Baybars, naval power and Mamluk psychological warfare against the Franks

Academic Article


  • This paper discusses two events relating to Mamlūk warfare under the Sultan Baybars al-Bunduqdārī (r. 658–676/1260–1277). The first is a failed naval attack on Cyprus in 669/1271 and the second is a prison break of the surviving captains in 673/1274. Although the first event is well documented in both Frankish and Mamlūk sources, the second is found only in the latter. I argue that it is likely that the prison break did occur and was connected to efforts by the sultan to simultaneously engage in psychological warfare against the neighbouring Franks while securing his own defences against an anticipated crusade. A close analysis and comparison of the contemporary and near-contemporary accounts of these events shows a brief period in which Baybars was presented as undertaking serious efforts to build his naval forces, but this did not last beyond the first chroniclers of the shipwreck and prison break.
  • Authors


    Publication Date

  • 2018
  • Keywords

  • Crusaders
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Mamluks
  • crusader states
  • military history
  • prisons
  • shipwreck
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 304
  • End Page

  • 316
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 3