chapter  3
44 Pages

Laying the foundations: fortification work conducted during the reign of Baybars (1260–77), Qalāwūn (1280–90) and al- Ashraf Khalīl (1290–93)

Ismāʿīlī centers south of the Caspian Sea. It was followed by the sack of Baghdad (1258), the execution of the Caliph and the conquest of the Jazīra (1259). It concluded when the armies crossed the Euphrates into Syria (1260) and advanced into Trans-Jordan and Palestine. is long campaign left behind a trail of destruction, and destabilized the entire region. While the Ayyubids decided to play a passive role, the Armenian king was quick to turn his kingdom into a client state in the early 1240s. e Mamluks refused to bow their heads and surrender. e victory at the battle of ʿAyn-Jālūt did not diminish the threat of Mongol power or strength in the eyes of the Mamluks; it probably gave them a better understanding of Mongol fighting abilities and the nature of the new enemy that was there to stay. e political instability within the newly built Sultanate did not prevent Baybars

from constructing a complex defense that continued to serve the Mamluk sultanate long after his death. As well as fortresses along the frontier a great deal of thought

and funds were invested in fortresses that protected the lines of the barīd,3 trade and pilgrim routes. Mamluk attacks on Armenian territory, the remains of the Crusader kingdom and principalities during the second half of the thirteenth century were almost always concluded with the conquest of a number of strongholds. If it was decided to keep them, reconstruction work began almost immediately. In addition to the reconstruction of fortifications, the field army was strengthened and carefully administrated.4