- Musical Theme:
- Music Ambience Set: Middle Eastern
- Architecture Style: Middle Eastern
- Starting Religion: Islam
Civilopedia Entry (The Ayyubids)Edit
A Muslim dynasty of Kurdish origins, the Ayyubid sultanate was founded by Salah ad-Din (Saladin) and centered in Egypt, ruling most of the Middle East in the 12th and 13th centuries. By 1183 AD, the sultanate included Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Kurdistan, Hejaz, Yemen and much of the Levant. The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem fell to Ayyubid forces in 1187, sparking the Christian Third Crusade led by Richard the Lionheart and Philip Augustus.
After the death of Saladin, his sons fought for control of the sultanate, with Saladin's brother al-Adil eventually establishing himself as sultan in 1200 AD. However, the kingdom was troubled by the Syrian revolts in 1230 through 1247, when order was restored. But in the meantime, successful revolts against Ayyubid rule in Yemen, Hejaz and areas of Mesopotamia had fragmented the sultanate. Repelling a Crusader invasion of the Nile delta so weakened Ayyubid rule that Mamluk generals overthrew Sultan al-Muazzam Turanshah in 1250, ending the family's control of the heart of the sultanate. Ayyubid rule was now briefly centered in Aleppo, which was sacked by the rampaging Mongols in 1260. Within a few years, the Mongols had erased what remained of the Ayyubid power.
Although of relatively short length, Ayyubid rule ushered in an age of prosperity in the lands they held and a resurgence of Islamic culture and science in the region. Based on the principle espoused by Saladin of collective sovereignty, Ayyubid rule was relatively benign and enlightened. First Damascus and later Cairo as the capital witnessed a flowering of art and literature. Ayyubid patronage led to the construction of numerous Sunni madrasas. Of special interest to the Ayyubids, studies in medicine, pharmacology and botany were encouraged and physicians such as Ibn al-Baytar, al-Dakhwar and Rashidun al-Suri developed procedures and treatments not found elsewhere in the world for decades.
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