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Sultan Baybars I and the Georgians—In the Light of New Documents related to the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem

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Throughout the Middle Ages, the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem was a highly symbolic place to Georgians and to their kings. Although the monks were expropriated and their abbot was killed at the end of Sultan Baybars's reign, the Monastery preserved two documents that guaranteed its protection by Mamluk authorities, a court-authenticated testimony and a Sultan's missive. These documents, which were issued before the Monastery was turned into a Sufi convent by Šayh Hadir, shed new light on the complex relations of the Mamluk state with its Christian minorities. The radical change in the Mamluk's attitude towards the Monastery coincided with a rupture in political relations between the Mamluks and Georgian polities in the aftermath of the battle of 'Ayn Gālūt. The Sultan's missive that was addressed to one of his emirs is one of the oldest specimens of Mamluk chancellery. It proves that the Mamluk military ranking system did not yet exist under Sultan Baybars.


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