- Taschenbuch: 64 Seiten
- Verlag: Osprey Publishing (18. November 2014)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1782009280
- ISBN-13: 978-1782009283
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 18,4 x 0,5 x 25 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 234.854 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
- Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen
Mamluk 'Askari 1250-1517 (Warrior, Band 173) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 18. November 2014
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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
David Nicolle, born in 1944, worked in the BBC's Arabic service for a number of years before gaining an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and a doctorate from Edinburgh University. He has written numerous books and articles on medieval and Islamic warfare, and has been a prolific author of Osprey titles for many years. The author lives in Leicestershire, UK.
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The chapters are:
-Belief and Belonging p.26
-Appearance and Equipment p.34
-Training and Campaigning p.40
-Experience of Battle p.50
-Collections and Significant Historical Locations p.56
-Further Reading p.56
There are eight art plates scattered through-out:
A- Battler of 'Ayn Jalut (3 September 1260) p.8
B-Arms and Armour of the 13th and 14th Centuries p.16
C-The Amir at Home p.28
D-Horse Harness p.36
E-Horse Armour p.40
F-Arms and Armour of the 15th and Early 16th Centuries p.44
G-Mamluk Cavalry Training, Mid-14th Century p.48
H-The Battle of Khirokitia (7 July 1426) p.54
This volume is a good supplement for anything who had read previous works on the Mamluks, however, and unlike the previous above "Men-at-Arms" title, it does not lend itself much to new readers unfamiliar with the subject, or as an introduction.
There is a good amount of information on Mamluk troop training, and the plates who equipment quite well.
There are some problems with the book though, unusual for an otherwise excellent author:
1-Disorganized: Some of the information and structure of the book seems disorganized. There is jumping around from talking about the Sultan's own troops, and those of the various amirs. Perhaps there should have been sub-chapters on each.
2-Sparsity: There is little on the history of the state or institution or its evolution, or even its battle history. Yet the text is willing to go into their personal habits (drinking and the like). Thus it's not entirely clear what this volume it suppose to be about, the men who made up the Mamluk army, the Mamluk system as a whole, the state and it's evolution?
Nor is there an explanation of how and where the non-Mamluk troops fitted into the over-all Sultanate military system.
3-Lack of elaboration: There are times when text will mention something yet not go into any further detail or explain it.
For example, on p. 22 quotes a European "intelligence report" that states that apparently the over half the the army "are so poor that they can hardly maintain their horses". Yet, their is no follow-up to tell us whether this was true or false, what period of time, or how this relates to the previous/following paragraphs' about Mamluk military strengths and numbers. It's just quotes then left there without comment.
Then there is the starting sentences of the "Training..." chapter p. 40:
"There were clear variations in the standards of training between units, with the current ruler's Khassakiyah being better than the mamluks of the amirs".
But there is no reason for this to be true. An amir could have had more years to train his troops than another amir who became a Sultan. It's not explained or justified.
Over-all this feels more like an addendum than an actual cohesive volume on the Mamluk forces. It's something for students of the Mamluk Sultanate to read for the up-dates and minor additions on what they already read somewhere else. What it does say new/up-date is nothing worth a volume by itself and is scattered all over.
Prof.Nicolle is one of the best writers on the subject, but here he seems to have gathered whatever minor new details published, and threw them in almost haphazardly into this volume.
Perhaps what was needed was a more "ground-up" approach, giving a new introduction to the subject, with the new studies added in, though such a book would be beyond Osprey's slim approach.
While I learned some new details on the Mamluks (some troops figures and arms/armour details from the plates), it was maybe not worth a whole book on (maybe a second "Osprey Men-at-Arms" title, not a "Osprey Warriror" one).
Further, what new it gives is not so great as to disqualify what has been written before.
Better volumes on the Mamluk Sultanate (in various aspects of it) would be:
The Mamluks 1250-1517 (Men-at-Arms)
The Knights of Islam: The Wars of the Mamluks
Soldiers of fortune: The story of the Mamlukes
The Middle East in the Middle Ages: The Early Mamluk Sultanate 1250-1382
Mongols and Mamluks: The Mamluk-Ilkhanid War, 1260-1281 (Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization)
The Lion of Egypt: Sultan Baybars I and the Near East in the Thirteenth Century
The Armenian Kingdom and the Mamluks: War and Diplomacy During the Reigns of Het'Um II (1289-1307) (Medieval Mediterranean)
Protectors or Praetorians?: The Last Mamluk Sultans and Egypt's Waning As a Great Power (S U N Y Series in Medieval Middle East History)
A Turning Point in Mamluk History: The Third Reign of Al-Nasir Muhammad Ibn Qalawun (1310-1341) (Islamic History and Civilization)
From Slave to Sultan the Career of Al-mansur Qalawun and the Consolidation of Mamluk Rule in Egypt and Syria, 678-689 A.H. / 1279-1290 A.D. (Freiburger Islamstudien)
Plus, there are the University of Chicago "Mamluk Studies Review" available on its website for free:
One of the main differences is a large and up to date bibliography that takes up some four and a half pages. The bibliography has been updated. The older references have been removed and replaced by modern works on the Mamluks, in particular those of Irwin and of Ayalon on which the author has drawn and used quite a bit for his main text.
Another difference, which to some extent allows for the previous one, is its larger size since this “Warrior” title has a 64 page format, as opposed to the necessarily more condensed 48 pages format of the other series. This helps a bit in putting a bit more “meat on the bones”. However, it does not entirely solve the traditional problem with many of these Osprey booklets: it is always a challenge for authors to come up with a comprehensive overview within such limited formats. This is especially the case when the period they have to cover spreads over centuries. Unsurprisingly, the present title does not entirely overcome this challenge since it aims to cover a period of 267 years within 64 pages or, more accurately, 49 pages of text and chronology after discounting the index, the glossary, the bibliography and the plates. Although useful, the extensive chronology cannot quite make up for the lack of a narrative on the main events that took place during this long period.
A third difference is the illustrator. The eight plates from Peter Dennis are spread across the title and not always positioned within or even near the sections that they are supposed to illustrate. The same number of plates from the late Angus McBride is concentrated towards the middle of the Men-at-Arms title. Both are good. Although I happen to have a bit of a preference for the art of McBride, the plates from Peter Dennis usefully support the narrative. There are two plates illustrating the Mamluks in battle (the first and the last of the booklet) against the Mongols and against the Franks in Cyprus. Four more plates illustrate the arms and armour (two) of the Mamluks, their horses and their equipment (another two). The two others illustrate the daily life of an amir, with a special focus on his headgear, and Mamluk training.
A first set of comments relates to the author’s usual bias (broadly speaking, always “pro-Muslim” and “anti-Crusader” at times). The bias does not show up as much as in the older Men-at-Arms title and because of this also, the present title is better. However, it is not completely absent from this title and it can negatively affect it in several ways.
One is a tendency to rebut points made by other authors without much further explanation or even while missing the more important points. An example of this is the author’s quibbling about qualifying the Mamluks as “slave-soldiers”, with this “reflecting a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of “slavery” in medieval Islamic civilisation.” The author explains the substance of this misunderstanding and difference by stressing the client-patron relationships that developed between Mamluks and their various commanders (the Caliph/Sultan only and the senior Amirs). In doing this, he omits three key points. One if that these relationships developed once Mamluks had been freed, by which point they essentially became professional full-time soldiers. An interesting parallel, which is not made in the tile, could have been the relationships between freedmen and their former masters during the Roman Empire. The second point is that the military institution whereby ex-slaves were bought, raised, trained, freed and paid to fight for their former master who became their patron and to whom they owed everything went way back to the early 9th century and the Abbasid Caliphate who used Turkish Ghulams long before the rise of the Fatimids. The third point is the omission of any discussion explaining why Caliphs and Sultans developed such a system and what advantages they expected from it.
A related example is to dismiss the ideas that the Mamluks were reluctant to fight at sea and reluctant to change, and in particular to firearms and canons, without providing any explanations to back up such statements. This discussion can in fact be found in some of the references listed in the bibliography and could have been worth presenting in a more comprehensive way.
Another problem that arises a couple of times is the author’s tendency to be confusing at times, largely because the limited space afforded to him makes it necessary to keep to the essentials at the risk of giving the impression of contradicting oneself in two successive sentences.
A related issue is that there a bits and pieces that are missing, unexplained or insufficiently explained. One example is the huge and growing cost of providing for the army in general, and the Mamluks in particular. The increasing burden that this generated for the populations, especially after the mid-fourteenth century when the plague became endemic is not at all included. Not included also is the fact that the Mamluk regimes were in fact a kind of military dictatorship with no clear rule of succession, leading to periodic instability and bouts of civil war between armed factions. Also absent is the mixture of arrogance and ruthlessness with which the Mamluks could at times behave towards the “civilian” populations. Relations could often be rather tense, especially when the Mamluks responded to riots by extreme brutality and wholesale massacres.
A final point is that I was particularly disappointed with the “Experience of Battle” section. I found it rather superficial, largely because the author tried to cover in a few pages all of the Mamluks enemies over more than two and a half centuries. This was not – and could not be – successful. As a result, a few major battles and campaigns are dealt with in a couple of sentences while most of the others are either barely mentioned or only figure as a date in the chronology.
To conclude, this title is better than the now outdated Men-at-Arms. However, there are still too many approximations and omissions that prevent me from rated it better than three stars.
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