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Seljuk Turks

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Seljuk Turks

"Seljuq Turks" redirects here. For the territory over which they ruled, see Great Seljuq Empire.
Not to be confused with Seleucid Empire.
House of Seljuq
Country Great Seljuq Empire
Sultanate of Rum
Khazar Khaganate

Founding 10th century - Seljuq

1104 - Baqtash was dethroned by Toghtekin

Great Seljuq:
1194 - Toghrul III was killed in battle with the Tekish

1307 - Mesud II died
History of Greater Iran
Until the rise of modern nation-states

The House of Seljuq (Persian: سلجوقيانSaljūqīyān; Turkish: Selçuklular) was a Turkish[1][2][3] Sunni Muslim dynasty that gradually adopted Persian culture and contributed to the Turko-Persian tradition[4][5] in the medieval West and Central Asia. The Seljuqs established both the Great Seljuq Empire and Sultanate of Rum, which at their total height stretched from Anatolia through Persia, and were targets of the First Crusade.

Early history

The Seljuqs originated from the Qynyk branch of the Oghuz Turks[6][7][8][9] who in the 9th century lived on the periphery of the Muslim world, north of the Caspian and Aral seas in their Yabghu Khaganate of the Oghuz confederacy,[10] in the Kazakh Steppe of Turkestan.[11] During the 10th century, due to various events, the Oghuz had come into close contact with Muslim cities.[12]

When Seljuq, the leader of the Seljuq clan, had a falling out with Yabghu, the supreme chieftain of the Oghuz, he split his clan off from the bulk of the Tokuz-Oghuz and set up camp on the west bank of the lower Syr Darya (Jaxartes). Around 985, Seljuq converted to Islam.[12] In the 11th century the Seljuqs migrated from their ancestral homelands into mainland Persia, in the province of Khurasan, where they encountered the Ghaznavid empire. The Seljuqs defeated the Ghaznavids at the battle of Nasa plains in 1035. Toghril, Chaghri, and Yabghu received the insignias of governor, grants of land, and were given the title of dehqan.[13] At the battle of Dandanaqan they defeated a Ghaznavid army, and after a successful siege of Isfahan by Tughrul in 1050-51,[14] they established an empire later called the Great Seljuk Empire. The Seljuqs mixed with the local population and adopted the Persian culture and language in the following decades.[15][16][17][18][19]

Later period

After arriving in Persia, the Seljuqs adopted the Persian culture and used the Persian language as the official language of the government,[15][16][20][21][22][23][24][25][26] and played an important role in the development of the Turko-Persian tradition which features "Persian culture patronized by Turkic rulers."[27] Today, they are remembered as great patrons of Persian culture, art, literature, and language[15][16][17] and are regarded as the ancestors of the Western Turks – the present-day inhabitants of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.

Seljuq leaders

Rulers of the Seljuq Dynasty

The "Great Seljuqs" were heads of the family; in theory their authority extended over all the other Seljuq lines, although in practice this often was not the case. Turkish custom called for the senior member of the family to be the Great Seljuq, although usually the position was associated with the ruler of western Persia.

Titular Name(s) Personal Name Reign
Alp Arslan
الپ ارسلان
Jalāl al-Dawlah
جلال الدولہ
Malik Shah I
ملک شاہ اول
Nasir al-Duniya wa al-Din
ناصر الدنیا والدین
Mahmud bin Malik Shah
محمود بن ملک شاہ
Abul Muzaffar Rukn al-Duniya wa al-Din
أبو المظفر رکن الدنیا والدین
Barkiyaruq bin Malik Shah
برکیاروق بن ملک شاه
Muizz al-Din
معز الدین
Malik Shah II
ملک شاہ الثانی
Ghiyath al-Duniya wa al-Din
غیاث الدنیا والدین
Muhammad Tapar
محمد تپار
Muizz al-Din
معز الدین
*Ahmad Sanjar
احمد سنجر
Khwarazmian dynasty replaces the Seljuq dynasty.From 1157, the Oghuz took control of much of Khurasan, with the remainder in the hands of former Seljuq emirs.
  • Muhammad's son Mahmud II succeeded him in western Persia, but Ahmad Sanjar, who was the governor of Khurasan at the time being the senior member of the family, became the Great Seljuq Sultan.

Seljuq sultans of Hamadan

The rulers of western Persia, who maintained a very loose grip on the Abbasids of Baghdad. Several Turkic emirs gained a strong level of influence in the region, such as the Eldiduzids.

  • Mahmud II 1118–1131
  • 1131-1134 - Disputed
  • Mas'ud 1133–1152
  • Malik Shah III 1152–1153
  • Muhammad II
  • Suleiman Shah 1160–1161
  • Arslan Shah 1161–1174
  • Toghrul III 1174–1194

In 1194, Tugrul III was killed in battle with the Khwarezm Shah, who annexed Hamadan.

Seljuq rulers of Kerman

Kerman was a province in southern Persia. Between 1053 and 1154, the territory also included Umman.

  • Qawurd 1041–1073
  • Kerman Shah 1073–1074
  • Sultan Shah 1074–1075
  • Hussain Omar 1075–1084
  • Turan Shah I 1084–1096
  • Iran Shah 1096–1101
  • Arslan Shah I 1101–1142
  • Mehmed I (Muhammad) 1142–1156
  • Toğrül Shah 1156–1169
  • Bahram Shah 1169–1174
  • Arslan Shah II 1174–1176
  • Turan Shah II 1176–1183
  • Muhammad Shah 1183–1187

Muhammad abandoned Kerman, which fell into the hands of the Oghuz chief Malik Dinar. Kerman was eventually annexed by the Khwarezmid Empire in 1196.

Seljuq rulers in Syria

To the Artuqids

Sultans/Emirs of Damascus:

  • Aziz ibn Abaaq al-Khwarazmi 1076–1079
  • Abu Sa'id Taj ad-Dawla Tutush I 1079–1095
  • Abu Nasr Shams al-Muluk Duqaq 1095–1104
  • Tutush II 1104
  • Muhi ad-Din Baqtash 1104

Damascus seized by the Burid Toghtekin

Seljuq sultans of Rum (Anatolia)

Main article: Sultanate of Rûm

The Seljuq line, already having been deprived of any significant power, effectively ends in the early 14th century


Family tree

See also


Further reading

  • Peacock, A.C.S, Early Seljuq History : A New Interpretation; New York, NY ; Routledge; 2010

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