Late Mamluk Military Equipment.

Author:Guo, Li
Position:Book review

Late Manila Military Equipment. By DAVID NICOLLE. Travaux et etudes de la mission archeologique syro-francaise, Citadelle de Damas, vol. 3. Damascus: INSTITUT FRAKAIS DU PROCHE-ORIENT. 2011. Pp. 396. [euro]45.

This handsome book is the first to be published in a seven-volume set (the remaining six are in preparation) dedicated to the excavations and study by a Syrian-French team at the Citadel of Damascus from 1999 to 2006. It documents and analyses the objects found mostly in a building identified as CD 5.2, located in the southwestern quarter of the Citadel. This explains the word "late" in the title, given the history of the fortifications themselves. The exceptional collection is among the most important recent discoveries of late Mamluk and early Ottoman military equipment, on account of its variety, abundance, and state of preservation. After an introduction on background and context (chapter one), seven major chapters deal with each category respectively: the armor (chapter two), soft armor (chapter three), hardened leather and laminated armor (chapter four), horse armor (chapter five), archery (chapter six), firearms (chapter seven), and daggers and miscellaneous items (chapter eight). Each chapter begins with a detailed essay and contains numerous tables, catalogues of items that are further divided into types and sub-types (for example, "powder horns (five kinds)." and "bullets (3 kinds)," of firearms, chapter seven).

This is more than an archeological field report. The author's vast knowledge of' medieval arms and armor, especially that of the Muslim peoples, is on full display. as are his impressive linguistic skills for the task. Particularly informative is his comparative analysis of the...

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