The Political Role of Damascus in the Mamluk Empire

Jo Van Steenbergen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, I will focus on the forties of the eighth/fourteenth century, a period characterized from a political point of view by a constant struggle for power among the most important amirs of al-Malik an-Nāṣir Muḥammad b. Qalāwūn (3rd reign: 709/1310-741/1341). As the Qalāwūn dynasty had gained great legitimacy in the eyes of its subjects through the long and prosperous reign of an-Naṣir Muḥammad, the post of sultan continued to be occupied by one of the sons of an-Naṣir Muḥammad. But in practice they were simply the puppets of one of the many parties and alliances formed by the mamluks of an-Naṣir Muḥammad. I would like to focus in particular on the role that Damascus — and especially its nā’ib and its mamluks — played in this struggle for power. It is certain that the events in Damascus accompanying three conflicts in the forties contributed to the fall of the sultan and his partisans in Cairo. I would therefore like to elaborate on these events.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-128
JournalOrientalia Lovaniensia Periodica
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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