The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Seljuk Turks

The Seljuk Turks (Turkish: Selšuk; Arabic: سلجوق Saljūq, السلاجقة al-Salājiqa; Persian: سلجوقيان Saljūqiyān; also Seldjuk, Seldjuq, Seljuq) were a major branch of the Oghuz Turks and a dynasty that occupied parts of Central Asia and the Middle East from the 11th to 14th centuries. The Seljuks migrated from the north into Persia, fighting and conquering various tribes on their Transoxiana.

The Seljuk Turks are regarded as the ancestors of the Western Turks, the present-day inhabitants of Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. The Seljuk Turks and their descendants, the Ottoman Turks, played a major role in medieval history by creating a barrier to Europe against the Mongol invaders from the East, defending the Islamic world against Crusaders from the West, and conquering the Byzantine Empire.

Under Alp Arslan's successor Malik Shah I and his vizier Nizam al-Mulk the Seljuk state expanded in various directions so that it bordered China in the East and the Byzantine Empire in the West. When Malik Shah died in 1092 the empire split, as his brother and four sons quarrelled over the apportioning of the empire among themselves. In 1118, the third son Ahmed Sanjar, unsatisfied by his portion of the inheritance, took over the empire. His brothers did not recognize his claim to the throne and Mahmud II proclaimed himself Sultan and established a capital in Baghdad. Ahmed Sanjar was captured and held captive by Turkish nomads from 1153 to 1156 and died the following year.

Despite several attempts to reunite the Seljuks in the centuries following Malik Shah's death, the Crusades prevented them from regaining their former empire. For a brief period, Toğrül III , was the Sultan of all Seljuk except for Anatolia. In 1194 Toğrül was defeated by Ala ad-Din Tekish , the Shah of Khwarezm, and the Seljuk finally collapsed. Of the former Great 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, which in turn were later conquered by the Ottomans.


Rulers of Great Seljuk 1037-1157

Seljuk Rulers of Kerman 1041-1187

Kerman was a nation in southern Persia. It fell in 1187, probably conquered by Toğrül III of Great Seljuk.

Seljuk Rulers in Syria 1076-1117

Sultans/Emirs of Damascus:

Atabegs of Aleppo:

Seljuk Sultans of Rüm (Anatolia) 1077-1307

See also

External links

Last updated: 08-31-2005 05:22:17
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