MAMLUK TABARDAR

[based on the Baptistère de Saint Louis]
An extract from Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291
by Ian Heath


59. MAMLUK TABARDAR

This figure probably represents one of the infantry guardsmen called Tabardariyyah, named after their distinctive weapon the Tabar (axe). How big this unit actually was does not seem to be altogether clear - it may have comprised no more than the 10 Tabardariyyah who accompanied the Sultan on parade. Their commander was the Amir-Tabar. The axe was also employed by other troops, Joinville recording 30 al-Halqa in 1250 'with drawn swords in their hands and Danish axes hanging at their necks'; the shape of the axe blade was apparently very similar to the traditional Scandinavian design. Al-Tartusi describes the shape of the Nagin, a smaller, cavalry version of the Tabar, as like a half-moon. The haft of the Tabar could be of wood or metal. The blades of ceremonial axes were usually decorated with inlay and perforated patterns.



Figures on the outside of the Baptistère de Saint Louis
Figures inside the rim of the Baptistère de Saint Louis

Next: 60. MAMLUK ENGINEER WITH MIDFA in Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291 by Ian Heath




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