HOME

TheInfoList




The Great Seljuk Empire or the Seljuk Empire, was a
high medieval The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period of European history that lasted from around AD 1000 to 1250. The High Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted from the 5th to the la ...
Turko-Persian The composite Turco-Persian tradition
''Turko-Persia in historical perspective'', Cambridge University Press, 1991
Sunni Muslim Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, ...
empire, originating from the
Qiniq Image:SSI Micro Nunavut.jpg, Qiniq's coverage area in Nunavut. Qiniq serves 25 communities in Nunavut. Qiniq, from the Inuktitut root word for "to search", is a Canadian company, which uses satellite and wireless communications technology to provi ...
branch of
Oghuz Turks The Oguz or Ghuzz Turks (: ٱغُز, ''Oγuz'', ota, اوغوز, Oġuz) were a western that spoke the of the . In the 8th century, they formed a conventionally named the in Central Asia. The name ''Oghuz'' is a word for "tribe". source ...
. At the time of its greatest extent, the Seljuk Empire controlled a vast area, stretching from western
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
and the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
in the west to the
Hindu Kush The Hindu Kush ( Dari, Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language of the Indo-European family. It is known in Persian literature as Afghani (, ). The language is natively spoken ...
in the east, and from
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area ...

Central Asia
in the north to the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of , ) is a in . The body of water is an extension of the () through the and lies between to the northeast and the to the southwest.United Nations Group of Exper ...
in the south. The Seljuk empire was founded in 1037 by
Tughril Tughril Bey (; full name: Rukn al-Dunya wa al-Din Abu Talib Muhammad Toghrul-Beg ibn Mikail, also spelled Toghrul I, Tugril, Toghril, Tugrul or Toghrïl Beg; 990 – September 4, 1063) was the Turkmens, Turkoman"The defeat in August 1071 of ...
(990–1063) and his brother
Chaghri Abu Suleiman Dawud Chaghri Beg ibn Mikail, better known simply as Chaghri Beg (989–1060), ''Da'ud b. Mika'il b. Saljuq'', also spelled Chaghri, was the co-ruler of the early Seljuk Empire The Great Seljuk Empire ( fa, آل سلجوق, transl ...
(989–1060). From their homelands near the
Aral Sea The Aral Sea (Aral ; kk, Aral teńizi, Арал теңізі, uz, Orol dengizi, Орол денгизи, kaa, Aral ten'izi, Арал теңизи, russian: Аральское море) was an endorheic lake lying between Kazakhstan Kaza ...

Aral Sea
, the Seljuks advanced first into
Khorasan Khorasan may refer to: * Greater Khorasan, a historical region which lies mostly in modern-day northern/northwestern Afghanistan, northeastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan * Khorasan Province, a pre-2004 province of Iran, ...
and then into mainland
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

Persia
, before eventually conquering
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of and one of the in the , and compared to its large population it has a small area at just 673 square kilometers (260 sq mi). Located along the , near the ruins of the city of and the anc ...

Baghdad
and eastern Anatolia. The Seljuks won the battle of Manzikert in 1071, and then conquered most of the rest of Anatolia, wresting it from the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
. This was one of the impetuses for the
First Crusade The First Crusade (1096–1099) was the first of a series of religious wars, or Crusades, initiated, supported and at times directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The objective was the recovery of the Holy Land from Muslim conque ...
(1095–1099). The Seljuk empire began to decline in the 1140s, and by 1194 had been supplanted by the Khwarazmian Empire.
SeljukSeljuk may refer to: * Seljuk (warlord) (died c. 1038), founder of the Turko-Persian Seljuk dynasty in the Middle East and central Asia * Seljuq dynasty (c. 950–1307), the dynasty founded by Seljuk * Seljuk Empire (1051–1153), a medieval empire ...
gave his name to both the empire and the
Seljuk dynasty The Seljuk dynasty, or Seljuks ( ; fa, آل سلجوق ''Al-e Saljuq'', alternatively spelled as Seljuqs or Saljuqs), also known as Seljuk Turks, Seljuk Turkomans "The defeat in August 1071 of the Byzantine emperor Romanos Diogenes by the Turkom ...
. The Seljuk empire united the fractured political landscape of the eastern
Islamic world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodne ...
and played a key role in both the First Crusade and
Second Crusade The Second Crusade (1147–1150) was the second major crusade The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern M ...
. The Seljuks also played an important part in the creation and expansion of multiple art forms during the period in which they had influence. Highly
Persianized Persianization (), or Persification (), is a sociological Sociology is the study of society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing ...
in culture and language, the Seljuks also played an important role in the development of the Turko-Persian tradition, even exporting Persian culture to Anatolia. The settlement of Turkic tribes in the northwestern peripheral parts of the empire, for the strategic military purpose of fending off invasions from neighboring states, led to the progressive Turkicization of those areas.


History


Founder of the dynasty

The founder of the Seljuq dynasty was an Oghuz Turkic warlord
SeljukSeljuk may refer to: * Seljuk (warlord) (died c. 1038), founder of the Turko-Persian Seljuk dynasty in the Middle East and central Asia * Seljuq dynasty (c. 950–1307), the dynasty founded by Seljuk * Seljuk Empire (1051–1153), a medieval empire ...
. He was reputed to have served in the
Khazar The Khazars (, ; he, כוזרים, ''Kuzarim''; tr, Hazarlar; az, Xəzərlər; ba, Хазарҙар; tt, Хәзәрләр, ''Xäzärlär''; ''Xazar''; fa, خزر; uk, Хоза́ри, ''Khozáry''; rus, Хаза́ры, ''Khazáry''; ...
army, under whom, the Seljuks migrated to
Khwarezm Khwarazm , or Chorasmia (Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire). Like other ...
, near the city of
JendJand (also Jend), was a medieval town on the right bank of the lower Jaxartes river in Transoxiana in the 8th century, showing Transoxiana and its principal localities to the northeast. Image: Chorasan-Transoxanien-Choresmien neu.svg, upright=1.5, T ...
, where they converted to
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling ...
) is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is a Muhammad in Islam, messenger of God.Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , ed ...
in 985. Khwarezm, administered by the
Ma'munids The Maʾmunids ( fa, مأمونیان) were an independent dynasty of Iranian rulers in Chorasmia.Clifford Edmund Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynasties: A Chronological and Genealogical Manual, Columbia University, 1996. Their reign was short-lived ...
, was under the nominal control of the
Samanid Empire The Samanid Empire ( fa, سامانیان, Sāmāniyān) also known as the Samanian Empire, Samanid dynasty, Samanid amirate, or simply Samanids) was a Sunni Islam, Sunni Iranian peoples, Iranian empire, from 819 to 999. The empire was centred in ...
. By 999 the Samanids fell to the in
Transoxiana Transoxiana or Transoxania is an ancient name referring to a region and civilization located in lower roughly corresponding to modern-day eastern , , southern and southern . Geographically, it is the region between the rivers to its south and ...
, but the
Ghaznavids The Ghaznavid dynasty ( fa, غزنویان ''ġaznaviyān'') was a Persianate Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam, a Monotheism, monotheistic Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic religion. The derivation of "Muslim" is fro ...
occupied the lands south of the Oxus. The Seljuks became involved, having supported the last Samanid emir against the Kara-Khanids, in this power struggle in the region before establishing their own independent base.


Expansion of the empire


Tughril and Chaghri

Oghuz Turks, led by the grandson of Seljuk,
Tughril Tughril Bey (; full name: Rukn al-Dunya wa al-Din Abu Talib Muhammad Toghrul-Beg ibn Mikail, also spelled Toghrul I, Tugril, Toghril, Tugrul or Toghrïl Beg; 990 – September 4, 1063) was the Turkmens, Turkoman"The defeat in August 1071 of ...
, were one of several groups of the Oghuz who made their way to
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
between about 1020 and 1040, first moving south to
Transoxiana Transoxiana or Transoxania is an ancient name referring to a region and civilization located in lower roughly corresponding to modern-day eastern , , southern and southern . Geographically, it is the region between the rivers to its south and ...
, and then to
Khorasan Khorasan may refer to: * Greater Khorasan, a historical region which lies mostly in modern-day northern/northwestern Afghanistan, northeastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan * Khorasan Province, a pre-2004 province of Iran, ...
, initially at the invitation of the local rulers, then under alliances and conflicts. However, prior to the arrival of the Seljuks to Khorasan, other Oghuz Turks were already present in the area: that is, the northern slopes of
Kopet Dag The Köpet Dag, Kopet Dagh, or Koppeh Dagh ( tk, Köpetdag; fa, کپه‌داغ), also known as the Turkmen-Khorasan Mountain Range, is a mountain range on the border between Turkmenistan and Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called ...
mountains, which is principally the region stretching from the
Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea (also known as Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Khazar Sea), tk, Hazar deňzi, az, Xəzər Dənizi, russian: Каспийское море, script=Latn, fa, دریای مازندران، دریای خزر, script=Latn, tly, ...

Caspian Sea
to
MarvMarv may refer to: Initialism *Maneuverable reentry vehicle (MARV), a type of missile warhead *Marburg virus (MARV), a virus of humans and non-human primates *M.A.R.V., otherwise known as the Mammoth Armed Reclamation Vehicle, a fictional tank from ...
; what is today - Turkmenistan. Contemporary sources mention places such as Dahistan (
Atrek The Atrek ( fa, اترک, tk, Etrek derýasy), also known as the Attruck, Atrak, and Etrek, is a fast-moving rivers of Iran, river which begins in the mountains of north-eastern Iran (), and flows westward draining into the south-eastern corner o ...
etrap), Farawa (corresponding to Kizyl-Arvat, today's Serdar) and
Nasa The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the Federal government of the United States, U.S. federal government responsible for the civilian Li ...
(still known by this name), as well as
Sarakhs Sarakhs ( fa, سرخس, Saraxs, also Romanized as Serakhs) is a city in Sarakhs County, Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran. Sarakhs was once a stopping point along the Silk Road, and in its 11th century heyday had many libraries. Much of the original c ...
and Marv. After moving into Khorasan, Seljuks under
Tughril Tughril Bey (; full name: Rukn al-Dunya wa al-Din Abu Talib Muhammad Toghrul-Beg ibn Mikail, also spelled Toghrul I, Tugril, Toghril, Tugrul or Toghrïl Beg; 990 – September 4, 1063) was the Turkmens, Turkoman"The defeat in August 1071 of ...
wrested an empire from the
Ghaznavids The Ghaznavid dynasty ( fa, غزنویان ''ġaznaviyān'') was a Persianate Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam, a Monotheism, monotheistic Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic religion. The derivation of "Muslim" is fro ...
. Initially the Seljuks were repulsed by
Mahmud Mahmud is a of the male given name (), common in most parts of the . It comes from the Arabic root , meaning ''praise'', along with '. Mononym * (born 1992), full name Alessandro Mahmoud, Italian singer of Italian and Egyptian origin * (foa ...

Mahmud
and retired to
Khwarezm Khwarazm , or Chorasmia (Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire). Like other ...
, but Tughril and Chaghri led them to capture
Merv Merv ( tk, Merw, ''Мерв'', مرو; fa, مرو, ''Marv''), also known as the Merve Oasis, formerly known as Alexandria ( el, Ἀλεξάνδρεια), Antiochia in Margiana ( el, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐν τῇ Μαργιανῇ) and ...

Merv
and
Nishapur Nishapur or Nishabur ( fa, ; also Romanize Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studyin ...
(1037–1038). Later they repeatedly raided and traded territory with his successor, Mas'ud, across
Khorasan Khorasan may refer to: * Greater Khorasan, a historical region which lies mostly in modern-day northern/northwestern Afghanistan, northeastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan * Khorasan Province, a pre-2004 province of Iran, ...
and
Balkh ), named for its green-tiled ''Gonbad'' ( fa, گُنبَد, dome), in July 2001 , image_flag = , flag_size = , image_seal = , seal_size = , image_shield ...

Balkh
. In 1040, at the
Battle of Dandanaqan The Battle of Dandanaqan was fought in 1040 between the Seljuqs and the Ghaznavid Empire near the city of Merv (present-day Turkmenistan). The battle ended with a Seljuq victory and brought down the Ghaznavid domination in the Khorasan. Prepar ...
, they decisively defeated
Mas'ud I of Ghazni Masoud (also spelled Massoud, Massoude, Massudeh, Masood, Masud, Masud, Mashud, Messaoud, Mesut, Mesud or Mosād, in Arabic: مسعود اِقرا:مَس عَود‎, in Persian language, Persian: مسعود خوانده شود:مسود, is a given ...
, forcing him to abandon most of his western territories. By 1046, Abbasid caliph al-Qa'im had sent Tughril a diploma recognizing Seljuk rule over
Khurasan Khorāsān ( pal, Xwarāsān; fa, خراسان, , ''Wuchang''), sometimes called Greater Khorasan, is a historical region which formed the northeast province of Greater Iran. The name signifies "the Land of the Sun" or "the Eastern Province". ...
. In 1048–1049, the Seljuk Turks, commanded by Ibrahim Yinal, uterine brother of Tughril, made their first incursion into the Byzantine frontier region of
Iberia The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a penin ...
and clashed with a combined Byzantine-Georgian army of 50,000 at the Battle of Kapetrou on 10 September 1048. The devastation left behind by the Seljuk raid was so fearful that the Byzantine magnate Eustathios Boilas described, in 1051–1052, those lands as "foul and unmanageable... inhabited by snakes, scorpions, and wild beasts." The Arab chronicler
Ibn al-Athir Abu al-Hassan Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ash-Shaybani, better known as Ali 'Izz al- Din Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari ( ar, علي عز الدین بن الاثیر الجزري) (1160-1233) was an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, ع ...
reports that Ibrahim brought back 100,000 captives and a vast booty loaded on the backs of ten thousand camels. In 1055, Tughril entered Baghdad and removed the influence of the
Buyid dynasty The Buyid dynasty, or the Buyids ( fa, آل بویه ''Āl-e Būya''; also known as Buwaihids, Bowayhids, Buyahids, or Buyyids), was a Shia Shia Islam or Shi'ism is the second largest branch Image:Tree Leaves.JPG, The branches and leaves o ...
, under a commission from the Abbasid caliph.


Alp Arslan

Alp Arslan, the son of Chaghri Beg, expanded significantly upon Tughril'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 resistance to the Turkish invasion of Anatolia, although the Georgians were able to recover from Alp Arslan's invasion by securing the
theme of Iberia The theme of Iberia ( el, θέμα Ἰβηρίας) was an administrative and Military organization, military unit – Theme (Byzantine district), theme – within the Byzantine Empire carved by the List of Byzantine emperors, Byzantine Emperors ...
. The Byzantine withdrawal from Anatolia brought Georgia in more direct contact with the Seljuks. In 1073 the Seljuk Amirs of Ganja, Dvin and Dmanisi invaded Georgia and were defeated by
George II of Georgia :''There was also a Giorgi II, Catholicos of Kartli who ruled in 826–838.'' George II ( ka, გიორგი II, ''Giorgi II'') ( 1054 – 1112), of the Bagrationi Dynasty, was a king of Kingdom of Georgia, Georgia from 1072 to 1089. He was a ...
, who successfully took the fortress of
Kars Kars (, az, Qars, ku, Qers) is a city in northeast Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia in Western Asia, with a small portion on the Balkans in Southeast Europe. It sh ...

Kars
. A retaliatory strike by the Seljuk Amir Ahmad defeated the Georgians at Kvelistsikhe. Alp Arslan authorized his Turkmen generals to carve their own principalities out of formerly Byzantine Anatolia, as
atabeg Atabeg, Atabek, or Atabey is a hereditary title of nobility of Turkic language, Turkic origin, indicating a governor of a nation or province who was subordinate to a monarch and charged with raising the crown prince. The first instance of the title ...
s loyal to him. Within two years the Turkmens had established control as far as the
Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between Europe's Geography of Europe, Balkan peninsula and Asia's Anatolia peninsula. The sea has an area of some 215,000 square kilometres. In ...

Aegean Sea
under numerous ''beghlik''s (modern Turkish beyliks): the
Saltukids The Saltukids or Saltuqids (Turkish language, Modern Turkish: ''Saltuklu Beyliği'' ) were a dynasty ruling one of the Anatolian beyliks founded after the Battle of Manzikert (1071) and centered on Erzurum. The Saltukids ruled between 1071 and 1202 ...
in Northeastern Anatolia, the
Shah-Armens The Shah-Armens (lit. 'Kings of Armenia', tr, Ermenşahlar), also known as Ahlatshahs (lit. 'Rulers of Ahlat', tr, Ahlatşahlar), was a 11th- and 12th-century Turcoman beylik founded after the Battle of Manzikert (1071) and centred in Ahlat o ...
and the Mengujekids in Eastern Anatolia,
Artuqids The Artuqids or Artuqid dynasty ( or ', or ', or ', sometimes also spelled as Artukid, Ortoqid or Ortokid; Turkish plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of ...
in Southeastern Anatolia, Danishmendis in Central Anatolia, (Beghlik of Suleyman, which later moved to Central Anatolia) in Western Anatolia, and the Beylik of Tzachas of Smyrna in
İzmir Izmir ( , ; tr, İzmir, ) is a metropolitan city in the western extremity of Anatolia, capital of the İzmir Province, province of the same name. It is the list of cities in Turkey, third most populous city in Turkey, after Istanbul and Ankara; ...

İzmir
(
Smyrna Smyrna ( ; grc, Σμύρνη, Smýrnē, or grc, Σμύρνα, Smýrna) was a Ancient Greece, Greek city located at a strategic point on the Aegean Sea, Aegean coast of Anatolia. Due to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defence, an ...
).


Malik Shah I

Under
Alp Arslan Alp Arslan (honorific in Turkish meaning "Heroic Lion"; in fa, آلپ ارسلان; Arabic epithet: ''Diyā ad-Dunyā wa ad-Dīn Adud ad-Dawlah Abu Shujā' Muhammad Ālp Ārslan ibn Dawūd'' ; 20 January 1029 – 15 December 1072), real name Mu ...
's successor, , and his two Persian
viziers A vizier (or wazir) (, rarely ; ar, وزير ''wazīr'', fa, وزیر ''vazīr'') is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in the Muslim world. The Abbasids, Abbasid caliphs gave the title ''wazir'' to a minister formerly called ''kat ...
, Nizām al-Mulk and Tāj al-Mulk, the Seljuk state expanded in various directions, to the former Iranian border of the days before the Arab invasion, so that it soon bordered
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
in the east and the in the west. Malikshāh was the one who moved the capital from
Ray Ray may refer to: Science and mathematics * Ray (geometry), half of a line proceeding from an initial point * Ray (graph theory), an infinite sequence of vertices such that each vertex appears at most once in the sequence and each two consecutive ...
to
Isfahan Isfahan ( fa, اصفهان, Esfahān ), from its Achaemenid empire, ancient designation ''Aspadana'' and later ''Spahan'' in Sassanian Empire, middle Persian, rendered in English as ''Ispahan'', is a major city in Greater Isfahan Region, Is ...

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 The Abbasid caliphs were the holders of the Islamic title of caliph who were members of the Abbasid dynasty, a branch of the Quraysh tribe descended from the uncle of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib. The family came to p ...
titled him "The Sultan of the East and West" in 1087. The Assassins (''Hashshashin'') of Hassan-i Sabāh started to become a force during his era, however, and they assassinated many leading figures in his administration; according to many sources these victims included Nizām al-Mulk. In 1076, Malik Shah I surged into Georgia and reduced many settlements to ruins. From 1079/80 onward, Georgia was pressured into submitting to Malik-Shah to ensure a precious degree of peace at the price of an annual
tribute A tribute (; from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be ...

tribute
.


Ahmad Sanjar

Ahmad was the son of
Malik Shah I Jalāl al-Dawla Mu'izz al-Dunyā Wa'l-Din Abu'l-Fatḥ ibn Alp Arslān (8 August 1055 – 19 November 1092, full name: fa, ), better known by his regnal name of Malik-Shah I ( fa, , tr, Melikşah), was sultan of the Seljuk Empire from 1072 to ...
and initially took part in wars of succession against his three brothers and a nephew:
Mahmud I Mahmud I ( ota, محمود اول, tr, I. Mahmud, 2 August 1696 13 December 1754), known as Mahmud the Hunchback, was the Sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic a ...
,
Barkiyaruq Rukn al-Din Abu'l-Muzaffar Berkyaruq ibn Malikshah ( fa, ابو المظفر رکن الدین برکیارق بن ملکشاه, Rukn al-Dīn Abuʿl-Moẓaffar Berkyāruq ibn Malik-Šāh; 1079/80 – 1105), better known as Berkyaruq (), was the fi ...
, Malik Shah II and
Muhammad I Tapar Muhammad I (also known as Ghiyath ad-Din Muhammad or Muhammad Tapar, died 1118) was a son of Seljuq Sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun meaning "str ...

Muhammad I Tapar
. In 1096, he was tasked to govern the province of
Khorasan Khorasan may refer to: * Greater Khorasan, a historical region which lies mostly in modern-day northern/northwestern Afghanistan, northeastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan * Khorasan Province, a pre-2004 province of Iran, ...
by his brother Muhammad I.Grousset, René (1970) ''The Empire of the Steppes'' Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
p. 159
Over the next several years, Ahmad Sanjar became the ruler of most of
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
(Persia), and eventually in 1118, the sole ruler of the Great Seljuk Empire."SANJAR, Aḥmad b. Malekšāh"
''Encyclopædia Iranica''
In 1141, Ahmad marched to eliminate the threat posed by Kara Khitans and faced them in the vicinity of
Samarkand fa, سمرقند , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = City , image_skyline = , image_alt = , image_caption = Clockwise from the top: The Reg ...

Samarkand
at the
Battle of Qatwan The Battle of Qatwan was fought in September 1141 between the Qara Khitai The Qara Khitai or Kara Khitai (alternatively known as "Black Khitan" or "Black Cathay", mn, Хар Хятан; 1124–1218), also known as the Western Liao (), officia ...

Battle of Qatwan
. He suffered his first defeat in his long career, and as a result lost all Seljuk territory east of the
Syr Darya uz, Sirdaryo, Сирдарё tg, Сирдарё , name_native_lang = , name_other = Jaxartes, Seyhun , name_etymology = unknown , image = Syr Darya.jpg , image_size = 290px , image_caption = Syr Dary ...

Syr Darya
. Sanjar's as well as the Seljuks' rule collapsed as a consequence of yet another unexpected defeat, this time at the hands of the Seljuks’ own tribe, in 1153. Sanjar was captured during the battle and held in captivity until 1156. It brought chaos to the Empire - a situation later exploited by the victorious Turkmens, whose hordes would overrun Khorasan unopposed, wreaking colossal damage on the province and prestige of Sanjar. Sanjar eventually escaped from captivity in the fall of 1156, but soon died in
Merv Merv ( tk, Merw, ''Мерв'', مرو; fa, مرو, ''Marv''), also known as the Merve Oasis, formerly known as Alexandria ( el, Ἀλεξάνδρεια), Antiochia in Margiana ( el, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐν τῇ Μαργιανῇ) and ...

Merv
(present-day Turkmenistan), in 1157. After his death, Turkic rulers, Turkmen tribal forces, and other secondary powers competed for Khorasan, and after a long period of confrontations, the province was finally conquered by Khwarazmian dynasty, Khwarazmians in the early 1200s. The Tomb of Ahmed Sanjar was destroyed by the Mongols led by Tolui, who sacked the city of Merv in 1221, killing 700,000 people according to contemporary sources Mongol conquest of the Khwarazmian Empire, during their catastrophic invasion of Khwarazm; however, modern scholarship holds such figures to be exaggerated.


Division of empire

When Malikshāh I died in 1092, the empire split as his brother and four sons quarrelled over the apportioning of the empire among themselves. Malikshāh I was succeeded in Anatolia by Kilij Arslan I, who founded the Sultanate of Rum, and in Syria by his brother Tutush I. In
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

Persia
he was succeeded by his son Nasir ad-Din Mahmud I, Mahmud I, whose reign was contested by his other three brothers
Barkiyaruq Rukn al-Din Abu'l-Muzaffar Berkyaruq ibn Malikshah ( fa, ابو المظفر رکن الدین برکیارق بن ملکشاه, Rukn al-Dīn Abuʿl-Moẓaffar Berkyāruq ibn Malik-Šāh; 1079/80 – 1105), better known as Berkyaruq (), was the fi ...
in Iraq, Muhammad I in
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of and one of the in the , and compared to its large population it has a small area at just 673 square kilometers (260 sq mi). Located along the , near the ruins of the city of and the anc ...

Baghdad
, and Ahmed Sanjar, Ahmad Sanjar in
Khorasan Khorasan may refer to: * Greater Khorasan, a historical region which lies mostly in modern-day northern/northwestern Afghanistan, northeastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan * Khorasan Province, a pre-2004 province of Iran, ...
. When Tutush I died, his sons Fakhr al-Mulk Radwan, Radwan and Duqaq (Seljuk ruler of Damascus), 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 Ahmed Sanjar, Ahmad Sanjar took over the empire. His nephew, the son of Muhammad I, did not recognize his claim to the throne, and Mahmud II of Seljuk, 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 The Artuqids or Artuqid dynasty ( or ', or ', or ', sometimes also spelled as Artukid, Ortoqid or Ortokid; Turkish plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of ...
in northeastern Syria and northern Mesopotamia; they controlled Jerusalem until 1098. The Danishmend, Dānišmand dynasty founded a state in eastern Anatolia and northern Syria and contested land with the Sultanate of Rum, and Kerbogha exercised independence as the
atabeg Atabeg, Atabek, or Atabey is a hereditary title of nobility of Turkic language, Turkic origin, indicating a governor of a nation or province who was subordinate to a monarch and charged with raising the crown prince. The first instance of the title ...
of Mosul.


First Crusade (1095–1099)

During the
First Crusade The First Crusade (1096–1099) was the first of a series of religious wars, or Crusades, initiated, supported and at times directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The objective was the recovery of the Holy Land from Muslim conque ...
, the fractured states of the Seljuks were generally more concerned with consolidating their own territories and gaining control of their neighbours than with cooperating against the crusaders. The Seljuks easily defeated the People's Crusade arriving in 1096, but they could not stop the progress of the army of the subsequent Princes' Crusade, which took important cities such as Nicaea (İznik), Iconium (Konya), Caesarea Mazaca (Kayseri), and Antioch (Antakya) on its march to Jerusalem (Al-Quds). In 1099 the crusaders finally captured the Holy Land and set up the first Crusader states. The Seljuks had already lost Palestine (region), Palestine to the Fatimids, who had recaptured it just before its capture by the crusaders. After pillaging the County of Edessa, Seljukid commander Ilghazi made peace with the Crusaders. In 1121 he went north towards Georgia and with supposedly up to 250 000 – 350 000 troops, including men led by his son-in-law Sadaqah and Sultan Malik of Ganja, Azerbaijan, Ganja, he invaded the Kingdom of Georgia. David IV of Georgia gathered 40,000 Georgian warriors, including 5,000 monaspa guards, 15,000 Kipchaks, 300 Alans and 100 French Crusaders to fight against Ilghazi's vast army. At the Battle of Didgori on August 12, 1121, the Seljuks were routed, being run down by pursuing Georgian cavalry for several days afterward. The battle helped the Crusader states, which had been under pressure from Ilghazi's armies. The weakening of the main enemy of the Latin principalities also benefitted the Kingdom of Jerusalem under King Baldwin II of Jerusalem, Baldwin II.


Second Crusade (1147–1149)

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, Imad ad-Din Zengi, Zengi succeeded Kerbogha as atabeg and successfully began the process of consolidating the atabegs of Syria. In 1144 Zengi captured Siege of Edessa (1144), Edessa, as the County of Edessa had allied itself with the
Artuqids The Artuqids or Artuqid dynasty ( or ', or ', or ', sometimes also spelled as Artukid, Ortoqid or Ortokid; Turkish plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of ...
against him. This event triggered the launch of the Second Crusade. Nur ad-Din Zangi, 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.


Decline

Ahmad Sanjar fought to contain the revolts by the Kara-Khanids in
Transoxiana Transoxiana or Transoxania is an ancient name referring to a region and civilization located in lower roughly corresponding to modern-day eastern , , southern and southern . Geographically, it is the region between the rivers to its south and ...
, Ghurids in Afghanistan and Qarluks in modern Kyrghyzstan, as well as the nomadic invasion of the Kara-Khitais in the east. The advancing Kara-Khitais first defeated the Eastern Kara-Khanids, then followed up by crushing the Western Kara-Khanids, who were vassals of the Seljuks at Khujand. The Kara-Khanids turned to their Seljuk overlords for assistance, to which Sanjar responded by personally leading an army against the Kara-Khitai. However, Sanjar's army was decisively defeated by the host of Yelu Dashi at the
Battle of Qatwan The Battle of Qatwan was fought in September 1141 between the Qara Khitai The Qara Khitai or Kara Khitai (alternatively known as "Black Khitan" or "Black Cathay", mn, Хар Хятан; 1124–1218), also known as the Western Liao (), officia ...

Battle of Qatwan
on September 9, 1141. While Sanjar managed to escape with his life, many of his close kin including his wife were taken captive in the battle's aftermath. As a result of Sanjar's failure to deal with the encroaching threat from the east, the Seljuk Empire lost all its eastern provinces up to the river
Syr Darya uz, Sirdaryo, Сирдарё tg, Сирдарё , name_native_lang = , name_other = Jaxartes, Seyhun , name_etymology = unknown , image = Syr Darya.jpg , image_size = 290px , image_caption = Syr Dary ...

Syr Darya
, and vassalage of the Western Kara-Khanids was usurped by the Kara-Khitai, otherwise known as the Western Liao in Chinese historiography.


Conquest by Khwarezm and the Ayyubids

In 1153, the Ghuzz (Oghuz Turks) rebelled and captured Sanjar. He managed to escape after three years but died a year later. The atabegs, such as the Zengids and
Artuqids The Artuqids or Artuqid dynasty ( or ', or ', or ', sometimes also spelled as Artukid, Ortoqid or Ortokid; Turkish plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of ...
, were only nominally under the Seljuk Sultan, and generally controlled Syria independently. When Ahmad Sanjar died in 1157, this fractured the empire even further and rendered the atabegs effectively independent. # Khorasani Seljuks in
Khorasan Khorasan may refer to: * Greater Khorasan, a historical region which lies mostly in modern-day northern/northwestern Afghanistan, northeastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan * Khorasan Province, a pre-2004 province of Iran, ...
and Transoxiana. Capital:
Merv Merv ( tk, Merw, ''Мерв'', مرو; fa, مرو, ''Marv''), also known as the Merve Oasis, formerly known as Alexandria ( el, Ἀλεξάνδρεια), Antiochia in Margiana ( el, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐν τῇ Μαργιανῇ) and ...

Merv
# Kermani Seljuks # Sultanate of Rum (or Seljuks of Turkey). Capital: Iznik (Nicaea), later Konya (Iconium) # Atabeghlik of the Salghurids in Fars Province, Fars # Atabeghlik of Eldiguzids (Atabeg of AzerbaijanHodgson, Marshall G.S. ''The Venture of Islam: Conscience and History in a World Civilization'', University of Chicago Press, 1974, , p. 260) in Iraq and Azerbaijan (Iran), Azerbaijan. Capital: Nakhchivan (city), NakhchivanEncyclopaedia Iranica. K. A. Luther
Atabakan-e Adarbayjan
: Sources such as Ḥosaynī’s Aḵbār (p. 181 and passim) make it clear that members of the family always considered Naḵǰavān their home base.
(1136–1175), Hamadan (1176–1186), Tabriz (1187–1225) # Atabeghlik of Burid, Bori in Syria. Capital: Damascus # Atabeghlik of Zangi in Al-Jazira, Mesopotamia, Al Jazira (Northern Mesopotamia). Capital: Mosul # Turcoman Beghliks: Danishmendis, Artuqids, Saltuqids and Mengujekids in Asia Minor After the Second Crusade, Nur ad-Din's general Shirkuh, who had established himself in Egypt on Fatimid land, was succeeded by Saladin. In time, Saladin rebelled against Nur ad-Din Zangi, Nur ad-Din, and, upon his death, Saladin married his widow and captured most of Syria and created the Ayyubid dynasty. On other fronts, the Georgia (country)#Antiquity, Kingdom of Georgia began to become a regional power and extended its borders at the expense of Great Seljuk. The same was true during the revival of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia under Leo II of Armenia in Anatolia. The Abbasid caliph An-Nasir also began to reassert the authority of the caliph and allied himself with the Khwarezmshah Takash. For a brief period, Toghrul III, Togrul III was the Sultan of all Seljuk except for Anatolia. In 1194, however, Togrul was defeated by Takash, the Shah of Khwarezmid Empire, and the Seljuk Empire finally collapsed. Of the former Seljuk Empire, only the Sultanate of Rûm in
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
remained. As the dynasty declined in the middle of the thirteenth century, the Mongol Empire, Mongols invaded Mongol invasions of Anatolia, Anatolia in the 1260s and divided it into small emirates called the Anatolian beyliks. Eventually one of these, the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman, would rise to power and conquer the rest.


Governance

Seljuk power was indeed at its zenith under Malikshāh I, and both the Qarakhanids and Ghaznavids had to acknowledge the overlordship of the Seljuks.Wink, Andre, ''Al Hind the Making of the Indo Islamic World'', Brill Academic Publishers, Jan 1, 1996, pg 9–10 The Seljuk dominion was established over the ancient Sasanian domains, in
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
and Iraq, and included
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
, Syria, as well as parts of
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area ...

Central Asia
and modern Afghanistan. Seljuk rule was modelled after the tribal organization common among Turkic and Mongol nomads and resembled a 'family federation' or 'appanage state'. Under this organization, the leading member of the paramount family assigned family members portions of his domains as autonomous appanages. Various emblems and banners have been recorded as having been used by the Seljuks in different periods. Early Seljuks used their traditional emblems, but gradually adopted local Muslim signs and banners. The official flag of the empire was most probably a black flag, similar to that of the Abbasid Caliphate. The flag was decorated with signs, which were either superimposed over it, or placed above the flag.


Capital cities

Seljuks exercised full control over
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling ...
) is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is a Muhammad in Islam, messenger of God.Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , ed ...
ic
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area ...

Central Asia
and the Middle East between 1040 and 1157. For most of its history, the empire was split into western and eastern half and did not have a single capital or political center. In the east, the chief seat of Seljuk rule was
MarvMarv may refer to: Initialism *Maneuverable reentry vehicle (MARV), a type of missile warhead *Marburg virus (MARV), a virus of humans and non-human primates *M.A.R.V., otherwise known as the Mammoth Armed Reclamation Vehicle, a fictional tank from ...
in present-day Turkmenistan. In the west, various cities, where the Seljuk rulers lived periodically, served as capitals: Rayy,
Isfahan Isfahan ( fa, اصفهان, Esfahān ), from its Achaemenid empire, ancient designation ''Aspadana'' and later ''Spahan'' in Sassanian Empire, middle Persian, rendered in English as ''Ispahan'', is a major city in Greater Isfahan Region, Is ...

Isfahan
,
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of and one of the in the , and compared to its large population it has a small area at just 673 square kilometers (260 sq mi). Located along the , near the ruins of the city of and the anc ...

Baghdad
, and later Hamadan. These western lands were known as the Sultanate of Iraq. Since 1118, the Seljuk rulers of Iraq recognized the suzerainty of the great Seljuk sultan Ahmad Sanjar, Sanjar, who mostly ruled from Marv, and was known by the title of al-sultān al-a'zam, "the Greatest Sultan". The Seljuk rulers of Iraq were often mentioned as the "Lesser Seljuks".


Culture and language

Seljuks managed to preserve elements of steppe culture even at the peak of their empire. Oghuz languages, Oghuz Turkic language was used as the every-day language of the court, and was widely used alongside Persian language, Persian by the population of the empire. Tughril relied on his vizier to translate from Arabic Language, Arabic and Persian into Turkic for him, and Oghuz songs were sung at the wedding of Tughril to the caliph’s daughter. Later sultans, like Mahmud II (Seljuk sultan), Mahmud, could speak Arabic alongside Persian, however, they still used Turkic among themselves. The most signifact evidence of the importance of Turkic language is the big Turkic–Arabic dictionary, or the Dīwān Lughāt al-Turk, assembled in
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of and one of the in the , and compared to its large population it has a small area at just 673 square kilometers (260 sq mi). Located along the , near the ruins of the city of and the anc ...

Baghdad
for Al-Muqtadi, Caliph al-Muqtadi by Mahmud al-Kashgari. However, besides the Diwan, no works written in Turkic language survive from the Seljuk Empire. While the ''Maliknama'' was compiled from Turkic oral accounts, it was written in Persian and Arabic languages. Steppe traditions influenced Seljuk marriages, with Tughril marrying his brother
Chaghri Abu Suleiman Dawud Chaghri Beg ibn Mikail, better known simply as Chaghri Beg (989–1060), ''Da'ud b. Mika'il b. Saljuq'', also spelled Chaghri, was the co-ruler of the early Seljuk Empire The Great Seljuk Empire ( fa, آل سلجوق, transl ...
's widow, a practice despised in
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling ...
) is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is a Muhammad in Islam, messenger of God.Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , ed ...
.


Military


General overview

The army of the earliest Seljuks was not similar to the renowned Turkic military of the classical 'Abbasids, 'Abbasid era. Their first invasions were more of a great nomadic migration accompanied by their families and livestock rather than planned military conquests. They were not a professional army, however warfare was a way of life for nearly all of adult male Turkmens. According to a Seljuk vizier, Nizam al-Mulk, by the reign of Malik-Shah I, the sovereign had a large army at his disposal. There were Turkmen people, Turkmens, mamluks, a standing army, infantry and the sultan's personal guard. Nizam al-Mulk also estimated Malik-Shah’s forces at 400,000 men, and often opposed cost-cutting plans (instituted by Taj al-Mulk) to bring these to 70,000.


Turkmens

Vizier Nizam al-Mulk, the greatest advocate of Iranian orientation for the Seljuk empire, admitted the debt dynasty owed to the Turkmens. After the establishment of the Seljuk state, Turkmens continued to be the driving force behind the Seljuk expansion in
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
. After the rule of Malik-Shah I, however, there are very few mentions of Turkmens in the Jibali region of the state, especially in their traditional axis of Rayy, Hamadhan and Hulwan. Turkmens were difficult to manage, and they were susceptible to undisciplined pillaging. The greatest issue, however, was their dependence on pasturelands for their livestock. A great number of regions that constituted the Seljuk state were ecologically ill-suited for supporting a nomadic army. Turkmens' limitations are adeptly described by Arab scholar Sibt ibn al-Jawzi: Long campaigns had to be discontinued due to Turkmens' insistence on returning home, and conquests had to be scheduled to satisfy the demands of Turkmens. The short-term needs of Turkmens made a longer term military plans unachievable.


Mamluks

The alternative to nomadic Turkmen troops was mamluks. While also of Turkic and often nomadic origin, dependence on pasturelands was non-existent for mamluks as they did not live a nomadic life. Previously, mamluks had constituted the later 'Abbasids, 'Abbasid, the Samanids, Samanid and the Ghaznavids, Ghaznavid armies. In fact, the Ghaznavid dynasty was itself of mamluk origin. The process of mamluk recruitment are well known from other periods in Islamic history, but there is almost no information directly relating to the Seljuks. The chief source of mamluks was most probably forays to the steppe. The alternative to raids was buying them from slave traders and various dealers as evidenced from a slave dispute between a merchant and
Muhammad I Tapar Muhammad I (also known as Ghiyath ad-Din Muhammad or Muhammad Tapar, died 1118) was a son of Seljuq Sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun meaning "str ...

Muhammad I Tapar
.


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. The Seljuks founded universities and were also patrons of art and literature. Their reign is characterized by Persian people, Persian astronomers such as Omar Khayyám, and the Persian people, Persian philosopher al-Ghazali. Under the Seljuks, New Persian became the language for historical recording, while the center of Arabic language culture shifted from Baghdad to Cairo.


Sultans of the Seljuk Empire


Art of the Great Seljuk Empire


Architecture and ceramics

Various art forms were popularized during the Seljuk period, as evidenced by the vast amount of surviving artifacts.Bloom, Johnathan M. and Sheila Blair. "Saljuq" In ''The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture''. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780195309911.001.0001/acref-9780195309911-e-807 Most Seljuk arts are known to have been produced in what is modern-day Iran.Hillenbrand, Robert. "Saljuq Family." ''Grove Art Online''. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. https://www.oxfordartonline.com/groveart/view/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.001.0001/oao-9781884446054-e-7000075354 However, the Seljuk sultans also encouraged artists to settle in Anatolia as part of a recolonization and reconstruction process of several cities. Many works of Seljuk art continued to be produced following the decline of the empire in the late 12th century. In this regard, the timeline associated with the production of Seljuk art does not entirely match the political events pertaining to the empire and its eventual fall. Among other ceramics, the manufacture of polychrome ceramic tiles, often used as decor in architecture, were popularized during the Seljuk dynasty.Oktay, Aslanapa. "Turkish Ceramic Art." ''Archeology'' 24, no. 3 (June 1971): 209-219.Ceken, Muharrem. "Materials, Techniques, and Kilns Used in the Production of Seljuk and Beylik Period Glazed Tiles." In ''Tiles: Treasures of Anatolian Soil''. Istanbul: Kale Group Cultural Publications, 2008. The Seljuks pioneered the use of the ''Mina'i ware, Minai'' technique, a painted and enameled polychrome overglaze for ceramics. The glazes on the Seljuk ceramics produced often ranged from a brilliant turquoise to a very dark blue. The art of Seljuk mosaic tile decorating would continue to dominate the interior of many Anatolian mosques following the period of Seljuk rule. The Seljuks also created ceramic house models, while other ceramic forms in the Seljuk period included pottery figurines, some of them children's toys. In the realm of architecture, mosques and madrasas were created and embellished during the period of Seljuk control. Congregational mosques were either repaired, re-built, or constructed in their entirety. The Seljuk sultan also commissioned numerous madrasas to promote the teaching of orthodox Islamic sciences. These developments in architectural practice are coherent with the Seljuk dynasty's focus on Islam and the promotion of Muslim orthodoxy, the combining of Sufism and Sunni Islam, Sunnism. One architectural form that flourished during the Seljuk dynasty was the muqarnas.Tabbaa, Yasser. "The Muqarnas Dome: Its Origin and Meaning." ''Grove Art Online.'' Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. https://www.oxfordartonline.com/groveart/view/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.001.0001/oao-9781884446054-e-7000060413 Some interpretations maintain that the earliest known examples of muqarnas were constructed during the period of Seljuk hegemony, though it also remains possible that they were being developed at the same time in North Africa. The layering of multiple embellished cells with divergent profiles in muqarnas creates a dome that has a seemingly-insubstantial interior. The play of light on the surface enhances this visual effect. Art historian Oleg Grabar argues that the effect of muqarnas domes embodies Qur'anic water symbolism. Examples of muqarnas also appear in the niches of mosques built during the Seljuk empire. Overall, the architecture attributed to the Seljuk period is characterized by elaborate decoration, much like the other arts produced under Seljuk rule.Starr, Frederick. "Tremors Under the Dome of Seljuk Rule." In ''Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia's Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane''. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt3fgz07.20


Book arts

Both secular and non-secular manuscripts were produced during the Seljuk period. These pieces are now limited in availability, considering their ultimate susceptibility to damage overtime.Hillenbrand, Robert. "The Relationship Between Book Painting and Luxury Ceramics in 13th-Century Iran." In ''The Art of the Seljuqs in Iran and Anatolia,'' edited by Robert Hillenbrand, 134-139. Costa mesa: Mazda Publishers, 1994. But those manuscripts that have survived over the centuries provide insight into the Seljuk's involvement in the arts of the book. Calligraphy, Calligraphers and illuminators were responsible for the creation of these manuscripts, though sometimes calligraphers mastered the art of both writing and illustration.Farhad, Massumeh and Simon Rettig. ''The Art of the Qur'an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts.'' District of Columbia: Smithsonian Books, 2016. By the end of the 10th century, both illuminators and calligraphers were beginning to employ various colors, styles, and writing techniques in the realm of the book arts. The Quran, Qur'an's produced during the period of Seljuk rule evidence developments in calligraphy and other changes in how the holy text was divided. Uniquely, calligraphers during this period frequently combined several scripts on one page of the Qur'an, such as Kufic and New Style. In addition to these changes in the text, the dawn of the Seljuk empire coincided with a newfound increase in the popularity of paper as a replacement for parchment in the Islamic world. The use of durable paper increased the production of compact, single-volume Qur'an's, whereas parchment codexes often contained multiple volumes of Qur'anic text.Allan, James. "Manuscript Illumination: A Source for Metalwork Motifs in Saljuq Times." In ''The Art of the Saljuqs in Iran and Anatolia: Proceedings of a Symposium Held in Edinburgh in 1982,'' edited by Robert Hillenbrand, 119-126. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh press, 1994. Despite this development, parchment would remain popular for the production of some Qur'an's, and multi-volume pieces continued to be produced. Illuminated borders continued to distinguish the Qur'ans produced during the Seljuk period and relative consistency was maintained with regard to their structure. One example of a manuscript created during Seljuk rule is a thirty-volume Qur'an (Juz', juz) created c.1050, produced by only one calligrapher and illuminator (Freer Gallery of Art, District of Columbia, F2001.16a-b). As paper had just been introduced to the Islamic world, this piece is an early Islamic paper manuscript. This Qur'an is bound in brown leather, dyed in pink, decorated with gold, and offers an intricate Book frontispiece, frontispiece. These elements imply the care that went into the production of this text and indications of frequent usage confirm that it was appreciated. It is primarily written in the vertical "New-Style" Arabic script, a sharp, vertical script. The dominant use of New Style in this folio, also referred to as "new Abbasid Caliphate, Abbasid Script," attests to the shift from the geometric Kufic script to a more legible calligraphic style, which occurred in the 10th century. Scattered remnants of Kufic, used primarily to indicate volume and page number, also appear in the text. The verticality of the paper in this manuscript speaks to the historic shift away from the horizontal use of paper in many Qur'ans, also a 10th century development. Another example of a religious manuscript produced closer to the end of the period of Seljuk Rule is the ''Qarmathian Qur'an'' (dispersed folio, Arthur M. Stackler Gallery of Art, District of Columbia, S1986.65a-b). This manuscript's folios are illuminated with a gold border and thin, spiraled illustration, featuring vegetal motifs. Despite the generous illumination, the four lines of Qur'anic text on the folio are exceptionally legible. Created between the years 1170-1200, this particular folio demonstrates the evolution of New Style, as both vocalized cursive and diacritical dots appear in this later version of the script. Only during the 13th century would New Style be replaced by the curvier proportional scripts for regular use. A final example of a Seljuk Qur'an that has entered into scholarship is a manuscript studied in-depth by the late art historian Richard Ettinghausen.Ettinghausen, Richard. ''"''A Signed and Dated Seljuk Qur'an." ''Bulletin for the American Institute for Persian Art and Archeology'' 4, no. 2 (December 1935): 92-102. http://www.jstor.org/stable/44240425. This piece was written in 1164 by Mahmud Ibn Al-Husayn and contains the entirety of the Qur'an (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, NEP27). Unlike the two Seljuk Qur'ans discussed prior, this manuscript primarily contains Naskh (script), Naskh script, another early Arabic script that replaced Kufic. However, some Kufic calligraphy is embedded in the chapter headings. This aspect speaks to how the inclusion of Kufic in Qur'ans became more of a decorative element overtime, often included in headings as opposed to the main body of text. The manuscript is large, with seventeen lines of text per two-hundred and fifteen sheets of paper. Though not all of the Qur'an is illuminated, both the beginning and the end boast elaborate illustration, with blue, gold, and white hues. Ettinghausen describes the subsequent visual effect as "brilliant." The inscriptions feature detailed rosettes, vines, medallions, and arabesques, some exclusively as decoration and others to indicate the end of particular lines of Qur'anic text. Manuscript production during the Seljuk period was not limited to religious texts. Beyond these religious manuscripts, scientific, literary, and historical pieces were created. One example of a secular manuscript is the ''Nusrat al-fatrah'', a historiographical and literary account of the Seljuk period written in 1200 by Imād al-Dīn (Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, London).Peacock, Andrew. "Nusrat al-fatrah wa-usrat al-fitrah (The History of the Seljuks)." Journal of Islamic Studies 32, no.1 (2021): 125-127. Meanwhile, the scientific manuscripts produced during the Seljuk period oftentimes pertained to geography, physics, mechanics, mathematics, and astronomy. The former Seljuk city of
Isfahan Isfahan ( fa, اصفهان, Esfahān ), from its Achaemenid empire, ancient designation ''Aspadana'' and later ''Spahan'' in Sassanian Empire, middle Persian, rendered in English as ''Ispahan'', is a major city in Greater Isfahan Region, Is ...

Isfahan
not only boasted twelve libraries that contained a total of twelve thousand volumes, but also had an observatory where scholars could record their astrological findings. Secular manuscripts from the Seljuk empire bear illuminations that often relate to the alignment of planets and the zodiac, a couple examples of common themes. Whether secular or non-secular, Seljuk illuminated manuscripts had enough influence as to inspire other relevant art forms, such as brass or bronze metal objects. For example, the large ''Qarmathian Qur'an'' influenced some of the inscriptions on Seljuk ceramic wares. Even mirrors, candlesticks, coins, and jugs manufactured in
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
during the Seljuk period would often bear occult astrological images inspired by manuscripts.Peacock, A.C.S. "A Seljuq Occult Manuscript and its World." In ''The Seljuqs and their Successors: Art, Culture, and History,'' edited by Sheila R. Canby, D. Beyazit, and Martina Rugiadi, 163-176. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020. Occult knowledge persisted in manuscripts produced after the decline in the Seljuk's political power in the late 12th century, as the Seljuk sultanate's influence on the book arts continued in Anatolia. Historian Andrew Peacock demonstrates an interest in the Seljuks of Anatolia's focus on occult themes and its manifestation in the book arts. Peacock describes this finding as something that challenges the reigning view that the Seljuks were exclusively the "pious defenders of Islam" when it came to larger systems of belief. Some of the occult sciences that the Seljuks took special interest in included geomancy, astrology, alchemy. A relevant occult manuscript from a period of Seljuk influence is the ''Dustur al-Munajjimin'', otherwise known as the "Rules of Astrologers," while another is the ''Daqa'iq al-Haqa'iq,'' or the "Fine Points of Eternal Truths." The latter text captures an interest in magic and spells, with a particular focus on calling upon spiritual beings, such as angels, through ritualistic acts (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, Persan 174). The text was written by a man who wrote under a pen name, "Nasiri." Interestingly, Nasiri's ''Daqa'iq al-Haqa'iq'' challenges prevailing Islamic understandings of God while encouraging piety and invoking both Sufism, Sufi terms and themes. For example, while incorporating a Sufi poem, the occult text speaks of supernatural bodies and disputes what Islam considers to be the accepted number of names for God.


Textiles

Similar to architecture, Seljuk fabrics depict inscriptions and decorative forms. These fabrics represent what could be called a "Sasanian Empire, Sasanian renaissance" marking a new dominance of Persian culture. Textiles, along with literary works, are evidence of this. Contrast is the main feature of different techniques and fabric qualities. Stories of the period are told through a variety of inscriptions. At the same time, higher contrasts generate a more abstract approach to the ornaments and figures within the fabric patterns. Seljuk fabrics that were excavated in 1931 are distinguished by the representation of nature, by minimal ornamental details, and by the combination of colorful linens giving an interchangeable color effect to the fabric. Many realistic natural elements characterize the composition of the fabrics, such as animals and plants, forming patterns consisting of arabesque elements.


Examples of Seljuk art

File:Bowl with an Enthronement Scene. Seljuq.jpg, Bowl with an Enthronement Scene,12th-13th century, Brooklyn Museum File:Tete princière 09441.JPG, Seljuk pottery head File:Seljuq Ewer.jpg, Seljuk-era art: Ewer from Herat, Afghanistan, dated 1180–1210CE. Brass worked in repousse and inlaid with silver and bitumen. British Museum. File:Top Section of a Water Jug, late 12th-early 13th century.jpg, Section of a Water Jug, Habb, 12th-13th century, Brooklyn Museum File:تاریخ_ری.jpg, Tughrul Tower, Toghrol Tower, a 12th-century monument south of Tehran in
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
commemorating
Tughril Tughril Bey (; full name: Rukn al-Dunya wa al-Din Abu Talib Muhammad Toghrul-Beg ibn Mikail, also spelled Toghrul I, Tugril, Toghril, Tugrul or Toghrïl Beg; 990 – September 4, 1063) was the Turkmens, Turkoman"The defeat in August 1071 of ...
Baig, Beg. File:Kharaghan_Twin_Towers.jpg, The Kharraqan towers, Kharāghān twin towers, built in 1053 in
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
, is the burial of Seljuk princes.


See also

* Nizari–Seljuk conflicts * Anatolian Seljuks family tree * Danishmend * Ghaznavids, Ghaznavid Empire * Rahat al-sudur * Seljuk architecture *
Seljuk dynasty The Seljuk dynasty, or Seljuks ( ; fa, آل سلجوق ''Al-e Saljuq'', alternatively spelled as Seljuqs or Saljuqs), also known as Seljuk Turks, Seljuk Turkomans "The defeat in August 1071 of the Byzantine emperor Romanos Diogenes by the Turkom ...
* History of the Turks (disambiguation), History of the Turks * List of Turkic dynasties and countries * List of battles involving the Seljuk Empire * Timeline of the Sultanate of Rûm * Timeline of the Turkic peoples (500–1300) * Turkic migrations


Notes


Footnotes


References


Sources

* * * * * * *


Further reading

* * *


External links

* http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/533602/Seljuq * {{Authority control Historical Turkic states States and territories established in 1037 1194 disestablishments in Asia Former monarchies of Central Asia Former sultanates Seljuk Empire, 1037 establishments in Asia Medieval Azerbaijan 11th century in Armenia 12th century in Armenia Medieval Syria Medieval Iraq States in medieval Anatolia