Developing Perspectives in Mamluk History

Essays in Honor of Amalia Levanoni


The present volume contains seventeen essays on the Mamluk Sultanate, an Islamic Empire of slaves whose capital was in Cairo between the 13th and the 16th centuries, written by leading historians of this period. It discusses topics as varied as social and cultural issues, women in Mamluk society, literary and poetical genres, the politics of material culture, and regional and local politics. The volume presents state of the art scholarship in the field of Mamluk studies as well as an in-depth review of recent developments. Mamluk studies have expanded considerably in recent years and today interests hundreds of active researchers worldwide who write in numerous languages and constitute a vivid and strong community of researchers, some of whose best research is presented in this volume.

With contributions by Reuven Amitai; Frédéric Bauden; Yuval Ben-Bassat; Joseph Drory; Élise Franssen; Yehoshua Frenkel; Li Guo; Daisuke Igarashi; Yaacov Lev; Bernadette Martel-Thoumian; Carl Petry; Warren Schultz; Boaz Shoshan; Hana Taragan; Bethany J. Walker; Michael Winter; Koby Yosef; Limor Yungman.

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Biographical Note

Yuval Ben-Bassat, Ph.D. (2007), University of Chicago, is senior lecturer at the Department of Middle Eastern History, University of Haifa. He has published extensively on Greater Syria during the late Ottoman period, including Petitioning the Sultan: Protests and Justice in Late Ottoman Palestine (Tauris 2013).

Table of contents

A Note on Transliteration

List of Pictures and Illustrations


Professor Amalia Levanoni’s Contribution to the Field of Mamluk Studies

Michael Winter

Yuval Ben-Bassat

A. Social and Cultural Issues

1. Carl Petry

“Already Rich? Yet ‘Greed Deranged Him’: Elite Status and Criminal Complicity in the
Mamluk Sultanate”

2. Koby Yosef

“Usages of Kinship Terminology during the Mamluk Sultanate and the Notion of the ‘Mamlūk Family’”

3. Limor Yungman

“Medieval Middle Eastern Court Taste: The Mamluk Case”

4. Bernadette Martel-Thoumian


5. Daisuke Igarashi

“The Office of the Ustādār al-ʿĀliya in the Circassian Mamluk Era”

B. Women in Mamluk Society

6. Yaakov Lev

“Women in the Urban Space of Medieval Muslim Cities”

7. Yehoshua Frenkel

“Slave Girls and Learned Teachers: Women in Mamluk Sources”

8. Boaz Shoshan
“On Marriage in Damascus, 1480-1500”
C. Literary and Poetical Genres

9. Li Guo
“Songs, Poetry, and Storytelling: Ibn Taghrībirdī on the Yalbughā Affair”

10. Frédéric Bauden
“Maqriziana XIII: An Exchange of Correspondence Between al-Maqrīzī and al-Qalqashandī”

11. Michael Winter

“Sultan Selīm’s Obsession with Mamluk Egypt according to Evliyā Ҁelebi’s Seyāḥatnāme”
D. The Politics of Material Culture

12. Warren Schultz

“Mamluk Coins, Mamluk Politics and the Limits of the Numismatic Evidence”
13. Hana Taragan
“Mamluk Patronage, Crusader Spolia: Turbat al-Kubakiyya in the Mamilla Cemetery,
Jerusalem (688/1289)”

14. Bethany J. Walker

“The Struggle over Water: Evaluating the ‘Water Culture’ of Syrian Peasants under Mamluk Rule”

15. Élise Franssen

“What was there in a Mamluk Amīr’s Library? Evidence from a Fifteenth-Century Manuscript”

E. Regional and Local Politics

16. Reuven Amitai

“Post-Crusader Acre in Light of a Mamluk Inscription and a Fatwā Document from

17. Joseph Drory

“Favored by the Sultan, Disfavored by his Son: Some Glimpses into the Career of Ṭashtamur Ḥummuṣ Akhḍar”




Academics interested in Islamic civilization during medieval times, in particular the Mamluk sultanate, the nadir of the slave system in the Islamic world.

Index Card

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