Ayyubid Sultanate

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The Ayyubid Sultanate (Arabic: الأيوبيون al-Ayyūbīyūn; Kurdish: ئەیووبیەکان, Eyûbiyan) was a medieval sultanate which ruled Egypt, Hijaz, Yemen, northern Nubia, Tarabulus, Cyrenaic and some parts of Northern Mesopotamia; established by Kurdish[1][2][3][4] leader Saladin in 1171, following his abolition of the Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt.

Ayyubid Sultanate
Flag of Ayyubids
Flag of Ayyubid Dynasty.svg
Left: Banner of the Ayyubid Dynasty
Right: Reconstruction of Saladin's personal standard
Ayyubids (in pink) at the death of Saladin in 1193
Ayyubids (in pink) at the death of Saladin in 1193
StatusSovereign state
  • Cairo (1171–1174; 1218–1250)
  • Damascus (1174–1218)
  • Aleppo (1250–1260)
  • Hama (until 1341)
Common languagesArabic, Kurdish, Turkish[Note 1]
Sunni Islam (Shafi)
GovernmentSultanate (princely confederation) under Abbasid Caliphate[6]
• 1174–1193
Saladin (first)
• 1193–1198
• 1198–1200
• 1200–1218
Al-Adil I
• 1218–1238
• 1238–1240
Al-Adil II
• 1240–1249
As-Salih Ayyub
• 1249–1250
Al-Muazzam Turanshah
• 1250–1260
An-Nasir Yusuf
• Established
• Disestablished
1190 est.2,000,000 km2 (770,000 sq mi)
1200 est.1,700,000 km2 (660,000 sq mi)
• 12th century
7,200,000 (estimate)b
CurrencyDinar, Dirham
aA branch of the Ayyubid dynasty ruled Hisn Kayfa until the 1524.
bThe total population of the Ayyubid territories is unknown. This population figure only includes Egypt, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia, Palestine and Transjordan. Other Ayyubid territories, including coastal areas of Yemen, the Hejaz, Nubia and Cyrenaica are not included.

Speculations[change | change source]

Bosworth states that the Ayyubids belonged to the Hadhbani tribe of the Kurds, but argues that the Ayyubids were considerably Arabized.[7] Humphreys also identifies Saladin as a Kurd[3] and the Ayyubids as a Kurdish family, but argues that the Ayyubids were not specifically a Kurdish state, and that at the level of political structure, the governing attitudes of the Ayyubid confederation were not significantly different from those of previous Arab states such as the Abbasids and Fatimids, which can certainly be attributed to the political institutions of their original homeland, Humphreys as well as taking into account Minorsky's speculations on the "Arab origins" of the Ayyubids.[8] Tabaa, on the other hand, argues that over time the Ayyubids drastically moved away from their Kurdish origins and became decidedly Arabised.[9]

References[change | change source]

  1. Riley-Smith 2008, p. 64.
  2. Laine 2015, p. 133.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Humphreys 1977, p. 29.
  4. Lewis 2002, p. 166.
  5. Magill 1998, p. 809.
  6. Jackson 1996, p. 36
  7. Bosworth 1996, p. 73.
  8. Humphreys 1987, p. 164–167.
  9. Tabbaa 1997, p. 31.

Sources[change | change source]

  • Humphreys, R. S. (1987). "AYYUBIDS". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. III, Fasc. 2. pp. 164–167.
  • Bosworth, C. E. (1996). New Islamic Dynasties: A Chronological and Genealogical Manual. Edinburgh University Press. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-4744-6462-8.
  • Tabbaa, Yasser (1997). Constructions of Power and Piety in Medieval Aleppo. Penn State Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-271-01562-0.
  • Humphreys, R. Stephen (1977). From Saladin to the Mongols: The Ayyubids of Damascus, 1193–1260. State University of New York Press. p. 29. ISBN 0-87395-263-4. Among the free-born amirs the Kurds would seem the most dependent on Saladin's success for the progress of their own fortunes. He too was a Kurd, after all, and under his aegis they might hope for broader opportunities in rank, estates, and political influence than they could otherwise expect in the predominantly Turkish dynasties of the age.
  • Riley-Smith, Jonathan (2008). The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam. Columbia Universty Press. pp. 64. ISBN 978-0-231-14625-8. Saladin's relative obscurity in Muslim history was understandable. He was a Kurd.
  • Laine, James W. (2015). Meta-Religion: Religion and Power in World History. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-520-95999-6. A Kurd, Saladin was born in Iraq (in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown), and became famous in medieval legend for his chivalrous exchanges with Richard the Lionheart, commander of the Third Crusade.
  • Lewis, Bernard (2002). Arabs in History. Oxford University Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-19-158766-5. A Kurdish officer called Salāh al-Dīn, better known in the West as Saladin, went to Egypt, where he served as Wazir to the Fațimids while representing the interests of Nūr al-Din. In 1171 Saladin declared the Fațimid Caliphate at an end.
  • Magill, Frank Northen (1998). Dictionary of World Biography: The Middle Ages. Vol. 2. Routledge. p. 809. ISBN 978-1579580414. Following the accepted educational program for young ruling-class men, Saladin studied the Koran and learned poetry, grammar, and script. He spoke Kurdish, Arabic, and probably Turkish.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Saladin spoke both Arabic and Kurdish, and likely Turkish as well.[5]