Skip to Content Skip to Wiki Navigation Skip to Site Navigation

Prelude to battle

Mongolian expansion in world led to destruction, terror and suffering of dozens millions people in Eurasia. Mongolian army, however, was divided, northern Golden Horde was Islamic affiliated, southern Il Khanate was pro-Catholic Nestorian Christians. Persian population was exterminated by Mongolians. Also, Mongolian army of Il Khanate was infected by plague, so-called Black Death. However, victory in Baghdad prevented spreading Black Death to Middle East and Europe.

Attack against Baghdad would be triumphal victory of Mongolian Il Khanate and had to enforce Il Khanate alliance with Templars, traitors, Armenians, Georgians and Antiochi against Islam and Jews.

The most valuable parts of second largest city in world in that time, Grand Library of Baghdad had to be destroy by Mongolians. According captured documents from Hulagu Khan commanding post, all mosque, libraries, public baths, schools and hospitals would be destroy if Mongols won over Arabs and also, he ordered to execute at least 150,000 civilians and poison water canals and local farmer lands to spread famine.

Abbasid Caliph and Ayyubid sultan underestimated power of Mongols and overestimated their own armed forces. Bad trained local militia, new recruits and only very few well equipped and trained Mamluks and veterans could not stop Mongolian destructive offensive.


Battle of Baghdad

Date: 1 February - 8 February 1258

Place: Baghdad, Abbasid Caliphate

Result: Strategic Decisive Arab-Jews victory


  • Total collapse of Il Khanate campaign
  • Decimation of Templars, Armenian mercenaries and Turkopolis
  • Collapse of Georgian Kingdom and Army
  • Isolation of Principality of Antioch


  • Famine and socio-economical collapse in Europe
  • "Eternal Friendship of Arabs and Jews Declaration"
  • Arabjewish Confederation
  • End of all Christian rule in Middle East

Abbasid Caliphate

Ayyubid Dynasty

Egyptian Mamluks

Jewish volunteer army


Armenian mercenaries


Antiochi crusaders

Il Khanate


Caliph Al Mustasim (W.I.A.)

Sulaiman Shah

Al Mansur Ali

Jusuf ibn Maymun (K.I.A)

Hulagu Khan (K.I.A.)

David VII. (K.I.A.)

Guo Kan (K.I.A.)


Caliphate - 50,000

Ayyub Army - 25,000

Jewish volunteer army - 50,000

Mamluks - 16,000

Civilian militia - 78,000

Il Khanat - 150,000 troops and cavalry

Templars - 6000

Antiochi - 10,000

Turkopols, Armens and Georgians - 12,000

Casualties and losses

46,000 - 50,000 killed

Rest wounded or survived

+100,000 killed

76,000 captured or defected

2,000 M.I.A.

Battle began 29 January, when Hulagu Khan emissary arrived to Baghdad and asked Abbasid Caliphate to surrender and collaborate. Proud Abbasid Caliph denied all Mongols conditions. Before meet with Caliph, emissary met with Baghdad christian leaders and ordered them to evacuate all Christians to churches. Everyone who will be on street will be considered as Muslim or Jew.

1 February 1258, Christian Alliance began besiege of Baghdad. Strong and experienced Mongolian army very soon penetrated through defense lines and walls of city, especially in eastern parts. Mongolian hordes decimated defense forces in eastern parts of city, and at 3 February, they captured two of four bridges over Tigris.

4 February, Mongolians besieged Grand Library of Baghdad and destroyed all mosques. Large parts of Arab army still defend themselves in western half of city and repelled all enemy attacks on remaining bridges. At noon 4 February, strategic circumstance has began. Southern gate of Baghdad was besieged by Templars, Georgians and Armens. However, at noon, thousands arrows from south decimated besieger and thousands cavalry attacked enemy to back. Unknown forces massacred besiegers and killed David VII. Death of David VII. led to collapse of Georgian Army chain of command and it was first crucial blow to christian armies in this battle.

At afternoon 4 February, Arab soldiers opened southern gate to unknown forces. Their leader present himself as Jusuf ibn Maymun, wealthy Jewish trader, enterpriser and grandson of Avidor ibn Maymun, highest leader of Egyptian and Syrian Jews and personal doctor of sultan Salah ad-Din. Jusuf gathered mercenaries, war veterans and Jewish volunteers to help Arabs and Muslims for their defend of Jews during crusades. Half of JVA was volunteers with very few experience and weapons, second half was however very well equipped, trained and experienced veterans.

At evening 4 February, Jusuf ibn Maymun met with Caliph and his cavalry attacked to shocked and depressed Mongols on captured bridges. Both captured bridges were liberate from Mongols and Hulagu Khan ordered retreat. Two thousand Jewish soldiers went to Grand Library of Baghdad and penetrated encirclement and killed dozen important Templar masters and Mongol strategist Guo Kan. Arab and Jewish scientists and philosophers were saved from terrible death and also whole library was saved.

At morning 5 February, Christian leaders discovered massive defection of Armens, Turkopolis and Georgians. All of them escaped to north, to Caucasus and their homelands. In Baghdad remained only 95,000 Mongols, 3000 Templars and 5000 Antioch troops. All of them still very well equipped and experienced veterans. During 5 February, remnants of civilian militia in occupied parts of city began insurgency, ambushed Mongol commanding posts and killed many important officers. At evening 5 February, militia units, Jewish shock units and Mamluks attacked on Mongol HQ near eastern gate of city, where was Hulagu Khan position. While battle ongoing, Jusuf ibn Maymun ran with his horse through Mongol defense and used moment of surprise, he attacked in suicide fight with Hulagu Khan. Feared Hulagu Khan was split in two by Jusuf sword and died. Jusuf was immediately killed by Mongol archers and became eternal martyr of this battle.

At 6 February, when all Mongols, Templars and Antiochi discovered death of their supreme commander, enemy attack against Baghdad start collapsing. First, all Antiochi cavalry and troops deserted. Then most of Mongols escaped and rest were killed. Only Templars remained in their attack.

Last remnants of Templars were killed 8 February, at morning, near northern bridge.


Battle of Baghdad was most crucial event in medieval history. Victory over Mongols promptly stopped their attacks to Middle East and against Byzantine. Because of that, "Black Death" plague was not spread in Europe. In that time, Europe was overpopulated and agricultural production was too slow for fast increasing of population. This led to 43 years long famine decimating Central, Southern and Western Europe. This had long-term impact for economy in Europe and prolonged European development for hundred years.

Right after battle, Caliph who was wounded during defense of Grand Library of Baghdad, announced expulsion of all Christians from Baghdad and then, he wrote, with Jewish leaders protocol of "Eternal Friendship and Cooperation of Arabi and Israeli Nations". This protocol announced full economic support from Jewish traders side to Caliphate and Ayyubid dynasty and on other side, its also promised full defense and protection of Jews by Arabs. At 14th Century, Arabs and Jews established Arabjewish Confederation and later, after IWW Arabisrael Federation.

In the next three hundred years, Arabs and Jews expelled all remnants of crusades from Middle East, definitely secured Jerusalem and started massive economical and social development in Middle East. For the next time, Arab army was much more better prepare, armed and trained.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.