Bahri dynasty

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The Bahri Dynasty ( Arabic المماليك البحريون, DMG al-Mamālīk al-baḥrīyūn , from bahr  /بحر / baḥr  / 'sea'), also called Bahri-Mamluken , was the sultans of the Mamluks in Egypt from 1279 to 1382 .


At its core, the Bahriyya consisted primarily of slaves from Kipchaks of Turkic origin or from Western Turkic . In 1250, they carried the brunt of the defensive battle against the Sixth Crusade directed to Egypt . In the same year, the Bahri Mamluks under the Emir Faris ad-Din Aktay eliminated the rule of the Ayyubids by murdering Sultan Turan Shah . The name of the dynasty goes back to the corps of the so-called Bahri Mamluks (also called Bahriyya ), which was set up by the Ayyubid Sultan al-Salih Ayyub (1240-1249). The unit had its garrison on the island of ar-Rauda in the Nile (Arabic: Bahr an-Nil ), not far from Cairo at the entrance to the Nile Delta . The unit had a reputation for having a particularly high combat strength and loyalty to the Sultan.

This marked the beginning of the rule of the first Mamluk sultans in Egypt, who initially came from other units. The Bahri-Mamluks consequently opposed this until they were expelled from Egypt by Sultan Izz ad-Din Aybak (1250–1257). Sultan Qutuz (1259–1260) called them back, especially the Emir Rukn ad-Din Baibars . After the battle of ʿAin Jālūt (September 1260), Sultan Qutuz was murdered by Baibars, who was the first Bahri-Mamluk to rule Egypt (1260-1277). However, he did not succeed in founding his own dynasty because his sons were quickly ousted.

With the overthrow of Berke Qan , the son of Baibars, by Qalawun (1279-1290), the Bahri dynasty began in Egypt. Qalawun continued the fighting against the crusaders and captured their fortress Tripoli . Also Nubia was subjected again.

Under al-Malik an-Nasir Muhammad (1293-1341) the Mamluk Empire grew together into a functioning unitary state. After the expulsion of the last crusaders from Syria and Palestine ( conquest of Acre in 1291), the threat to Syria from the Mongolian Il-Khans was also eliminated through a peace treaty (1323). At the same time, with the control of the Hejaz , the Mamluks were also able to gain control of the holy places Mecca and Medina . In the time of peace that followed, building activity began throughout the empire. New irrigation systems were also built and unpopulated land was redeveloped.

After the death of al-Malik an-Nasir Muhammad (1341), the following sultans came increasingly under the control of powerful viziers and emirs. Under al-Hasan (1347-1361) there was an increasing demilitarization of the Mamluks due to the lack of threat to the empire. But he was overthrown when the military aristocracy saw their privileges threatened. In the following the military strength of the Mamluks was restored, the kingdom of Lesser Armenia conquered (1375) and the attacks of the king of Cyprus repelled. In 1382 the Burjiyya dynasty took control of Egypt.

List of Sultans of the Bahri Dynasty


  • Ulrich Haarmann (ed.): History of the Arab world . CH Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-47486-1 .
  • Robert Irwin: The Middle East in the Middle Ages: the early Mamluk Sultanate 1250-1382. Part 2, Routledge, 1986.
  • Doris Behrens-Abouseif: Architecture of the Bahri Mamluks. In: Islamic Architecture in Cairo: An Introduction. EJ Brill, Leiden / New York 1989, pp. 94-132 online at ArchNet .