Manjutakin (Turkish: Mencu Tekin) was a military slave (ghulam) of the Fatimid Caliph al-Aziz (r. 975–996). Of Turkic origin, he became one of the leading Fatimid generals under al-Aziz, fighting against the Hamdanids and the Byzantines in Syria. He rebelled against the Berber-dominated regime of the early years of al-Hakim (r. 996–1021), but was defeated and died in captivity.
Manjutakin was one of the most prominent of the Turkish slave-soldiers who were introduced to the Fatimid court by al-Aziz and his predecessor al-Mu'izz (r. 953–975) and favoured as a counterbalance to the predominantly Berber army (mostly drawn from the Kutama tribe).
In 991, after the death of the longtime vizier Yaqub ibn Killis, who had dominated Fatimid politics during his life, al-Aziz chose to pursue a more aggressive stance in Syria, and appointed Manjutakin as governor of Damascus. From this position, Manjutakin led a series of expeditions in 991–994 against the declining Hamdanid Emirate of Aleppo, capturing Homs, Apamea, and Shaizar. Byzantine forces under the doux of Antioch, Michael Bourtzes, came to the aid of Aleppo, but were twice defeated, in June 992 and again at the Battle of the Orontes in September 994, after which Aleppo was invested and came close to falling. Finally, the threat to Aleppo, which Byzantium regarded as its protectorate, forced the intervention in 995 of Emperor Basil II (r. 976–1025) himself. Basil's campaign forced the Fatimid army to retreat without giving battle, while the Byzantines besieged Tripolis unsuccessfully and occupied Tartus. Al-Aziz himself now prepared to take the field against the Byzantines himself, but he died on 14 October 996 before starting his campaign.
After al-Aziz's death, his young son al-Hakim succeeded to the throne, with the eunuch Barjawan being appointed as regent by al-Aziz on his deathbed. The Kutama, however, used the opportunity to install their leader, al-Hasan ibn 'Ammar, as prime minister, and to effectively seize control of the central government for themselves. This provoked the reaction of the Turkish faction, led by Manjutakin. With Barjawan's covert encouragement, Manjutakin led his army south towards Egypt, while the Berbers gathered under the command of Sulayman ibn Ja'far ibn Fallaq. The two armies met in either Ramla or Ascalon, and the battle ended in defeat for Manjutakin, who was taken prisoner. Ibn Fallaq marched on to Damascus, where he assumed the post of governor, while Manjutakin himself was well received by Ibn 'Ammar, who thus hoped—in the event, without success—to reconcile the Turks to his regime and use them to counterbalance the caliphal office. He was allowed to live out his years in retirement in Cairo, where he died in 1007.
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