Al-Malik az-Zahir Rukn ad-Din Baibars (I.) al-Bunduqdari , or al Zaher Beybars for short ( Arabic الملك الظاهر ركن الدين بيبرس البندقداري, DMG al-Malik aẓ-Ẓāhir Rukn ad-Dīn Baibars al-Bunduqdārī ; * at 1223 ; † 1277 in Damascus ), was a Mamluk who rose to be Sultan of Egypt and Syria in 1260 .
Origin and career as a soldier
Baibars was born around 1223 in the vast Ukrainian-Russian steppe area between the Crimea and the Caspian Sea . Whether he Kipchak - Turkish or Circassian descent was, is controversial in the literature. After the Battle of Kalka (May 31, 1223) the steppe country was conquered by the Mongols of Genghis Khan and the local population was led into slavery. At the Sivas slave market , Baibars was bought by the Ayyubid emir of Hama . He soon sold him for a small price to the Mamluk Ala 'ad-Din Aydekin al-Bunduqdar , probably also because Baibars had a white spot ( cataract ) in his right eye. Aydekin was apparently the commander of the bow and crossbowmen (al-Bunduqdar) of the Ayyubid emir of Hisn Keyfa , al-Salih Ayyub , in whose service Baibars was given. Despite his visual impairment, Baibars proved to be an excellent marksman, which earned him his nickname “the archer” (al-Bunduqdari) and quickly a leading position as amīr among the al-Salihi mamluks of the emir. According to the historian al-Maqrīzī , Baibars is said to have been in a close relationship of loyalty to the emir. When he was betrayed by his own men in 1239 and taken into captivity by the Emir of Kerak , Baibars is said to have been the only Mamluk who had voluntarily joined his master's captivity.
Only a year after the captivity, as-Salih Ayyub took over the rule as sultan in Egypt and Baibars was assigned by him to the Bahri regiment of the military slave guard. In 1244 he was entrusted with the supreme command of an army with which he was supposed to repel an attack by the Christian crusader barons on Egypt. In the battle of La Forbie he achieved a complete victory over the enemy, but then failed to conquer Ascalon . During the attack of the French King Louis IX. the saint on Egypt ( Sixth Crusade ), Baibars was subordinate to the command of the Emir Fachr ad-Din Yusuf . After the emir was killed in the battle for the city of al-Mansura on February 8, 1250, he took command of the Mamluk warriors and set a trap for the crusaders. By allowing their vanguard to move into the city, he was able to defeat them in the street fight that followed. When the crusaders wanted to retreat to Damiette , Baibars pursued them with his troops and took the King of France prisoner at Fariskur on April 6, 1250, thus completing the failure of the crusade.
Since the main burden of defending Egypt was borne primarily by the Mamluks, they aroused the resentment of Sultan Turan Shah , who had only succeeded his father al-Salih Ayyub a few weeks earlier. Turan Shah intended to get rid of the leading Mamluks, especially since they also exercised a dominant political influence at the court. But the Mamluk emirs were warned in good time by the harem slave Shajar ad-Durr , whereupon they in turn decided to murder the sultan. On May 2, 1250, Baibars led the assassination squad into the sultan's apartments in Fariskur and dealt the first blow with the sword to Turan Shah. The Sultan was still able to flee, but died after falling from a wooden tower in the waters of the Nile. Initially, the former slave Madjar ad-Durr rose to be the ruling sultana of Egypt, but was neither recognized by the caliph nor by the people of Cairo, which forced her to marry the Mamluk Izz ad-Din Aybak , who was the first Mamluk sultan of Egypt has been.
In the following years there was chaos in Egypt, as the Mamluks had brought their behavior with them from the steppe and did not think much of statecraft and Sharia . Baibars and Aktay terrorized the people of Cairo and ignored the authority of the sultan, who apparently did not come from the Bahri regiment. In 1254, however, Aktay was executed by Sultan Aybak and Baibars was driven into exile in Damascus and Kerak . But as early as 1257 Aybak was murdered by Shajar ad-Durr in the bath. His successor was Qutuz , from whom Baibars was recalled to Egypt and reinstated in high military posts.
Baibars' great hour came when he commanded the reserves at the Battle of Ain Djalut on September 3, 1260, in which a Mongolian army under General Kitbukha was destroyed. The battle destroyed the Mongols' invincibility myth .
Seizure of power
After his return to Egypt, Baibars personally murdered Sultan Qutuz on October 24, 1260 during a hunting excursion in the Nile Delta. He immediately usurped the sultan's throne and was immediately recognized by his numerous followers in the army.
Baibars is considered unscrupulous, but "he gathered the refugees and fetched those who were distant, he promoted those who were passed and gave office to the disadvantaged." Since his regime was unpopular because of its presumptuousness and the earlier unrest in Cairo, he tried to defend himself to make a name for itself with tax cuts and reforms.
After the successful usurpation of the throne, Baibars quickly brought Egypt under his control. Most of the Syrian emirs also immediately recognized him as their overlord, only the Mamluk governor of Damascus, Sangar al-Halabi , refused recognition and rose to become independent ruler ( Malik ) in November 1260 . In December 1260 the Mongols invaded Syria again, were defeated at Homs , but occupied Aleppo . In the spring of 1261, Baibars had to fend off a revolt by the Mu'izzi regiment, from whose ranks Qutuz had once emerged. After the successful suppression of the uprising, he was able to send an army to Damascus and overthrow Sangar al-Halabi.
The Abbasid Caliphate in Cairo
However, another Mamluk officer used the confused conditions in Syria to secede. Aqqush al-Burli drove the Mongols out of Aleppo and took possession of the city. He proclaimed himself governor and asked Baibars for confirmation in this office, but the latter refused. From then on Aqqush ruled Aleppo independently and even proclaimed the Abbasid al-Hakim I as caliph in succession to the Caliphate of Baghdad, overthrown by the Mongols in 1258 . Against the rebels, Baibars, for his part, proclaimed al-Mustansir II, who had fled to Cairo, as caliph, was initiated by him into the futuwwa and himself assumed the dignity of qasim amir al-mu'minin (“partner of the ruler of the believers”). He and his caliph entered Damascus personally on October 2, 1261, where he stabilized his rule and drove the last of the Mongols out of Syria. Against the Mongolian Il-Chanat, Baibars allied with the rival Mongol khanate of the Golden Horde under Berke Chan , who recognized the Caliphate of Cairo. In addition, Baibars married a daughter of Berke Chans, with which the former slave was recognized by the golden horde as having equal rights to their ruler.
Then Baibars equipped his caliph with an army to allow him to move against the Il-Khanat in Iraq . Whether he was considering conquering Baghdad is controversial. After al-Mustansir had succeeded in conquering some cities on the Euphrates , he advanced into Mesopotamia . But there he was put to battle by the Mongols near al-Anbar in November 1261, beaten and killed. The victory of the Mongols was favored by the betrayal of some units of al-Mustansir. Despite the defeat, Baibars was able to completely incorporate Syria into the Mamluk Sultanate after the rebels in Aleppo were finally defeated. He then moved back to Cairo. The caliph al-Hakim I of Aleppo, who had fled, arrived there in January 1262 in the hope of being recognized by the Baibars as a legitimate caliph. Baibars initially had him imprisoned in the citadel of Cairo , but on November 17, 1262 he paid homage to al-Hakim I as the new caliph. The continued existence of the caliphate only served Baibars for foreign policy prestige, especially with regard to his alliance with the golden horde, which remained intact until 1323 except for brief interruptions. He did not give the caliph an actual political function; he continued to treat him as a prisoner throughout his life and only allowed him a family life. Only Sultan Ladschin (1296–1299) should grant the caliph to carry out the traditional Hajj to Mecca .
Overall, however, the Caliphate of Cairo created by Baibars remained a puppet government of the Mamluks throughout its existence.
Fight in the Levant
In the spring of 1263 Baibars undertook a successful campaign against the Ayyubid emir of Kerak in Transjordan . On the way he conquered the Christian-Frankish Nazareth and led a first attack on Acre , which was, however, repulsed. He then began in Cairo with large-scale armor in preparation for a war against the Christian crusader barons in the Levant . After attacks by the Franks on Ascalon and Bethsan , Baibars began his conquest in 1265 and took Caesarea , Haifa and Arsuf one after the other . In the following year Safed and Toron also fell into his hands. Since Il-Chan Hulegü had also died around this time , Baibars seized the opportunity to attack the kingdom of Lesser Armenia , which was allied with the Il-Chanat. In the battle of Mari (August 24, 1266) the army of the Armenians was defeated, whereupon the Mamluks devastated and plundered Cilicia.
In the spring of 1268, Baibars struck his second great blow against the Christians. Unlike Saladin before him, he pursued a scorched earth policy towards the crusaders on the coasts of Syria, Lebanon and Palestine : he had the conquered port cities of the crusaders completely destroyed, the fortifications razed, the population massacred, rape and enslaved. After that (1292) the entire coastal strip no longer had any major cities that could have served as a base for the crusaders. Structural legacies from Baibars' time can only be found in the hinterland, such as the bridge in Lod with the sultan's double lion coat of arms. In 1271 he conquered Jaffa , Ramla and finally Antioch on the Orontes ( Antakya ) on May 18 . This city has been one of the most culturally and economically outstanding metropolises in the eastern Mediterranean since ancient times and was the first city to be conquered by the Christian crusaders and to have been in their possession for 170 years. Baibars ordered its destruction; over 15,000 residents were massacred, the rest (approx. 100,000) were enslaved. King Ludwig IX once again made his conquest in Europe. forced by France to take the cross ( Seventh Crusade ). However, he attacked the Sultan of Tunis in the summer of 1270 and died of an epidemic. Nevertheless, Baibars had to prepare for a defensive battle when the English Prince Eduard Plantagenet (later King Edward I) led his personal crusade project into the Levant ( Prince Edward's Crusade ).
Before Prince Edward reached Acre, Baibars ended the assassin rule on Masyaf and began the siege of Tripoli . The arrival of the Crusaders in Acre compelled him to break off the siege; for this he captured the great fortress of the Hospitallers , the Krak des Chevaliers, on April 8, 1271 . Prince Edward forged an alliance with the Il-Chan Abaqa , threatening Syria on two fronts. Baibars also intended to harass the crusaders from two sides. To do this, he put together a fleet of seventeen ships with which he wanted to bring about an invasion of Cyprus . Since King Hugo III. was located in Acre by Cyprus with its land and sea forces, the island was poorly defended. Their conquest would have separated the Crusaders from their supply routes and isolated them in Acre. The Mamluk fleet ran into a reef off Limassol in July 1271 , whereby eleven ships and 1,800 men fell into the hands of the Cypriots. The attack then had to be stopped. The battle on land was more successful for Baibars when, in December 1271, he pushed the Mongolian army, which had invaded northern Syria, back behind the Euphrates. This marked a stalemate between the Crusaders and Mamluks, because Prince Edward would not dare open field battles with Baibars without a strong ally.
After the news of the illness of the English King Henry III in the spring of 1272 . reached the Orient, Prince Edward prepared for his journey home. With him, through the mediation of Charles of Anjou, Baibars agreed on an eleven-year truce between Christians and Mamluks. Prince Edward's crusade was the last great armed pilgrimage by a Christian army to the Holy Land . After that, the Egyptian-Syrian Sultanate of the Mamluks was no longer exposed to any serious threat from this side. The Christian possessions were limited to the coastal cities of Acre, Beirut, Tire, Sidon, Tripoli and Gibelet.
During the last years of his rule, Baibars was at constant war with the Armenians, Rum-Seljuks and Mongols. In 1273 he successfully repulsed another attempt at invasion by the Mongols in the battle of al-Bira on the Euphrates. Almost every year he sent armies to the Armenian Cilicia to cover it with raids. In 1275 he personally led a campaign there, destroyed the old capital Sis and sacked Adana and Ayas . On his return march in November 1275 he captured Cursat Castle , where the Patriarch of Antioch had his residence since 1268.
The Mongolian Il-Chan Abaqa and the Seljuk Sultan Kai Chosrau III found themselves against the apparently unstoppable expansion of the Mamluk Empire . to an alliance of convenience. Before this could become offensive, Baibars marched against his enemies and defeated them on April 15, 1277 in the hard- fought battle of Elbistan near Melitene . This victory enabled him to advance into Anatolia , where he took Kayseri . However, Baibars gave up the conquests in Anatolia after only a few weeks, knowing that he would not be able to defend them permanently far away from his actual sphere of rule. Not without having thoroughly plundered the country did he retreat to Syria.
Shortly after returning from his campaign, Baibars died on June 20, 1277 in Damascus after a brief illness. Since he had previously drunk a large amount of kumys , speculation about poisoning soon spread. Rumor has it that this poison was intended by Baibars himself for a rival, but it missed its recipient and the sultan accidentally drank it himself. He was buried in the mausoleum of the Zahiriya library in Damascus, which he founded.
Baibars is considered to be the actual founder of the Egyptian-Syrian Mamluk state, which lasted until the Ottoman conquest in 1517. Both Islamic and Christian historians have characterized him as a particularly cruel despot and ruler. Nevertheless, oriental historiography stylized him as the greatest Muslim hero since Saladin. His successful defensive battles against crusaders and Mongols as well as his campaigns against the Franks in the Levant made him Abu l-Futuh ( Arabic أبو الفتوح), to the "father of conquests". The continued existence of the crusader states, pushed back to only a few coastal cities of the Levant, depended solely on his benevolence from now on. Their twenty-year existence was ultimately only guaranteed by his death, which occurred before the end of the armistice. But in 1291, the Mamluks led the final blow against the Christian Outremer and conquered Acre .
Through the fairy tale story Sirat al-Malik az-Zahir (Baibars) , summarized in the early 15th century , he went down as a folk hero in Arab folklore.
Baibars 'private secretary Muhyi ad-Din ibn' Abd az-Zahir (* 1233, † 1293) was also his biographer ( ar-Rawad az-zahir fi sirat al-Malik az-Zahir ). He later wrote a complete biography about Sultan Qalawun and an incomplete one about Sultan Chalil.
Furthermore, the works of the historians Ibn Wasil ( Mufarridsch al-kurub fi achbar bani Ayyub ), Abu l-Fida ( Muchtasar ta'rich al-baschar ), al-Maqrīzī ( Kitab as-Suluk li-ma'rifat duwal al-Muluk ) and Baibars al-Mansuri ( At-Tuhfa al-mulukiya fi d-daula at-turkiya ).
- Jörg-Dieter Brandes: The Mameluks. The rise and fall of a slave despotism. VMA, Wiesbaden 2007, ISBN 978-3-928127-98-1 .
- Jaroslav Folda: Crusader art in the Holy Land. From the Third Crusade to the fall of Acre, 1187-1291. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al. 2005, ISBN 0-521-83583-6 .
- Albrecht Fuess : Burned Shore. Effects of Mamluk maritime policy on Beirut and the Syro-Palestinian coast. (1250–1517) (= Islamic History and Civilization. 39). Brill, Leiden et al. 2001, ISBN 90-04-12108-0 (also: Cologne, University, dissertation, 2000).
- Stefan Heidemann : The Aleppine Caliphate (AD 1261). From the end of the caliphate in Baghdad via Aleppo to the restorations in Cairo (= Islamic History and Civilization. 6). Brill, Leiden et al. 1994, ISBN 90-04-10031-8 (also: Berlin, Freie Universität, dissertation, 1993: Al-Hākim bi-Amrillāh and Āqqūš al-Burlī the Aleppine caliphate 659 H. 1261 AD ).
- Peter M. Holt: Early Mamluk diplomacy (1260-1290). Treaties of Baybars and Qalāwūn with Christian rulers (= Islamic History and Civilization. 12). Brill, Leiden et al. 1995, ISBN 90-04-10246-9 .
- Richard Stephen Humphreys: From Saladin to the Mongols. The Ayyubids of Damascus, 1193-1260. State University of New York Press, Albany NY 1977, ISBN 0-87395-263-4 .
- Hans-Ulrich Kühn: Sultan Baibars and his sons. Early Mamluk rulership in Ayyubid tradition (= Mamluk Studies. 18). V&R unipress, Göttingen 2019, ISBN 978-3-8471-0812-2 (Saarland University, dissertation, 2016).
- Urbain Vermeulen: Le traité d'armistice relatif à al-Marqab conclu entre Baybars et les Hospitaliers (1 Ramadan 669/13 Avril 1271). In: Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica. Vol. 22, 1991, , pp. 185-193.
- Robert Lee Wolff, Harry W. Hazard (eds.): The later Crusades, 1189-1311 (= A History of the Crusades. 2). 2nd edition. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison WI 1969, pp. 734-758: Chapter XXII: The Mamluk Sultans to 1293. here pp. 745 ff.
- René Grousset : The steppe peoples. Attila - Genghis Khan - Tamerlane. Kindler, Munich 1970, p. 501.
- Brandes: The Mameluks. 2007, p. 62.
- Ibn as-Suqa'i, Tali kitab wafayat al-a'yan , pp. 16-18.
- Ibn Taghri Birdi, an-nudschum az-zahira fi muluk Misr wa-l-Qahira , VII, 4.
- al-Maqrīzī, Kitab as-Suluk li-ma'rifat duwal al-Muluk , I, pp. 397-398; According to some authors, the person "Rukn ad-Din Baibars", who followed the Emir into captivity on Kerak, was someone other than the later Sultan Baibars. See Humphreys ( From Saladin to the Mongols. 1977) and Folda (Folda: Crusader art in the Holy Land. 2005), although they do not give any references.
- According to Humphreys ( From Saladin to the Mongols. 1977), the commander of La Forbie should also not have been identical to the later Sultan Baibars, since this commander was nicknamed "as-Salihi". It should be noted, however, that Sultan Baibars also had the nickname "as-Salihi" and used it himself. For example in the contract with the Hospitaller Order from 1271. See Holt ( Early Mamluk diplomacy (1260–1290). 1995) and Vermeulen ( Le traité d'armistice relatif à al-Marqab conclu entre Baybars et les Hospitaliers. 1991) who translated the text of the contract handed down by the biographer 'Abd az-Zahir. The nickname "as-Salihi" denoted those military slaves who belonged to the earliest Mamluks of the Sultan al-Salih Ayyub, when he was still Emir of Hisn Keyfa.
- Fuess: Burned Shore. 2001, pp. 19, 107 ff.
- Ibn 'Abd al-Zahir; ed. by 'A. al-Aziz al-Khuwaytir (Riyadh, 1976).
- Peter M. Holt: Three Biographies of al-Zahir Baybars. In: David O. Morgan (Ed.): Medieval Historical Writing in the Christian and Islamic Worlds. University of London - School of Oriental & African Studies, London 1982, ISBN 0-7286-0098-6 , pp. 19-29.
Sultan of Egypt
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Baibars al-Bunduqdari|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||Mamluke, Sultan of Egypt and Syria|
|DATE OF BIRTH||around 1223|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Crimea|
|DATE OF DEATH||June 20, 1277|
|PLACE OF DEATH||Damascus|