A Mongol Mahdi in Medieval Anatolia Rebellion, Reform, and Divine Right in the Post-Mongol Islamic World

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Jonathan Brack



The roots of the formation of a post-Mongol political theology that situated Muslim emperors and sultans at the center of an Islamic cosmos are found in the Ilkhanid court in late thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century Iran. This article investigates the case of the short-lived rebellion (1322–1323) of the Mongol governor of Rūm (Anatolia) and Mahdi-claimant Temürtash (d. 1327). It demonstrates how the discourse of religious reform was recruited to translate and support the claims of non-Chinggisid commanders to the transfer of God’s favor, thus opposing the Chinggisids’ heaven-derived exceptionalism. Exploring affinities with the Timurid appropriation of the mujaddid tradition a century later, the article argues that Temürtash’s rebellion signaled the early stages of the dispersion of a new political language that freed Muslim kingship from the restrictive genealogical and juridical Sunni models of authority .

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