The Ruling Policies on Syria in the Late Mamluk Period : With Special Reference to Financial Policy and it's Influence on the Syrian Ruling Class

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Other Title
  • マムルーク朝末期のシリア統治政策:財政政策とシリアの支配層の動向を中心に
  • マムルークチョウ マッキ ノ シリア トウチ セイサク ザイセイ セイサク ト シリア ノ シハイソウ ノ ドウコウ オ チュウシン ニ

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Abstract

The decline in agricultural production in Egypt and Syria from the late 14th century and gradual increase of the waqfs (pious trusts) encroaching on the state estates, undermined the Mamluk regime founded on iqtā’ system. This led to an acute financial crisis in the 15th century. Under these circumstances, attempts were made by Mamluk sultans to maintain the regime by a new policy which was to centralize various incomes from Egypt and Syria in their own hands to issue monthly payments, other supplies to their mamluks and other armies who had suffered from nominal income from their iqtā’.This new policy brought some changes in the Mamluk ruling system of Syria. In Syria, the citadels in provincial capitals came to play an important role in collecting special taxes for the Sultan (levies on city inhabitants and the waqfs, confiscations from officials and the poll tax (jizya), etc.). The citadels had been strategic military positions used in defending the cities, where the Sultan assigned a special viceroy to each citadel. Furthermore, in this period, various financial officers were appointed in the citadel, and they began to handle finances for the sultan independently from the provincial government, took on duties of keeping the sultan’s property and conveying them to Cairo. On the other hand, as the Syrian mamluks’ status in the whole kingdom weakened, their role in the provincial administration gradually decreased as well. This was caused by insufficient payments to the Syrian mamluks to cover their reduced income, unlike the case of Egyptian mamluks, due to the above mentioned new state policy initially aimed at maintaining the central regime in Egypt. Meanwhile, some local ulama’ families in Syria expanded their influences in politics and urban society by dominating high-official posts, and creating direct ties with the Egyptian central government. Appointment and dismissal of these local ulama’s by the Sultans was one of the ruling policies to control the local regime in Syria, as well as one of the financial policies to bring their vast wealth in Syria to Egypt.

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