David ayalon (1914-1998) and the history of black military slavery in medieval islam

Yaacov Lev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This paper deals with three inter-related topics: The origins of Black military slavery, the legacy of David Ayalon and Islamic military slavery in the broader context of world history. The first Black military system emerged in ninth-century Aghlabid Ifrqiya, but its heyday and demise took place in eleventh- through twelfth-century Fatimid Egypt. Black military slavery was mostly outside the mainstream of David Ayalon's work on Islamic military slavery, but it should be integrated into the study of both medieval Islamic military history and slavery. When viewed from the perspective of world history, Islamic military slavery and its Black component are part of a global experience of arming slaves and the transformation of slaves to soldiers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-43
Number of pages23
JournalIslam - Zeitschrift fur Geschichte und Kultur des Islamischen Orients
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Aghlabids
  • Black military slavery
  • David ayalon
  • Fatimids
  • Islamic military slavery
  • World history


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