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12 Ghazan Khan’s Invasion of Syria. Polemics on his Conversion to Islam and the Christian Troops in His Army

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyses the religious arguments that pepper two documents issued by Ghazan Khan on the occasion of his two first incursions into Syria. The Ilkhan, through a subtle Islamic religious argument, justifies his attempts to conquer Syria and treats the Mamluk sultan al-Malik al-Nāṣir Muḥammad as his subordinate. The latters's answer argues away all religious arguments in a "counter-argumentation". The first document is the text of Ghazan Khan's amān sparing the lives of the population of Damascus. The second document is the text of a letter sent by Ghazan Khan to sultan al-Malik al-Nāṣir Muḥammad. Ghazan Khan's emphasis on the obligation to protect non-Muslims was probably intended to attract the Christian populations of Bilād al-Shām to his cause. In both versions of Ghazan Khan's letter to al-Malik al-Nāṣir Muḥammad, his desire to have the Mamluk regime submit to Ilkhanid rule is evident.

Keywords: al-Malik al-Nāṣir Muḥammad; amān; Ghazan Khan; Ilkhan; Islamic religious argument; Mamluk regime; non-Muslims; Syria



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