Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Ayyubid dynasty

Story of “This Land is Mine”

The story shared by Israel and Palestine has been told in several stunning films, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it told like this.

 created this brief animated history of the land that was at one time called Israel, Palestine, Canaan and the Levant.

She even created this viewer’s guide to make sense of what’s happening.

Posted by Films For Action this Oct. 7, 2012 a 3 min – Short Film:

I’ve Never Seen the Israel / Palestine Conflict Illustrated More Uniquely Than This

Who’s Killing Who? A Viewer’s Guide

Because you can’t tell the players without a pogrom!

Early Man

Early Man This generic “cave man” represents the first human settlers in Israel/Canaan/the Levant. Whoever they were.

Canaanite

Canaanite.  What did ancient Canaanites look like? I don’t know, so this is based on ancient Sumerian art.

Ancient Egyptian

Egyptian. Canaan was located between two huge empires. Egypt controlled it sometimes, and…

Assyrian

Assyrian ….Assyria controlled it other times.

Israelite

Israelite The “Children of Israel” conquered the shit out of the region, according to bloody and violent Old Testament accounts.

Babylonian

Babylonian. The Baylonians destroyed their temple and took the Hebrews into exile.

Macedonian/Alexander

Macedonian/Greek.  Here comes Alexander the Great, conquering everything!

Greek

Greek/Macedonian. No sooner did Alexander conquer everything, than his generals divided it up and fought with each other.

Ptolmaic

Ptolemaic. Greek descendants of Ptolemy, another of Alexander’s competing generals, ruled Egypt dressed like Egyptian god-kings. (The famous Cleopatra of western mythology and Hollywood was a Ptolemy.)

Seleucid

Seleucid. More Greek-Macedonian legacies of Alexander.

Hebrew Priest

Hebrew Priest. This guy didn’t fight, he just ran the Second Temple re-established by Hebrews in Jerusalem after the Babylonian Exile.

Maccabee

Maccabee.  Led by Judah “The Hammer” Maccabee, who fought the Seleucids, saved the Temple, and invented Channukah. Until…

Roman

Roman ….the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and absorbed the region into the Roman Empire…

Byzantine

Byzantine ….which split into Eastern and Western Empires. The eastern part was called the Byzantine Empire. I don’t know if “Romans” ever fought “Byzantines” (Eastern Romans) but this is a cartoon.

Caliph

Arab Caliph Speaking of cartoon, what did an Arab Caliph look like? This was my best guess.

Crusader

Crusader After Crusaders went a-killin’ in the name of Jesus Christ, they established Crusader states, most notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Egyptian Mamluk

Mamluk of Egypt.Wikipedia sez, “Over time, mamluks became a powerful military caste in various Muslim societies…In places such as Egypt from the Ayyubid dynasty to the time of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, mamluks were considered to be “true lords”, with social status above freeborn Muslims.[7]” And apparently they controlled Palestine for a while.

Ottoman Turk

Ottoman Turk Did I mention this is a cartoon? Probably no one went to battle looking like this. But big turbans, rich clothing and jewelry seemed to be in vogue among Ottoman Turkish elites, according to paintings I found on the Internet.

Arab

Arab  A gross generalization of a generic 19-century “Arab”.

British

British The British formed alliances with Arabs, then occupied Palestine. This cartoon is an oversimplification, and uses this British caricature as a stand-in for Europeans in general.

Palestinian

Palestinian The British occupied this guy’s land, only to leave it to a vast influx of….

European Jew/Zionist

European Jew/Zionist Desperate and traumatized survivors of European pogroms and death camps, Jewish Zionist settlers were ready to fight to the death for a place to call home, but…

Hezbollah

PLO/Hamas/Hezbollah

….so were the people that lived there. Various militarized resistance movements arose in response to Israel: The Palestinian Liberation OrganizationHamas, and Hezbollah.

State of Israel

State of Israel

Backed by “the West,” especially the US, they got lots of weapons and the only sanctioned nukes in the region.

Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/Terrorist

Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/Terrorist Sometimes people fight in military uniforms, sometimes they don’t. Creeping up alongside are illicit nukes possibly from Iran or elsewhere in the region. Who’s Next?

Angel of Death

and finally…

The Angel of Death The real hero of the Old Testament, and right now too.

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Historical background: “Rainbow over the Levant”

Note: I decided to split the background chapter of my novel “Rainbow over the Levant” in two parts.

This novel has been published 5 years ago on my blog in serial chapters.

A quick summary of the history of this region, the Levant or Near East (Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Turkey), starting two centuries preceding the fiction events of this novel, can shed a satisfactory understanding for the setting of this historical fiction around the last quarter of the 14thcentury AD.

The Mameluks’ Sultan Baybars of Egypt had dislodged the Christian Crusaders from every remaining city in the Near East in 1291. The chased out Crusaders forces were just holding on to the island of Cyprus.

The Caliphates of the Arab empire, who were virtual rulers in Baghdad since the 9th century, were restored to their virtual religious polarization in Cairo under the Mameluks’ hegemony.

The Crusaders from Christian Europe had been defeated previously in 1187 in a critical battle of Hittine in Palestine by Saladin who managed that feat after reigning as Sultan in both capitals of Cairo and Damascus.

To better comprehend the Levant history we need to stress on the facts that the entire region that composes the present States of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and even Iraq (from the 12th century onward) has been throughout its long history under the direct or indirect domination of empires in Iran, Turkey or Egypt.

The local Emirs or appointed governors paid tributes to one of these powerful centers in return to governing their internal affairs, participating in military campaigns and defending the political dominions and interests of the regional Great Sultans.  The reigning Sultan of Egypt had the upper hand in this period of the novel in the Near East region.

In the 10th century, two dynasties ruled part of the Middle East. In Egypt, the Shiite Moslem Fatimid dynasty, coming from Northern Africa established their Caliphate in Cairo and stretched its influence to Aleppo in Syria. Their successor, the Ayyubid Sunni Moslem dynasty, from Kurdish descent, displaced the Fatimid.

The Mamluks (the serfs who came to hold high political and military powers in the Ayyubid dynasty) rose to power and defeated the Mogul invasion in two crucial battles in Palestine in 1260 at Elbistan.

In Iran, the Seljuk dynasty stretched their empire to Samarqand, Bukhara, Khorassan, Afghanistan, part of Turkey, Syria and part of Lebanon. They fought the Crusaders in the Near East during most of their reign through the intermediary of their appointed “Atabeks” in Turkey and Syria.

The Seljuk dynasty was taken over by the Khowarasmi dynasty whose Sultans were at odd with the Caliphate of Baghdad and helped the hordes of Genghis Khan the Mogul, led by his son Holako, to enter and devastate Baghdad in 1258 which ended the Arabic Empire.

The Moguls established two Viceroys in Iraq, one at Mosul in the Northern part and the second in Baghdad for the Southern part of Iraq.  The Arabic Era that lasted for 5 centuries ended as a cultural and organizational influence. The Emirs in Palestine were generally affiliated to the Sultan of Egypt.  .

The societies in the Levant region have experienced a different level of organizational skills and the beginning of the application of the rudiment written rules of Laws from their interaction with the European Crusaders.  We don’t have much information about the status of Mount Lebanon in that period or about its Emirs, its social structure, its allegiances, its demographic constituency or its economic development.

We assume that the Crusaders left a strong impact on the inhabitants in Mount Lebanon which forced the Arab Emirs to start relocating many Arab tribes from Southern Iraq into the Mount Lebanon regions to counterbalance the Christian population.

Even before the advent of the Arabic Empire, Christian monasteries were numerous and spread out throughout the Near East and Iraq and occupied the top of mountains, hills, and the best areas near fresh water sources in the same fashion you notice them currently in Mount Lebanon.

The monks had their special chambers (kelayye) for retreats and prayers.  Monasteries were very prosperous and maintained exquisite gardens of fruit trees, flowers and vegetables and were well stocked in provisions from their land and donations of the faithful.

During the Arabic Empire, monasteries were required to set up annexes of hostels in order to receive weary travelers and to lodge and feed them.  Usually, the relatives of monks maintained these hostels.  Caliphs, Emirs, and well to do noblemen used to patronize the monasteries and spent days in these quiet domains to eat, drink local wine and beer and have great time away from the scrutiny of city dwellers.

The monasteries in the Levant suffered during the Crusaders’ period because of the bad manners of the European invaders, their robbery and plunder, but the monasteries in Iraq and Eastern Turkey were as prosperous as ever because the crusaders did not venture deep in the land of Arabic Empire.

Many castles were demolished during that bloody period, a few were partially rehabilitated, but a lot of reconstruction of war infrastructure was needed.  What is important to note is that wars were no longer waged using chars with spiked wheels that harvest feet or employed exotic animals such as elephants as during the Antiquity.

Canons of wars were not invented yet, except may be in remote China where they were used during the main ceremonies related to their standing emperors. Wars were still waged with infantry, cavalry and archers in the conventional ways. Newly designed catapults for throwing rocks at castles’ walls and entrances were in use by rich nations with well equipped and sophisticated armies.

The full metal armor used by the crusaders was reduced by the noblemen to a vest of meshed chains and a metal helmet: The climate may not have been suitable to European fashion, since we do enjoy at least 7 months of hot and dry seasons.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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