Post-classical history

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Document 19 QALAWUN’S TREATY WITH THE LADY OF TYRE, 1285

As indicated previously, despite their vigorous prosecution of the military jihad against the Franks, the Mamluks also made periodic treaties and peace agreements with them as circumstances dictated. The following extracts are drawn from a treaty made by Qalawun with Margaret, the Lady of Tyre, in 1285. The text of the treaty is found in a biography of Qalawun written by the head of his royal chancery, Ibn ‘Abd al-Zahir (d. 1293), entitled Tashrif al-Ayyam wa-l-‘Usur fi Sirat al-Malik al-Mansur(The Honouring of Days and Ages concerning the Biography of al-Malik al-Mansur [Qalawun’s regnal title: the King Aided by God]). For a fuller discussion of this treaty, including a translation of the complete text, see P.M. Holt, Early Mamluk Diplomacy(1995), pp. 106–17.

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate: The blessed peace agreement has been established between our lord, the sultan al-Malik al-Mansur [Qalawun], Sayf al-Dunya wa-l-Din (Sword of the World and the Faith), sultan of Islam and the Muslims, partner of the Commander of the Faithful [the caliph], [two of Qalawun’s sons are then specified], and the sublime ruler, Dame Margaret, daughter of Sir Henry, son of Prince Bohemond, ruler of Tyre during the period of the establishment of this truce [Lady Margaret’s representative is also named], for a period of ten years, complete, uninterrupted and consecutive, of which the start is Thursday, 14 Jumada I 684 (18 July 1285) […] and the end is 14 Jumada I 694 (1 April 1295).

Regarding all the Islamic lands within the sovereignty of the lands of our lord the sultan, al-Malik al-Mansur [the precise geographical areas are then specified]: their fortresses, citadels, ports, cities, villages, coasts, harbours and inland areas, both close and distant, plains and mountains, cultivated and abandoned, lowlands and highlands, east and west, Yemen and Hijaz, Bilad al-Sham and Egypt, and the villages, cultivated lands, rivers, mills, towers and gardens included therein, and those people included in these territories, including troops, soldiers and civilians […], staying in them, resident or travelling to, from or within them, merchants and travellers, shall be safe and secure, [in the case of the people] with respect to their selves, goods and livestock.

With regard to the territory of the ruler, Dame Margaret, daughter of Sir Henry, son of Prince Bohemond, specified as being hers in particular and shared in this peace agreement, which is the city of Tyre and the walls and suburbs that surround it as its property […] these suburbs mentioned shall be the property of Tyre […] on the condition that Rashmun, Ma‘shuqa and the garden of al-‘Awja remain lands in the suburbs of Tyre without dwellings or villages.

The treaty then goes on to specify at length which lands around Tyre shall belong to Qalawun, which shall belong to Lady Margaret, and which shall have their incomes shared between them. The treaty then indicates the obligations of each ruler to both the other and their subjects, including the following clauses.

This territory belonging to the ruler of Tyre shall be safe and secure, along with those [living] within it, be they troops, cavalry, infantry, civilians or merchants, with respect to their selves, goods, children and livestock.

When someone from either side is killed, and the killer is found, if the killer is Muslim, the representatives of our lord, the sultan al-Malik al-Mansur (may God aid him), shall judge him according to the requirements of the noble, pure usages of the sultanate, and if he is a Christian from the people of Tyre, the ruler, Dame Margaret, the ruler of Tyre, shall judge him. Each party shall carry out the judgement, in the presence of a representative from the other side, according to what the laws of both sides require.

And on the condition that the ruler, Dame Margaret, the ruler of Tyre, does not begin anew the construction of the citadel, nor the restoration of the wall, nor the digging of a moat, nor anything that will fortify [Tyre], protecting or defending [it]:

And on the condition that our lord the sultan does not give leeway for any of his troops or soldiers, or any of the people of his lands, to seek to gain access into the territory of Tyre specified in this peace agreement to cause injury, damage, theft, hostile action, or treachery on land or sea, nor that any of the troops, soldiers or allies of our lord the sultan undertakes action against the ruler, Dame Margaret, the ruler of Tyre, either against herself, her cavalry or her associates, with the exception of the Isma‘ilis who are under the jurisdiction of our lord the sultan; the sultan has the right to send whomever of them that he wishes to the ruler of Tyre to carry out evil and damage whenever he wishes (this refers to the remnants of the Nizari Assassins, who had come under Mamluk control; as Holt notes, Qalawun backs up the agreement with a threat [Holt, 1995: 116]):

And on the condition that the ruler, Dame Margaret, the ruler of Tyre, shall take on the duty of defending the territory of our lord the sultan, from her side, from any criminal, troublemaker, foreign intruder and the rest of the Franks who seek to gain access from her territory into the lands of our lord the sultan to carry out injury, attack, wickedness or hostile action:

And on the condition that the ruler, Dame Margaret, the ruler of Tyre, does not agree with any of the rest of the Franks on any matter that might cause harm to the territory of our lord the sultan, or damage his territories, people or whomever or whatever is therein, nor aids anyone in that with any sign, written word, advice or message, until the time of the termination of this truce:

She shall have the right to similar treatment from our lord the sultan.

The treaty closes with an indication that it will remain in force for the ten-year period specified even if one of the two parties dies or is deposed.

Source: Muhyi’l-Din ibn ‘Abd al-Zahir. (1961) Tashrif al-Ayyam wa-l-‘Usur fi Sirat al-Malik al-Mansur. Ed. Murad Kamil and Muhammad ‘A. al-Najjar. Cairo: al-Sharika al-‘Arabiyya li-l-Tiba‘a wa-l-Nashr, pp. 103–10.

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