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Sack of Aleppo (1400)

Sack of Aleppo (1400)
DateOctober–November 1400
Aleppo, modern-day Syria

Timurid victory

  • Sack of Aleppo
Timurid Empire Mamluk Sultanate
Commanders and leaders
Timur Tamardash

The sack of Aleppo was a major event in 1400 during the war between the Timurid Empire and Mamluk Sultanate.


In 1400, Timur's forces invaded Armenia and Georgia, then they took Sivas, Malatya and Aintab. Later on, Timur's forces advanced towards Aleppo with caution, where they tended to construct a fortified camp each night as they approach the city. According to 15th century Sufi historian Abd al-Rahman al-Bistami, Timur "gathered armies, bringing together every scoundrel and trickster, unleashing heresies and horrors, shedding blood and pillaging properties. Then, on the fifth of Rabi' I of 803 [24 October 1400] he descended upon the lands of Aleppo in its golden fields."[1]

The Mamluks decided to fight an open battle outside the city walls. After two days of skirmishing, Timur's cavalry moved swiftly in arc shapes to attack the flanks of their enemy lines, while his center including elephants from India held firm.[2] Fierce cavalry attacks forced the Mamluks led by Tamardash, governor of Aleppo, to break and flee towards the city gates.[3] Afterwards, Timur began his destruction of Aleppo, on October 30, 1400 [4] and the destruction was completed with the city's surrender by November 2.[5] Timur then massacred many of the inhabitants, ordering the building of a tower of 20,000 skulls outside the city.[3]

During Timur's invasion of Syria in the Siege of Aleppo, Ibn Taghribirdi wrote that Timur's Tatar soldiers committed mass rape on the native women of Aleppo, massacring their children and forcing the brothers and fathers of the women to watch the gang rapes which took place in the mosques.[6] Ibn Taghribirdi said the Tatars killed all children while tying the women with ropes in Aleppo's Great mosque after the children and women tried to take refuge in the mosque. Tatar soldiers openly raped gentlewomen and virgins in public in both the small mosques and the Great Mosque. The brothers and fathers of the women were being tortured while forced to watch their female relatives get raped. The corpses in the streets and mosques resulted in stink permeating Aleppo. The women were kept naked while being gang raped repeatedly by different men.[5][7][8][9] Ibn Arabshah witnessed the slaughters and rapes Timur's Tatar soldiers carried out.[10]


After the sack of Aleppo, Timur's forces went south where they took Hama, along with nearby Homs and Baalbek,[11] until they reached Damascus which was also sacked after defeating Mamluk forces led by Nasir-ad-Din Faraj. Damascus had capitulated without a battle to Timur in December 1400 since the Mamluk Sultan who led his army form Egypt only fought minor skirmishes before fleeing back to Cairo with the Sultan claiming he needed to stop a rival from taking power.



  1. ^ "Lettrism and History in 'Abd al-Rahman al-Bistami's Nazm al-suluk fi musamarat al-muluk", in Islamicate Occult Sciences in Theory and Practice, ed. by Farouk Yahya, et al. (Brill, 2020) p. 257
  2. ^ "Battle of Aleppo". Britannica. 25 October 2023.
  3. ^ a b "The Seven Years Campaign, Part 2: War with the Mamluks". 22 February 2003. Archived from the original on 2018-01-17.
  4. ^ Alphonse de Lamartine, History of Turkey (translated from the French) (D. Appleton and Company, 1855) p.320
  5. ^ a b Frey, Rebecca Joyce (2009). Genocide and International Justice. Global Issues - Facts On File. Infobase Publishing. p. 188. ISBN 978-0816073108. Archived from the original on 2021-09-05.
  6. ^ Yosef, Koby (2019). "Cross-Boundary Hatred: (Changing) Attitudes towards Mongol and "Christian" mamlūks in the Mamluk Sultanate". In Amitai, Reuven; Conermann, Stephan (eds.). The Mamluk Sultanate from the Perspective of Regional and World History: Economic, Social and Cultural Development in an Era of Increasing International Interaction and Competition. Vol. 17 of Mamluk Studies. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p. 173. ISBN 978-3847004110.
  7. ^ Burns, Ross (2016). Aleppo: A History. Cities of the Ancient World. Taylor & Francis. p. 189. ISBN 978-1134844012.
  8. ^ "The Invasion of Syria by Tamerlane (1400-1) and Ibn Taghri Birdi's description of the life of Tamerlane". De Re Militari » The Society for Medieval Military History.
  9. ^ Al-Abboud, D. "The Question of Islamophobia and Marlowe's Tamburlaine the Great". American University of Cairo. Archived from the original on 2019-01-29.
  10. ^ Marozzi, Justin (2014). Baghdad: City of Peace, City of Blood--A History in Thirteen Centuries (illustrated ed.). Hachette Books. p. 156. ISBN 978-0306823992.
  11. ^ Guy le Strange (1890). Palestine Under the Moslems: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500. Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. p. xxiii.


  • Tucker, Spencer C. (2011). Battles That Changed History: An Encyclopedia of World Conflict. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-59884-429-0.
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Sack of Aleppo (1400)
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