A dialog from H-Mideast-Medieval list, September 1999
I am writing to ask if you could help me with some historical research I'm doing as part of my work for the humanitarian aid organisation, "Operation Mercy" in western Uzbekistan. My colleagues and I are responding to the request of local government to put together an interactive CD ROM about the Khorezm area in an effort to promote ecological tourism and foreign business development.
I would like to find out more about the Khorezm warlord, Jalaladin Menguberdi (there may be variant spellings) who was around 800 years ago. Seemingly, he travelled as far as Jerusalem which he then captured. I've heard that a Scottish historian has written about him in Latin. Jalaladin is of particular interest to folks here since his 800 year jubilee will be celebrated later this year. I would appreciate any information you can dig up on Jalaladin and/or this historian fellow.
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 10:50:47 -0400
In reply to your posting to H-Mideast-Medieval re: Jalal al-Din Menguberdi Khwarazmshah, I would suggest that a search for information about this personage begin with the article "Djalal al-Din Khwarazm-shah" in vol. 2 of the Encyclopaedia of Islam (new edition). Several important sources are given there.
Karl R. Schaefer
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 10:53:08 -0400
Jalal al-Din was not a terribly likeable fellow, but he was exciting. I have some material on him in From Saladin to the Mongols (1977). I followed the suggestion in EI to spell his name Mingburnu, but it is the same guy. He was in fact murdered by a Kurdish assassin in (I think) 1230 in eastern Anatolia. His Khwarizmian followers stuck around, however, causing much havoc in the Jazira and North Syria for the next several years. The Ayyubid sultan Salih Ayyub hired them on as mercenaries to help out in his war against his uncle Salih Ismail; in this capacity, they did seize Jerusalem in 1244 and then moved on to join forces with Ayyub in a crushing defeat of a joint Damascene-Crusader force at La Forbie the same year -- the last major field army the Kingdom of Jerusalem ever mounted. The Khwarizmians pushed their luck a bit too far in the next couple of years, however, and were annihilated by yet another Ayyubid army, this one led by Mansur Ibrahim of Homs. By that time, of course, Jalal al-Din was long dead. All this is from memory, so you'd better look it up. The main account of Jalal al-Din is by al-Nasawi (Sirat Jalal al-Din al-Mankubirti) -- this was edited, and possibly translated, by Charles Houdas near the turn of the century. There is also a Cairo edition from about 1953.
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 10:54:51 -0400
In response to Catriona Macdonald's query, I can offer the following, which is not a full answer but may be helpful. Perhaps someone else has already suggested this.
In the well-known study by the famous Russian specialist on Central Asia, V. V. Bartol'd (W.W. Barthold, in alternative spelling), _Turkestan Down to the Mongol Invasion_, there is a lot on Jelal ad-din Manguberti (this is a transliteration of the Russian transliteration of his name).
Barthold's book exists in an English translation (Gibb Memorial Series, N.S., V, 2nd ed. London 1958) and was reprinted as volume 1 of his _Sochineniia_ (Moscow, 1963; the Russian title of the study is _Turkestan v epokhu mongol'skogo nashestviia_). There is a medieval history of Manguberti, which has been published and translated under the title _Histoire du sultan Djelal ed-Din Mankobirti prince du Kharezm par Mohammed en-Nesawi_, Texte arabe publie d'apres le manuscrit de la Bibliotheque Nationale par O. Houdas, Paris, 1891; traduit de l'arabe par O. Houdas, Paris, 1895 (=Publications de l'Ecole des langues orientales vivantes, III-e ser., Vol. IX-X).
I haven't gone after your Scottish scholar, but generally Barthold's work is still highly valued; I don't think there is a lot out there which is more detailed for the region in the period in question.
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 10:56:31 -0400
The most important source on Jalal al-Din is En-Nesawi's history of Jalal al-Din, which was also translated in French by Houdas.
Houdas, O. translator and ed. En-Nesawi, Mohammed. Histoire du Sultan Djelal ed-din Mankobirti. Paris: l'école des langues orientale vivantes, 1895.
Also see J. A. Boyle's translation of Juvaini's Tarikh-i Jahan Gusha, or the History of the World Conqueror. There is also a relatively inexpensive paper back edition that came out in two years.
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 10:57:44 -0400
Just a few of quick comments about everybody's favorite rouge Muslim warlord (gang lord would probably be more appropriate for much of his career) and colorful personality:
1) He never made it as far as Jeusalem (or Palestine, and if I remember correctly not even Syria). Rather, his soldiers - known as the Khwarazmiyya - took (from the Franks) and ransacked the city in 1244 while in the pay of the Ayyubid sultan al-Malik al-Salih Ayyub; lots of Muslims were massacred in the process. Jalal al-Din had already been dead over a decade.
2) There is some question has to his proper name. The article on him in the second edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam has some information about this.
3) In spite of his many personality quirks, and his proclivity to fight with just about everyone, Muslim, Christian and anything else, he was virtually the only Muslim ruler until Qutuz and Baybars to stand up to the Mongols and actually beat them on occasion. Compared to his father (the Khwarizmshah `Ala' al-Din Muhammad), the Caliph al-Musta`sim and the Ayyubid al-Nasir Yusuf, he was a giant. His tragedy was his uncanny ability to waste his resources and prestige on fighting all those who came into his gaze.
Somebody should make a movie about him.
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 12:25:23 -0400
I know absolutely nothing about Jalal al-Din M... (no I won't even try...), but did have Juvayni forced on my in my second year of Persian language (mercy! she cried... Well, now I appreciate him, but then it was pure torture...)
Thanks for your comments, Reuven: I love it (them)! A breath of fresh air! We've had "Saladin: the movie"; how about "Jalaluddin: the movie"? "Real" historians (present company excepted!) seem to think these guys were statesmen, politicians, etc.; let's face it, many (if not most) of them were, as Reuven puts it, warlords (I wouldn't say ganglords -- gangdom implies more loyalty [to the gang at least] that does warlordom, where if you don't pay out, you might well be in for at least desertion, at most the chop).
> Just a few of quick comments about everybody's favorite rouge
Serious question here: were they really Khwarazmiyya or was that just a sort of generic name (J-D being from Khwarazm, but actually a Turk, I guess)?
> 2) There is some question has to his proper name. The article on
That probably accounts for why he was the only guy to "stand up to the Mongols". Less politics, ideology, whatever, more "never turn your back on a good fight".
> > Somebody should make a movie about him.
Starring? If Tony Curtis isn't dead by now (sorry, I've been living in the 12th century) he's definitely too old; and Mel Gibson is altogether too cuddly to be convincing... Horrific thought: Bruce Willis? Better not make the movie... Or how about Jackie Chan? He's got the cheekbones at least. J-D as kick-boxer...
Cheers to all,
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 10:23:35 -0400
There is a new edition of the al-Nasawi text, together with a Russian translation and brief commentary:
Shikhab ad-Din Mukhammad an-Nasavi, Sirat as-Sultan Dzhalal ad-Din Mankburny (Zhizneopisanie Sultana Dzhalal ad-Dina Mankburny), ed. Z. M. Buniiatov, in the series Pamiatniki pis'mennosti Vostoka, vol. CVII (Moscow: Vostochnaia Literatura, 1996)
Reuven, I'm looking forward to the movie. Do you think Jack Palance would go for the lead role ?
Peter B. Golden
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 10:26:03 -0400
Here is just a little more on Jalal al-Din, in response to Julie Meisami's comments.
The Khwarazmiyya who were active in Syria, eastern Anatolia and the Jazira in the 1230s and 1240s (whose activities were succinctly sumarized by R.S. Humphreys in another response to the original query on our hero), was "Khwarzmians" only in the sense that they served someone called the Khwarazm-shah. They appear to be Turks, mostly Qipchaqis and Qanglis, perhaps half-baked mamluks.
Interestingly enough (well at least for me), their post-Jalal al-Din leader, one Husam al-Din Berke Khan, was killed near Homs in 1246, where he was apparently buried. His daughter, whose name is unknown, was married to Sultan Baybars, and was the mother of the latter's successor, al-Malik al-Sa`id Berke Khan (hence the name). On Bab al-Silsila Street in the Old City in Jerusalem, there is an early Mamluk building which is supposedly the mausoleum of Berke Khan the grandfather (that's what one of the inscriptions say). It would appear to be a cenotaph and van Berchem suggested that it was the wife (or widow) of the Sultan, his daughter, who had it built. Two of Berke Khan's sons (i.e., al-Sa`id's uncles) are also supposedly buried there. The building is now part of a family waqf of the Khalidi family, and houses the Khalidiyya Library, which is of some importance. Who says that medieval history isn't relevant?
By the way, my vote for the role of Jalal al-Din goes to Rick Moranis, if he doesn't play Qutuz at `Ayn Jalut first.
all best wishes,