Category Archives: Muslim Empire

The Ilkhan and the Fall of Alamut, 1256

Between 1251 and 1254, Mongol armies subdued the Goryeo Kingdom of Korea, though not without drama. Under military pressure, the Korean king sent them a hostage who was supposedly his son, but it turned out to be a stepson not … Continue reading

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The Splendor of Karakorum, 1251

In 1251, the Mongol Empire went through an internal coup. Temujin’s son Ögedei had died in 1241, and his widow got their son Güyük installed as Great Khan. But when Güyük died and his widow tried to do as her mother … Continue reading

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The Mamluk Revolution, 1250

Under the last real Ayyubid Sultan, as-Salih, the Mamluk corps was built up to unprecedented size and strength. They were a neat solution to a political problem because as slaves, they did what they were told, but as people with … Continue reading

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The Saint and the Seventh Crusade, 1248-50

Of course, the Pope called a new crusade. But Europe was in bad shape for a Crusade. In the Sixth Crusade, the King of Hungary had led, but now Hungary was in ruins. Europe’s bad boy Frederick was not only … Continue reading

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Sack of Jerusalem, 1244

When the Mongols invaded the land of Khwarezmia, south of the Aral Sea, they sent a wave of ferocious refugees who had been the toughest kids on the block until the Mongols showed them up. Bands of Khwarezmian fighters went … Continue reading

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Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes, 1244

Jalal ad-Din Mohammed Rumi was born in Balkh, Afghanistan in 1207. There’s some unpacking to be done here: I think Mohammed would have been his father’s personal name, and Jalal his own. Ad-Din, of course, was a chosen or consensus-given … Continue reading

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The Barons’ Crusade, 1239-1241

Historians who later numbered the Crusades did something very odd at this point. Emperor Frederick II’s peaceful negotiation for a ten-year control of Jerusalem was the Sixth Crusade, but when that time ran out and a new army came to … Continue reading

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Baba Ishak’s revolt, 1239

I want to talk about a minor revolt that took place in Anatolia between 1239 and 1241 not because it’s important on the world stage, but because it illustrates very clearly the strains in the Muslim world at this time. … Continue reading

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The Khan’s Grandsons and the Golden Horde, 1236-41

The four ruling sons of Genghis Khan didn’t last long. Jochi, the controversial oldest son, died before his father. So already at the Great Khan’s death, grandsons had been assigned to rule parts of the western Empire. Batu was the … Continue reading

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Stupor Mundi and the Sixth Crusade, 1229

While the Mongols were trampling Central Asia, life went on as before for the European West and the Middle East. During the years of Temujin’s rise, Europe was focused on the young King of Sicily and Germany, who had finally … Continue reading

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