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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Nubian Frontier as a Refuge Area Warrior Society between c. 1200 and c. 1800 CE: A Comparison between Nubia and the Ottoman Balkans

  • Author(s): Hafsaas, Henriette
  • et al.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY-NC' version 4.0 license

The period from the Ayyubid invasion of Lower Nubia by Salah ad-Din’s brother in 1172–1173 to Mohammed Ali’s conquest of northern Sudan in 1820–1821 has been termed the Feudal Age by William Adams, the nestor of Nubian archaeology. The characterizing feature of the Feudal Age was the disappearance of centralized government, and in its place “a growing spirit of military feudalism […] manifested itself in the appearance of castles and military architecture, in the rise of increasingly independent local feudatories, and in dynastic quarrels within the ruling houses.” The rocky and isolated region of Batn el-Hajar has been considered as an area of refuge during these tumultuous times. For the people living in Nubia, this period was marked by the emergence of tribal societies. Some inaccessible tracts, like Batn el-Hajar, were also characterized by religious resilience where Christianity prevailed, although there was a religious shift from Christianity to Islam among their neighbors.

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