Introduction of firearms to the land of Aladdin




Crow, David James

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In the late 1300s and early 1400s, when firearms made their arrival in the lands of Islam, the various dynasties exhibited differing responses. While the Ottoman sultanate wasted no time in incorporating firearms into their formidable military machine, both the Mamluks of Egypt and the Safavids of Persia were far more reluctant in adopting the new weapons. David Avalon, investigating the question of Mamluk reluctance, identified the rigid sense of pride in the traditional forms of warfare to be found in the ruling class; however, the same attention has not yet been paid to the Safavids. A paucity of relevant references in the accounts of European travellers combined with a tendency in the Safavid sources to apply identical terms to both gunpowder and non-gunpowder weapons made the relative abundance of firearms difficult to quantify. In all, the same stubborn attitude found in the Mamluks was also found in the Safavid elite, but in the case of Persia, this cannot be considered the sole answer. Instead, the historical background and military situation also played an important role.



firearms, Islamic countries, military history