rulership during the thirteenth and fourteenthcenturies (12 -14 A.D.). They also stopped the Mongolsin 126 . The Golden Horde did, however, accept Islam and waslargely Persianized, which tempered the excesses of its military rule. During the succeeding two centuries, that process of disintegrationcontinued, even accelerated largely in response to the invasions of theCrusaders and the Mongols, but the first steps were taken toward thereunification of portions of the Islamic world on a new basis. Saladincompleted the work of Nuri al-Din in uniting the Muslims in Egypt and Syriaand won a series of battles against the Christians in Palestine, includinghis victories at Hattin and Jerusalem in 1187 before he died in 1193. . The Mamluks were warriors purchased in the non-Muslim hinterlandsas children and brought to Muslim capitals such as Cairo where they wereraised in the household of their masters to become warriors. Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 1988.----------------------- 6 As the 14th century ended, theOttomans were forging a new version of Muslim political unity and empire. Even in Mesopotamia itself and in Persia, Lapidus says that "by935 the regime had lost control of virtually all of its provinces exceptthe region around Baghdad" (132). Saladin's clan, the Ayyubids remained in power in Egypt until 125 and Syria until 126 when they were ousted by palace revolts led by Mamlukslaves. Mongol administratorsadopted and expanded the previous practice of granting iqtas, or the rightto collect taxes on lands owned by non-Muslims in lieu of salary andgranting tax farms, measures which expanded revenues, while not endearingthe regime to the rural masses. A History of Islamic Societies. Fragmentation and Reunification in the West After their defeat by the Mongols in 1243, power in Anatolia waseffectively divided between the Byzantines who were periodically alliedwith the Frankish Outremer along the Eastern Mediterranean coastal littoraland the Mongols with what was left of the Seljuks squeezed into mountainousareas between them. TheSeljuk and Kurdish rulers never established the principal of hereditarysuccession so after the death of a strong ruler like Saladin, factionalstruggles for power followed. Works CitedHolt, P. Holt notesthat "Mamluk households became factions which supported their masters inthe contest for high office, even the sultanate itself" (138-139). According to Holt, "the politics of the Mamluksultanate are largely the factional politics of a military aristocracyalien to the land in which it dwelt" (269). In the northern region of western Asia, the Turksorganized states, first under the Seljuks and then under the Ottomans after128 which from their base in Anatolia fashioned a new basis for imperialrule. In the West alien regimes wielding power through military slavehouseholds replaced the formerly cosmopolitan empire, but succeeded largelybecause of the infusion of warrior elements from Central Asia, mostlyTurks, in reimposing for long periods, punctuated by periods of internaldisorder, Muslim unity. . The Mamluks created a militarized state, increasing the power of theMen of the Sword at the expense of the Men of the Pen (scribes, such as thecivilian fiscs, many of whom were Christian and had advanced the revenueinterests of Saladin and the Ayyubids). Oneof its lasting legacies was its extensive tax system. . Their most effective ruler was probably al-Nasir Muhammad whoreigned from 1293 to 1341 and who established "a firm autocratic monarchyin time of peace" and the principle of hereditary succession which onlylasted until 1382. dealt a devastating blow to Iranian-Muslimcivilization" (276). The Seljuksconverted to Sunni Islam and during their periodic control over Mesopotamiaafter they first captured Baghdad in 1 55 acted as Sultans wieldingeffective power under nominal Abbasid Caliphs. M. These eventually resulted in the Mamluktakeovers. In the former Persiandomains and further East, the Abbasid Empire was largely succeeded by amilitarized Mongol state which remained Islamic but which largely took on aregionalized hue and in which new provincial elites rose to power. Under the Ottomans, the Islamicworld was destined to achieve a power and a unity it had not enjoyed sincethe days of the Arab conquest. As Mongol power receded and despite their final defeat at the handsof Tamerlane in 14 2, the Ottoman Turks gradually during the late 13th and14th centuries expanded their zone of control in Anatolia and established abridgehead across the Dardanelles into the Balkans after their victories atKossovo in 1389 and Nicopolis in 1396 (where they defeated a combined papal-Venetian fleet). By 12 the great Arab expansion andconsolidation of Muslim imperial rule which had begun in the 7th centuryhad peaked and receded under the pressure of external military threats fromthe West and Central Asia and the effects of internal processes ofpolitical fragmentation and decay. According to Holt, "when the Crusadersapproached Syria in the autumn of 1 97, they had before them a politicallyfragmented land, where the rulers were for the most part men of narrowvision and little experience" (15). Beginning in the 122 s, the Mongol descendants of Genghis Khaninvaded first Persia whose rulers they put to the sword and then movedWest, defeating the Seljuks at Kose Dagh in Anatolia in 1243 whom theyturned into vassals but their invasion of the West was stopped by a SyrianEgyptian Mamluk force in southern Syria twice in 126 . the desire to find richpasturage, gather booty and win victories against the infidels" (Holt 3 4).Under a series of remarkably gifted Sultans in the 13th and 14th centuries,especially Bayazid I 1389-14 2, the Ottomans learned how to sustainsedentary civilizations while at the same time preserving their martialardor and superiority over their foes in battle, a balance that becamedifficult to maintain centuries later. Lapidus says that in the East "everywhere the oldlandowning and bureaucratic elites lost their authority and were replacedby new military and political elites composed of nomadic chieftains andslave soldiers," such as the Buwayhids in western Iran and Iraq, theSaminids in Eastern Iran and Transoxania and in the late 12th century theGhaznavids, Afghan tribes who ruled Khurasan in modern Afghanistan andparts of Northern India. First, the Seljuk atabeg or family ruler Zangi recapturedEdessa in 1144 and began the reunification of Syria which was completed byhis second son Nuri al-Din and his Turkish and Kurdish warriors in the115 s. However, theregimes that emerged in most of the Islamic world before the rise of theOttoman Empire lacked domestic support because they were alien impositionsand suffered from the usual weaknesses of militarized states includingdynastic instability and rivalries and a permanent loss of the cosmopolitancharacter of the earlier Arab empire. . The Abbasid caliphs became the prisonersof foreign military elites which they imported from Central Asia.
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