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Patronage, Conflict and Mamluk Socio-Political Culture, 1341-1382
This book offers an analysis of the Syro-Egyptian Mamluk Sultanate's political culture, focusing on the period between 1341 and 1382 CE, when twelve descendants of the regime's most successful sultan al-Nāṣir Muḥammad b. Qalāwūn reigned and the military were more deeply involved in the political process than ever.
The book consists of three chapters, each of which discusses one major component of this period's political culture: political institutions, political relationships engendering households and networks, and the dynamics of the period's many socio-political conflicts.
This book marks an important breakthrough in Mamluk studies, offering both insights into the history of a long-neglected period and new models of analysis that call for wider application in the field of Mamluk socio-political history.


This article focuses on the conceptualisation of Mamluk socio-political organisation in late thirteenth and early to mid-fourteenth-century Egypt and Syria. Breaking free of the heuristic constraints imposed on Mamluk studies by the paradigm of the political elite as defined by the normative exclusivism of elite military slavery—the so-called Mamluk system—it demonstrates that apparent dynastic attitudes were no mere façade for that system but rather powerful representations of the Mamluk version of a long-standing regional tradition of socio-political organisation: the military patronage state. It is argued here that this tradition, with its focus on military leadership, patronage ties, household bonds, and unstable devolved authorities, coalesced between 1279 and 1382 in Qalāwūnid leadership over and monopolisation of Syro-Egyptian societies.

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
al-Ḏahab al-masbūk fī ḏikr man ḥaǧǧa min al-ḫulafāʾ wa-l-mulūk. Critical Edition, Annotated Translation, and Study
In Caliphate and Kingship in a Fifteenth-Century Literary History of Muslim Leadership and Pilgrimage Jo Van Steenbergen presents a new study, edition and translation of al-Ḏahab al-Masbūk fī Ḏikr man Ḥağğa min al-Ḫulafāʾ wa-l-Mulūk, a summary history of the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca by al-Maqrīzī (766-845 AH/ca. 1365-1442 CE). Traditionally considered as a useful source for the history of the ḥağğ, al-Ḏahab al-Masbūk is re-interpreted here as a complex literary construction that was endowed with different meanings. Through detailed contextualist, narratological, semiotic and codicological analyses Van Steenbergen demonstrates how these meanings were deeply embedded in early-fifteenth century Egyptian transformations, how they changed substantially over time, and how they included particular claims about authorship and about legitimate and good Muslim rule.
In: Egypt and Syria under Mamluk Rule
In: Order Out of Chaos
In: Order Out of Chaos
In: Order Out of Chaos