Post-classical history



Abu Bakr ibn al-Dawadari was the son of a Mamluk military and administrative official and himself served in the military, although as a member of the awlad al-nas he is unlikely to have risen to a high rank. He also wrote several historical works. The following account of the Battle of ‘Ayn Jalut is drawn from his abridged universal chronicle, Kanz al-Durar wa-Jami‘ al-Ghurar (The Treasure of Pearls and the Collector of the Best Parts), which he wrote between 1309 and 1336. Ibn al-Dawadari’s claim that Baybars lured the Mongols to ‘Ayn Jalut is probably a fabrication (Amitai-Preiss, 1995: 40–1).

The departure of the sultan al-Malik al-Muzaffar [Qutuz] with his army from the lands of Egypt to face the Tatars [Mongols] took place on Monday 15 Sha‘ban (658, 26 July 1260). Hülegü had prepared the armies of the Mongols, who were led by Ket-Buqa Noyan. The latter descended on Homs, and when it reached him that the sultan al-Muzaffar had arrived at Marj ‘Akka he rode away from Homs and turned so that he would come to the Jordan Valley. Al-Muzaffar sent the emir Rukn al-Din Baybars al-Bunduqdari with a number of seasoned cavalry as an advance guard to stab and strike [at the enemy]. When [Baybars’] eyes fell upon [the Mongols] he sent word to the sultan. Then he seized the opportunity to engage in a skirmish with them, so that he could be credited with good deeds by God (be He exalted) and Islam, and so that the impact [of the enemy] might be reduced in the eyes of the troops coming upon them. He met them anew and lured them to destruction, he turned to attack them and advanced ahead of them, until they reached ‘Ayn Jalut. On Friday 25 Ramadan the Sublime (3 September) the two armies met in battle, and swords and spearheads engaged in striking and stabbing. The brave stood firm and the cowardly fled, the misfortune of calamity came upon the blaspheming idol-worshippers, and God gave victory to the bearers of the Qur’an. The infidel Tatars were put to flight, sharp blades severed their necks, and they were scattered throughout the land. The Muslims rode in hot pursuit, capturing and killing, until that satisfied [the carrion-eating appetites of] the wild beasts of the waterless deserts. Their cursed leader, Ket-Buqa Noyan, was killed, and the evil-doing people were eradicated. Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds!

Source: Abu Bakr ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Dawadari. (1971) Kanz al-Durar wa-Jami‘ al-Ghurar. Vol. 8. Ed. Ulrich Haarmann. Cairo: al-Ma‘had al-Almani li-l-Athar, pp. 49–50.

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