It would not be amiss to suggest that the study of the military history of the late medieval Muslim world was first put on a sound scholarly footing by the late David Ayalon. In a career stretching some sixty years, Ayalon laid the groundwork for the study of military slavery in the Muslim world in general and the Mamluk sultanate of Egypt and Syria in particular. Ayalon’s oeuvre comprises many highly detailed technical studies of aspects of the military society of the Sultanate together with far-ranging interpretive essays dealing with important aspects of military life in the pre-modern Muslim world.2 Of particular importance were his papers on the important, even decisive, role of the Turks and Mongols of the Eurasian steppes in the military and political life of Muslim countries in this era. While recent scholarship has called into question some of his conclusions,3 on the whole Ayalon’s model of the mamluk institution has stood the test of time and remains the bedrock for the study of the Sultanate and much more.