The Climate Coup: An Examination of Mamluk Ascendancy in the Ayyubid period in Relation to the Medieval Climate Anomaly

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Ben Wong


The organisation, institutionalisation and political rise of slave soldiers is traced through the history of the Muslim world and represents a recurring theme in Muslim rulers’ attempts to wrest and consolidate power from the other political elite in the region.  The rise of the Mamluks and the associated fall of the Ayyubid dynasty are byproducts associated with adverse and favourable climate patterns at the time. Ayyubid reign (1171-1260) directly coincided with the period called the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) (900-1300), which was responsible for the varying environmental conditions under examination. A nuanced analysis of Turkic nomadic lifestyle as well as the authority held by the mamluk emirs in the Ayyubid period in relation to the MCA will ultimately clarify the conditions associated with mamluk ascent to power.

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Working Paper