Baibars or Baybars (Arabic: الملك الظاهر ركن الدين
بيبرس البندقداري, al-Malik al-Ẓāhir Rukn al-Dīn
Baybars al-Bunduqdārī) (1223/1228 – 1 July 1277), of Turkic
Kipchak origin — nicknamed Abu al-Futuh and Abu l-Futuhat (Arabic:
أبو الفتوح; English: Father of Conquest, referring to his
victories) — was the fourth
Sultan of Egypt
Sultan of Egypt in the
dynasty. He was one of the commanders of the Egyptian forces that
inflicted a defeat on the
Seventh Crusade of King Louis IX of France.
He also led the vanguard of the Egyptian army at the Battle of Ain
Jalut in 1260, which marked the first substantial defeat of the
Mongol army and is considered a turning point in history.
The reign of
Baibars marked the start of an age of
Mamluk dominance in
Eastern Mediterranean and solidified the durability of their
military system. He managed to pave the way for the end of the
Crusader presence in the
Levant and reinforced the union of
Syria as the region's pre-eminent Muslim state, able to fend off
threats from both Crusaders and Mongols, and even managed to subdue
the kingdom of Makuria, which was famous for being unconquerable by
previous Muslim empire invasion attempts. As Sultan,
engaged in a combination of diplomacy and military action, allowing
the Mamluks of
Egypt to greatly expand their empire.
2 Early life
3 Rise to power
4 Sultan of Egypt
4.1 Campaign against the Crusaders
4.2 Diplomacy with Golden Horde
4.3 Continued campaign against Crusaders
4.4 Campaign against Makuria
4.5 Campaign against the Mongols
8.1 Military legacy
8.2 Culture and science
9 In fiction
10 See also
12 External links
His name was derived from Kipchak Turkic bay ("chief") + bars
Baibars was a Cuman born in the Dasht-i Kipchak, between the Edil
(Volga) and Yaiyk (Ural) rivers. There is a
discrepancy in Ibn Taghrībirdī's dating of his birth, since he says
it took place in 625 AH (12 December 1227–29 November 1228) and also
Baibars was about 24 years old in 1247, which would put his birth
closer to 1223. He belonged to the Barli tribe. According to a fellow
Cuman and eyewitness, Badr al-Din Baysari, the Barli fled the armies
of the Mongols, arranging to settle in the Second Bulgarian Empire.
They crossed the
Black Sea from either
Crimea or Alania, where they
had settled in the meantime, to Bulgaria about 1242. After a time, the
Bulgarians turned on the
Cumans and attacked them. Baysari and Baibars
were among the captives and were sold into slavery in the Sultanate of
Rum at the slave market in Sīwās. He was sold at
Aleppo to 'Alā’
al-Dīn Īdīkīn al-Bunduqārī, an Egyptian of high rank, who
brought him to Cairo. In 1247, al-Bunduqārī was arrested and the
sultan of Egypt, As-Salih Ayyub, confiscated his slaves, including
Baibars was described as fair-skinned in contrast to the "swarthy"
skin of the native Egyptians, broadfaced with small eyes, very
tall which was typical in both Arabic and European descriptions of
Turkic men, and had a cataract in one of his eyes.
Rise to power
The Mamluks under
Baibars (yellow) fought off the Franks and the
Mongols during the Ninth Crusade.
Baibars was a commander of the Mamluks under the Ayyubids. He may have
been involved in the significant victory of the Egyptian army at the
Battle of La Forbie, east of Gaza in 1244 in the aftermath of the
Sixth Crusade. In around 1250 he defeated the
Seventh Crusade of Louis
IX of France. He was also involved in the Battle of Al Mansurah, where
he employed an ingenious strategy in ordering the opening of a gate to
let the crusader knights enter the town; the crusaders rushed into the
town that they thought was deserted to find themselves trapped inside.
They were besieged from all directions by the Egyptian forces and the
town population, and suffered heavy losses. Robert of Artois, who took
refuge in a house, and William of Salisbury were both killed,
along with most of the Knights Templar. Only five
Baibars was still a commander under Sultan
Qutuz at the Battle of Ain
Jalut in 1260, when he decisively defeated the Mongols. After the
Qutuz (aka Koetoez) was assassinated while on a hunting
expedition. It was said that
Baibars was involved in the assassination
because he expected to be rewarded with the governorship of
his military success, but Qutuz, fearing his ambition, refused to give
him the post.
Qutuz as Sultan of Egypt.
Sultan of Egypt
Baibars had ascended to the Sultanate, his authority was soon
confirmed without any serious resistance, except from Sinjar
Mamluk amir who was popular and powerful enough to
claim Damascus. Also, the threat from the
Mongols was still serious
enough to be considered as a threat to Baibars' authority. However,
Baibars first chose to deal with Sinjar,[clarification needed] and
marched on Damascus. At the same time the princes of
Hama and Homs
proved able to defeat the
Mongols in the First Battle of Homs, which
lifted the Mongol threat for a while. On 17 January 1261, Baibars'
forces were able to rout the troops of Sinjar outside Damascus, and
pursued the attack to the city, where the citizens were loyal to
Sinjar and resisted Baibars, although their resistance was soon
After suppressing the revolt of Sinjar,
Baibars then managed to deal
with the Ayyubids, while quietly eliminating the prince of Kerak.
Ayyubids such as Al-Ashraf Musa, Emir of
Homs and the
Hama (presumably Al-Afdal Muhammad), who had earlier staved
off the Mongol threat, were permitted to continue their rule in
exchange for their recognizing Baibars' authority as Sultan.
Abbasid caliphate in Iraq was overthrown by the
1258 when they conquered and sacked Baghdad, the Sunni Muslim world
lacked a caliph, a theoretically supreme leader who had sometimes used
his office to endow distant Muslim rulers with legitimacy by sending
them writs of investiture. Thus, when the Abbasid refugee Abu al-Qasim
Ahmad, the uncle of the last Abbasid caliph al-Musta‘sim, arrived in
Cairo in 1261,
Baibars had him proclaimed caliph as al-Mustansir II
and duly received investiture as sultan from him. Unfortunately,
al-Mustansir II was killed by the
Mongols during an ill-advised
expedition to recapture Baghdad from the
Mongols later in the same
year. In 1262, another Abbasid, allegedly the great-great-great
grandson of the
Caliph al-Mustarshid, Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad, who had
survived from the defeated expedition, was proclaimed caliph as
al-Hakim I, inaugurating the line of Abbasid caliphs of
continued as long as the
Mamluk sultanate, until 1517. Like his
unfortunate predecessor, al-Hakim I also received the formal oath of
Baibars and provided him with legitimation. While most
of the Muslim world did not take these caliphs seriously, as they were
mere instruments of the sultans, they still lent a certain
legitimation as well as a decorative element to their rule. 
Campaign against the Crusaders
Further information: Siege of Antioch (1268)
Baibars engaged in a lifelong struggle against the Crusader
kingdoms in Syria, in part because the Christians had aided the
Mongols. He started with the Principality of Antioch, which had become
a vassal state of the
Mongols and had participated in attacks against
Islamic targets in
Damascus and Syria. In 1263,
Baibars laid siege to
Acre, the capital of the remnant of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, although
the siege was abandoned when he sacked
Nazareth instead. He used
siege engines to defeat the Crusaders in battles such as the Fall of
Arsuf from March 21 to April 30. After breaking into the town he
offered free passage to the defending Knights Hospitallers if they
surrendered their formidable citadel. The Knights accepted Baibars'
offer but were enslaved anyway.
Baibars razed the castle to the
ground. He next attacked
Athlith and Haifa, where he captured both
towns after destroying the crusaders' resistance, and razed the
In the same year
Baibars laid siege to the fortress of Safad, held by
Templar knights, which had been conquered by
Saladin in 1188 but
returned to the
Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1240.
Baibars promised the
knights safe passage to the Christian town of Acre if they surrendered
their fortress. Badly outnumbered, the knights agreed.On capturing
Baibars did not raze the fortress to the ground but fortified
and repaired it instead, as it was strategically situated and well
constructed. He installed a new governor in Safed, with the rank of
Later, in 1266,
Baibars invaded the Christian country of Cilician
Armenia which, under King Hethum I, had submitted to the Mongol
Empire. After defeating the forces of
Hethum I in the Battle of Mari,
Baibars managed to ravage the three great cities of Mamistra, Adana
and Tarsus, so that when Hetoum arrived with Mongol troops, the
country was already devastated. Hetoum had to negotiate the return of
his son Leo by giving control of Armenia's border fortresses to the
Mamluks. In 1269, Hetoum abdicated in favour of his son and became a
monk, but he died a year later. Leo was left in the awkward
situation of keeping Cilicia as a subject of the Mongol Empire, while
at the same time paying tribute to the Mamluks.
This isolated Antioch and Tripoli, led by Hethum's son-in-law, Prince
Bohemond VI. After successfully conquering Cilicila,
Baibars in 1267
settled his unfinished business with Acre, and continued the
extermination of remaining crusader garrisons in the following years.
In 1268, he besieged Antioch, capturing the city on 18 May. Baibars
had promised to spare the lives of the inhabitants, but he broke his
promise and had the city razed, killing or enslaving much of the
population after the surrender. prompting the fall of the
Principality of Antioch. The massacre of men, women, and children at
Antioch "was the single greatest massacre of the entire crusading
era." Priests had their throats slit inside their churches, and
women were sold into slavery.
Then he continued to Jaffa, which belonged to Guy, the son of John of
Ibelin. Jaffa fell to
Baibars on 7 March after twelve hours of
fighting; most of Jaffa's citizens were slain, but
Baibars allowed the
garrison to go unharmed. After this he conquered
Diplomacy with Golden Horde
In some time around October to November 1267, or about 666 Safar of
Baibars wrote condolences and congratulations to the new
Khan of the Golden Horde, Mengu-Timur, to urge him to fight Abaqa.
Despite the failure to incite infighting between the
Golden Horde and
Baibars continued to conduct warm correspondence with the
Golden Horde, particularly with Mengu Timur's general Noqai, who
unlike Mengu Timur was very cooperative with Baibars. It is theorized
that this intimacy was not only due to the religious connection (as
Noqai was a Muslim, unlike his Khan), but also because Noqai was not
really fond of Mengu-Timur. However,
Baibars was pragmatic in his
approach and did not want to become involved in complicated intrigue
inside the Golden Horde, so instead he stayed close to both Mengu
Timur and Noqai
Continued campaign against Crusaders
Further information: Fall of Krak des Chevaliers
In 1271, after
Baibars captured the smaller castles in the area,
including Chastel Blanc, he besieged Krak des Chevaliers castle, held
by the Hospitallers, on 30 March. Peasants who lived in the area had
fled to the castle for safety and were kept in the outer ward. As soon
Baibars arrived he began erecting mangonels, powerful siege weapons
which he would turn on the castle. According to Ibn Shaddad, two days
later the first line of defences was captured by the besiegers; he was
probably referring to a walled suburb outside the castle's
entrance. After a lull of ten days, the besiegers conveyed a
letter to the garrison, supposedly from the Grand Master of the
Hospitaller in Tripoli, which granted permission for them to
surrender. The garrison capitulated and the Sultan spared their
lives. The new owners of the castle undertook repairs, focused
mainly on the outer ward. The
Hospitaller chapel was converted to
a mosque and two mihrabs were added to the interior.
Baibars then turned his attention to Tripoli, but he interrupted his
siege there to call a truce in May 1271. The fall of Antioch had led
to the brief Ninth Crusade, led by Prince Edward of England, who
arrived in Acre in May 1271 and attempted to ally himself with the
Mongols against Baibars. So
Baibars declared a truce with Tripoli, as
well as with Edward, who was never able to capture any territory from
Baibars anyway. According to some reports,
Baibars tried to have
Edward assassinated with poison, but Edward survived the attempt and
returned home in 1272.
Campaign against Makuria
Further information: Kingdom of
Makuria § Decline
In 1272 the
Mamluk Sultan invaded the Kingdom of Makuria, after its
King David I had raided the Egyptian city of Aidhab, initiating
several decades of intervention by the Mamlukes in Nubian affairs.
Hostilities toward the dying Christian kingdom were sidelined as
Baibars' invasion of
Makuria continued for four years until, by 1276,
Baibars had completed his conquest of Nubia, Including the Medieval
Nubia which ruled by Banu Kanz. Under the terms of settlement,
the Nubians were now subjected to paying jizya tribute, and in return
they were allowed to keep their religion, being protected under
Islamic law as 'People of the Book'; they were also allowed to
continue being governed by a king from the native royal family,
although this king was chosen personally by Baibars, namely a Makurian
noble named Shakanda. In practice this was reducing
Makuria to a
vassal kingdom, effectively ending Makuria's status as an
Campaign against the Mongols
Baibars invaded the Seljuq Sultanate of Rûm, then controlled
Ilkhanate Mongols. He defeated a Mongol army at the Battle of
Elbistan and captured the city of Kayseri.
Baibars himself went with a
few troops to deal with the Mongol right flank that was pounding his
Baibars ordered a force from the army from
reinforce his left. The large
Mamluk numbers were able to overwhelm
the Mongol force, who instead of retreating dismounted from their
Mongols were able to escape and took up positions on the
hills. Once they became surrounded they once again dismounted, and
fought to the death. During the celebration of victory,
Baybars said that "How can I be happy. Before I had thought that I and
my servants would defeat the Mongols, but my left wing was beaten by
them. Only Allah helped us".
The possibility of a new Mongol army convinced
Baibars to return to
Syria, since he was far away from his bases and supply line. As the
Mamluk army returned to
Syria the commander of the
Izz al-Din Aybeg al-Shaykhi, deserted to the Mongols.
Pervâne sent a
Baibars asking him to delay his departure.
him for not aiding him during the Battle of Elbistan.
Baibars told him
he was leaving for Sivas to mislead
Pervâne and the
Mongols as to his
Baibars also sent Taybars al-Waziri with a force to
raid the Armenian town of al-Rummana, whose inhabitants had
hidden[clarification needed] the
Baibars died in
Damascus on 1 July 1277. His demise has been the
subject of some academic speculation. Many sources agree that he died
from drinking poisoned kumis that was intended for someone else. Other
accounts suggest that he may have died from a wound while campaigning,
or from illness. He was buried in the
Az-Zahiriyah Library in
Baibars married several women and had seven daughters and three sons.
Two of his sons, al-Said Barakah and Solamish, became sultans.
the lion passant was the heraldic blazon of
Baibars from 1260
As the first Sultan of the Bahri
Baibars made the
meritocratic ascent up the ranks of
Mamluk society. He took final
control after the assassination of Sultan Sayf al Din Qutuz, but
before he became Sultan he was the commander of the
Mamluk forces in
the most important battle of the Middle Ages, repelling a Mongol force
at the legendary
Battle of Ain Jalut
Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260. Although in the
Muslim world he has been considered a national hero for centuries, and
Kazakhstan is still regarded as such, Sultan
Baibars was reviled in the Christian world of the time for his
seemingly unending victorious campaigns. A
Templar knight who fought
Seventh Crusade lamented:
Rage and sorrow are seated in my heart...so firmly that I scarce dare
to stay alive. It seems that God wishes to support the Turks to our
loss...ah, lord God...alas, the realm of the East has lost so much
that it will never be able to rise up again. They will make a Mosque
of Holy Mary's convent, and since the theft pleases her Son, who
should weep at this, we are forced to comply as well...Anyone who
wishes to fight the Turks is mad, for
Jesus Christ does not fight them
any more. They have conquered, they will conquer. For every day they
drive us down, knowing that God, who was awake, sleeps now, and
Muhammad waxes powerful.
Baibars also played an important role in bringing the
Islam. He developed strong ties with the
Mongols of the Golden Horde
and took steps for the
Mongols to travel to Egypt. The
arrival of the Mongol's
Golden Horde to
Egypt resulted in a
significant number of
Mongols accepting Islam.
Further information: Seventh Crusade, Ninth Crusade, and Battle of Ain
Baibars was a popular ruler in the Muslim World who had defeated the
crusaders in three campaigns, and the
Mongols in the Battle of Ain
Jalut which many scholars deem of great macro-historical importance.
In order to support his military campaigns,
arsenals, warships and cargo vessels. He was also arguably the first
to employ explosive hand cannons in war, at the Battle of Ain
Jalut. His military campaign also extended into
Culture and science
Islam and cats
He was also an efficient administrator who took interest in building
various infrastructure projects, such as a mounted message relay
system capable of delivery from
Damascus in four days. He
built bridges, irrigation and shipping canals, improved the harbours,
and built mosques. He was a patron of Islamic science, such as his
support for the medical research of his Arab physician, Ibn
al-Nafis. As a testament of a special relationship between Islam
Baibars left a cat garden in
Cairo as a waqf, providing the
Cairo with food and shelter. Its legacy of domesticated
Cairo is still seen to this day.
His memoirs were recorded in
Sirat al-Zahir Baibars ("Life of al-Zahir
Baibars"), a popular Arabic romance recording his battles and
achievements. He has a heroic status in Kazakhstan, as well as in
Egypt and Syria.
Al-Madrassa al-Zahiriyya is the school built adjacent to his Mausoleum
in Damascus. The
Az-Zahiriyah library has a wealth of manuscripts in
various branches of knowledge to this day. The library and Mausoleum
are being reconstructed by a
Kazakhstan government fund.[citation
In 2009, a copy of Sultan Beibars' Mausoleum in
Damascus was to be
built in Kazakhstan.
Baibars figures prominently in the story "The Sowers of the Thunder"
by Robert E. Howard. While liberties are taken with history for the
sake of the tale, and many characters and events are purely imaginary,
his character is fairly close to the folkloric depiction and the
general flow of history is respected.
Baibars is the main character of a novel "Yemshan" by Russian-Kazakh
writer Moris Simashko (Moris Davidovich Shamas)
Baibars is one of the main characters of Robyn Young's books, Brethren
(starting shortly before he becomes Sultan) and Crusade.
Baibars is the main character of Jefferson Cooper's (Gardner Fox) 1957
novel, The Swordsman
According to Harold Lamb, Haroun of Baghdad in the Arabian Nights was
Baibars of Cairo.
Baibars is one of the central characters in Lebanese- American author
Rabih Alameddine's The Hakawati.
Baibars is one of the characters in
The Children of the Grail books by
Sultan Beybars – movie shot in 1989 by Kazakh National Cinema Studio
"Kazakh Film" Султан Бейбарс —
художественный телефильм 1989 года
Qahira ka Qaher (A Warrior of Egypt) Real biography of Sultan, written
by historian Muazam Javed Bukhari
Baibars is a central character in "The Saracen" – Novel by Robert
Shea, 1989 Historic Fiction.
Mosque of al-Zahir Baybars
Sirat al-Zahir Baibars
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Hospitaller and one
‘contemptible person’ escaped. Matthew Paris, LOUIS IX`S CRUSADE,
p. 14/ Vol. 5.
^ The story of the involvement of
Baibars in the assassination was
told by different historians in different ways. In one account the
Qutuz while he was giving a hand to Baibars
Al-Maqrizi and Ibn-Taghri). In another, from an
Ayyubid source, Qutuz
was giving a hand to someone when
Baibars struck his back with a sword
(Abu-Al-Fida). A third account mentioned that
Baibars tried to help
Qutuz against the assassins (O. Hassan). According to Al-Maqrizi, the
Emirs who struck
Qutuz were Badr ad-Din Baktut, Emir Ons, and Emir
Bahadir al-Mu'izzi. (Al-Maqrizi, p.519/vol.1)
^ MacHenry, Robert. The New Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia
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^ Dalrymple, William (3 April 1989). "In Xanadu". Penguin Books India.
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^ Rodney Stark, 'God's Battalions', 2009, p. 230
^ The Crusaders in the East quoting El-Aini ii. 220; Makrizi i, ii. 8.
1987. p. 338.
^ The Crusaders in the East quoting El-Aini ii. 220; Makrizi i, ii. 8.
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^ Winter, Michael; Levanoni, Amalia (3 April 2018). "The Mamluks in
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^ Bournotian, A Concise History of the Armenian People, p. 101
^ Hudson Institute > American Outlook > American Outlook Article
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^ King 1949, p. 91
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^ a b Ibn Taghri, Al-Zahir Baibars
^ Al-Maqrizi,p. 99/vol.2
^ Reuven Amitai Press,
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^ Young, Robyn (2007). Crusade. Dutton. p. 484.
^ Zahiriyya Madrasa and Mausoleum of Sultan al-Zahir Baybars Archived
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^ 100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present. Paul K.
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^ The preaching of Islam: a history of the propagation of the Muslim
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^ Ahmad Y Hassan, Gunpowder Composition for Rockets and Cannon in
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Cadet branch of the
Born: 19 July 1223 Died: 1 July 1277
Saif ad-Din Qutuz
Sultan of Egypt
Sultan of Egypt and Syria
24 October 1260 – 1 July 1277
Mamluk Sultans of Cairo
Nur ad-Din Ali (1257–1259)
Rukn ad-Din Baybars (1260–1277)
Nasir ad-Din Barakah (1277–1279)
Badr ad-Din Salamish (1279)
Sayf ad-Din Qalawun (1279–1290)
Salah ad-Din Khalil (1290–1293)
Zayn ad-Din Kitbugha (1294–1296)
Rukn ad-Din Baybars al-Jashnakir (1309–1310)
Sayf ad-Din Abu Bakr (1341)
Ala'a ad-Din Kujuk (1341–1342)
Shihab ad-Din Ahmad (1342)
Imad ad-Din Abu'l Fida Isma'il (1342–1345)
Sayf ad-Din Sha'ban (1345–1346)
Sayf ad-Din Hajji (1346–1347)
Badr ad-Din Hasan (1347–1351)
Salah ad-Din Salih (1351–1354)
Badr ad-Din Hasan (1354–1361)
Zayn ad-Din Sha'ban (1363–1377)
Ala'a ad-Din Ali (1377–1381)
Salah ad-Din Hajji (1381–1382)
Sayf ad-Din Hajji (1389–1390)
Nasir ad-Din Faraj (1399–1405)
Izz ad-Din Abd al-Aziz (1405)
Nasir ad-Din Faraj (1405–1412)
Al-Musta'in Billah (1412)
Shaykh al-Mahmudi (1412–1421)
Sayf ad-Din Tatar (1421)
Jamal ad-Din Abu al-Mahasin Yusuf (1438)
Sayf ad-Din Jaqmaq (1438–1453)
Fakhr ad-Din Uthman (1453)
Sayf ad-Din Inal
Sayf ad-Din Inal (1453–1461)
Shihab ad-Din Ahmad (1461)
Sayf ad-Din Khushqadam (1461–1467)
Sayf ad-Din Yalbay (1467)
Sayf ad-Din Qa'itbay (1468–1496)
Abu Sa'id Qansuh (1498–1500)
Abu al-Nasir Janbalat (1500–1501)
Sayf ad-Din Tumanbay (1501)
Qansuh al-Ghawri (1501–1516)
Tumanbay II (1516–1517)
ISNI: 0000 0001 0598 1299