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The armies of the Mamluks and the Mongols met in September at Ain Jalut on the Plain of The battle of Ain Jalut affected more than the Middle East. “All empires over-reach and inevitably decline. That moment came for the Mongols in at the Battle of Ayn Jalut.” By Jem Duducu. AT THE. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed, PhD Not since the Battle of Badr had the Islamic world stood face to face with extinction as it did at the Battle of Ayn Jalut. Just as the Prophet.

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Mongols vs Mamelukes at Ayn Jalut — The Most Important Battle You’ve Never Heard Of

Thirteenth century depiction of the battle of Ain Jalut Image courtesy of www. Today’s spotlight ualut is another of those macro-historical battles that changed the course of human history.

The Mongols conquered bwttle empire that threatened all of human malut. A nation ruled by slave-warriors met them in battle near Jerusalem, and beat the Asian horsemen at their own game…. In eastern Asia, nearly all of China ualut Korea fell to the steppe armies. The Abbasid Caliphate was conquered in the Middle East. To the west, Russia was invaded, Hungary and Poland raided and their armies defeated. However, in fate stepped in, as it always seemed to do with the Mongols.

In that year, Mongke Khan died during the siege of a Song Chinese city various chronicles state he died either from disease or a projectile from a Chinese counter-siege weapon. Under Mongolian custom, all princes if the royal blood were required to immediately return to their homeland and hold a grand conclave to select a new “Great Khan. Taking the bulk of his army with him, Hulagu left between one to three divisions called tumans 10, men behind to continue his policy of subjugation.

Prior to leaving for Mongolia, Hulagu sent several emissaries to Kotuz, ruler of the Bahri Mamluk sultanate of Egypt, with a message. Messages similar to this ialut had persuaded many other rulers to submit to the Mongol yoke. However, Sultan Kotuz was made of sterner stuff.

He killed the Mongol emissaries one historian says he cut them in half at the waist then beheaded them, displaying their heads on one of Cairo’s city gates. He then proceeded to gather his forces to confront the Mongol army that would soon be marching to Egypt.

Mamluks were a part of the military forces of Muslim rulers from the ninth through the nineteenth century. Mamluks were slaves bought from certain conquered areas of the Middle East and western Asia, primarily Circassians and Armenians from the Caucasus, and Kipchak Turks north of the Black Sea.

These slaves were forcibly converted to Islam, then trained as cavalry soldiers. Mamluks had to follow the dictates of furusiyyaa code that included values such as courage and generosity, and also cavalry tacticshorsemanship, archery and the like.

However, they still owed a personal bond bxttle the sultan and all Mamluks continued jalht service with their former masters.

The mamluks eventually achieved a heightened status in Egyptian society. Many Egyptians sold themselves into slavery in order to become Mamluk soldiers. Many Muslim rulers sought Mamluk slave-soldiers because they were loyal to their new masters personally, rather than to their tribes or families.

These slave-troops were strangers of the lowest possible status who could not conspire against the ruler and who could easily be punished if they caused trouble, making them a great military asset. Every Mamluk worked his way up from recruit to a higher position based on merit alone.

Every commander of the army and nearly all of the Mamluk sultans started life in this manner. The result was a succession of rulers of unrivaled personality, courage and ruthlessness.

After the Mamluks made themselves masters of Egypt and Syria, they continued the same policy of recruitment. Agents were sent to buy and import boys from Central Asia for their armies. Mamluks looked on their Egyptian-born sons as socially inferior and would not recruit them into regular Mamluk units, which only admitted boys born on the steppes. In addition to their military duties, many Mamluks were skilled administrators, earning positions of trust and power.

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Battle of Ain Jalut: Mamluks Beat Mongols at Goliath’s Spring | The American Legion’s BurnPit

In fact, in the yearthe sultan of Egypt died, but his wife Shajar al-Durr which means “string of pearls” in Arabic kept the news quiet for four months, issuing orders in her dead husband’s name. Sultan Kotuz gathered together his available forces, which totaled about 12, soldiers — mainly heavy cavalrymen — altogether.

During the early preparations, Kotuz sent emissaries to the Crusaders, asking for permission to camp and re-supply near one of their cities before attacking the Tatars. This was a calculated and risky move, considering that the Crusaders had been trying to extinguish the Muslim threat to the less-than-two-centuries-old Crusader states. Reenactment of 13th century Mongol cavalrymen Image courtesy of https: The composition and even actual size of the Mongol force is very speculative.

There is evidence to suggest that besides regular Mongol horsemen — mostly light cavalry archers and some heavy cavalry — Kitbuqa’s army also included Armenian horsemen, Christians who had submitted to Hulagu within the previous few years.

There were also probably some Syrian Mamluks, who joined the Tatar army when the major cities of Syria surrendered to Hulagu. If Kitbuqa’s army had been launching raids throughout Palestine prior to the final encounter, his two tumans were probably understrength and may have numbered between 10, and 15, effectives.

With the bulk of the Mongol army traveling back home to settle dynastic problems, Kitbuqa resumed Hulagu’s campaign against the Egyptian sultanate in August of He led his 20,man force from the city of Baalbek in modern-day Lebanon, traveling southward.

Battle of Ain Jalut

He kept his army east of the Sea of Galilee and the northernmost tributary of the Jordan River. He sent small raiding parties throughout Palestine, attacking Jerusalem and possibly as far south as Gaza, the very gateway into Egypt proper.

During this time period, Kitbuqa also tried to form an alliance with the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem, which was now centered on the coastal cities of Acre, Tyre and Sidon. Some of the Crusader leaders had made their homage to Hulagu, and had even sent some soldiers to join his army prior to Hulagu’s trip back to his homeland. Even so, the Crusaders finally realized that the Mongols now posed the bigger threat to their existence than did the nearby Mamluks of Egypt.

On July 26, Kotuz and his force began marching toward Palestine to meet Hulagu’s army. In late August, the Crusaders contacted the Mamluks, and gave them permission to camp near the city of Acre, to rest and re-provision their forces.

Several days later, scouts reported to Kotuz that the Mongols had crossed jault Jordan River and were headed toward Egypt. Kotuz broke camp and head southeast to intercept the Mongols. The Mamluk force managed to get ahead of the advancing Tatars. Kotuz and his emir Baibars, his second-in-command, selected the Plain of Esdraelon to the north of Jerusalem as the chosen ground for their fight. The plain was dominated by Mount Gilboa to the south, and the hills of Galilee to the north.

The hills were cut through with a variety of deep valleys. Kotuz arranged the bulk of his force near Ain Jalut, giving command of this vanguard to Baibars. He then concealed some units of his Mamluk heavy cavalry in valleys of the surrounding hills, out of sight of the Mongols. Before the start batttle the fighting, Kotuz gave a speech to his men, which historians said brought tears to the eyes of his men.

He reminded them of the nature japut Tatar savagery. There was no alternative to fighting, he said, “except a horrible death for themselves, their wives batle their children. Baibars advanced quickly and made contact with Kitbuqa’s force coming towards Ain Jalut.

Seeing Baibars’ force, Kitbuqa mistook it for the entire Egyptian army and ordered his men to jalu, leading the attack himself. For several hours, the Mamluk army held off the attacks of the Mongols, using a variety of jjalut attacks between showers of arrows to keep the Asiatic horsemen off balance. Finally, Baibars ordered his command to retreat in the direction of the spring.


The Mongols rode triumphantly in pursuit, victory seemingly in their grasp. When they reached the spring, Baibars ordered his army to wheel and face the enemy.

Only then did the Mongols realize they batt,e been tricked by one of their own favorite tactics: As Baibars re-engaged the Mongols, Kotuz ordered his Mamluk reserve cavalry out from its hiding places in the foothills, slopes, and valleys against the flanks of the Tatar army.

In a matter of moments, the Mongols were completely surrounded. The Mamluk emir also had the additional knowledge of Mongol strategy and tactics, if he had once been captured and enslaved by the Tatars as a youth, before behind sold to Egypt]. Realizing that he was now committed to a battle with the entire enemy army, Kitbuqa ordered his heavy cavalry to charge the Muslim left flank, where some of the lesser Egyptian troops were likely placed. The flank initially held, wavered, but eventually was turned, cracking under the ferocity of the Mongol assault.

As the Egyptian batyle wing threatened to dissolve, and it appeared the entire army might be routed, Sultan Kotuz rode to the site of the fiercest fighting and threw his helmet to the ground so the entire army could recognize his face. His shaken troops rallied and the flank held.

As the line solidified, Kotuz led a countercharge sweeping back the Mongol squadrons. Kitbuqa was now faced with a bathle situation. When jaltu subordinate suggested a withdrawal his response was brief: Long life and happiness to the Khan. Then his horse was wounded by an Egyptian arrow and he was thrown to the ground. He was quickly swarmed aain captured by oof Mamluk soldiers.

As the battle continued, he was taken to the Sultan amidst the continuing sounds of battle. A short discussion between the two army commanders ensued, and yielded nothing but anger.

Then, Kitbuqa said, “All my life I have been a slave of the khan. I am not, like you, a murderer of my master. With their leader gone, the remaining Mongol formations broke and fled to the town of Beisan where they drew up to face the pursuing Mamluk cavalry. The resulting clash broke the remnants of the Mongol army, as they continued to rout until they crossed the Euphrates River.

Battle of Ayn Jalut | Summary |

The battle of Goliath’s Spring was over. There are no casualty figures available for either army.

Considering the fierce fighting, the Egyptian army likely suffered heavy casualties, while the Mongol invasion force was likely wiped out. Only a remnant of the Tatar army made it across the Euphrates River. Within days the victorious Kotuz re-entered Damascus in triumph, and the Egyptians moved on to liberate Aleppo and the other major cities of Syria.

The Mongols never seriously threatened Egypt again. This battle is credited with one of the first uses of “hand cannons” in history. These explosives called midfa by Arabic sources were employed by the Mamluks in order to frighten the Mongol horses and cause disorder in their ranks.

Sultan Kotuz and his emir Baibars had struck a deal prior to the battle, wherein Kotuz promised Baibars the governorship of Syria once the Mongols were defeated. When Kotuz gave Syria to another underling, Baibars formed a plot to assassinate Kotuz before he reached Egypt and assumed the sultanate of Egypt. He died in under mysterious circumstances, either from a poisoned drink or an infected wound. September 22, – 8: