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The Ayyubid dynasty ( ar, الأيوبيون '; Kurdish: ئەیووبیەکان Eyûbiyan) was a
Sunni Muslim Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, ...
dynasty of Kurdish origin, founded by
Saladin Al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub ( ku, سەلاحەدینی ئەییووبی, Selahedînê Eyûbî; ar, الناصر صلاح الدين يوسف بن أيوب, an-Nāṣir Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb; 11374 March 1193), better k ...

Saladin
and centered in
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...
, ruling over the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
,
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
,
Hijaz The Hejaz (, also ; ar, ٱلْحِجَاز, al-Ḥijāz, lit=the Barrier, ) is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islami ...

Hijaz
,
Nubia Nubia () (Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubian") and literally means "(lan ...

Nubia
and parts of the
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania (also considered part of West Africa), Morocco and ...

Maghreb
. The dynasty ruled large parts of the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
during the 12th–13th and 14th centuries. Saladin had risen to
vizier A vizier (; ar, وزير, wazīr; fa, وزیر, vazīr), or wazir, is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in the near east. The caliphs gave the title ''wazir'' to a minister formerly called ' (secretary), who was at first merely a ...
of
Fatimid Egypt The Fatimid Caliphate ( ar, الفاطميون, al-Fāṭimīyūn) was an Isma'ilism, Ismaili Shia caliphate of the 10th to the 12th centuries CE. Spanning a large area of North Africa, it spanned from the Red Sea in the east to the Atlantic ...
in 1169, before abolishing the
Fatimid Caliphate The Fatimid Caliphate ( ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْفَاطِمِيَّة , al-Ḫilāfa al-Fāṭimiyya) was an Ismaili Shia Ismāʿīlism ( ar, الإسماعيلية, ''al-ʾIsmāʿīlīyah''; fa, اسماعیلیان, ''E ...

Fatimid Caliphate
in 1171. Three years later, he was proclaimed sultan following the death of his former master, the
Zengid#REDIRECT Zengid dynasty The Zengid or Zangid dynasty was a List of Muslim states and dynasties, Muslim dynasty of Oghuz Turks, Oghuz Turkic origin, which ruled parts of the Levant and Upper Mesopotamia on behalf of the Seljuk Empire. The dynasty w ...
ruler
Nur al-Din
Nur al-Din
and established himself as the first
custodian of the two holy mosques Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (abbreviation ''CTHM''; ar, خَادِمُ ٱلْحَرَمَيْنِ ٱلشَّرِيفَيْنِ, '), Servant of the Two Noble Sanctuaries or Protector of the Two Holy Cities, is a royal style that has been us ...
. For the next decade, the Ayyubids launched conquests throughout the region and by 1183, their domains encompassed Egypt,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...
,
Upper Mesopotamia Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the uplands and great outwash plain In geography, a plain is a flat expanse of land that generally does not change much in elevation. Plains occur as lowlands along valleys or on the doorsteps of mountai ...
, the
Hejaz The Hejaz (, also ; ar, ٱلْحِجَاز, al-Ḥijāz, lit=the Barrier, ) is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic ...

Hejaz
,
Yemen ) , image_map = Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a Sanaa ( ar, صَنْعَاء, ' , Yemeni Arabic: ; Old South Arabian: 𐩮 ...

Yemen
and the
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
n coast up to the borders of modern-day
Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11. ...

Tunisia
. Most of the
Crusader states The Crusader States, also known as Outremer, were four Roman Catholic realms in the Middle East that lasted from 1098 to 1291. These were created by the leaders of the through and political intrigue. The four states were the (10981150) ...

Crusader states
including the
Kingdom of Jerusalem The Kingdom of Jerusalem ( la, Regnum Hierosolymitanum; fro, Roiaume de Jherusalem; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middl ...
fell to Saladin after his victory at the
Battle of Hattin The Battle of Hattin ( ar, معركة حطين) took place on 4 July 1187, between the Crusader states of the Levant and the forces of the Ayyubid dynasty, Ayyubid sultan Saladin (Salah ad-Din). It is also known as the Battle of the Horns of Hat ...
in 1187. However, the
Crusader Crusader or Crusaders may refer to: Military * Crusader, a participant in one of the Crusades * Convair NB-36H Crusader, an experimental nuclear-powered bomber * Crusader tank, a British cruiser tank of World War II * Crusaders (guerrilla), a Cr ...

Crusader
s regained control of
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
's coastline in the 1190s. After Saladin's death in 1193, his sons contested control of the sultanate, but Saladin's brother
al-Adil Al-Adil I ( ar, العادل, in full al-Malik al-Adil Sayf ad-Din Abu-Bakr Ahmed ibn Najm ad-Din Ayyub, ar, الملك العادل سيف الدين أبو بكر بن أيوب,‎ "Ahmed, son of Najm ad-Din Ayyub, father of Bakr, the Just Ki ...
ultimately became the paramount sultan in 1200. All of the later Ayyubid sultans of Egypt were his descendants. In the 1230s, the emirs of Syria attempted to assert their independence from Egypt and the Ayyubid realm remained divided until Sultan
as-Salih Ayyub Al-Malik as-Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub (5 November 1205 – 22 November 1249), nickname: Abu al-Futuh (أبو الفتوح), also known as al-Malik al-Salih, was the Ayyubid The Ayyubid dynasty ( ar, الأيوبيون '; Kurdish languages, Kurdi ...
restored its unity by conquering most of Syria, except
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...

Aleppo
, by 1247. By then, local Muslim dynasties had driven out the Ayyubids from Yemen, the Hejaz and parts of Mesopotamia. After his death in 1249, as-Salih Ayyub was succeeded in Egypt by his son al-Mu'azzam Turanshah. However, the latter was soon overthrown by his
Mamluk Mamluk ( ar, مملوك, mamlūk (singular), , ''mamālīk'' (plural), translated as "one who is owned", meaning "", also as ''Mameluke'', ''mamluq'', ''mamluke'', ''mameluk'', ''mameluke'', ''mamaluke'', or ''marmeluke'') is a term most commo ...
generals who had repelled a Crusader invasion of the
Nile Delta The Nile Delta ( ar, دلتا النيل, or simply , ) is the delta Delta commonly refers to: * Delta (letter) (Δ or δ), a letter of the Greek alphabet * River delta, a landform at the mouth of a river * D (NATO phonetic alphabet: "Delta"), ...
. This effectively ended Ayyubid power in Egypt; attempts by the emirs of Syria, led by
an-Nasir Yusuf An-Nasir Yusuf ( ar, الناصر يوسف; AD 1228–1260), fully al-Malik al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn al-Aziz ibn al-Zahir ibn Saladin, Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Najm ad-Din Ayyub, Ayyub ibn Shazy (), was the Ayyubids, Ayyubid Emir of S ...
of Aleppo, to wrest back Egypt failed. In 1260 the
Mongols The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; russian: Монголы, ) are an East Asian people, East Asian ethnic group indigenous peoples, native to the Inner Mongolia, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, Mongolia an ...
sacked Aleppo and conquered the Ayyubids' remaining territories soon after. The Mamluks, who expelled the Mongols, maintained the Ayyubid principality of
Hama Hama ( ar, حَمَاة ', ; syr, ܚܡܬ, Ḥmṭ, lit=fortress; Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew ( ''Ivrit Miqra'it'' or ''Leshon ha-Miqra''), also called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of Hebrew language, Hebrew, a language in the Can ...

Hama
until deposing its last ruler in 1341. During their relatively short tenure, the Ayyubids ushered in an era of economic prosperity in the lands they ruled, and the facilities and patronage provided by the Ayyubids led to a resurgence in intellectual activity in the
Islamic world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodne ...
. This period was also marked by an Ayyubid process of vigorously strengthening
Sunni Muslim Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, ...
dominance in the region by constructing numerous ''
madrasa Madrasa (, also , ; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental cou ...

madrasa
s'' (Islamic schools of law) in their major cities.


History


Origins

The progenitor of the Ayyubid dynasty, Najm ad-Din Ayyub ibn Shadhi, belonged to the Kurdish Rawadiya tribe, itself a branch of the
Hadhabani Hadhabani (also: ''Hadhbani'') ( ku, ھەزەبانی ,Hecbanî) was a large medieval Sunni Muslim Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch of Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether ...
confederation. Ayyub's ancestors settled in the town of Dvin, in northern
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
. The Rawadiya were the dominant Kurdish group in the Dvin district, forming part of the political-military elite of the town. Circumstances became unfavorable in Dvin when Turkish generals seized the town from its Kurdish prince. Shadhi left with his two sons Ayyub and Asad ad-Din Shirkuh. His friend Mujahid ad-Din Bihruz—the military governor of northern Mesopotamia under the
Seljuks The Seljuk dynasty, or Seljuks ( ; fa, آل سلجوق ''Al-e Saljuq'', alternatively spelled as Seljuqs or Saljuqs), also known as Seljuk Turks, Seljuk Turkomans "The defeat in August 1071 of the Byzantine emperor Romanos Diogenes by the Turkom ...
—welcomed him and appointed him governor of
Tikrit Tikrit ( ar, تِكْرِيت ''Tikrīt'' , Syriac language, Syriac: ܬܲܓܪܝܼܬܼ ''Tagrīṯ'') is a city in Iraq, located northwest of Baghdad and southeast of Mosul on the Tigris River. It is the administrative center of the Saladin Gover ...

Tikrit
. After Shadhi's death, Ayyub succeeded him in governance of the city with the assistance of his brother Shirkuh. Together they managed the affairs of the city well, gaining them popularity from the local inhabitants. In the meantime, Imad ad-Din Zangi, the ruler of
Mosul Mosul ( ar, الموصل, al-Mawṣil, ku, مووسڵ, translit=Mûsil, Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe a ...

Mosul
, was defeated by the
Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلْعَبَّاسِيَّةُ, ') was the third caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islam Islam (;There ar ...

Abbasid
s under Caliph
al-Mustarshid Al-Mustarshid Billah ( ar, المسترشد بالله) (1092 – 29 August 1135) was the Abbasid caliph in Baghdad from 1118 to 1135. He was son of his predecessor, caliph al-Mustazhir. He succeeded his father in the year 1118 as the twenty-nin ...
and Bihruz. In his bid to escape the battlefield to Mosul via Tikrit, Zangi took shelter with Ayyub and sought his assistance in this task. Ayyub complied and provided Zangi and his companions boats to cross the
Tigris River The Tigris, () is the eastern of the two great river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end ...

Tigris River
and safely reach Mosul. As a consequence for assisting Zangi, the Abbasid authorities sought punitive measures against Ayyub. Simultaneously, in a separate incident, Shirkuh killed a close confidant of Bihruz on charges that he had sexually assaulted a woman in Tikrit. The Abbasid court issued arrest warrants for both Ayyub and Shirkuh, but before the brothers could be arrested, they departed Tikrit for Mosul in 1138. When they arrived in Mosul, Zangi provided them with all the facilities they needed and he recruited the two brothers into his service. Ayyub was made commander of
Ba'albek Baalbek (; ar, , Baʿlabakk, Syriac language, Syriac-Aramaic: ܒܥܠܒܟ) is a city located east of the Litani River in Lebanon's Beqaa Valley, about northeast of Beirut. It is the capital of Baalbek-Hermel Governorate. In Greek and Roman times B ...
and Shirkuh entered the service of Zangi's son, . According to historian Abdul Ali, it was under the care and patronage of Zangi that the Ayyubid family rose to prominence.


Establishment in Egypt

In 1164, Nur al-Din dispatched Shirkuh to lead an expeditionary force to prevent the
Crusader Crusader or Crusaders may refer to: Military * Crusader, a participant in one of the Crusades * Convair NB-36H Crusader, an experimental nuclear-powered bomber * Crusader tank, a British cruiser tank of World War II * Crusaders (guerrilla), a Cr ...

Crusader
s from establishing a strong presence in an increasingly anarchic
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
. Shirkuh enlisted Ayyub's son,
Saladin Al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub ( ku, سەلاحەدینی ئەییووبی, Selahedînê Eyûbî; ar, الناصر صلاح الدين يوسف بن أيوب, an-Nāṣir Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb; 11374 March 1193), better k ...

Saladin
, as an officer under his command. They successfully drove out Dirgham, the vizier of Egypt, and reinstated his predecessor
Shawar Shawar ibn Mujir al-Sa'di ( ar, شاور بن مجير السعدي, Shāwar ibn Mujīr al-Saʿdī; died 18 January 1169) was an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233 The international standard are technical ...
. After being reinstated, Shawar ordered Shirkuh to withdraw his forces from Egypt, but Shirkuh refused, claiming it was Nur al-Din's will that he remain. Over the course of several years, Shirkuh and Saladin defeated the combined forces of the Crusaders and Shawar's troops, first at Bilbais, then at a site near
Giza Giza (; sometimes spelled ''Gizah ''or ''Jizah''; ar, الجيزة ', ) is the list of cities and towns in Egypt, second-largest city in Egypt after Cairo and List of cities in Africa by population, fourth-largest city in Africa after Kinshasa, ...

Giza
, and in
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic language, Coptic: Rakodī; el, Αλεξάνδρεια ''Alexandria'') is the List of cities and towns in Egypt, third-largest city in Egypt after Cairo and Giza, ...

Alexandria
, where Saladin would stay to protect while Shirkuh pursued Crusader forces in
Lower Egypt , the Red Crown of Lower Egypt Image:Lower Egypt Nomes 01.png, 350px, Map of Lower Egypt with its historical nomes Lower Egypt ( ar, مصر السفلى '; ''Tsakhet'') is the northernmost region In geography, regions are areas that are ...
. Shawar died in 1169 and Shirkuh became vizier, but he too died later that year. After Shirkuh's death, Saladin was appointed vizier by the
Fatimid The Fatimid Caliphate ( ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْفَاطِمِيَّة , al-Ḫilāfa al-Fāṭimiyya) was an Ismaili Shia Ismāʿīlism ( ar, الإسماعيلية, ''al-ʾIsmāʿīlīyah''; fa, اسماعیلیان, ''E ...

Fatimid
caliph
al-Adid Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd Allāh ibn Yūsuf ( ar, أبو محمد عبد الله بن يوسف; 1151–1171), better known by his regnal name A regnal name, or regnant name or reign name, is the name used by monarch A monarch is a head of stateWeb ...
because there was "no one weaker or younger" than Saladin, and "not one of the
emir Emir (; ar, أمير ' ), sometimes Romanization of Arabic, transliterated amir, amier, or ameer, is a word of Arabic language, Arabic origin that can refer to a male monarch, aristocratic, aristocrat, holder of high-ranking military or politic ...

emir
s obeyed him or served him", according to medieval Muslim chronicler
Ibn al-Athir Abu al-Hassan Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ash-Shaybani, better known as Ali 'Izz al- Din Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari ( ar, علي عز الدین بن الاثیر الجزري) (1160-1233) was an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, ع ...
. Saladin soon found himself more independent than ever before in his career, much to the dismay of Nur al-Din who attempted to influence events in Egypt. He permitted Saladin's elder brother,
Turan-Shah Shams ad-Din Turanshah ibn Ayyub al-Malik al-Mu'azzam Shams ad-Dawla Fakhr ad-Din known simply as Turanshah ( ar, توران شاه بن أيوب) (died 27 June 1180) was the Ayyubid dynasty, Ayyubid emir (prince) of History of Yemen#Medieval histo ...
, to supervise Saladin in a bid to cause dissension within the Ayyubid family and thus undermining its position in Egypt. Nur al-Din satisfied Saladin's request that he be joined by his father Ayyub. However, Ayyub was sent primarily to ensure that Abbasid suzerainty was proclaimed in Egypt, which Saladin was reluctant to undertake due to his position as the vizier of the Fatimids. Although Nur al-Din failed to provoke the Ayyubids into rivalry, the extended Ayyubid family, particularly a number of local governors in Syria, did not entirely back Saladin. Saladin consolidated his control in Egypt after ordering Turan-Shah to put down a revolt in
Cairo Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in E ...

Cairo
staged by the
Fatimid army The Fatimid Caliphate ( ar, الفاطميون, al-Fāṭimīyūn) was an Ismaili Shia caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations ...
's 50,000-strong
Nubia Nubia () (Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubian") and literally means "(lan ...

Nubia
n regiments. After this success, Saladin began granting his family members high-ranking positions in the country and increased Sunni Muslim influence in Shia Muslim-dominated Cairo by ordering the construction of a college for the
Maliki The ( ar, مَالِكِي) school is one of the four major madhhab A ' ( ar, مذهب ', , "way to act") is a school of thought within '' fiqh'' (Islamic jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of law. Sc ...
school of jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of law. Scholars of jurisprudence seek to explain the nature of law in its most general form and provide a deeper understanding of Reason#Logical reasoning methods and argumentation, leg ...
of
Sunni Islam Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, ...
in the city, and another for the Shafi'i school, to which he belonged, in
al-Fustat Fustat ( ar, الفسطاط ''al-Fusṭāṭ'', ), also Fostat, Al Fustat, Misr al-Fustat and Fustat-Misr, was the first capital of Egypt under Muslim rule. It was built by the Muslim general 'Amr ibn al-'As immediately after the Muslim conquest ...
. In 1171, al-Adid died and Saladin took advantage of this power vacuum, effectively taking control of the country. Upon seizing power, he switched Egypt's allegiance to the
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, ...

Baghdad
-based Abbasid Caliphate which adhered to Sunni Islam.


Expansion


Conquest of North Africa and Nubia

Saladin went to Alexandria in 1171–72 and found himself facing the dilemma of having many supporters in the city, but little money. A family council was held there by the Ayyubid emirs of Egypt where it was decided that al-Muzaffar Taqi al-Din Umar, Saladin's nephew, would launch an expedition against the coastal region of
Barqa Cyrenaica ( ; ar, برقة, Barqah; grc-koi, Κυρηναϊκή παρχία Kurēnaïkḗ parkhíā after the city of Cyrene, Libya, Cyrene) is the eastern coastal region of Libya. Also known as ''Pentapolis'' ("Five Cities") in An ...

Barqa
(
Cyrenaica Cyrenaica ( ; ar, برقة, Barqah; grc-koi, Κυρηναϊκή παρχία Kurēnaïkḗ parkhíā after the city of Cyrene, Libya, Cyrene) is the eastern coastal region of Libya. Also known as ''Pentapolis'' ("Five Cities") in A ...

Cyrenaica
) west of Egypt with a force of 500 cavalry. In order to justify the raid, a letter was sent to the
Bedouin The Bedouin, Beduin or Bedu (; , singular ; , singular ) are nomadic Arab Tribes who have historically inhabited the desert regions in the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, Upper Mesopotamia, and North Africa. However, the Arabian Peninsula is th ...

Bedouin
tribes of Barqa, rebuking them for their robberies of travelers and ordering them to pay the alms-tax (''
zakat Zakat ( ar, زكاة; , "that which purifies", also Zakat al-mal , "zakat on wealth", or Zakah) is a form of almsgiving Alms (, ) or almsgiving involves giving to others as an act of virtue Virtue ( la, virtus ''Virtus'' () was a s ...

zakat
''). The latter was to be collected from their livestock. In late 1172,
Aswan Aswan (, also ; ar, أسوان, ʾAswān ; cop, Ⲥⲟⲩⲁⲛ, Souan ) is a city in the south of Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast ...

Aswan
was besieged by former Fatimid soldiers from
Nubia Nubia () (Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubian") and literally means "(lan ...

Nubia
and the governor of the city, Kanz al-Dawla—a former Fatimid loyalist—requested reinforcements from Saladin who complied. The reinforcements had come after the Nubians had already departed Aswan, but Ayyubid forces led by Turan-Shah advanced and conquered northern Nubia after capturing the town of
Ibrim Qasr Ibrim ( ar, قصر ابريم; Meroitic: ''Pedeme''; Old Nubian Old Nubian (also called Middle Nubian or Old Nobiin) is an extinct Nubian language, attested in writing from the 8th to the 15th century AD. It is ancestral to modern-day No ...
. Turan-Shah and his Kurdish soldiers temporarily lodged there. From Ibrim, they raided the surrounding region, halting their operations after being presented with an armistice proposal from the
Dongola Dongola ( ar, دنقلا '), also spelled ''Dunqulah'', is the capital of the state of Northern Sudan Sudan (; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat ...
-based Nubian king. Although Turan-Shah's initial response was
hawkish A war hawk, or simply hawk, is a term used in politics for someone who favors war War is an intense armed conflict between states, government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, gene ...

hawkish
, he later sent an envoy to Dongola, who upon returning, described the poverty of the city and of Nubia in general to Turan-Shah. Consequently, the Ayyubids, like their Fatimid predecessors, were discouraged from further southward expansion into Nubia due to the poverty of the region, but required Nubia to guarantee the protection of Aswan and
Upper Egypt Upper Egypt ( ar, صعيد مصر ', shortened to , , locally: ; ) is the southern portion of Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries lo ...
. The Ayyubid garrison in Ibrim withdrew to Egypt in 1175. In 1174, Sharaf al-Din Qaraqush, a commander under al-Muzaffar Umar, conquered
Tripoli Tripoli (; ar, طرابلس, ; ber, ⵜⵔⵢⴱⵓⵍⵙ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals ...
from the
Normans The Normans (Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of N ...

Normans
with an army of Turks and Bedouins. Subsequently, while some Ayyubid forces fought the Crusaders in the Levant, another of their armies, under Sharaf al-Din, wrested control of
Kairouan Kairouan, also spelled Al Qayrawān or Kairwan ( ar, ٱلْقَيْرَوَان, al-Qayrawān , aeb, script=Latn, Qeirwān ), is the capital of the Kairouan Governorate in Tunisia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was founded by the Uma ...

Kairouan
from the Almohads in 1188.


Conquest of Arabia

In 1173, Saladin sent Turan-Shah to conquer
Yemen ) , image_map = Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a Sanaa ( ar, صَنْعَاء, ' , Yemeni Arabic: ; Old South Arabian: 𐩮 ...

Yemen
and the
Hejaz The Hejaz (, also ; ar, ٱلْحِجَاز, al-Ḥijāz, lit=the Barrier, ) is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic ...

Hejaz
. Muslim writers Ibn al-Athir and later
al-Maqrizi Al-Maqrīzī or Makrīzī (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinen ...
wrote that the reasoning behind the conquest of Yemen was an Ayyubid fear that should Egypt fall to Nur al-Din, they could seek refuge in a faraway territory. In May 1174, Turan-Shah conquered
Zabid Zabid ( ar, زَبِيد) (also spelled Zabīd, Zabeed and Zebid) is a town with an urban population of around 52,590 people on Yemen's western coastal plain. It is one of the oldest towns in Yemen, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1 ...
and later that year captured
Aden Aden ( , ; ar, عدن ' Yemeni Arabic, Yemeni: ) is a city, and since 2015, the temporary capital of Yemen, near the eastern approach to the Red Sea (the Gulf of Aden), some east of the strait Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately ...

Aden
. Aden became the principal maritime port of the dynasty in the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
and the principal city of Yemen, although the official capital of Ayyubid Yemen was Ta'iz. The advent of the Ayyubids marked the beginning of a period of renewed prosperity in the city which saw the improvement of its commercial infrastructure, the establishment of new institutions, and the minting of its own coins. Following this prosperity, the Ayyubids implemented a new tax which was collected by
galley A galley is a type of ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, research, and fis ...

galley
s. Turan-Shah drove out the remaining
Hamdanid The Hamdanid dynasty ( ar, حمدانيون, Ḥamdānyūn) was a Twelver Shia Islam, Shia Muslim Arabs, Arab dynasty of northern Mesopotamia and Bilad al-Sham, Syria (890–1004). They descended from the ancient Banu Taghlib Christian tribe ...
rulers of
Sana'a Sanaa ( ar, صَنْعَاء, ' , Yemeni Arabic: ; Ancient South Arabian script, Old South Arabian: 𐩮𐩬𐩲𐩥 ''Ṣnʿw''), also spelled Sanaʽa or Sana, is the largest city in Yemen and the centre of Sanaa Governorate. The city is not ...

Sana'a
, conquering the mountainous city in 1175. With the conquest of Yemen, the Ayyubids developed a coastal fleet, ''al-asakir al-bahriyya'', which they used to guard the sea coasts under their control and protect them from pirate raids. The conquest held great significance for Yemen because the Ayyubids managed to unite the previous three independent states (Zabid, Aden, and Sana'a) under a single power. However, when Turan-Shah was transferred from his governorship in Yemen in 1176, uprisings broke out in the territory and were not quelled until 1182 when Saladin assigned his other brother Tughtekin Sayf al-Islam as governor of Yemen. The Ayyubid ''
na'ib Nawab (Bengali Bengali or Bengalee, or Bengalese may refer to: *something of, from, or related to Bengal, a large region in South Asia * Bengalis, an ethnic and linguistic group of the region * Bengali language, the language they speak ** Be ...
'' (deputy governor) of Yemen, Uthman al-Zandjili, conquered the greater part of
Hadramaut Hadhramaut ( ar, حَضْرَمَوْتُ \ حَضْرَمُوتُ, Ḥaḍramawt / Ḥaḍramūt; Hadramautic: 𐩢𐩳𐩧𐩣𐩩, ''Ḥḍrmt'') is a region in South Arabia, mostly in present-day eastern Yemen ) , image_map = File:Ye ...

Hadramaut
in 1180, upon Turan-Shah's return to Yemen. From Yemen, as from Egypt, the Ayyubids aimed to dominate the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a North ...

Red Sea
trade routes which Egypt depended on and so sought to tighten their grip over the Hejaz, where an important trade stop,
Yanbu Yanbu ( ar, ينبع, lit=Spring, translit=Yanbu'), also known simply as Yambu or Yenbo, is a city in the Al Madinah Province The Medina State ( ar, مِنْطَقَة ٱلْمَدِيْنَة ٱلْمُنَوَّرَة, Minṭaqat Al-Madīnah ...
, was located. To favor trade in the direction of the Red Sea, the Ayyubids built facilities along the Red Sea-
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
trade routes to accompany merchants. The Ayyubids also aspired to back their claims of legitimacy within the
Caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the title of caliph (; ar, خَلِيفَة ', ), a person considered a politico-religious successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad ...
by having sovereignty over the
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
ic holy cities of
Mecca Mecca, officially Makkah al-Mukarramah ( ) and commonly shortened to Makkah ( ),Quran 48:22 ' () is a city and administrative center of the Mecca Province of Saudi Arabia, and the Holiest sites in Islam, holiest city in Islam. It is inland ...

Mecca
and
Medina Medina,, ', "the radiant city"; or , ', (), "the city" officially Al Madinah Al Munawwarah (, ), commonly simplified as Madīnah or Madinah (, ), is the second Holiest sites in Islam, holiest city in Islam and the Capital city, capital of the Me ...

Medina
. The conquests and economic advancements undertaken by Saladin effectively established Egypt's hegemony in the region.


Conquest of Syria and Mesopotamia

Although still nominally a vassal of Nur al-Din, Saladin adopted an increasingly independent foreign policy. This independence became more publicly pronounced after Nur al-Din's death in 1174. Thereafter, Saladin set out to conquer Syria from the
Zengids The Zengid or Zangid dynasty was a Muslim dynasty of Oghuz Turkic origin, which ruled parts of the Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Wes ...
, and on November 23 he was welcomed in
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , m ...

Damascus
by the governor of the city. By 1175, he had taken control of
Hama Hama ( ar, حَمَاة ', ; syr, ܚܡܬ, Ḥmṭ, lit=fortress; Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew ( ''Ivrit Miqra'it'' or ''Leshon ha-Miqra''), also called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of Hebrew language, Hebrew, a language in the Can ...

Hama
and
Homs ar, حمصي, HimsiHimsi or Homsi is an Arabic locational surname, which means a person from Homs, Syria.Abu Assali, Sarah. (2012)"The Eye of the Beholder" ''Syria Today Magazine'', October 10. Retrieved on 25 January 2016. The name may refer to ...

Homs
, but failed to take
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...

Aleppo
after besieging it. Control of Homs was handed to the descendants of Shirkuh in 1179 and Hama was given to Saladin's nephew, al-Muzaffar Umar. Saladin's successes alarmed Emir Saif al-Din of
Mosul Mosul ( ar, الموصل, al-Mawṣil, ku, مووسڵ, translit=Mûsil, Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe a ...

Mosul
, the head of the Zengids at the time, who regarded Syria as his family's estate and was angered that it was being usurped by a former servant of Nur al-Din. He mustered an army to confront Saladin near Hama. Although heavily outnumbered, Saladin and his veteran soldiers decisively defeated the Zengids. After his victory, he proclaimed himself king and suppressed the name of as-Salih Ismail al-Malik (Nur al-Din's adolescent son) in Friday prayers and Islamic coinage, replacing it with his own name. The Abbasid caliph, al-Mustadi, graciously welcomed Saladin's assumption of power and gave him the title of "Sultan of Egypt and Syria". In the spring of 1176, another major confrontation occurred between the Zengids and the Ayyubids, this time at the Tell Sultan, Sultan's Mound, from Aleppo. Saladin again emerged victorious, but Saif al-Din managed to narrowly escape. The Ayyubids proceeded to conquer other Syrian cities in the north, namely Ma'arat al-Numan, A'zaz, Buza'a, and Manbij, but failed to capture Aleppo during a second siege. An agreement was laid out, however, whereby Gumushtigin, the governor of Aleppo, and his allies at Hisn Kayfa and Mardin, would recognize Saladin as the sovereign of the Ayyubids' possessions in Syria, while Saladin allowed for Gumushtigin and as-Salih al-Malik to continue their rule over Aleppo. While Saladin was in Syria, his brother
al-Adil Al-Adil I ( ar, العادل, in full al-Malik al-Adil Sayf ad-Din Abu-Bakr Ahmed ibn Najm ad-Din Ayyub, ar, الملك العادل سيف الدين أبو بكر بن أيوب,‎ "Ahmed, son of Najm ad-Din Ayyub, father of Bakr, the Just Ki ...
governed Egypt, and in 1174–75, Kanz al-Dawla of Aswan revolted against the Ayyubids with the intention of restoring Fatimid rule. His main backers were the local Bedouin tribes and the Nubians, but he also enjoyed the support of a multitude of other groups, including the Armenians. Coincidental or possibly in coordination, was an uprising by Abbas ibn Shadi who overran Qus along the Nile River in central Egypt. Both rebellions were crushed by al-Adil. For the rest of that year and throughout early 1176, Qaraqush continued his raids in western
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
, bringing the Ayyubids into conflict with the Almohad Caliphate, Almohads who ruled the
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania (also considered part of West Africa), Morocco and ...

Maghreb
. In 1177, Saladin led a force of some 26,000 soldiers, according to Crusader chronicler William of Tyre, into southern
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
after hearing that most of the
Kingdom of Jerusalem The Kingdom of Jerusalem ( la, Regnum Hierosolymitanum; fro, Roiaume de Jherusalem; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middl ...
's soldiers were besieging Harem, Syria west of Aleppo. Suddenly attacked by the Knights Templar, Templars under Baldwin IV of Jerusalem near Ramla, the Ayyubid army was defeated at the Battle of Montgisard, with the majority of its troops killed. Saladin encamped at Homs the following year and a number of skirmishes between his forces, commanded by Farrukh Shah, and the Crusaders occurred. Undeterred, Saladin invaded the Crusader states from the west and defeated Baldwin at the Battle of Marj Ayyun in 1179. The following year, he destroyed the newly built Crusader castle of Daughters of Jacob Bridge, Chastellet at the Battle of Jacob's Ford. In the campaign of 1182, he sparred with Baldwin again in the inconclusive Battle of Belvoir Castle (1182), Battle of Belvoir Castle in Kawkab al-Hawa. In May 1182, Saladin captured Aleppo after a brief siege; the new governor of the city, Imad al-Din Zangi II, had been unpopular with his subjects and surrendered Aleppo after Saladin agreed to restore Zangi II's previous control over Sinjar, Raqqa, and Nusaybin, which would thereafter serve as vassal territories of the Ayyubids. Aleppo formally entered Ayyubid hands on 12 June. The day after, Saladin marched to Harim, near the Crusader-held Antioch and captured the city when its garrison forced out their leader, Surhak, who was then briefly detained and released by al-Muzaffar Umar. The surrender of Aleppo and Saladin's allegiance with Zangi II had left Izz ad-Din Mas'ud, Izz al-Din al-Mas'ud of Mosul the only major Muslim rival of the Ayyubids. Mosul had been subjected to a short siege in the autumn of 1182, but after mediation by the Abbasid caliph an-Nasir, Saladin withdrew his forces. Mas'ud attempted to align himself with the Artuqids of Mardin, but they became allies of Saladin instead. In 1183, Irbil too switched allegiance to the Ayyubids. Mas'ud then sought the support of Pahlawan ibn Muhammad, the governor of Whole Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan, and although he did not usually intervene in the region, the possibility of Pahlawan's intervention made Saladin cautious about launching further attacks against Mosul. An arrangement was negotiated whereby al-Adil was to administer Aleppo in the name of Saladin's son al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din, al-Afdal, while Egypt would be governed by al-Muzaffar Umar in the name of Saladin's other son al-Aziz Uthman, Uthman. When the two sons were to come of age they would assume power in the two territories, but if any died, one of Saladin's brothers would take their place. In the summer of 1183, after ravaging eastern Galilee, Saladin's raids there culminated in the Battle of Al-Fule (1183), Battle of al-Fule in the Jezreel Valley between him and the Crusaders under Guy of Lusignan. The mostly hand-to-hand fighting ended indecisively. The two armies withdrew to a mile from each other and while the Crusaders discussed internal matters, Saladin captured the Golan Heights, Golan Plateau, cutting the Crusaders off from their main supplies source. In October 1183 and then on 13 August 1184, Saladin and al-Adil besieged Crusader-held Al Karak, Karak, but were unable to capture it. Afterward, the Ayyubids raided Samaria, burning down Nablus. Saladin returned to Damascus in September 1184 and a relative peace between the Crusader states and the Ayyubid empire subsequently ensued in 1184–1185. Saladin launched his last offensive against Mosul in late 1185, hoping for an easy victory over a presumably demoralized Mas'ud, but failed due to the city's unexpectedly stiff resistance and a serious illness which caused Saladin to withdraw to Harran. Upon Abbasid encouragement, Saladin and Mas'ud negotiated a treaty in March 1186 that left the Zengids in control of Mosul, but under the obligation to supply the Ayyubids with military support when requested.


Conquest of Palestine and Transjordan

Saladin besieged Tiberias in the eastern Galilee on 3 July 1187 and the Crusader army attempted to attack the Ayyubids by way of Kafr Kanna. After hearing of the Crusaders' march, Saladin led his guard back to their main camp at Kafr Sabt, leaving a small detachment at Tiberias. With a clear view of the Crusader army, Saladin ordered al-Muzaffar Umar to block the Crusaders' entry from Hittin, Hattin by taking a position near Lubya, while Gökböri and his troops were stationed at a hill near al-Shajara. On 4 July the Crusaders advanced toward the Horns of Hattin and charged against the Muslim forces, but were overwhelmed and Battle of Hattin, defeated decisively. Four days after the battle, Saladin invited al-Adil to join him in the reconquest of
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
, Galilee and Lebanese coast. On 8 July the Crusader stronghold of Acre, Israel, Acre was captured by Saladin, while his forces seized Nazareth and Saffuriya; other brigades took Haifa, Caesarea, Sebastia, Nablus, Sebastia and Nablus, while al-Adil conquered Migdal Afek, Mirabel and Jaffa. On 26 July, Saladin returned to the coast and received the surrender of Sarepta, Sidon, Beirut, and Jableh. In August, the Ayyubids conquered Ramla, Deir al-Balah, Darum, Gaza City, Gaza, Bayt Jibrin, and Latrun. Ashkelon, Ascalon was taken on 4 September. In September–October 1187, the Ayyubids Siege of Jerusalem (1187), besieged Jerusalem, taking possession of it on 2 October, after negotiations with Balian of Ibelin. Karak and Montreal (Crusader castle), Mont Real in Oultrejordain, Transjordan soon fell, followed by Safad in the northeastern Galilee. By the end of 1187 the Ayyubids were in control of virtually the entire Crusader kingdom in the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
with the exception of Tyre, Lebanon, Tyre, which held out under Conrad of Montferrat. In December 1187, an Ayyubid army consisting of the garrisons of Saladin and his brothers from Aleppo, Hama, and Egypt besieged Tyre. Half of the Muslim naval fleet was seized by Conrad's forces on 29 December, followed by an Ayyubid defeat on the shoreline of the city. On 1 January 1188, Saladin held a war council where a withdrawal from Tripoli was agreed.


Third Crusade

Pope Gregory VIII called for a Third Crusade against the Muslims in early 1189. Frederick Barbarossa of the Holy Roman Empire, Philip Augustus of France, and Richard I of England, Richard the Lionheart of England formed an alliance to reconquer Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the Crusaders and the Ayyubids fought near Acre that year and were joined by the reinforcements from Europe. From 1189 to 1191, Acre was besieged by the Crusaders, and despite initial Muslim successes, it fell to Crusader forces. A Massacre at Ayyadieh, massacre of 2,700 Muslim prisoners of war ensued, and the Crusaders then made plans to take Ascalon in the south. The Crusaders, now under the unified command of Richard, defeated Saladin at the Battle of Arsuf, allowing for the Crusader conquest of Jaffa and much of coastal Palestine, but they were unable to recover the interior regions. Instead, Richard signed a Treaty of Ramla, treaty with Saladin in 1192, restoring the Kingdom of Jerusalem to a coastal strip between Jaffa and Beirut. It was the last major war effort of Saladin's career, as he died the next year, in 1193.


Quarrels over the sultanate

Rather than establishing a centralized empire, Saladin had established hereditary ownership throughout his lands, dividing his empire among his kinsmen, with family members presiding over semi-autonomous fiefs and principalities. Although these princes (''emirs'') owed allegiance to the Ayyubid sultan, they maintained relative independence in their own territories. Upon Saladin's death, Malik az-Zahir, az-Zahir took Aleppo from al-Adil per the arrangement and al-Aziz Uthman held Cairo, while his eldest son, al-Afdal retained Damascus, which also included Palestine and much of Mount Lebanon. Al-Adil then acquired Al-Jazira, Mesopotamia, al-Jazira (Upper Mesopotamia), where he held the Zengids of Mosul at bay. In 1193, Mas'ud of Mosul joined forces with Zangi II of Sinjar and together the Zengid coalition moved to conquer al-Jazira. However, before any major results could be achieved, Mas'ud fell ill and returned to Mosul, and al-Adil then compelled Zangi to make a quick peace before the Zengids suffered territorial losses at the hands of the Ayyubids. Al-Adil's son al-Mu'azzam took possession of Karak and Transjordan. Soon, however, Saladin's sons squabbled over the division of the empire. Saladin had appointed al-Afdal to the governorship of Damascus with the intention that his son should continue to see the city as his principal place of residence in order to emphasize the primacy of the ''jihad'' (struggle) against the Crusader states. Al-Afdal, however, found that his attachment to Damascus contributed to his undoing. Several of his father's subordinate ''emirs'' left the city for Cairo to lobby Uthman to oust him on claims he was inexperienced and intended to oust the Ayyubid old guard. Al-Adil further encouraged Uthman to act in order prevent al-Afdal's incompetence putting the Ayyubid empire in jeopardy. Thus, in 1194, Uthman openly demanded the sultanate. Uthman's claim to the throne was settled in a series of assaults on Damascus in 1196, forcing al-Afdal to leave for a lesser post at Salkhad. Al-Adil established himself in Damascus as a lieutenant of Uthman, but wielded great influence within the empire. When Uthman died in a hunting accident near Cairo, al-Afdal was again made sultan (although Uthman's son al-Mansur was the nominal ruler of Egypt), al-Adil having been absent in a campaign in the northeast. Al-Adil returned and managed to occupy the Citadel of Damascus, but then faced a strong assault from the combined forces of al-Afdal and his brother az-Zahir of Aleppo. These forces disintegrated under al-Afdal's leadership and in 1200, al-Adil resumed his offensive. Upon Uthman's death, two clans of ''mamluks'' (slave soldiers) entered into conflict. They were the Asadiyya and Salahiyya, both of which Shirkuh and Saladin had purchased. The Salahiyya backed al-Adil in his struggles against al-Afdal. With their support, al-Adil conquered Cairo in 1200, and forced al-Afdal to accept internal banishment. He proclaimed himself Sultan of Egypt and Syria afterward and entrusted the governance of Damascus to al-Mu'azzam and al-Jazira to his other son al-Kamil. Also around 1200, a ''sharif'' (tribal head related to the Islamic prophet Muhammad), Qatada ibn Idris, seized power in Mecca and was recognized as the ''emir'' of the city by al-Adil. Al-Afdal attempted unsuccessfully to take Damascus his final time. Al-Adil entered the city in triumph in 1201. Thereafter, al-Adil's line, rather than Saladin's line, dominated the next 50 years of Ayyubid rule. However, az-Zahir still held Aleppo and al-Afdal was given Samosata in Anatolia. Al-Adil redistributed his possessions between his sons: al-Kamil was to succeed him in Egypt, al-Ashraf received al-Jazira, and al-Awhad Ayyub, al-Awhad was given Diyar Bakr, but the latter territory shifted to al-Ashraf's domain after al-Awhad died. Al-Adil aroused open hostility from the Hanbali lobby in Damascus for largely ignoring the Crusaders, having launched only one campaign against them. Al-Adil believed that the Crusader army could not be defeated in a direct fight. Prolonged campaigns also involved the difficulties of maintaining a coherent Muslim coalition. The trend under al-Adil was the steady growth of the empire, mainly through the expansion of Ayyubid authority in al-Jazira and incorporation of Shah-Armens, Shah-Armen domains (in eastern Anatolia). The Abbasids eventually recognized al-Adil's role as sultan in 1207. By 1208 Kingdom of Georgia challenged Ayyubid rule in eastern Anatolia and Ayyubid–Georgian wars, besieged Khilat (possessions of al-Awhad). In response al-Adil assembled and personally led large Muslim army that included the emirs of Homs, Hama and Baalbek as well as contingents from other Ayyubid principalities to support al-Awhad. During the siege, Georgian general Ivane Mkhargrdzeli accidentally fell into the hands of the al-Awhad on the outskirts of Khilat and was released in 1210, only after the Georgians agreed to sign a Thirty Years' Truce. The truce ended the Georgian menace to Ayyubid Armenia, leaving the Lake Van region to the Ayyubids of
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , m ...

Damascus
. A Crusader military campaign was launched on 3 November 1217, beginning with an offensive towards Transjordan. Al-Mu'azzam urged al-Adil to launch a counter-attack, but he rejected his son's proposal. In 1218, the fortress of Damietta in the
Nile Delta The Nile Delta ( ar, دلتا النيل, or simply , ) is the delta Delta commonly refers to: * Delta (letter) (Δ or δ), a letter of the Greek alphabet * River delta, a landform at the mouth of a river * D (NATO phonetic alphabet: "Delta"), ...
was Siege of Damietta (1218), besieged by the Crusaders. After two failed attempts, the fortress eventually capitulated on 25 August. Six days later al-Adil died of apparent shock at Damietta's loss. Al-Kamil proclaimed himself sultan in Cairo, while his brother al-Mu'azzam claimed the throne in Damascus. Al-Kamil attempted to retake Damietta, but was forced back by John of Brienne. After learning of a conspiracy against him, he fled, leaving the Egyptian army leaderless. Panic ensued, but with the help of al-Mu'azzam, al-Kamil regrouped his forces. By then, however, the Crusaders had seized his camp. The Ayyubids offered to negotiate for a withdrawal from Damietta, offering the restoration of Palestine to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, with the exception of the forts of Mont Real and Karak. This was refused by the leader of the Fifth Crusade, Pelagius of Albano, and in 1221, the Crusaders were driven out of the Nile Delta after the Ayyubid victory at El Mansoura, Egypt, Mansura.


Disintegration


Loss of territories and ceding of Jerusalem

In the east, the Khwārazm-Shāh dynasty, Khwarezemids under Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu captured the town of Ahlat, Khilat from al-Ashraf, while the normally loyalist Rasulid dynasty, Rasulids began to encroach on Ayyubid territorial holdings in Arabia. In 1222 the Ayyubids appointed the Rasulid leader Ali Bin Rasul as governor of Mecca. Ayyubid rule in Yemen and the Hejaz was declining and the Ayyubid governor of Yemen, Mas'ud bin Kamil, was forced to leave for Egypt in 1223. He appointed Nur ad-Din Umar as his deputy governor while he was absent. In 1224 the local al-Yamani dynasty gained control of
Hadramaut Hadhramaut ( ar, حَضْرَمَوْتُ \ حَضْرَمُوتُ, Ḥaḍramawt / Ḥaḍramūt; Hadramautic: 𐩢𐩳𐩧𐩣𐩩, ''Ḥḍrmt'') is a region in South Arabia, mostly in present-day eastern Yemen ) , image_map = File:Ye ...

Hadramaut
from the Ayyubids who had held it loosely due to the troubled situation of their administration in Yemen proper. Following Mas'ud bin Kamil's death in 1229, Nur ad-Din Umar declared himself the independent ruler of Yemen and discontinued the annual tribute payment to the Ayyubid sultanate in Egypt. Under Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II, a Sixth Crusade was launched, capitalizing on the ongoing internal strife between al-Kamil of Egypt and al-Mu'azzam of Syria. Subsequently, al-Kamil offered Jerusalem to Frederick to avoid a Syrian invasion of Egypt, but the latter refused. Al-Kamil's position was strengthened when al-Mu'azzam died in 1227 and was succeeded by his son an-Nasir Dawud. Al-Kamil continued negotiations with Frederick II in Acre in 1228, leading to a truce agreement signed in February 1229. The agreement gave the Crusaders control over an unfortified Jerusalem for over ten years, but also guaranteed Muslims control over Islamic holy places in the city. Although the treaty was virtually meaningless in military terms, an-Nasir Dawud used it to provoke the sentiments of Syria's inhabitants and a Friday sermon by a popular preacher at the Umayyad Mosque "reduced the crowd to violent sobbing and tears". The settlement with the Crusaders was accompanied by a proposed redistribution of the Ayyubid principalities whereby Damascus and its territories would by governed by al-Ashraf, who recognized al-Kamil's sovereignty. An-Nasir Dawud resisted the settlement, incensed by the Ayyubid-Crusader truce. Al-Kamil's forces reached Damascus to enforce the proposed agreement in May 1229. The siege put great pressure on the city, but the inhabitants rallied to an-Nasir Dawud, supportive of al-Mu'azzam's stable rule and angered at the treaty with Frederick. After one month, however, an-Nasir Dawud sued for a peaceful outcome and was given a new principality centered around Karak, while al-Ashraf, the governor of Diyar Bakr, assumed the governorship of Damascus. Meanwhile, the Great Seljuq Empire, Seljuks were advancing towards al-Jazira, and the descendants of Qatada ibn Idris fought with their Ayyubid overlords over control of Mecca. The conflict between them was taken advantage of by the Rasulids of Yemen who attempted to end Ayyubid suzerainty in the Hejaz and bring the region under their control which they accomplished in 1238 when Nur al-Din Umar captured Mecca.


Syro-Egyptian divide

Al-Ashraf's rule in Damascus was stable, but he and the other ''emirs'' of Syria sought to assert their independence from Cairo. Amid these tensions, al-Ashraf died in August 1237 after a four-month illness and was succeeded by his brother as-Salih Ismail, Emir of Damascus, as-Salih Ismail. Two months later, al-Kamil's Egyptian army arrived and besieged Damascus, but as-Salih Ismail had destroyed the suburbs of the city to deny al-Kamil's forces shelter. In 1232, al-Kamil installed his eldest son
as-Salih Ayyub Al-Malik as-Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub (5 November 1205 – 22 November 1249), nickname: Abu al-Futuh (أبو الفتوح), also known as al-Malik al-Salih, was the Ayyubid The Ayyubid dynasty ( ar, الأيوبيون '; Kurdish languages, Kurdi ...
to govern Hisn Kayfa, but upon al-Kamil's death in 1238, as-Salih Ayyub disputed the proclamation of younger brother al-Adil II as sultan in Cairo. As-Salih Ayyub eventually occupied Damascus in December 1238, but his uncle Ismail retrieved the city in September 1239. Ismail's cousin an-Nasir Dawud had Ismail detained in Karak in a move to prevent the latter's arrest by al-Adil II. Ismail entered into an alliance with Dawud who released him the following year, allowing him to proclaim himself sultan in place of al-Adil II in May 1240. Throughout the early 1240s, as-Salih Ayyub carried out reprisals against those who supported al-Adil II, and he then quarreled with an-Nasir Dawud who had reconciled with as-Salih Ismail of Damascus. The rival sultans as-Salih Ayyub and Ismail attempted to ally with the Crusaders against the other. In 1244, the breakaway Ayyubids of Syria allied with the Crusaders and confronted the coalition of as-Salih Ayyub and the Khwarizmids at Hirbiya, near Gaza. A large Battle of La Forbie, battle ensued, resulting in a major victory for as-Salih Ayyub and the virtual collapse of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.


Restoration of unity

In 1244–1245, as-Salih Ayyub had seized the area approximate to the modern-day West Bank from an-Nasir Dawud; he gained possession of Jerusalem, then marched on to take Damascus, which fell with relative ease in October 1245. Shortly afterward, Sayf al-Din Ali surrendered his exposed principality of Ajlun and its fortress to as-Salih Ayyub. The rupture of the alliance between the Khwarizmids and as-Salih Ayyub ended with the virtual destruction of the former by al-Mansur Ibrahim, the Ayyubid ''emir'' of Homs, in October 1246. With the Khwarizimid defeat, as-Salih Ayyub was able to complete the conquest of southern Syria. His general Fakhr ad-Din went on to subdue an-Nasir Dawud's territories. He sacked the lower town of Karak, then besieged its fortress. A stalemate followed with neither an-Nasir Dawud or Fakhr ad-Din strong enough to dislodge the other's forces. A settlement was eventually reached whereby an-Nasir Dawud would retain the fortress, but cede the remainder of his principality to as-Salih Ayyub. Having settled the situation in Palestine and Transjordan, Fakhr ad-Din moved north and marched to Bosra, the last place still held by Ismail. During the siege, Fakhr ad-Din fell ill, but his commanders continued the assault against the city, which fell in December 1246. By May 1247, as-Salih Ayyub was master of Syria south of Lake Homs, having gained control over Banias, Banyas and Salkhad. With his fellow Ayyubid opponents subdued, except for Aleppo under
an-Nasir Yusuf An-Nasir Yusuf ( ar, الناصر يوسف; AD 1228–1260), fully al-Malik al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn al-Aziz ibn al-Zahir ibn Saladin, Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Najm ad-Din Ayyub, Ayyub ibn Shazy (), was the Ayyubids, Ayyubid Emir of S ...
, as-Salih Ayyub undertook a limited offensive against the Crusaders, sending Fakhr ad-Din to move against their territories in the Galilee. Tiberias fell on 16 June, followed by Mount Tabor and Kawkab al-Hawa soon thereafter. Safad with its Templar fortress seemed out of reach, so the Ayyubids marched south to Ascalon. Facing stubborn resistance from the Crusader garrison, an Egyptian flotilla was sent by as-Salih Ayyub to support the siege and on 24 October, Fakhr ad-Din's troops stormed through a breach in the walls and killed or captured the entire garrison. The city was razed and left deserted. As-Salih Ayyub returned to Damascus to keep an eye on developments in northern Syria. Al-Ashraf Musa, Emir of Homs, Al-Ashraf Musa of Homs had ceded the important stronghold of Salamiyah to as-Salih Ayyub the previous winter, perhaps to underline their patron-client relationship. This troubled the Ayyubids of Aleppo who feared it would be used as a base for a military take-over of their city. An-Nasir Yusuf found this intolerable and decided to annex Homs in the winter of 1248. The city surrendered in August and an-Nasir Yusuf's terms forced al-Ashraf Musa to hand over Homs, but he was allowed to retain nearby Palmyra and Tell Bashir in the Syrian Desert. As-Salih Ayyub sent Fakhr ad-Din to recapture Homs, but Aleppo countered by sending an army to Kafartab, Kafr Tab, south of the city. An-Nasir Dawud left Karak for Aleppo to support an-Nasir Yusuf, but in his absence, his brothers al-Amjad Hasan and az-Zahir Shadhi detained his heir al-Mu'azzam Isa and then personally went to as-Salih Ayyub's camp at al-Mansourah in Egypt to offer him control of Karak in return for holdings in Egypt. As-Salih Ayyub agreed and sent the eunuch Badr al-Din Sawabi to act as his governor in Karak.


Fall


Rise of the Mamluks and fall of Egypt

In 1248, a Crusader fleet of 1,800 boats and ships arrived in Cyprus with the intent of launching a Seventh Crusade against the Muslims by conquering Egypt. Their commander, Louis IX, attempted to enlist the
Mongols The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; russian: Монголы, ) are an East Asian people, East Asian ethnic group indigenous peoples, native to the Inner Mongolia, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, Mongolia an ...
to launch a coordinated attack on Egypt, but when this failed to materialize, the Crusader force sailed to Damietta and the local population there fled as soon as they landed. When as-Salih Ayyub, who was in Syria at the time, heard of this, he rushed back to Egypt, avoiding Damietta, instead reaching Mansurah. There, he organized an army and raised a commando force which harassed the Crusaders. As-Salih Ayyub was ill and his health deteriorated further due to the mounting pressure from the Crusader offensive. His wife Shajar al-Durr called a meeting of all the war generals and thus became commander-in-chief of the Egyptian forces. She ordered the fortification of Mansurah and then stored large quantities of provisions and concentrated her forces there. She also organized a fleet of war galleys and scattered them at various strategic points along the Nile River. Crusader attempts to capture Mansurah were thwarted and King Louis found himself in a critical position. He managed to cross the Nile to launch a surprise attack against Mansurah. Meanwhile, as-Salih Ayyub died, but Shajar al-Durr and as-Salih Ayyub's Bahri dynasty, Bahri Mamluk generals, including Baibars, Rukn al-Din Baybars and Aybak, countered the assault and inflicted heavy losses on the Crusaders. Simultaneously, Egyptian forces cut off the Crusader's line of supply from Damietta, preventing the arrival of reinforcements. As-Salih Ayyub's son and the newly proclaimed Ayyubid sultan Al-Muazzam Turanshah, al-Mu'azzam Turan-Shah reached Mansurah at this point and intensified the Battle of Al Mansurah, battle against the Crusaders. The latter ultimately surrendered at the Battle of Fariskur, and King Louis and his companions were arrested. Al-Mu'azzam Turan-Shah alienated the Mamluks soon after their victory at Mansurah and constantly threatened them and Shajar al-Durr. Fearing for their positions of power, the Bahri Mamluks revolted against the sultan and killed him in April 1250. Aybak married Shajar al-Durr and subsequently took over the government in Egypt in the name of Al-Ashraf Musa, Sultan of Egypt, al-Ashraf II who became sultan, but only nominally.


Dominance of Aleppo

Intent on restoring the supremacy of Saladin's direct descendants within the Ayyubid family, an-Nasir Yusuf was eventually able to enlist the backing of all of the Syria-based Ayyubid ''emirs'' in a common cause against Mamluk-dominated Egypt. By 1250, he took Damascus with relative ease and except for Hama and Transjordan, an-Nasir Yusuf's direct authority stood unbroken from the Khabur (Euphrates), Khabur River in northern Mesopotamia to the Sinai Peninsula. In December 1250, he attacked Egypt after hearing of al-Mu'azzam Turan-Shah's death and the ascension of Shajar al-Durr. An-Nasir Yusuf's army was much larger and better-equipped than that of the Egyptian army, consisting of the forces of Aleppo, Homs, Hama, and those of Saladin's only surviving sons, Nusrat ad-Din and Turan-Shah ibn Salah ad-Din. Nonetheless, it suffered a major defeat at the hands of Aybak's forces. An-Nasir Yusuf subsequently returned to Syria, which was slowly slipping out of his control. The Mamluks forged an alliance with the Crusaders in March 1252 and agreed to jointly launch a campaign against an-Nasir Yusuf. King Louis, who had been released after al-Mu'azzam Turan-Shah's murder, led his army to Jaffa, while Aybak intended to send his forces to Gaza. Upon hearing of the alliance, an-Nasir Yusuf immediately dispatched a force to Tell al-Ajjul, just outside Gaza, in order to prevent the junction of the Mamluk and Crusader armies. Meanwhile, the rest of the Ayyubid army was stationed in the Jordan Valley (Middle East), Jordan Valley. Realizing that a war between them would greatly benefit the Crusaders, Aybak and an-Nasir Yusuf accepted Abbasid mediation via Najm ad-Din al-Badhirai. In April 1253, a treaty was signed whereby the Mamluks would retain control over all of Egypt and Palestine up to, but not including, Nablus, while an-Nasir Yusuf would be confirmed as the ruler of Muslim Syria. Thus, Ayyubid rule was officially ended in Egypt. After conflict arose between the Mamluks and the Ayyubids reignited, al-Badhirai arranged another treaty, this time giving an-Nasir Yusuf control of the Mamluks' territories in Palestine and al-Arish in Sinai. Instead of placing Ayyubids in charge, however, an-Nasir Yusuf handed Jerusalem to a Mamluk named Kutuk while Nablus and Jenin were given to Baibars. For over a year after the settlement with the Mamluks, calm settled over an-Nasir Yusuf's reign, but on 11 December 1256 he sent two envoys to the Abbasids in Baghdad seeking formal investiture from the caliph, al-Musta'sim, for his role as "Sultan". This request was connected to an-Nasir's rivalry with Aybak, as the title would be useful in future disputes with the Mamluks. However, the Mamluks had sent their envoys to Baghdad previously to precisely ensure that an-Nasir Yusuf would not gain the title, putting al-Musta'sim in a difficult position. In early 1257, Aybak was killed in a conspiracy, and was succeeded by his 15-year-old son, al-Mansur Ali, while Qutuz, Saif ad-Din Qutuz held an influential position. Soon after al-Mansur Ali's ascendancy rumors of another conspiracy to which an-Nasir Yusuf had an alleged connection emerged. The accused conspirator, al-Mansur Ali's vizier, Sharaf ad-Din al-Fa'izi, was strangled by Egyptian authorities. The Bahri Mamluks in Syria led by Baibars pressured an-Nasir Yusuf to intervene by invading Egypt, but he would not act, fearing the Bahri dynasty would usurp his throne if they gained Egypt.


Karak asserts independence

Relations between an-Nasir Yusuf and the Bahri Mamluks grew tense after the former refused to invade Egypt. In October 1257, Baibars and his fellow Mamluks left Damascus or were expelled from the city and together they moved south to Jerusalem. When the governor Kutuk refused to aid them against an-Nasir Yusuf, Baibars deposed him and had al-Mugith Umar, the emir of Karak, pronounced in the ''khutba'' at the al-Aqsa Mosque; over the years, al-Mugith Umar had allowed the political dissidents of Cairo and Damascus, who sought protection from either the Mamluk and Ayyubid authorities, a safe haven within his territory. Soon after gaining Jerusalem, Baibars conquered Gaza and an-Nasir Yusuf sent his army to Nablus in response. A battle ensued and the Mamluks ultimately fled across the Jordan River to the Balqa (region), Balqa area. From there they reached Zoara, Zughar at the southern tip of the Dead Sea where they sent their submission to Karak. Al-Mughith Umar's new relationship with Baibars solidified his independence from an-Nasir Yusuf's Syria. To ensure his independence, al-Mughith Umar began to distribute the territories of Palestine and Transjordan among the Bahri Mamluks. The new allies assembled a small army and headed for Egypt. In spite of initial gains in Palestine and al-Arish, they withdrew after seeing how overwhelmingly outnumbered they were by the Egyptian army. Al-Mughith Umar and Baibars were not discouraged, however, and launched an army 1,500 regular cavalry to Sinai at the beginning of 1258, but again were defeated by the Mamluks of Egypt.


Mongol invasion and fall of the empire

The Ayyubids had been under the nominal sovereignty of the Mongol Empire after a Mongol force targeted Ayyubid territories in Anatolia in 1244. An-Nasir Yusuf sent an embassy to the Mongol capital Karakorum in 1250, shortly after assuming power. These understandings did not last, however, and the Mongol Great Khan, Möngke Khan, Möngke, issued a directive to his brother Hulagu Khan, Hulagu to extend the realms of the empire to the Nile River. The latter raised an army of 120,000 and in 1258, sacked Baghdad and slaughtered its inhabitants, including Caliph al-Musta'sim and most of his family after the Ayyubids failed to assemble an army to protect the city. That same year the Ayyubids lost Diyar Bakr to the Mongols. An-Nasir Yusuf sent a delegation to Hulagu afterward, repeating his protestations to submission. Hulagu refused to accept the terms and so an-Nasir Yusuf called on Cairo for aid. This plea coincided with a successful coup by the Cairo-based Mamluks against the remaining symbolic Ayyubid leadership in Egypt, with strongman Qutuz officially taking power. Meanwhile, an Ayyubid army was assembled at Barzeh, Syria, Birzeh, just north of Damascus to defend the city against the Mongols who were now marching towards northern Syria. Siege of Aleppo (1260), Aleppo was soon besieged within a week and in January 1260 it fell to the Mongols. The Great Mosque of Aleppo, Great Mosque and the Citadel of Aleppo were razed and most of the inhabitants were killed or sold into slavery. The destruction of Aleppo caused panic in Muslim Syria; The Ayyubid emir of Homs, al-Ashraf Musa, offered to ally with Mongols at the approach of their army and was allowed to continue governance of the city by Hulagu. Hama also capitulated without resisting, but did not join forces with the Mongols. An-Nasir Yusuf opted to flee Damascus to seek protection in Gaza. Hulagu departed for Karakorum and left Kitbuqa, a Nestorian Christian general, to continue the Mongol conquest. Damascus capitulated after the arrival of the Mongol army, but was not sacked like other captured Muslim cities. However, from Gaza, an-Nasir Yusuf managed to rally the small garrison he left in the Citadel of Damascus to rebel against the Mongol occupation. The Mongols retaliated by launching a massive artillery assault on the citadel and when it became apparent that an-Nasir Yusuf was unable to relieve the city with a newly assembled army, the garrison surrendered. The Mongols proceeded by conquering Samaria, killing most of the Ayyubid garrison in Nablus, and then advanced south, as far as Gaza, unhindered. An-Nasir Yusuf was soon captured by the Mongols and used to persuade the garrison at Ajlun to capitulate. Afterward, the junior Ayyubid governor of Banyas allied with the Mongols, who had now gained control of most of Syria and al-Jazira, effectively ending Ayyubid power in the region. On 3 September 1260, the Egypt-based Mamluk army led by Qutuz and Baibars challenged Mongol authority and decisively defeated their forces in the Battle of Ain Jalut, outside of Zir'in in the Jezreel Valley. Five days later, the Mamluks took Damascus and within a month, most of Syria was in Bahri Mamluk hands. Meanwhile, an-Nasir Yusuf was killed in captivity.


Remnants of the dynasty

Many of the Ayyubid ''emirs'' of Syria were discredited by Qutuz for collaborating with the Mongols, but since al-Ashraf Musa defected and fought alongside the Mamluks at Ain Jalut, he was allowed to continue his rule over Homs. Al-Mansur of Hama had fought alongside the Mamluks from the start of their conquest and because of this, Hama continued to be ruled by the Ayyubid descendants of al-Muzaffar Umar. After al-Ashraf Musa's death in 1262, the new Mamluk sultan, Baibars, annexed Homs. The next year, al-Mughith Umar was tricked into surrendering Karak to Baibars and was executed soon after for having previously sided with the Mongols. The last Ayyubid ruler of Hama died in 1299 and Hama briefly passed through direct Mamluk suzerainty. However, in 1310, under the patronage of the Mamluk sultan al-Nasir Muhammad, Hama was restored to the Ayyubids under the well-known geographer and author Abu'l-Fida, Abu al-Fida. The latter died in 1331 and was succeeded by his son al-Afdal Muhammad, who eventually lost the favor of his Mamluk overlords. He was removed from his post in 1341 and Hama was formally placed under Mamluk rule. In southeastern Anatolia, the Ayyubids continued to rule the Emirate of Hasankeyf, principality of Hisn Kayfa and managed to remain an autonomous entity, independent of the Mongol Ilkhanate, which ruled northern Mesopotamia until the 1330s. After the breakup of the Ilkhanate, their former vassals in the area, the Artuqids, waged war against the Ayyubids of Hisn Kayfa in 1334, but were decisively defeated, with the Ayyubids gaining the Artuqids' possessions on the left bank of the
Tigris River The Tigris, () is the eastern of the two great river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end ...

Tigris River
. In the 14th century, the Ayyubids rebuilt the castle of Hisn Kayfa which served as their stronghold. The Ayyubids of Hisn Kayfa were vassals of the Mamluks and later the Dulkadirids until being supplanted by the Ottoman Empire in the early 16th century.


Government


Structure

Saladin structured the Ayyubid empire around the concept of collective sovereignty i.e. a confederation of principalities held together by the idea of family rule. Under this arrangement there existed numerous "petty sultans" while one family member, ''as-Sultan al-Mu'azzam'', reigned supreme. After the death of Saladin, this coveted position became open to whoever was strong enough to seize it. Subsequent rivalry between the Ayyubids of Syria and Egypt reached a point where the rulers of each territory would at times collude with Crusaders against the other. Ayyubid rule differed in these two regions. In Syria, each major city was ruled as a relatively independent principality under an Ayyubid family member, while in Egypt the long tradition of centralized rule enabled the Ayyubids to maintain direct control over the province from Cairo. It was
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, ...

Baghdad
, seat of the
Caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the title of caliph (; ar, خَلِيفَة ', ), a person considered a politico-religious successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad ...
, however, that exercised cultural and political hegemony over the Ayyubid territories, particularly those in Southwest Asia. For instance, the ''qadi'' ("chief justice") of Damascus was still appointed by the Abbasids during Ayyubid rule. Political power was concentrated in the Ayyubid household which was not necessarily characterized only by blood relation; slaves and intimates could acquire great, and even supreme power within it. It was a common occurrence for the mothers of young Ayyubid rulers to act as independent powers or in a few cases, rulers in their own right. Eunuch (court official), Eunuchs exercised substantial power under the Ayyubids, serving as attendants and atabegs within the household or as ''emirs'', governors, and army commanders outside the household. One of Saladin's most important supporters was the eunuch Baha ad-Din ibn Shaddad who helped him depose the Fatimids, dispossess their properties, and construct the wall of Cairo's citadel. Following the death of al-Aziz Uthman, he became the regent of his son al-Mansur and effectively ruled over Egypt for a short time before the arrival of al-Adil. Later sultans appointed eunuchs as deputy sultans and even awarded them sovereignty over certain cities, such as Shams al-Din Sawab who was given the Upper Mesopotamia, Jaziran cities of Amid and Diyar Bakr in 1239. The Ayyubids had three principal means of recruiting the educated elites whom they needed to administer their cities and towns. Some of these local leaders, known as ''shaykhs'', entered the service of an Ayyubid ruling household and thus their bids for power were supported from Ayyubid household revenues and influence. Others were paid directly out of revenues made from the ''divan, diwan'', a high governmental body of the state. The third method was assignment to the ''shaykhs'' of the revenues of charitable endowments, known as ''waqfs''. The Ayyubids, like their various predecessors in the region, had relatively few state agencies by which they could penetrate their cities and towns. To link themselves with the educated elite of their cities, they relied on the political usage of patronage practices. The assignment of ''waqf'' revenue to this elite was similar to the assignment of fiefs (''iqta'at'') to the commanders and generals of the army. In both cases, it enabled the Ayyubids to recruit a dependent, but not administratively subordinate elite. Following their conquest of Jerusalem in 1187, the Ayyubids under Saladin may have been the first to establish the position of ''amir al-hajj'' (commander of the pilgrimage) to protect the annual Hajj caravans leaving Damascus for
Mecca Mecca, officially Makkah al-Mukarramah ( ) and commonly shortened to Makkah ( ),Quran 48:22 ' () is a city and administrative center of the Mecca Province of Saudi Arabia, and the Holiest sites in Islam, holiest city in Islam. It is inland ...

Mecca
with the appointment of Tughtakin ibn Ayyub to the office.


Seat of government

The seat of Ayyubid government from Saladin's rule from the 1170s up to al-Adil's reign in 1218 had been Damascus. The city provided a strategic advantage in the constant war with the Crusaders and allowed the sultan to keep an eye on his relatively ambitious vassals in Syria and al-Jazira. Cairo was too remote to serve as a base of operations, but had always served as the economic foundation of the empire. This rendered the city a critical constituent in the repertoire of the Ayyubid possessions. When Saladin was proclaimed sultan in Cairo in 1171, he chose the Fatimid-built Lesser Western Palace (part of a larger palace complex in Cairo isolated from the urban sprawl) as the seat of government. Saladin himself resided in the former Fatimid vizier palace, Turan-Shah took up a former Fatimid prince's living quarter, and their father occupied the Pearl Pavilion which was situated outside of Cairo overlooking the city's canal. The successive Ayyubid sultans of Egypt would live in the Lesser Western Palace. After al-Adil I seized the throne in Cairo and with it the sultanate of the Ayyubid oligarchy, the period of rivalry between Damascus and Cairo to become capital of the Ayyubid empire commenced. Under al-Adil and al-Kamil, Damascus continued as an autonomous province whose ruler reserved the right to designate his own heir, but during as-Salih Ayyub's rule, military campaigns against Syria reduced Damascus to a vassal of Cairo. In addition, Ayyub established new rules both in administration and government in order to centralize his regime; he conferred the most prominent positions of the state to his close confidants, instead of his Ayyubid relatives. His wife Shajar al-Durr, for example, managed the affairs of Egypt while he was in Syria. Ayyub officially delegated his authority to his dead son Khalil and made al-Durr act formally on Khalil's behalf.


Demographics


Religion, ethnicity and language

By the 12th century,
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
was the dominant religion in the Middle East. It is not certain, however, if it was the religion of the majority outside the Arabian Peninsula. Arabic was the language of high culture and of the urban population, although other languages dating to pre-Islamic rule were still being used to a certain extent. Most Egyptians were speaking Arabic by the time the Ayyubids took power there. Kurdish was the mother tongue of the early Ayyubids, at the time of their departure from Dvin. Sultan Saladin spoke both Arabic and Kurdish language, Kurdish, and likely Turkish language, Turkish as well. There was a strong ethnic consciousness between the Ayyubids and other Kurds. According to the historian R. Stephen Humphreys, Saladin obtained the Fatimid vizierate partly on the strength of it. Yazidis joined Saladin's army in the war against the Crusaders, and members of the community served as ambassadors to the Ayyubids. During Ayyubid rule, Yazidism spread among the Kurds across the Empire. Kurdish ethnic consciousness was reinforced by the existence of ethnic friction. After Shirkuh's death, Saladin's close associate Diya' al-Din Isa al-Hakkari, a Kurd, visited the leaders of each faction contending for power to try to win them over to the election of Saladin, and to one Kurdish emir, Qutb al-Din Khusrau ibn al-Talal, he used the following argument: "Verily, everybody is for Saladin except you and al-Yaruqi [a Turkmen amir from the north Syrian Yürük tribe]. What is needed now, above all, is an understanding between you and Saladin, especially because of his Kurdish origin, so that the command does not go from him to the Turks." Within a few months of Saladin's election, all the Turkish amirs had returned to Syria save those in the late Shirkuh's Asadiyya corps. Saladin was at least twice subjected to taunts about his Kurdish origins by the Turkish soldiers of Mosul. According to Yasser Tabbaa, an anthropologist specializing in medieval Islamic culture, the Ayyubid rulers who reigned in the late 12th-century were far removed from their Kurdish origins, and unlike their Seljuq predecessors and their Mamluk successors, they were firmly "Arabized." Arabic culture and language formed the main component of their identity instead of their Kurdish heritage. Arabic surnames were much more prevalent among the Ayyubids, a tribe that had already been partially assimilated into the Arabic-speaking world before its members came to power, than non-Arabic names. Some exceptions included the non-Arabic surname ''
Turan-Shah Shams ad-Din Turanshah ibn Ayyub al-Malik al-Mu'azzam Shams ad-Dawla Fakhr ad-Din known simply as Turanshah ( ar, توران شاه بن أيوب) (died 27 June 1180) was the Ayyubid dynasty, Ayyubid emir (prince) of History of Yemen#Medieval histo ...
.'' Most of the Ayyubid rulers spoke fluent Arabic and a number of them, such as az-Zahir Ghazi, Al-Mu'azzam, al-Mu'azzam Isa and the minor emirs of Hama, composed Arabic poetry. Kurds and Turks dominated the cavalry and nomadic Turkmen people, Turcomans and Arabs filling the ranks of the infantry. These groups typically settled in the pastoral areas outside of the cities, the centers of cultural life, and as such they were relatively isolated from the Arabic-dominant urban environment. This isolation allowed them to preserve their traditions. Like their Fatimid predecessors, the Ayyubid rulers of Egypt maintained a substantial force of ''mamluks'' (military slaves). By the first half of the 13th century ''mamluks'' were mostly drawn from Kipchaks, Kipchak Turks and Circassians and there is strong evidence that these forces continued to speak Kipchak language, Kipchak Turkish. The majority of Syria's population in the 12th century consisted of
Sunni Muslim Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, ...
s, typically from Arab or Kurdish backgrounds. There were also sizable Muslim communities of Twelver Shias, Druzes, and Alawites. The Ismaili presence was small and most were of Persian people, Persian origin, having migrated from Alamut. They mostly resided in the mountainous area near the northern Syrian coastline. Large Christian communities existed in northern Syria, Palestine, Transjordan and Upper Mesopotamia. They were Aramaic language, Aramaic-speaking and indigenous to the area, mostly belonging to the Syriac Orthodox Church. They lived in villages of Christian or mixed Christian and Muslim population, monasteries, and in small towns where they appear to have been on friendly terms with their Muslim neighbors. Ideologically, they were led by the Patriarch of Antioch. In Yemen and Hadramaut, much of the population adhered to Shia Islam in its Zaydi form. The inhabitants of Upper Mesopotamia were made up of Sunni Muslim Kurds and Turks, although there was a significant Yazidi minority in that region as well. Jews were spread throughout the
Islamic world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodne ...
and most Ayyubid cities had Jewish communities due to the important roles Jews played in trade, manufacture, finance, and medicine. In Yemen and some parts of Syria, Jews also lived in rural towns. The Ayyubid ''emir'' of Yemen in 1197–1202, al-Malik Mu'izz Isma'il, attempted to forcibly convert the Jews of Aden, but this process ceased after his death in 1202. Within the Jewish community, particularly in Egypt and Palestine, there existed a minority of Karaite Judaism, Karaites. In Egypt, there were large communities of Coptic Christians, Melkites, Turks, Armenians, and Black Africans—the latter two groups had a large presence in
Upper Egypt Upper Egypt ( ar, صعيد مصر ', shortened to , , locally: ; ) is the southern portion of Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries lo ...
. Under the Fatimids, non-Muslims in Egypt generally prospered, with the exception of Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, al-Hakim's reign. However, with Shirkuh's ascendancy to the vizier position, a number edicts were enacted against the non-Muslim population. With the advent of the Syrian expeditionary force (consisting of Oghuz Turks and Kurds) into Egypt, waves of maltreatment of minorities occurred, irrespective of religion. These incidents occurred while Shirkuh and Saladin were viziers to the Fatimid caliph. At the beginning of Saladin's reign as sultan in Egypt, upon the encouragement of his adviser, Qadi al-Fadil, Christians were prohibited from employment in the fiscal administration, but various Ayyubid emirs continued to allow Christians to serve in their posts. A number of other regulations were imposed, including the bans on alcohol consumption, religious processions, and the ringing of church bells. Conversion of formerly high-ranking Christians and their families to Islam took place throughout the early period of Ayyubid rule. According to historian Yaakov Lev, the persecution of non-Muslims had some permanent effects on them, but nonetheless, the effects were local and contained. To manage Mediterranean trade, the Ayyubids permitted Europeans—mainly Italians, but also French people, French and Catalan people, Catalans—to settle in
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic language, Coptic: Rakodī; el, Αλεξάνδρεια ''Alexandria'') is the List of cities and towns in Egypt, third-largest city in Egypt after Cairo and Giza, ...

Alexandria
in large numbers. However, in the aftermath of the Fifth Crusade, 3,000 merchants from the area were arrested or expelled. The Ayyubids generally employed Kurds, Turks, and people from the Caucasus for the higher-ranking posts of the military and bureaucratic fields. Not much is known about the foot soldiers of the Ayyubid army, but the numbers of cavalrymen are known to have fluctuated between 8,500 and 12,000. The cavalry was largely composed of free-born Kurds and Turks whom Ayyubid ''emirs'' and sultans purchased as military slaves or ''mamluks''; in the early days of the Ayyubids, there was also a large contingent of Turkmen people, Turkomans. In addition, there existed Arab auxiliaries, former Fatimid units such as the Nubian people, Nubians, and separate Arab contingents—notably from the Banu Kinanah, Kinaniyya tribe, who were largely devoted to the defense of Egypt. Rivalry between Kurdish and Turkish troops occurred occasionally when leading positions were at stake and towards the end of Ayyubid rule, Turks outnumbered Kurds in the army. Despite their Kurdish background, the sultans remained impartial to both groups.


Population

There is no accurate figure for the population of the various territories under Ayyubid rule. Colin McEvedy and Richard Jones suggest that in the 12th century, Syria had a population of 2.7 million, Palestine and Transjordan had 500,000 inhabitants, and Egypt had a population of under 5 million. Josiah C. Russel states that in this same period there were 2.4 million people in Syria living in 8,300 villages, leaving a population of 230,000–300,000 living in ten cities, eight of which were Muslim cities under Ayyubid control. The largest were Edessa, Mesopotamia, Edessa (pop. 24,000), Damascus (pop. 15,000), Aleppo (pop. 14,000), and Jerusalem (pop. 10,000). Smaller cities included Homs, Hama, Gaza, and Hebron. Russel estimated the Egyptian village population to be 3.3 million in 2,300 villages, a high density for rural populations in the time period. He attributes it to the high productivity of Egyptian soil which allowed for increased agricultural growth. The urban population was much lower, 233,100, consisting of 5.7% of the total Egyptian population. The largest cities were Cairo (pop. 60,000), Alexandria (pop. 30,000), Qus (pop. 25,000), Damietta (pop. 18,000), Fayyum (pop. 13,000), and Bilbeis (pop. 10,000). Numerous smaller cities dotted the Nile River. Among the latter were Damanhur, Asyut, and Tanta. Cities in Egypt were also densely populated, mainly because of greater urbanization and industrialization than elsewhere.


Economy

Having pushed the Crusaders out of most of Syria, the Ayyubids generally adopted a policy of peace with them. The war with the Crusaders did not prevent Muslims under Ayyubid governance from developing good commercial relations with European states. This led to fruitful interaction between both sides in different fields of economic activity, particularly in agriculture and trade. Numerous measures were undertaken by the Ayyubids to increase agricultural production. Canals were dug to facilitate the irrigation of agricultural lands throughout the empire. Cultivation of sugarcane was officially encouraged to meet the great demand of it by both the local inhabitants and the Europeans. Meanwhile, as a result of the Crusades, several new plants were introduced to Europe, including sesame, carob, millet, rice, lemons, melons, apricots, and shallots. The main factor which boosted industry and trade under the Ayyubids was the new interests Europeans developed when they came into contact with the Muslims. Commodities included incense, scents, fragrant oils, and aromatic plants from Arabia and India, as well as ginger, alum, and aloes. Likewise, Europeans developed new tastes in the matter of fashions, clothing, and home furnishing. Rugs, carpets, and tapestries manufactured in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
and Central Asia were introduced to the West through Crusader-Ayyubid interaction. Christian pilgrims visiting Jerusalem returned with Arab reliquaries for the keeping of relics. In addition, eastern works of art in glass, pottery, gold, silver, etc., were highly prized in Europe. The European demand for agricultural products and industrial commodities stimulated maritime activity and international trade to an unprecedented extent. The Ayyubids played a leading role in this as they controlled sea-trade routes which passed through the ports of Yemen and Egypt via the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a North ...

Red Sea
. The trade policy of the Ayyubids placed them in a position of great advantage; although they cooperated with the Republic of Genoa, Genoans and Republic of Venice, Venetians in the Mediterranean Sea, they prevented them from having access to the Red Sea. Thus, they kept the trade of the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
exclusively in their hands. In the Mediterranean trade, the Ayyubids also profited through taxes and commissions levied upon Italians, Italian merchants. Upon the development of international trade, the elementary principles of credit and banking were developed. Both Jewish and Italian merchants had regular banking agents in Syria, who transacted business on behalf of their masters. Bills of exchange were also used by them in their dealings with one another and money was deposited in various banking centers throughout Syria. The encouragement of trade and industry provided the Ayyubid sultans with the funds needed for military expenditure as well as for developmental and everyday lifestyle works. Special attention was made to the economic state of the empire under al-Adil and al-Kamil. The latter maintained a strict control over expenditure; it is said that on his death he left a treasury which was equivalent to the budget of one full year.


Education

Being well-educated themselves, the Ayyubid rulers became munificent patrons of learning and educational activity. Different ''
madrasa Madrasa (, also , ; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental cou ...

madrasa
''-type schools were built by them throughout the empire, not only for education, but also to popularize knowledge of Sunni Islam. According to Ibn Jubayr, under Saladin, Damascus had 30 schools, 100 baths, and a large number of Sufi ''dervish'' monasteries. He also built several schools in Aleppo, Jerusalem, Cairo, Alexandria, and in various cities in the Hejaz. Similarly, many schools were built by his successors also. Their wives and daughters, commanders, and nobles established and financed numerous educational institutions as well. Although the Ayyubids were from the Shafi'i denomination, they built schools for imparting instruction in all four of the Sunni systems of religious-juridical thought. Before the Ayyubid takeover, there were no schools for the Hanbali and Maliki denominations in Syria, but the Ayyubids founded separate schools for them. In the mid-13th century, Baha ad-Din ibn Shaddad, Ibn Shaddad counted in Damascus 40 Shafi'i, 34 Hanafi, 10 Hanbali, and three Maliki schools. When Saladin restored Sunni orthodoxy in Egypt, 10 ''madrasas'' were established in Cairo during his reign, and an additional 25 during the entire Ayyubid period of rule. Each of their locations had religious, political, and economic significance, in particular those in al-Fustat. Most of the schools were dedicated to the Shafi'i denomination, but others belonged to the Maliki and Hanafi ''madhabs''. The ''madrasas'' built near the Mausoleum of Imam al-Shafi'i, tomb of Al-Shafi‘i, Imam al-Shafi'i were located adjacent to the important centers of pilgrimage and were a major focus of Sunni devotion. About 26 schools were built in Egypt, Jerusalem and Damascus by high-ranking government officials, and unusual for the time, commoners also founded in Egypt about 18 schools, including two medical institutions. Most schools were residential whereby both teachers and students resided as a rule. The teachers appointed were jurists, theologians, and traditionalists who received their salary from endowments to the institutions they taught in. Each student was offered a lodging where he would resort, a teacher to instruct him in whatever art he requested, and regular grants to cover all his needs. ''Madrasas'' were considered prestigious institutions in society. Under the Ayyubids, it was not possible to obtain a job in the government without receiving an education from a ''madrasa''.


Science and medicine

The facilities and patronage provided by the Ayyubids led to a resurgence in intellectual activity in different branches of knowledge and learning throughout the territories they controlled. They took special interest in the fields of medicine, pharmacology, and botany. Saladin built and maintained two hospitals in Cairo emulating the well-known Nuri Hospital in Damascus which not only treated patients, but also provided medical schooling. Many scientists and physicians flourished in this period in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. Among them were Maimonides, Ibn Jami, Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi (medieval writer), Abdul Latif al-Baghdadi, al-Dakhwar, Rashidun al-Suri, and Ibn al-Baitar. Some of these scholars served the Ayyubid household directly, becoming the personal physicians of sultans.


Architecture

Military architecture was the supreme expression of the Ayyubid period, as well as an eagerness to fortify the restoration of Sunni Islam, especially in a previously Shia-dominated Egypt by constructing Sunni Islam, Sunni ''madrasas''. The most radical change Saladin implemented in Egypt was the enclosure of Cairo and al-Fustat within one city wall. Some of the techniques of fortification were learned from the Crusaders, such as curtain walls following the natural topography. Many were also inherited from the Fatimids like machicolations and round towers, while other techniques were developed simultaneously by the Ayyubids, particularly concentric planning. Muslim women, particularly those from the Ayyubid family, the families of local governors, and the families of the ''ulema'' ("religious scholars") took an active role in Ayyubid architecture. Damascus witnessed the most sustained patronage of religious architecture by women. They were responsible for the construction of 15 ''madrasas'', six Sufi hospices, and 26 religious and charitable institutions. In Aleppo, the Firdaws Madrasa, known as the most impressive Ayyubid building in Syria, had regent queen Dayfa Khatun as its patron. In September 1183, construction of the Citadel of Cairo, Cairo Citadel began under Saladin's orders. According to
al-Maqrizi Al-Maqrīzī or Makrīzī (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinen ...
, Saladin chose the Mokattam, Muqattam Hills to build the citadel because the air there was fresher than anywhere else in the city, but its construction was not so much determined by the salubrious atmosphere; rather it was out of defensive necessity and example of existing fortresses and citadels in Syria. The walls and towers of the northern section of the citadel are largely the works of Saladin and al-Kamil. Al-Kamil completed the citadel; he strengthened and enlarged some of the existing towers (such as two of Saladin's towers that were enlarged by totally encasing them in semi-circular units), and also added a number of square towers which served as self-contained keeps. According to Richard Yeomans, the most impressive of al-Kamil's structures was the series of massive rectangular keeps which straddled the walls of the northern enclosure. All of al-Kamil's fortifications can be identified by their embossed, rusticated masonry, whereas Saladin's towers have smooth dressed stones. This heavier rustic style became a common feature in other Ayyubid fortifications, and can be seen in the Citadel of Damascus and that of Bosra in Syria. Aleppo underwent major transformations in the Ayyubid period, specifically during the reign of Malik az-Zahir, az-Zahir Ghazi. Ayyubid architectural achievements focused on four areas: the Citadel of Aleppo, citadel, the waterworks, fortifications, and the extramural developments. The total rebuilding of the city enclosure began when az-Zahir Ghazi removed the vallum of Nur ad-Din—which by then outlived its temporary need—and rebuilt the northern and northwestern walls—the most susceptible to outside attack—from Bab al-Jinan to Bab al-Nasr (Aleppo), Bab al-Nasr. He parceled out the building of the towers on this stretch of the wall to his princes and military officers; each tower was identified with a particular prince who inscribed his name into it. Later, az-Zahir Ghazi extended the eastern wall to the south and east, reflecting his desire to incorporate a dilapidated fortress, Qala'at al-Sharif, outside the city into Aleppo's enclosure. Bab Qinnasrin was completely rebuilt by an-Nasir Yusuf in 1256. This gate stands today as a masterpiece of medieval Syrian military architecture. Cumulatively, Ayyubid architecture left a lasting impression in Aleppo. The citadel was rebuilt, the water network was expanded, and streets and quarters were provided fountains and baths. In addition, dozens of shrines, mosques, ''madrasas'', and mausoleums were built throughout the city. The Ayyubid period in Jerusalem following its conquest by Saladin was marked by a huge investment in the construction of houses, markets, public bathes, and pilgrim hostels. Numerous works were undertaken at the Temple Mount. Saladin ordered all the inner walls and pillars of the Dome of the Rock to be covered in marble and he initiated the renovation of the mosaics on the dome's drum. The ''mihrab'' of the al-Aqsa Mosque was repaired and in 1217, al-Mu'azzam Isa built the northern porch of the mosque with three gates. The Dome of the Ascension was also built and restoration work was done to the existing free-standing domes of the Temple Mount.


See also

*List of Ayyubid rulers *List of Kurdish dynasties and countries *List of Sunni Muslim dynasties


References


Bibliography

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Further reading

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External links


Ayyubids DynastyFatimid-era Ayyubid Wall of Cairo Digital Media Archive
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