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Patronage and Commerce at the Twilight of Mamlūk Rule: Two New Fifteenth Century Inscriptions from the Amuq Plain, Turkey

Issue: Vol 1 No. 1 (2014)

Journal: Journal of Islamic Archaeology

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/jia.v1i1.55


In the last fifty years of Mamluk rule, sultans actively engaged in commerce, warfare, and diplomacy in their northern regions of Syria and Anatolia with the Ottomans, Aqquyunlu, and Dulgadir and Qaraman beyliks. However, scholarship in general neglects the thirty-year period between Barsbāy and Qā’itbāy (1438–1468) or charts it as a period of decline. Further, aside from textual accounts, there is little material evidence pointing to the nature of interaction: commercial, military, or otherwise. This paper will present two unpublished inscriptions and argue that there is some evidence for Mamluk development and patronage on the frontier. The inscriptions, found in a village or small town in the Amuq Plain near Antakya in the Hatay Province of Turkey, bear the name of two fifteenth-century Mamluk sultans. The inscriptions’ words, location, and context introduce wider evidence of Mamluk sultans as patrons in developing commercial routes and khāns and encouraging movement in general across northern Syria. This patronage occurred at a time when the dynamics of political power were fluctuating in surrounding southern Anatolia as they were in Egypt.

Author: Asa Eger

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