Saif ad-Din Qutuz

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Bust of Saif ad-Din Qutuz in Cairo

Saif ad-Din Qutuz ( Arabic المظفر سيف الدين قطز, DMG al-Muẓaffar Saif ad-Dīn Quṭuz ; † October 24, 1260 ) was a Mameluk of Turkish descent who rose to be Sultan of Egypt in 1259 . His throne name was al-Malik al-Muzaffar .

Qutuz was bought by Sultan al-Mu'izz Aybak (1250–1257) and appointed emir of the Mu'izzi regiment of the Mamluk, which provided the sultan's bodyguard. The Mu'izzi-Mameluks were supposed to provide a counterweight to the influential Bahri regiment, which opposed the sultan's authority. In January 1254, Qutuz murdered the Emir of the Bahri, Faris ad-Din Aktay for his sultan . In the following years he rose to the de facto deputy of the Sultan. An office he held under the formal rule of al-Mansur Ali after his assassination in 1257 .

During his reign, the threat to Syria and Egypt from the Mongols increased sharply after they had conquered the Caliphate of Baghdad and Iraq under Hülagü in 1258 . Qutuz used this as an excuse to murder Ali in November 1259 and to elevate himself to sultan. He called the battle- hardened Rukn ad-Din Baibars from his exile back to the court in Cairo, even though he belonged to the hated Bahri regiment. When the Mongols advanced into Syria in the spring of 1260, Qutuz concluded an armistice with the Crusaders in Palestine . He also made contact with the Ayyubid Sultan of Damascus , an-Nasir Yusuf , in order to forge a common alliance against the Mongols.

After the Mongols had conquered Damascus, Qutuz took the lead of the united Mamluk army and went to meet them in Syria. In the battle of ʿAin Jālūt (September 3, 1260) he was able to defeat them decisively and destroy their aura of invincibility. The Mamluks were then able to conquer Syria, so that in the following period the Euphrates became the border river between the Mongolian empire of the Il-Khans and the Mamluks in Egypt and Syria. Egypt was the only Muslim country that was able to repel the Mongol invasion. Five days after the battle, Qutuz entered Damascus, bringing Syria largely under Mameluke rule.

However, Qutuz (Turkish: Kut-uz = the cult / holy enlightened) could not take advantage of this significant success, as he was murdered on a hunt by Baibars soon after his return to Cairo (October 24, 1260). Baibars rose now to sultan (1260-1277) and became the actual founder of the Mamluk rule in Egypt and Syria.


  • Jörg-Dieter Brandes: The Mameluks. The rise and fall of a slave despotism. Jan Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1996.
  • Hans Eberhard Mayer : History of the Crusades. W. Kohlhammer, Munich 1995.
  • Steven Runciman : History of the Crusades. CH Beck, Munich 1978.
  • Robert Irwin: The Middle East in the Middle Ages. The early Mamluk Sultanates 1250-1382. Part 2, Routledge, London 1986.
predecessor Office successor
Ali Sultan of Egypt