Climate and Political Climate: Environmental Disasters in the Medieval Levant

The twelfth and thirteenth centuries in the Levant saw a substantial rise in the number of droughts. This coincided with some of the most violent tectonic activity the region had witnessed. Nature, however, could conjure other powerful disasters: swarms of locusts, armies of mice, scorching winds and thick dust storms. The data for this research is drawn from contemporary Arabic and Latin sources. The main aim is to try and determine the long and short-term repercussions of environmental disasters on the political, military and social affairs in the Levant during the Crusader, Ayyubid and Mamluk periods. Did environmental disasters spur or hinder conflict? This research examines the most destructive disasters and gradual climate changes within a broader historical context.