Egypt and Syria were governed during a quarter of a millennium (1250–1517) by a military aristocracy of non-Arab manumitted slave-officers. Did this unique regime create during that long period a distinctive culture? The answer to this question seems to be positive. The hypothesis that a Mamlūk culture can be identified is propped up in this article through a condensed account of contemporary literature, architecture and political discourse which were produced in the realm of the Mamlūk sultanate.
Yehoshua Frenkel got his Ph.D at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem with a thesis on “Rule, Society and Islam in Southern Morocco (during the 15th–17th centuries)”. Today, he is Senior Lecturer at the University of Haifa where he teaches social and juridical history of the Medieval Arabic speaking Islam.