Post-classical history

Būrī (1085-1132)

Tāj al-Mulûk Bûri was ruler of Damascus (mod. Dimashq, Syria) and southern Syria (1128-1132).

When Bûri succeeded his father Tughtigin at the age of forty-three, he enjoyed great political and military experience, having acted as deputy to his father and commander of the Damascene army in numerous military campaigns. In 1101 he was sent by his father to relieve the coastal town of Jabala, a dominion of Muslim Tripoli (1101), which was under attack by the Genoese. In 1112 Bûritook over the government of Tyre (mod. Soûr, Lebanon) from the Egyptians, who could not hold it against Baldwin I of Jerusalem. Bûri’s swift actions kept Tyre out of Frankish possession until 1124.

Bûri’s four-year rule was characterized by struggles against the Franks, Zangī of Mosul, and the Ismā‘īlī Assassins. Bûri managed to put down a plot by his vizier, al-Maz- daqanī, who had conspired to hand Damascus to King Baldwin II of Jerusalem with the help of the Assassins (August 1129). Having discovered the conspiracy, Bûri executed his vizier and carried out a great massacre of the Ismā‘īlīs in Damascus. Their leader fled to Jerusalem and turned the town of Banyas over to Baldwin II. Determined to capture Damascus, Baldwin II invaded Damascene territory with his troops and Western crusaders in November 1129. Bûri’s troops heavily defeated a Frankish division led by William of Bures on 6 December 1129, and the rest of the Christians abandoned the campaign.

The Ismā‘īlīs tried to murder Bûri in May 1131 in revenge for the earlier massacre. For seven months he struggled with a fatal wound, and nominated his eldest son Ismā‘īl as ruler. Bûri died on 6 June 1132, having successfully warded off the first crusader attempt to capture Damascus.

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