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9 Hülegü’s Letters to the Last Ayyubid Ruler of Syria. The Construction of a Model

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyses Hülegü's "letters" to al-Malik al-Nāṣir Yūsuf, the Ayyubid prince of Damascus and Aleppo. Al-Malik al-Nāṣir, incapable of taking a clear stance towards Hülegü, took fright at the news that Mongol troops were advancing into Syria. The Persian "Transmission 1" clearly became a model for this epistolary genre. The letter's fame is evidenced by its having been copied, with some changes, in collections of documents. The "letters", as variously transmitted, reflect Mongol political ideology: the obligation upon all peoples to submit to the line of Genghis Khan, bearer of the mandate of Eternal Heaven. Hülegü's letters to the Ayyubid prince al-Malik al-Nāṣir were the starting point of a long tradition of exchanges of embassies and diplomatic correspondence between the Ilkhans and the Mamluks that would continue after the Ayyubids had disappeared from Syria-Palestine.

Keywords: al-Malik al-Nāṣir Yūsuf; Eternal Heaven; Genghis Khan; Hülegü's letters; Ilkhans; Mamluks; Mongol troops; Syria; Transmission 1



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