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In: Trajectories of State Formation across Fifteenth-Century Islamic West-Asia
In: Trajectories of State Formation across Fifteenth-Century Islamic West-Asia
In: Trajectories of State Formation across Fifteenth-Century Islamic West-Asia
In: Trajectories of State Formation across Fifteenth-Century Islamic West-Asia
Eurasian Parallels, Connections and Divergences
The concept, practice, institution and appearance of ‘the state’ have been hotly debated ever since the emergence of history as a discipline within modern scholarship. The field of medieval Islamic history, however, has remained aloof from most of these debates. Rather it tends to take for granted the particularity of dynastic trajectories within slow-changing bureaucratic contexts. Trajectories of State Formation promotes a more critical and connected understanding of state formation in the late medieval Sultanates of Cairo and of the Timurid, Turkmen and Ottoman dynasties. Projecting seven case studies onto a broad canvas of European and West-Asian research, this volume presents a trans-dynastic reconstruction, interpretation and illustration of statist trajectories across fifteenth-century Islamic West-Asia.

The contributors are: Georg Christ, Kristof D’hulster, Jan Dumolyn, Albrecht Fuess, Dimitri J. Kastritsis, Beatrice Forbes Manz, John L. Meloy, Jo Van Steenbergen, and Patrick Wing.

Abstract

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