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10 Legitimizing a Low-Born, Regicide Monarch. Baybars and the Ilkhans

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses an alliance of Baybars and Berke Khan against their mutual enemy, the Ilkhans. Baybars presents himself as a tool of God and compares himself with victorious David fighting Goliath: the structure gains the quality of official propaganda for the sultan. From the beginning of his reign, Baybars presented himself as the heroic saviour who had delivered the Muslims from the danger to Islam that the infidel Mongols represented. The monuments on which Baybars' inscriptions appear are symbols commemorating his warlike feats against the Franks and Mongols. Baybars also sought to link himself symbolically to the great figures who had carried Islam out of the Arabian peninsula. The regicide of his former master's natural heir was another memory that Baybars sought to purge, here claiming Ayyubid legitimacy by keeping in his inscriptions the nisba al-Ṣāliḥi that linked him to the Ayyubid sultan.

Keywords: Ayyubid legitimacy; Baybars; Berke Khan; Franks; Ilkhans; Islam; Mongols; regicide



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