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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

Valerie:  Bahri Mamluk refers to the rulers of the first era of the Mamluk sultanate in Egypt ranging from 1250 to 1382 A.D. They were Kipchak Turkic in origin and formally organized as a governing body by al-Zahir Baybers (see entry). The term derives from the Arabic word for river, bahr, and refers to the place where the Bahri Mamluks were centered, which was in a castle on the Nile island of Al-Rodah in Cairo. They took control over Egypt through demonstration of their ability to secure her borders, both against the Crusaders and the Mongols. This military strength combined with their patronage of religious institutions, art, medicine, and scholarship gave them legitimate and stable authority over Egypt.

al-Zahir Baybars was the first true ruler of the Bahri era, which achieved its peak under al-Nasir Muhammad, whose rule is thought of as the time of the "golden age" of the Mamluks and coincided with the global phenomenon of "Pax Mongolica". Inheritance of the sultanate in this era was most often decided through genetic lineage, in contrast to inheritance of the sultanate during the Burji Mamluk era which was consitituted by clientage (see entry).

The era of the Bahri Mamluks was characterized by large-scale building campaigns and the proliferation of madrassas, or religious schools, in Cairo. These building campaigns were the result of the economic prosperity of the period. It was during the Bahri era that the Citadel of Cairo was monumentalized, and the influence of the artists of the Bahri era was felt all over the Mediterranean (the impact of Bahri glassworking on Venetian glass artisans is often cited, most specifically in essays published by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art).

Posted at Dec 06/2010 02:59PM:
ian: nothing more to add