Ayyubid dynasty

Ayyubid dynasty

The Ayyubid or Ayyoubid Dynasty was a Muslim dynasty of Kurdish [ [http://www.bartleby.com/65/sa/Saladin.html Saladin. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition] ] origins which ruled Egypt, Syria, Yemen (except for the Northern Mountains), Diyar Bakr, Mecca, Hejaz and northern Iraq in the 12th and 13th centuries. The Ayyubids are also known as Ayoubites, Ayyoubites, Ayoubides or Ayyoubides.


The Ayyubid Dynasty was founded by Saladin (Salah al-Din), who, along with his uncle Shirkuh, conquered Egypt for the Zengid King Nur ad-Din of Damascus in 1169. The name Ayyub comes from Saladin's father and Shirkuh's brother, Najm ad-Din Ayyub. When Shirkuh died, Saladin quickly consolidated power, repelling a Crusader attack on Damietta in 1169 and putting down a revolt of black African soldiers. In 1171, Saladin deposed the last Fatimid Caliph, but he gradually became estranged from his former master, Nur ad-Din.

"Once more Egypt knew an unchallenged master able to organize her resources in men and wealth to make war on the Franks." [Smail, p 34] Already, in 1170, Saladin raided the Crusader districts of Gaza and Darum. The next year he took back Aila on the Gulf of Aqaba from the Kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1171 and 1173, he raided the Transjordan fiefs of Montreal (Shobak) and Kerak.

When Nur ed-Din died in 1174, Saladin declared war against Nur ed-Din's young son, As-Salih Ismail, and seized Damascus. Ismail fled to Aleppo, where he continued to resist Saladin until his murder in 1181. In 1175 and 1176, Saladin seized control of the interior of Syria, except for Aleppo. He even conquered the Jezireh in Northern Iraq, making the Zengids of Mosul and Sinjar and the Artuqids of Mardin and Diyarbakr his vassals. He also achieved control of the Hejaz and Yemen.

In 1177, Saladin turned his energies against the Crusader states again, invading the Kingdom of Jerusalem from the south. Initially unopposed, he carelessly allowed his forces to scatter in search of plunder. Suddenly attacked by King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, he was badly defeated at the Battle of Montgisard. Undeterred, Saladin invaded the Frankish states from the west and won a victory over Baldwin at the Battle of Marj Ayyun in 1179. The following year, he destroyed the newly-built Crusader castle of Chastellet at the Battle of Jacob's Ford. In the campaign of 1182, he sparred with Baldwin again in the inconclusive Battle of Belvoir Castle. Leaving the Crusaders alone for a year after September 1182, Saladin added Aleppo and some cities in Mesopotamia to his dominions. In the fall of 1183 he attacked the Latin kingdom again in the Battle of Ain Tuba'un. [Smail, p 35-36]

Saladin's greatest accomplishment, though, was his decisive defeat of the Crusader states at the Battle of Hattin and conquest of Jerusalem in 1187. By the end of that year he had conquered virtually all of the Kingdom of Jerusalem with the exception of Tyre, which held out under Conrad of Montferrat. Soon, however, Saladin was faced with the arrival of a major crusading effort from western Europe - the Third Crusade - led by the three greatest European rulers of the time, Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, Philip Augustus of France, and Richard the Lionhearted of England. Frederick died "en route", but the remainder of the crusading armies besieged Acre, which they recaptured in 1191. The Crusaders, now under the unified command of Richard, defeated Saladin at the Battle of Arsuf, but were unable to recover the interior. Instead, Richard signed a treaty with Saladin in 1192, restoring the Kingdom of Jerusalem to a coastal strip between Jaffa and Beirut. It was the last major effort of Saladin's career, as he died the next year, in 1193.

Later rulers

Rather than establishing a centralized empire, Saladin had established his relations in hereditary principalities throughout his lands. Thus, Saladin's brother al-Adil ruled in the Jezireh and Transjordan; his brother Toghtekin ruled in Yemen; his nephews ruled in Baalbek and Hamah; and the descendants of Shirkuh ruled in Homs. The rest of the Empire was divided up on Saladin's death among his three sons: al-Afdal, the eldest, held Damascus and was intended to be overlord of the whole; the second, al-Aziz, took Egypt; and a third, az-Zahir, ruled Aleppo.

Soon, however, Saladin's sons fell to squabbling over the division of the Empire. Al-Aziz and az-Zahir refused to recognize their brother's suzerainty. At the same time, the northern vassals of the Ayyubids, the Zengids and Artuqids, attempted to assert their independence and restore Zengid rule in the region. Saladin's wily brother Al-Adil defused these efforts, but the situation remained unstable.

In the meanwhile, relations between al-Aziz and al-Afdal had reached a breaking point. In 1194 al-Aziz invaded Syria and reached Damascus. Al-Afdal called in the aid of his uncle al-Adil, who mediated between the brothers. A settlement was arranged in which Judea would be ceded to al-Aziz and Latakia to az-Zahir, but both would recognize their older brother's suzerainty. This settlement, however, did not last long. In 1195 al-Aziz once again invaded Syria. Al-Adil once again came to al-Afdal's rescue, and al-Aziz was forced to retire to Egypt, but al-Adil prevented his nephew from taking Egypt itself away from al-Aziz. Soon, however, al-Adil abandoned his support for al-Afdal, whose incompetent rule was provoking discontent throughout his lands. He allied with al-Aziz instead, and the two in 1196 captured Damascus and exiled al-Afdal to Salkhad in the Hauran. Al-Aziz was recognized as head of the dynasty, and al-Adil ruled in Damascus.

In November 1198, al-Aziz died in a hunting accident. He was succeeded by his eldest son, al-Mansur, a boy of twelve. Al-Aziz's ministers, worried about the ambitions of al-Adil, summoned al-Afdal to act as Regent of Egypt in the name of his young nephew. Early in the next year, while al-Adil was in the north suppressing an Artuqid rebellion, al-Afdal and az-Zahir came together in alliance against him, and were joined by most of the other Ayyubid princes. Al-Adil quickly returned to Damascus on the approach of his nephews' armies, leaving his eldest son al-Kamil to conduct operations against the Artuqids, but the armies of his enemies were strong enough to besiege their uncle in Damascus for six months. Al-Adil used the time to win over many of the supporters of his nephews, and when al-Kamil finally arrived with a relief army in January 1200, the brothers withdrew. Al-Adil followed up on his victory by invading Egypt, where he persuaded al-Afdal to once again retire to Salkhad. Al-Adil took over the rule of Egypt, but was soon threatened again in the north by az-Zahir, who was once again joined by al-Afdal. Al-Adil was once again able to divide his enemies and eventually secured the submission of all his relations. In the settlement that emerged, by the end of 1201, az-Zahir retained Aleppo, and al-Afdal was given Mayyafaraqin in the north, while the young al-Mansur had to content himself with Edessa. Egypt, Damascus, and most of the Jezireh were under al-Adil's direct control, with three of his sons - al-Kamil, al-Mu'azzam, and al-Ashraf, acting as governor of each, respectively. Al-Adil had thus restored the unity of the Ayyubid Empire.

A similar process repeated at Al-Adil's death in 1218, and at his son Al-Kamil's death in 1238, but the Ayyubid state as a whole remained fairly strong. In 1250 Turanshah, the last Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt, was murdered and replaced by his Mamluk slave-general Aibek, who founded the Bahri dynasty.

The Ayyubids continued to rule Damascus and Aleppo until 1260, when they were driven out by the Mongols, and following the Mongol defeat at Ain Jalut later that year, most of Syria fell to the Mamluks. Local Ayyubid dynasties continued to rule in parts of Syria (most notably Hamah) for another 70 years, until the latter finally absorbed them in 1334.

Ayyubid sultans

Ayyubids of Egypt

* Salah al-Din ibn Al-Ayubbi 1171-1193
* Al-Aziz 1193-1198
* Al-Mansur 1198-1200
* Al-Adil I 1200-1218
* Al-Kamil 1218-1238
* Al-Adil II 1238-1240
* As-Salih Ayyub 1240-1249
* Al-Muazzam Turanshah 1249-1250
* Al-Ashraf II 1250-1250 (nominally, actually the Mamluk Aybak ruled)

Ayyubids of Damascus

* Salah al-Din ibn Al-Ayubbi 1174-1193
* Al-Afdal 1193-1196
* Al-Adil I 1196-1218
* Al-Mu'azzam 1218-1227
* An-Nasir Dawud 1227-1229
* Al-Ashraf 1229-1237
* As-Salih Ismail 1237-1238
* Al-Kamil 1238
* Al-Adil II 1238-1239
* As-Salih Ayyub 1239
* As-Salih Ismail (2nd time) 1239-1245
* As-Salih Ayyub (2nd time) 1245-1249
* Al-Muazzam Turanshah 1249-1250
* An-Nasir Yusuf 1250-1252

Ayyubid Emirs of Aleppo

* Salah al-Din ibn Al Ayubbi 1183-1193
* Az-Zahir 1193-1216
* Al-Aziz 1216-1236
* An-Nasir Yusuf 1236-1260

Ayyubids of Hamah

* Al-Muzaffar I 1178-1191
* Al-Mansur I 1191-1221
* Al-Nasir 1221-1229
* Al-Muzaffar II 1229-1244
* Al-Mansur II 1244-1284
* Al-Muzaffar III 1284-1300
* Al-Muayyad 1310-1331
* Al-Afdal 1331-1342

Ayyubids of Homs

* Al-Qahir 1178-1186
* Al-Mujahid 1186-1240
* Al-Mansur 1240-1246
* Al-Ashraf 1248-1263

Ayyubids of Mayyafariqin

*Saladin 1185-1193
*Al-Adil I 1193-1200
*Al-Awhad 1200-1210
*Al-Ashraf 1210-1220
*Al-Muzaffar 1220-1247
*Al-Kamil 1247-1260

Ayyubids of Sinjar

*Al-Ashraf 1220-1229

Ayyubids of Hisn Kayfa

*As-Salih Ayyub 1232-1239
*Al-Mu'azzam Turanshah 1239-1249
*Al-Awhad 1249-1283
*this line continued into the 16th century

Ayyubids of Yemen

* Al-Mu'azzam Turanshah 1173-1181
* Al-Aziz Tughtegin 1181-1197
* Muizz ud-Din Ismail 1197-1202
* An-Nasir Ayyub 1202-1214
* Al-Muzaffar Sulaiman 1214-1215
* Al-Mas'ud Yusuf 1215-1229

Ayyubid Emirs of Kerak, 1229-1263

*An-Nasir Dawud 1229-1249
*Al-Mughlib 1249-1263


* Smail, R. C. "Crusading Warfare 1097-1193." New York: Barnes & Noble Books, (1956) 1995. ISBN 1-56619-769-4


ee also

* History of Arab Egypt

External links

* [http://www.islamicarchitecture.org/dynasties/ayyubids.html Ayyubids Dynasty]

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