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A broken mirror: the Kıpçak world in the thirteenth century by Dimitri Korobeinikov

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Chapter Summary

It is difficult to say whether, and to what extent, the Turkic society in Egypt mirrored the ethnic and tribal structures of the Dasht-i Kipçak. The reluctance of the Arabic chroniclers to name the Mamlūks 'Kipçaks' speaks for itself. The Kipçak dominance of the early Mamlūk society had fortunate repercussions for historians of Dasht-i Kipçak. For the Cuman slaves brought with them stories about their former homeland. This chapter, among other things, attempts to reconstruct the early life of the future sultan Beybars, specifically the period before his enslavement as a Cuman young man. No one seems to know the ethnic identity of the Armeno-Kipçak people: as the acts were written in Armenian characters, and were, mainly, translations of Armenian sources, one may suggest that the speakers were either Armenians who had adopted the Kipçak language, or Kipçaks who had turned Armenian - a broken mirror.

Keywords: Armeno-Kipçak people; broken mirror; Dasht-i Kipçak; early Mamlūk society



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