Battle of Al Mansurah

Battle of Al Mansurah

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Al Mansurah

partof=the Seventh Crusade
date=8 February - 11 February 1250
place=Al Mansurah, Egypt
result=Egyptians victory
commander1=Fakhr-ad-Din Yussuf
Faris ad-Din Aktai
commander2=Louis IX
Alphonse de Poitiers
Robert d'Artois
William II Longespée
strength2=started 7th crusade with 80,000 [Shayal, p.95/2]
casualties1= unknown
casualties2=c.1500 [ Al-Maqizi, p.448/vol.1]
The Battle of Al Mansurah was fought from February 8 to February 11 1250 between the Crusaders led by Louis IX, King of France, and Ayyubid forces led by Emir Fakhr-ad-Din Yussuf, Faris ad-Din Aktai and Baibars al-Bunduqdari.


At the end of the first half of the 13th century, the Crusaders became convinced that Egypt, which became Islam's citadel and arsenal [ Toynbee, p.447 ] was an obstacle to their ambition to capture Jerusalem which they had lost for the second time in 1244. In 1245, during the First Council of Lyon, Pope Innocent IV gave his full support to the Seventh Crusade that was being prepared by Louis IX, king of France.

The goals of the Seventh Crusade were to defeat Egypt, destroy the Ayyobid dynasty in Egypt and Syria and capture Jerusalem. To achieve their goals, the crusaders tried to convince the Mongols to be their allies against the Muslims [Runciman, p. 260-263. D. Wilkinson, Paragraph: THE MONGOLS AND THE WEST. See also Franco-Mongol alliance] so that they would be able to encircle and attack the Islamic world from west and east at the same time. The answer of Güyük the great Khan of the Mongols to the pope's envoys was that the pope himself and the kings of Europe should submit to the Mongols. [The message was handed to the pope's Franciscan emissary Giovanni da Pian del Carpine. [ The document is preserved in the Vatican secret archive.] You must say with a sincere heart: "We will be your subjects; we will give you our strength". You must in person come with your kings, all together, without exception, to render us service and pay us homage. Only then will we acknowledge your submission. And if you do not follow the order of God, and go against our orders, we will know you as our enemy." —Letter from Güyük to Pope Innocent IV, 1246. Lord of Joinville, pp.249-259.]

, the son and heir of the dead sultan, to receive the throne and lead the Egyptian army.


By arriving to the canal of Ashmum (known today by the name Albahr Alsaghir) the Crusaders became separated from the Muslims camp by the water of the canal.With the help of a local who showed them canal shoals, the Crusaders, led by Robert d'Artois, crossed the canal along with the Knights Templers and an English contingent led by William of Salisbury and launched a surprise assault against the Egyptian camp in Gideila, two miles (3 km) from Al Mansurah [ [,+Egypt&sll=37.0625,95.677068&sspn=44.47475,108.457031&ie=UTF8&t=h&ll=31.045581,31.382618&spn=0.09442,0.21183&z=13 Gideila and Al Mansurah on map.] ] , and advanced toward the royal palace in Al Mansurah. The leadership of the Egyptian froces passed to the Mamluks Faris Ad-Din Aktai and Baibars al-Buduqdari who succeeded in containing the situation and reorganizing the Muslim forces. This was the first appearance of the Mamluks as supreme commanders inside Egypt [Baibars led the Egyptian army at the Battle of La Forbie east of Gaza in 1244. See also Battle of La Forbie.] . Shajar al-Durr who had the full control over Egypt agreed about the plan of Baibars to defend Al Mansurah [Qasim,p.18] . Baibars orderded the opening of a gate to let the knights of the crusaders enter the town. The crusaders rushed into the town that they thought was deserted to find themselves trapped inside. The crusaders were besieged from all directions by the Egyptian forces and the town population and heavy losses were inflicted upon them. Robert of Artois (brother of Louis IX) who took refuge in a house [Lord of Joinville, 110, part II.] [Asly, p.49.
Skip Knox, Egyptian Counter-attack, The Seventh Crusade.
] and William of Salisbury, were both killed along with most of the Knights Templar. Only five Knights Templers escaped alive. [according to Matthew Paris, Only 2 Templars, 1 Hospitaller and one ‘contemptible person’ escaped. Matthew Paris, LOUIS IX`S CRUSADE.p.147 / Vol. 5. ] The crusaders were forced to retreat to their camp in disorder and surrounded it with a ditch and wall. Early in the morning of February 11, The Muslim forces launched a devastating offensive against the Frankish camp. On February 27, the new sultan Turanshah arrived at Al Mansurah to lead the Egyptian army and the death of as-Salih Ayyub was formally announced in Egypt [ Turanshah did not go to Cairo, he was enthroned in al-Salihiya and went straight to Al Mansurah. - Al-Maqrizi, pp. 449-450/ vol.1.] . Ships were transported overland and dropped in the Nile behind the crusaders ships blocking the reinforcement line from DamiettA. The Egyptians who used Greek fire destroyed and seized many supply vessels and soon the besieged crusaders were suffering from famine and disease. Some crusaders deserted to the Muslim side. [Matthew Paris, LOUIS IX`S CRUSADE.p.108 / Vol. 5.] [Al-Maqrizi, p.446/vol.1 ] Despite the ultimate defeat of his forces and the fact that he was totally besieged, King Louis IX tried to negotiate a deal with the Egyptians offering the surrender of the Egyptian port of Damietta in exchange for Jerusalem and some towns on the Syrian coast. The offer was rejected by the Egyptians and nothing was left for the crusaders except to flee back to Damietta under cover of darkness on April 5, followed by the Muslim forces until they were not able to flee further than Farskur, where they were annihilated and King Louis IX was captured on 6th of April. Meanwhile, the Crusaders were circulating false information in Europe claiming that king Louis IX defeated the Sultan of Egypt in a great battle and Cairo had been betrayed into his hands. [Lord of Joinville, 170, part II.] [False rumours from Egypt: letters from the bishop of Marseille and certain Templars spread the rumour that Cairo and Babylon have been captured and the fleeing Saracens have left Alexandria undefended. - Matthew Paris, note. p. 118 / Vol. 5. LOUIS IX`S CRUSADE 1250.] Later, when the news of the French defeat and the capturing of Louis IX reached France, a rather hysterical movement known by the name Shepherds' Crusade occurred in France. [ Matthæi Parisiensis, pp. 246-253.]


According to medieval Muslim historians, between fifteen and thirty thousand of the French fell on the battlefield and thousands were taken prisoners. [Al-Maqrizi, pp. 455-456/ vol.1
Abu al-Fida, pp.66-87/year 648H.
Ibn Taghri, pp.102-273/ vol.6
] Louis IX of France was captured in the nearby village of Moniat Abdallah (now Meniat el Nasr), chained and confined in the house of Ibrahim I­bn Lokman, the royal chancellor, and under the guard of a eunuch named Sobih al-Moazami [Though Louis IX, a king, was treated well, he was chained and put under the guard of a slave which was not the custom.] . The king's brothers, Charles d'Anjou and Alphonse de Poitiers, were made prisoners at the same time, and carried to the same house with other French nobles. The sultan provided for their subsistence. A camp was set up outside the town to shelter the rest of the prisoners. Louis IX was ransomed for 400,000 dinars. After pledging not to return to Egypt, Louis surrendered DamiettA and left for Acre with his brothers and 12,000 war prisoners who the Egyptians agreed to release [Many prisoners were executed. Al-Maqrizi, p. 455/ vol.1.- Ibn Taghri, pp.102-273/vol.6. - The number 12000 included prisoners from older battles. Al-Maqrizi, p. 460/ vol.1] . His queen, Marguerite de Provence, who meanwhile gave birth to a child who was called Jean Tristan (John Sorrow), and who was suffering from nightmares ["This news [the arrest of her husband Louis] terrified her so much, that every time she fell asleep in her bed, she fancied that her room was all filled with Saracens, and she would scream out, "Help! help!" - ( Lord of Joinville, 201 / Chapter XVII ). ] , left for Acre a few days earlier. [Both Louis IX and his son Jean Tristan died in Tunis in 1270 during the Eighth Crusade,]

The battle of Al Mansurah was a source of inspiration for writers and poets of that time. One of the satiric poems ended with the following verses:"If they ( the Franks ) decide to return to take revenge or to commit a wicked deed, tell them :The house of Ibn Lokman is intact, the chains still there as well as the eunuch Sobih". —from stanza by Jamal ad-Din ibn Matruh. [Al-Maqrizi, p.460/ vol. 1] The name of Al Mansurah (Arabic: "the Victorious") that dates from an earlier period [Al Mansurah was originated by al-Kamil in 1219 as his camp during the siege of Damietta (Fifth Crusade). Skip Knox, Mansourah, The Seventh Crusade. It was named al-Madinah al-Mansurah (the victorious town). Al-Maqrizi, al-Mawaiz wa al-'i'tibar, p. 373/ vol.1 ] was consolidated after this battle. The National Day of Daqahlia Governorate (capital Al Mansurah) on February 8, marks the anniversary of the defeat of Louis IX in 1250. The house of Ibn Lokman, which is now the only museum in Al Mansurah, is open to the public and houses articles that used to belong to the French monarch, including his personal thirteenth century toilet.

Historical consequence

Güyük to Pope Innocent IV.] The Seventh Crusade's defeat in Egypt in 1250 marked a turnpoint for all the existing regional parties. Egypt again proved to be the Islam's citadel and arsenal. Western kings, with exception of Louis IX, lost interest in launching new crusades. The Seventh Crusade was the last major crusade against Egypt and the crusaders never could recapture Jerusalem.

Shortly after the defeat of the Seventh Crusade, The Ayyubid Sultan Turanshah was assassinated at Fariskur and the Mamluks, those who defended Al Mansurah and prevented Louis IX from advancing to Cairo, grabbed power in Egypt ending the Ayyubid rule in that country. The map of power of the southeren and eastern Mediterranean basin became divided among four main dominions. Mamluk Egypt, Ayyubid Syria, Franks of Acre with their Christian strongholds on the Syrian coast and the Levantiane Christian Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. While the Ayyubids of Syria clashed with the Mamluks of Egypt and turned to enemies, the Franks and the Cilician Armenians in addition to the Principality of Antioch formed a western Christan alliance. While the map of power was taking this new shape, the Mongols, who had erupted out of the East some years previously, were expanding their empire westwards.

In 1253, while in Acre, Louis IX sent to the Mongols his emissary, the Franciscan friar William of Rubruck who accompanied him in Egypt during his crusade, but the hoped-for Franco-Mongol alliance never took shape.

ee also

*Berke-Hulagu war
*Battle of Fariskur



*Abu al-Fida, Tarikh Abu al-Fida,The Concise History of Humanity
*Al-Maqrizi, Al Selouk Leme'refatt Dewall al-Melouk, Dar al-kotob, 1997. In English: Bohn, Henry G., The Road to Knowledge of the Return of Kings, Chronicles of the Crusades, AMS Press, 1969.
*Al-Maqrizi, al-Mawaiz wa al-'i'tibar bi dhikr al-khitat wa al-'athar, Matabat aladab, Cairo 1996, ISBN977-241-175X. In French: Bouriant, Urbain , Description topographique et historique de l'Egypte, Paris 1895
*Asly, B., al-Muzafar Qutuz, Dar An-Nafaes Publishing, Beirut 2002, ISBN9953-18-051-2
*Bournoutian, George A., "A Concise History of the Armenian People: From Ancient Times to the Present", Mazda Publishers, 2002
*David Wilkinson, Studying the History of Intercivilizational Dialogues, presented to United nation University, tokyo/Kyoto 2001
*Dawson, Christopher, The Mongol Mission, Shreed and Ward, London 1955
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*Ibn Taghri, al-Nujum al-Zahirah Fi Milook Misr wa al-Qahirah, al-Hay'ah al-Misreyah 1968
*Michaud, Yahia (Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies) Ibn Taymiyya, Textes Spirituels I-XVI 2002
*Qasim,Abdu Qasim Dr., Asr Salatin AlMamlik ( era of the Mamluk Sultans ), Eye for human and social studies, Cairo 2007
*Rachewitz, I, Papal envoys to the Great khans, Faber and faber, London 1971
*Runciman, Steven A history of the Crusades 3. Penguin Books, 1987
*Sadawi. H, Al-Mamalik, Maroof Ikhwan, Alexandria.
*Skip Knox, Dr. E.L., "The Crusades, Seventh Crusade, A college course on the Crusades", 1999
*Shayal, Jamal, Prof. of Islamic history, Tarikh Misr al-isalamiyah ( History of Islamic Egypt), dar al-Maref, Cairo 1266, ISBN 977-02-5975-6
*The chronicles of Matthew Paris ( Matthew Paris: Chronica Majora ) translated by Helen Nicholson 1989
*Matthæi Parisiensis, monachi Sancti Albani, Chronica majora By Matthew Paris, Roger, Henry Richards, Longman & co. 1880.
*The New Encyclopædia Britannica, Macropædia,H.H. Berton Publisher,1973-1974
*The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville, translated by Ethel Wedgwood 1906
*Toynbee, Arnold J., "Mankind and mother earth", Oxford Oniversity Press, 1976

External links

* [,+Egypt&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=44.47475,108.457031&ie=UTF8&t=h&ll=31.045581,31.382618&spn=0.09442,0.21183&z=13 Map of Mansura]

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