A mamluk (Arabic: مملوك (singular), مماليك (plural), "owned"; also transliterated mamluq, mamluke, mameluk, mameluke, mamaluke, marmeluke, or marmaduke) was a soldier who converted to Islam and served the Muslim Arab caliphs from the 9th to the 16th centuries. They were of mixed ancestry but mainly Kipchak Turks. While Mamluks were purchased, their status was above ordinary slaves, who were not allowed to carry weapons or perform certain tasks. Mamluks were considered to be “true lords,” with social status above freeborn Egyptians. Over time, they became a powerful military caste often defeating the Crusaders. On more than one occasion, they seized power for themselves; for example, ruling Egypt in the Mamluk Dynasty from 1250–1517.