Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


This is coolbert:

Here is another example of how "outsiders" can not only become influential in a society they have been brought to, but actually can become the dominant force and rulers.

Another military "caste".

The Mamelukes.

"White slaves" of the Muslims.

[for some reason, there is a lot of interest in the fact that Muslims historically kept persons as slaves who are categorized as "white". "White" women taken as wives or concubines or "white" men taken as mameluke slaves seems to arouse a curiosity in a lot of people.]

Young men, teens or boys, who were either taken as slaves by Islamic slave raiders, or were sold by their impoverished families.

Mostly of what is called Circassian origin. Persons from the area around the Black Sea.

Boys and young men who were enslaved [the name mameluke means "owned"] and trained as soldiers to be the "shock troops" of their ruler.

As soldiers, were highly trained and highly successful. At Ain Jalut, the Mamelukes dealt the hitherto invincible Mongols a defeat that stalled decisively the Mongol advance into the Middle East and further west.

Became so powerful, that they were able to become the rulers themselves. They DID possess the power to take over the reins of government and DID so.

Established rule that lasted from the time of the Crusades until the time of Napoleon. Napoleon was so impressed with the fighting abilities of the Mameluke cavalry that he created such a fighting unit in his own army.

A caste system sometimes has a result that works and then sometimes has a result that is unanticipated. I am sure that the various Sultans, sheiks, etc., NEVER suspected that these slave "outsiders" someday would become the rulers and take over their thrones. But they did.

It seems to that the Mameluke tradition has not entirely died off with time. The Jordanian royal family is guarded by Circassian bodyguards, persons who still wear the ancient uniform and headdress.

[Lawrence of Arabia was able to pass himself off as a Circassian during the Arab revolt in the desert during World War One. When captured by the Turks, this guise served him well. HE WAS NOT found out to be English.]



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