1037-1194AD The Great Seljuk Empire: brought to the Muslims "fighting spirit and fanatical aggression"

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Great Seljuq Empire

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Great Seljuq Empire
Image:Kara-Khanid KhanateFlag.svg
10371194

Flag of Great Seljuq Empire

Flag

Location of Great Seljuq Empire
Great Seljuq Empire in its zenith
CapitalNisapur
Political structureEmpire
Sultan
- 1037-1063Tugrul Beg
- 1063-1072Alp Arslan
- 1072-1092Malik Shah I
- 1118-1157Ahmed Sanjar
- 1174-1194Tugrul III
History
- Tugrul Beg formed the state system1037
- Replaced by the Khwarezmian Empire1194

The Great Seljuq Empire was a medievalSunniMuslim empire established by the Qynyq branch of Oghuz Turks[1] that once controlled a vast area stretching from the Hindu Kush to eastern Anatolia and from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf. From their homelands near the Aral sea, the Seljuqs advanced first into Khorasan and then into mainland Persia before eventually conquering eastern Anatolia. Their advance marked the beginning of Turkic power in the Middle East.

The Seljuq empire was founded by Tugrul Beg in 1037 after the efforts by the founder of the Seljuq dynasty, Seljuq Beg, back in the first quarter of the 11th century. Seljuq Beg's father was in a higher position in the Oghuz Yabgu State, and gave his name both to the state and the dynasty. The Seljuqs united the fractured political scene of the Eastern Islamic world and played a key role in the first and second crusades. Highly Persianized[2][3] in culture[4] and language[5][6][7][8], the Seljuqs also played an important role in the development of the Turko-Persian tradition which "features Persian culture patronized by Turkic rulers"[9].

Contents

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[edit] Founder of the Dynasty

Main article: Seljuk

The apical ancestor of the Seljuqs was their Beg, Seljuq, who was reputed to have served in the Khazar army, under whom, circa 950 CE they migrated to Khwarezm, near the city of Jend also called Khujand, where they converted to Islam.[10]

[edit] Great Seljuk

The Seljuqs were allied with the Persian Samanid Shahs against the Qarakhanids. The Samanids however fell to the Qarakhanids and the emergence of the Ghaznavids and were involved in the power struggle in the region before establishing their own independent base.

[edit] Tugrul and Chagri Beg

Main article: Toğrül

Togrul Beg was the grandson of Seljuk and Çagrı (Chagri) was his brother, under whom the Seljuks wrested an empire from the Ghaznavids. Initially the Seljuks were repulsed by Mahmud and retired to Khwarezm but Togrül and Çagrı led them to capture Merv and Nishapur (1028-1029). Later they repeatedly raided and traded territory with his successors across Khorasan and Balkh and even sacked Ghazni in 1037. In 1039 at the Battle of Dandanaqan, they decisively defeated Mas'ud I of the Ghaznavids resulting in him abandoning most of his western territories to the Seljuks. In 1055, Togrül captured Baghdad from the Shi'a Buyids under a commission from the Abbassids.

[edit] Alp Arslan

Main article: Alp Arslan

Alp Arslan was the son of Chagri Beg and expanded significantly upon Togrül's holdings by adding Armenia and Georgia in 1064 and invading the Byzantine Empire in 1068, from which he annexed almost all of Anatolia; Arslan's decisive victory at the Battle of Manzikert (in 1071) effectively neutralized the Byzantine [1st Christian Empire] threat.[11] He authorized his Turcoman generals to carve their own principalities out of formerly Byzantine Anatolia, as atabegs loyal to him. Within two years the Turcomans had established control as far as the Aegean Sea under numerous "beghliks" (modern Turkish beyliks): the Saltuqis in Northeastern Anatolia, Mengujeqs in Eastern Anatolia, Artuqids in Southeastern Anatolia, Danishmendis in Central Anatolia, Rum Seljuks (Beghlik of Suleyman, which later moved to Central Anatolia) in Western Anatolia and the Beghlik of Çaka Beg in İzmir (Smyrna).

[edit] Malik Shah I

Main article: Malik Shah I

Under Alp Arslan's successor Malik Shah and his two Persian viziers[12]Nizām al-Mulk and Tāj al-Mulk, the Seljuk state expanded in various directions, to former Iranian border before Arab invasion, so that it bordered China in the East and the Byzantines in the West. He moved the capital from Rayy to Isfahan. The Iqta military system and the Nizāmīyyah University at Baghdad were established by Nizām al-Mulk, and the reign of Malikshāh was reckoned the golden age of "Great Seljuk". The Abbasid Caliph titled him "The Sultan of the East and West" in 1087. The Assassins of Hassan-e Sabāh however started to become a force during his era and assassinated many leading figures in his administration.

[edit] Governance

Head of male royal figure, 12-13th century, found in Iran. Carved and drilled stone with Seljuq craftsmanship. Kept at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Head of male royal figure, 12-13th century, found in Iran. Carved and drilled stone with Seljuq craftsmanship. Kept at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Seljuk power was at its zenith under Malikshāh I, and both the Qarakhanids and Ghaznavids had to acknowledge the overlordship of the Seljuks.[13]. The Seljuk dominion was established over the ancient Sassanid domains, in Iran and Iraq, and included Anatolia as well as parts of Central Asia and modern Afghanistan.[13] The Seljuk rule was modelled after the tribal organization brought in by the nomadic conquerors and resembled a 'family federation' or 'appanage state'.[13] Under this organization the leading member of the paramount family assigned family members portions of his domains as autonomous appanages.[13]

[edit] The First Crusade

Main article: First Crusade

The fractured states of the Seljuks were on the whole more concerned with consolidating their own territories and gaining control of their neighbours, than with cooperating against the crusaders when the First Crusade arrived in 1095 and successfully captured the Holy land to set up the Crusader States. The Seljuks had already lost Palestine to the Fatimids before their capture by the crusaders.

[edit] The Second Crusade

See also: Second Crusade, Zengi, Nur ad-Din

Ahmed Sanjar had to contend with the revolts of Qarakhanids in Transoxiana, Ghorids in Afghanistan and Qarluks in modern Kyrghyzstan, even as the nomadic Kara-Khitais invaded the East destroying the Seljuk vassal state of the Eastern Qarakhanids. At the Battle of Qatwan Sanjar 1141 and lost all his eastern provinces up to the Syr Darya.

During this time conflict with the Crusader States was also intermittent and after the First Crusade, increasingly independent atabegs would frequently ally with the crusader states against other atabegs as they vied with each other for territory. At Mosul Zengi succeeded Kerbogha as atabeg and successfully began the process of consolidating the atabegs of Syria. In 1144 Zengi captured Edessa, as the County of Edessa had allied itself with the Ortoqids against him. This event triggered the launch of the second crusade. Nur ad-Din, one of Zengi's sons who succeeded him as atabeg of Aleppo created an alliance in the region to oppose the second crusade which landed in 1147.

[edit] Division of empire

See also: Sultanate of Rum, Atabegs

When Malikshāh I died in 1092, the empire split as his brother and four sons quarrelled over the apportioning of the empire among themselves. In Anatolia, Malikshāh I was succeeded by Kilij Arslan I who founded the Sultanate of Rum and in Syria by his brother Tutush I. In Persia he was succeeded by his son Mahmud I whose reign was contested by his other three brothers Barkiyaruq in Iraq, Muhammad I in Baghdad and Ahmad Sanjar in Khorasan.

When Tutush I died his sons Radwan and Duqaq inherited Aleppo and Damascus respectively and contested with each other as well further dividing Syria amongst emirs antagonistic towards each other.

In 1118, the third son Ahmad Sanjar took over the empire. His nephew, the son of Muhammad I did not recognize his claim to the throne and Mahmud II proclaimed himself Sultan and established a capital in Baghdad, until 1131 when he was finally officially deposed by Ahmad Sanjar.

Elsewhere in nominal Seljuk territory were the Artuqids in northeastern Syria and northern Mesopotamia. They controlled Jerusalem until 1098. In eastern Anatolia and northern Syria a state was founded by the Dānišmand dynasty, and contested land with the Sultanate of Rum and Kerbogha exercised greeted independence as the atabeg of Mosul.

[edit] Legacy

The Seljuks were educated in the service of Muslim courts as slaves or mercenaries. The dynasty brought revival, energy, and reunion to the Islamic civilization hitherto dominated by Arabs and Persians. According to the Seljuks, they brought to the Muslims "fighting spirit and fanatical aggression". [14]

The Seljuks were also patrons of art and literature. Under the Seljuks universities were founded.[15] Their reign is characterized by astronomers such as Omar Khayyám, and the philosipher al-Ghazali.

[edit] List of Emperors of the Great Seljuq Empire

[edit] Conquest by Khwarezm and the Ayyubids

See also:Saladin, Ayyubid, Khwarezmid Empire

In 1153 the Oghuz Turks rebelled and captured Sanjar. He managed to escape three years later but died a year after that. Despite several attempts to reunite the Seljuks by his successors, the Crusades prevented them from regaining their former empire. The Atabegs such as Zengids and Artuqids were only nominally under the Seljuk Sultan, and generally controlled Syria independently. When Ahmed Sanjar died in 1156 it fractured the empire even further rendering the atabegs effectively independent.

  1. Khorasani Seljuks in Khorasan and Transoxiana. Capital: Merv
  2. Kermani Seljuks
  3. Sultanate of Rum. Capital: Iznik (Nicaea), later Konya (Iconium)
  4. Atabeghlik of Salgur in Iran
  5. Atabeghlik of Ildeniz in Iraq and Azerbaijan. Capital Hamadan
  6. Atabeghlik of Bori in Syria. Capital: Damascus
  7. Atabeghlik of Zangi in Al Jazira (Northern Mesopotamia). Capital: Mosul
  8. Turcoman Beghliks: Danishmendis, Artuqids, Saltuqis and Mengujegs in Asia Minor
  9. Khwarezmshahs in Transoxiana, Khwarezm. Capital: Urganch

After the Second Crusade Nur ad-Din's general Shirkuh, who had established himself in Egypt on Fatimid land, was succeeded by Saladin who rebelled against Nur ad-Din. Upon Nur ad-Dins death, Saladin married his widow and captured most of Syria creating the Ayyubid dynasty.

On other fronts the Kingdom of Georgia began to become a regional power and extended its borders at the expense of Great Seljuk as did the revival of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia under Leo II of Armenia in Anatolia. The Abbassid caliph An-Nasir also began to reassert the authority of the caliph and allied himself with the Khwarezmshah Ala ad-Din Tekish.

For a brief period Togrul III was the Sultan of all Seljuk except for Anatolia. In 1194 Togrul was defeated by Ala ad-Din Tekish, the Shah of Khwarezmid Empire, and the Seljuk finally collapsed. Of the former Seljuk Empire, only the Sultanate of Rüm in Anatolia remained. As the dynasty declined in the middle of the 13th century, the Mongols invaded Anatolia in the 1260s and divided it into small emirates called the Anatolian beyliks, one of which, the Ottoman, would rise to power and conquer the rest.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^
    • Jackson, P. (2002). Review: The History of the Seljuq Turks: The History of the Seljuq Turks.Journal of Islamic Studies 2002 13(1):75-76; doi:10.1093/jis/13.1.75.Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.
    • Bosworth, C. E. (2001). Notes on Some Turkish Names in Abu 'l-Fadl Bayhaqi's Tarikh-i Mas'udi. Oriens, Vol. 36, 2001 (2001), pp. 299-313.
    • Dani, A. H., Masson, V. M. (Eds), Asimova, M. S. (Eds), Litvinsky, B. A. (Eds), Boaworth, C. E. (Eds). (1999). History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers (Pvt. Ltd).
    • Hancock, I. (2006). ON ROMANI ORIGINS AND IDENTITY. The Romani Archives and Documentation Center. The University of Texas at Austin.
    • Asimov, M. S., Bosworth, C. E. (eds.). (1998). History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Vol. IV: The Age of Achievement: AD 750 to the End of the Fifteenth Century, Part One: The Historical, Social and Economic Setting. Multiple History Series. Paris: UNESCO Publishing.
    • Dani, A. H., Masson, V. M. (Eds), Asimova, M. S. (Eds), Litvinsky, B. A. (Eds), Boaworth, C. E. (Eds). (1999). History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers (Pvt. Ltd).
  2. ^ M.A. Amir-Moezzi, "Shahrbanu", Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, (LINK): "... here one might bear in mind that non-Persian dynasties such as the Ghaznavids, Saljuqs and Ilkhanids were rapidly to adopt the Persian language and have their origins traced back to the ancient kings of Persia rather than to Turkish heroes or Muslim saints ..."
  3. ^
    • Josef W. Meri, "Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia", Routledge, 2005, p. 399
    • Michael Mandelbaum, "Central Asia and the World", Council on Foreign Relations (May 1994), p. 79
    • Jonathan Dewald, "Europe 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World", Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004, p. 24: "Turcoman armies coming from the East had driven the Byzantines out of much of Asia Minor and established the Persianized sultanate of the Seljuks."
  4. ^
    • C.E. Bosworth, "Turkish Expansion towards the west" in UNESCO HISTORY OF HUMANITY, Volume IV, titled "From the Seventh to the Sixteenth Century", UNESCO Publishing / Routledge, p. 391: "While the Arabic language retained its primacy in such spheres as law, theology and science, the culture of the Seljuk court and secular literature within the sultanate became largely Persianized; this is seen in the early adoption of Persian epic names by the Seljuq Rulers (Qubad, Kay Khusraw and so on) and in the use of Persian as a literary language (Turkish must have been essentially a vehicle for every days speech at this time). The process of Persianization accelerated in the thirteenth century with the presence in Konya of two of the most distinguished refugees fleeing before the Mongols, Baha al-din Walad and his son Mawlana Jalal al-din Rumi, whose Mathnawi, composed in Konya, constitutes one of the crowing glories of classical Persian literature."
    • Mehmed Fuad Koprulu's, "Early Mystics in Turkish Literature", Translated by Gary Leiser and Robert Dankoff , Routledge, 2006, pg 149: "If we wish to sketch, in broad outline, the civilization created by the Seljuks of Anatolia, we must recognize that the local, i.e. non-Muslim, element was fairly insignificant compared to the Turkish and Arab-Persian elements, and that the Persian element was paramount. The Seljuk rulers, to be sure, who were in contact with not only Muslim Persian civilization, but also with the Arab civiliza­tions in al-jazlra and Syria - indeed, with all Muslim peoples as far as India — also had connections with {various} Byzantine courts. Some of these rulers, like the great 'Ala' al-Dln Kai-Qubad I himself, who married Byzantine princesses and thus strengthened relations with their neighbors to the west, lived for many years in Byzantium and became very familiar with the customs and ceremonial at the Byzantine court. Still, this close contact with the ancient Greco-Roman and Christian traditions only resulted in their adoption of a policy of tolerance toward art, aesthetic life, painting, music, independent thought - in short, toward those things that were frowned upon by the narrow and piously ascetic views {of their subjects}. The contact of the common people with the Greeks and Armenians had basically the same result. {Before coming to Anatolia,} the Turks had been in contact with many nations and had long shown their ability to synthesize the artistic elements that thev had adopted from these nations. When they settled in Anatolia, they encountered peoples with whom they had not yet been in contact and immediately established relations with them as well. Ala al-Din Kai-Qubad I established ties with the Genoese and, especially, the Venetians at the ports of Sinop and Antalya, which belonged to him, and granted them commercial and legal concessions. Mean­while, the Mongol invasion, which caused a great number of scholars and artisans to flee from Turkistan, Iran, and Khwarazm and settle within the Empire of the Seljuks of Anatolia, resulted in a reinforcing of Persian influence on the Anatolian Turks. Indeed, despite all claims to the contrary, there is no question that Persian influence was paramount among the Seljuks of Anatolia. This is clearly revealed by the fact that the sultans who ascended the throne after Ghiyath al-Din Kai-Khusraw I assumed titles taken from ancient Persian mythology, like Kai-Khusraw, Kai-Ka us, and Kai-Qubad; and that. Ala' al-Din Kai-Qubad I had some passages from the Shahname inscribed on the walls of Konya and Sivas. When we take into consideration domestic life in the Konya courts and the sincerity of the favor and attachment of the rulers to Persian poets and Persian literature, then this fact {i.e. the importance of Persian influence} is undeniable. With- regard to the private lives of the rulers, their amusements, and palace ceremonial, the most definite influence was also that of Iran, mixed with the early Turkish traditions, and not that of Byzantium."
    • Stephen P. Blake, "Shahjahanabad: The Sovereign City in Mughal India, 1639-1739". Cambridge University Press, 1991. pg 123: "For the Seljuks and Il-Khanids in Iran it was the rulers rather than the conquered who were "Pesianized and Islamicized"
  5. ^ O.Özgündenli, "Persian Manuscripts in Ottoman and Modern Turkish Libraries", Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, (LINK)
  6. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Seljuq", Online Edition, (LINK): "... Because the Turkish Seljuqs had no Islamic tradition or strong literary heritage of their own, they adopted the cultural language of their Persian instructors in Islam. Literary Persian thus spread to the whole of Iran, and the Arabic language disappeared in that country except in works of religious scholarship ..."
  7. ^ M. Ravandi, "The Seljuq court at Konya and the Persianisation of Anatolian Cities", in Mesogeios (Mediterranean Studies), vol. 25-6 (2005), pp. 157-69
  8. ^
    • M.A. Amir-Moezzi, "Shahrbanu", Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, (LINK): "... here one might bear in mind that non-Persian dynasties such as the Ghaznavids, Saljuqs and Ilkhanids were rapidly to adopt the Persian language and have their origins traced back to the ancient kings of Persia rather than to Turkish heroes or Muslim saints ..."
    • F. Daftary, Sectarian and National Movements in Iran, Khorasan, and Trasoxania during Umayyad and Early Abbasid Times, in History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Vol 4, pt. 1; edited by M.S. Asimov and C.E. Bosworth; UNESCO Publishing, Institute of Ismaili Studies: "... Not only did the inhabitants of Khurasan not succumb to the language of the nomadic invaders, but they imposed their own tongue on them. The region could even assimilate the Turkic Ghaznavids and Seljuks (eleventh and twelfth centuries), the Timurids (fourteenth–fifteenth centuries), and the Qajars (nineteenth–twentieth centuries) ..."
  9. ^ Daniel Pipes: "The Event of Our Era: Former Soviet Muslim Republics Change the Middle East" in Michael Mandelbaum,"Central Asia and the World: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkemenistan and the World", Council on Foreign Relations, pg 79. Exact statement: "In Short, the Turko-Persian tradition featured Persian culture patronized by Turcophone rulers."
  10. ^ Wink, Andre, Al Hind the Making of the Indo Islamic World, Brill Academic Publishers, Jan 1, 1996, ISBN 90-04-09249-8 pg.9
  11. ^ Dhu'l Qa'da 463/ August 1071 The Battle of Malazkirt (Manzikert), <http://www.princeton.edu/~humcomp/kemal/malazf.htm>. Retrieved on 8 September 2007
  12. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Nizam al-Mulk", Online Edition, (LINK)
  13. ^ a b c d Wink, Andre, Al Hind the Making of the Indo Islamic World, Brill Academic Publishers, Jan 1, 1996, ISBN 90-04-09249-8 pg 9-10
  14. ^ Previte-Orton (1971), vol.1, pg. 278-9
  15. ^ two examples are: the Nizamiyah universities of Baghdad and Nishapur

[edit] References

Faravahar background
History of Greater Iran
Empires of Persia · Kings of Persia
Pre-modern
Modern

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  • Previte-Orton, C. W (1971). The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links