The Seljuks were another Central Asian nomadic group. They were the first Turkic dynasty to control Central Asia as far as the eastern Mediterranean. The Seljuks moved West in 1040 AD. Tughrul Beg established the Great Seljuk polity which included Iraq and Syria. He captured Baghdad in 1055 AD.
The Seljuks were Sunni Muslims. They adopted traditional Iranian bureaucratic institutions of government and special schools of learning, the
madrasa. The Seljuks were important patrons of art and architecture and were responsible for producing great metalwork, ceramics and literature.
The last Seljuk sultan died in battle in 1194 when the Great Seljuks were defeated by the Mongols. A breakaway group, the Seljuks of Rum, settled in Anatolia. Like the Great Seljuks, they eventually succumbed to the expansion of the Mongols during the 12th
and 13th centuries.
The Rise and Fall
of the Seljuk Empire
Another great Turkish State was
the Seljuk State (1040-1157) founded by Selçuk Bey who was a member of the Kınık
tribe of the Oghuz Turks. The borders of the state spanned from the Marmara Sea
to Lake Balkhash in Central Asia and from the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea and the
Aral Sea to the borders of India and Yemen. The Seljuks entered into a struggle
of hegemony with the two Turkish States, the Karakhanids and the Ghaznavids, and
succeeded in establishing Turkish unity. Tuğrul Bey, the Sultan of the Seljuks,
entered Baghdad, the Abbasid Caliphate capital and ended the domination of the
Buwayhids, a Persi Shiite dynasty, in 1055. Therefore, the Caliph bestowed upon
Tuğrul Bey the title of "Ruler of the World". During the reign of Sultan
Alparslan, the successor and son of Tuğrul Bey, the territories of the country
expanded significantly. Sultan Alparslan defeated the Byzantine army which was
led by Romanus Diogenes at Manzikert (Malazgirt) in 1071. This victory literally
opened up the gates of Anatolia to the Turks. During the reign of Sultan Malik
Shah, the Seljuk State experienced its most successful period. The Nizamiye
Madrasahs which laid the foundations for the architecture of western
universities were constructed in this period.
After Sultan Malik Shah died, the country was divided into small states. The
Syrian Seljuks (1092-1117), Iraq and Khorasan Seljuks (1092-1194), Kirman
Seljuks (1092-1187) and the Anatolian Seljuks (1092-1194) were among the small
states. Moreover, the Khorezm Shah State (1097-1231) was established by Mohammed
Khorezm Shah, the son of Anushtegin, the palace servant of Sultan Malik Shah, on
the territories of the Great Seljuk State where Lake Aral intersected the Ceyhun
River in the southern region.
The most important state established on the lands of the Great Seljuk State was
definitely the Anatolian Seljuk State. The center of the state founded by
Suleiman ibn Qutulmish was Nicaea (İznik). During the reign of his son, Kılıç
Arslan I, the First Crusade began. İznik was seized by the Crusaders and given
to the Byzantines, and therefore the Anatolian Seljuk capital was moved to
Konya. His son Sultan Mesud I repelled the Byzantine army headed for Konya and
defeated the Crusaders near the Ceyhan River. Sultan Kılıç Arslan II, the
successor of Mesud I defeated the Byzantine army under the leadership of the
Emperor Manuel Comnenus I, at Myriokephalon near Denizli. Following this
victory, the influence of the Byzantine Empire over Anatolia was completely
lost. The most brilliant period of Turkish history was experienced during the
reign of Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I. However, the death of the Sultan by
poisoning created chaos in the country. The rebellion of the Babais was followed
by the Mongol invasion and Anatolia was occupied and destroyed by the Mongols
following the Kösedağ War between the Seljuks and Mongols in 1243. Along with
the weakening of Mongol rule towards the end of the 13th century, Turkoman
groups who settled on the frontiers during the Seljuk period, founded many
beyliks (principalities) of varying size in Anatolia. The Karaman, Germiyan,
Eşref, Hamid, Alaiye, Menteşe, Candar, Pervane, Sahib Ata, Karesi, Saruhan,
Aydın, İnanç and Osmanoğulları were among the Turkoman beyliks founded in
Anatolia during this period. In this period, which is called the Beyliks Period,
all of Anatolia came under Turkish rule and a new period of welfare began in the
country which had been previously exposed to a great extent to Mongol
In Egypt, the army commander İzzeddin Aybeg was declared the Sultan, after the
death of Es-Salih Necmeddin, the last Ayyubid ruler and thus the Turkish Kölemen
(Mameluke) State (1250-1382) was founded. The Mameluke State has an important
place in Turkish history, because during the reign of Sultan Aybeg, the Mansure
Victory occurred which made the Seventh Crusade ineffective. During the reign of
Seyfeddin Kotuz, the Mongol- Armenian-Crusaders alliance which tried to invade
Egypt suffered a crushing defeat and the Mongols were not able to capture Syria.
The Mameluke Sultans were bestowed the title of "Hadımü'l- Harameyn" (the
Servant of Mecca and Medina), because of their distinguished service to Islam,
and acquired justified fame in the Islamic World. The Mameluke State was
defeated by the Ottoman State.
Rise of the Seljuk
Empire - Nomadic Civilizations DOCUMENTARY
Tutush, Kerbogha & the Fall of the Great
The Great Seljuqs
The original Seljuqs, who swarmed out of Central Asia in the
first half of the 11th century.
Abul Harith Sanjar................................1118-1158
Fragmented into local spheres of influence, most eventually
taken by the Mongols.
The Rum Seljuqs
A large state taking up most of the interior of modern Turkey.
The name stems from the Turkish attempt to pronounce the word "Roman",
meaning the old Byzantine territories. From 1243 the Rum Seljuqs were Persian