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Munyatu’l-Ghuzat     |    The Mamluks      |     Military Literature Revival     |    
The Manuscript Content

Munyatu’l-Ghuzat, A 14th-Century Mamluk-Kipchak Military Treatise

Published 1989
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

This book is an English edition of Munyatu’l-Ghuzat, "Wish of the warriors of the Faith," a 14th century military treatise written in Mamluk-Kipchak Turkic and composed during the Mamluk reign in Egypt. This edition is based on the only existing manuscript of the work, that is preserved in the library of the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul (Section: Ahmed III, No. 3468).

The Mamluks

The Mamluks were originally purchased as slaves from mostly the Kipchak tribes and the Circassians living on the southern steppes of Russia and the Caucasus and were brought to Cairo and other important military centers.

After extensive military training in these military centers, the Mamluks served as soldiers in the army and as bodyguards of the sultans and military commanders, and they gradually began to exert their power over the sultans. When the Mamluk commander Aybek overthrew the Ayyubid dynasty in 1250, the Mamluks became the rulers of Egypt and Syria and continued in that role until they were overthrown in 1517 by the Ottomans.

The Mamluk-Kipchak Revival of Military Literature

The first or the only language of most Mamluks was a middle Turkic dialect commonly referred to as Mamluk-Kipchak. Because of the many Turkic-speaking Mamluks in the ruling military elite, the Mamluk-Kipchak Turkic language had an important role as a medium of communication among them.

Military exercises, systematic drills, and intensive training in the arts of war were given a paramount importance during the Mamluk period, which is reflected in their military prowess on the battlefield. The reign of the Mamluks saw a revival of military literature that was written in both Arabic and also in Mamluk-Kipchak Turkic. This military treatise is one of such military works written in Turkish.

Manuscript Content

The original manuscript consists of the following chapters:

  1. Mounting the Horse
  2. Holding the Lance
  3. Acts Related to the Use of the Sword
  4. Holding the Shield (missing)
  5. Archery
  6. Hitting the Ball (the game of polo)

This English edition of Munyatu’l-Ghuzat consists of the following chapters:

  1. Description of the Manuscript and Content Analysis of the Text (pp. 1-6)
  2. Linguistic Analysis of the Text (pp. 7-21)
  3. Transcription of the Text in the Latin Script (pp. 23-49)
  4. English Translation (pp. 51-79)
  5. Analytical Index to the Text (pp. 81-141)

   Appendix A - Technical Terminology
   Appendix B - English Glossary to the Analytical Index)
   A Facsimile of the Original Manuscript







  Last Updated: October 2004