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The use of angels in the representations of Zankid, Ayyubid, Artuqid and Mamluk sultans in illuminated manuscripts, metalwork and coins overlapped with a flourishing production of Islamic political thought in the Arabic-speaking Eastern Mediterranean during the crusader period. The paper traces the development of novel Islamic depictions of the just and legitimate sultan that were influenced by the main concerns of the period’s Islamic political thought and the ‘rediscovery’ of specific symbols of power from Arabo-Norman and Staufen Sicily.

Mohamad El-Merheb is Assistant Professor of Medieval History at the University of Groningen. He is the author of Political Thought in the Mamluk Period: The Unnecessary Caliphate (Edinburgh University Press, 2022). He was recently awarded an NWO Veni grant to research ‘Sovereignty, Sanctity, Violence and Conversion in Outremer: Louis IX’s Crusade in Arabic and Islamicate Thought’.

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