Today in Middle Eastern History: the Battle of Ayn Jalut (1260)

and that's the way it was

(Reminder: I’m on a break this week)

In 1260, the Mongols were riding as high as they’d been at any time since Genghis Khan’s death in 1215. In less than 10 years, their armies had stormed through Iran and Iraq, crushing the notorious “Assassins” sect and ending the over 700 year old Abbasid Caliphate in the process, and with the empire also expanding into eastern Europe and southern China, it must have seemed like the Mongols would go on expanding until they ruled the entire world. The architect of this latest round of expansion was the Great Khan Möngke, who had come to power in 1251, after something of an internal coup d’etat forced the descendants of Genghis Khan’s third-eldest son, Ögedei, out of the Great Khanate (Ögedei had been Genghis’s chosen successor and his son Güyük had succeeded him) and installed the descendants of Genghis’s youngest son, Tolui (Möngke…

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