Post-classical history

Mawdüd (d. 1113)

Mawdûd ibn Altuntakin was the Turkish lord of Mosul in Iraq (1108-1113), who led three major military campaigns against the Franks of Outremer.

In May 1110, at the request of the Saljûq sultan Muhammad Tapar, Mawdûd attacked the city of Edessa (mod. Şanlıurfa, Turkey), assisted by two Turcoman leaders, īlghāzī and Suqmān al-Qutbī. They retreated after the arrival of relieving forces under King Baldwin I of Jerusalem and Tancred of Antioch, but were able to defeat the Franks near the Euphrates. However, the Turkish commanders lacked a strategy for further action and returned home.

In 1111 the inhabitants of Aleppo appealed to the ‘Abbāsid caliph in Baghdad for help against the encroachments of the Franks. Sultan Muhammad Tapar ordered Mawdûd and other Turkish lords from Persia and Mesopotamia to undertake a jihād (holy war) and sent two of his sons on the campaign. This large army besieged Edessa and Turbessel (mod. Tellbaflar Kalesi, Turkey) without success, and when it moved on to Aleppo, the ruler of Aleppo, Ridwān, closed the city to it, fearing the loss of his independence to the Turks of Iraq and Persia. Although Mawdûd and his allies were able to ward off the Frankish attack on the town of Shaizar (south of Aleppo), the army eventually dispersed.

Mawdûd’s last compaign was the most effective one. In spring 1113, Tughtigin, atabeg of Damascus, asked Mawdûd for military help against Baldwin I of Jerusalem, who was plundering Damascene territory. A large army under Mawdûd arrived in Syria in May 1113. Baldwin I, fearing the strength of the Iraqi army, offered some territorial concessions to Tughtigin. However, on 28 June 1113 the joint Muslim forces confronted the army of Jerusalem at al-Sinnabrah, south of Lake Tiberias. According to William of Tyre and most Muslim chroniclers, the battle was disastrous for the Franks, and subsequently the Muslim forces plundered Palestine all summer, reaching as far as Jaffa (mod. Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel) and Acre (mod. ‘Akko, Israel). Tughtigin feared Mawdûd’s huge success and ended the campaign, even though Jerusalem was left nearly unprotected. When Mawdûd withdrew to Damascus, he was murdered in September by Assassins hired by Tughtigin. As a result, Damascus and Jerusalem established peaceful relations and cooperated against the sultan.

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