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SELJUKS SELJOKS

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Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 611 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SELJUKS SELJOKS, Or SELJUQS, the name of several Turkish dynasties issued from one family, which reigned over large; parts of Asia in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries of the Christian era. The history of the Seljuks forms the first part of the history of the Turkish empire. Proceeding from the deserts of Turkestan, the Seljuks reached the Hellespont; but this barrier was crossed and a European power founded by the Ottomans (Osmanli). The Seljuks inherited the traditions and at the same time the power of the Arabian caliphate, of which, when they made their appearance, only the shadow remained in the person of the Abbasid caliph of Bagdad. It is their merit from a Mahommedan point of view to have re-established the power of orthodox Islam and delivered the Moslem world from the subversive influence of the ultra-Shiite tenets, which constituted a serious danger to the duration of Islam itself. Neither had civilization anything to fear from them, since they represented a strong neutral power, which made the intimate union of Persian and Arabian elements possible, almost at the expense of the national Turkish—literary monuments in that language being during the whole period of the Seljuk rule exceedingly rare. The first Seljuk rulers were Toghrul Beg, Chakir Beg and Ibrahim Niyal, the son of Mikail, the son of Seljuk, the son of Tukak, or Tuqaq (also styled Timuryalilc, " iron bow "). They belonged to the Turkish tribe of the Ghuzz (Okot of Const. Porphyr. and the Byzantine writers), which traced its_lineage to Oghuz, the famous eponymic hero not only of this but of all Turkish tribes. There arose, however, at some undefined epoch a strife on the part of this tribe and some others with the rest of the Turks, because, as the latter allege, Ghuzz, the son (or grand-son) of Yafeth (Japhet), the son of Nub (Noah), had stolen the genuine rain-stone, which Turk, also a son of Yafeth, had inherited from his father. By this party, as appears from this tradition, the Ghuzz were not considered to be genuine Turks, but to be Turkmans (that according to a popular etymology, resembling Turks.). But the native tradition of the Ghuzz was unquestionably right, as they spoke a pure Turkish dialect. The fact, however, remains that there existed a certain animosity between the Ghuzz and their allies and the rest of the Turks, which in-creased as the former became converted to Islam (in the course of the 4th century of the Flight). The Ghuzz were settled at that time in Transoxiana, especially at Jand, a well-known city on the banks of the Jaxartes, not far from its mouth. Some ofthem served in the armies of the Ghaznavids Sabuktagin (Sebuktegin) and Mahmud (997–1030); but the Seljuks, a royal family among them, had various relations with the reigning princes of Transoxiana and Khwarizm, which cannot be narrated here.' But, friends or foes, the Ghuzz became a serious danger to the adjoining Mahommedan provinces from their predatory habits and continual raids, and the more so as they were very numerous. It may suffice to mention that, under the leadership of Pigu Arslan Israil, they crossed the Oxus and spread over the eastern provinces of Persia, everywhere plundering and destroying. The imprisonment of this chieftain by Masud, the son and successor of Mahmud, was of no avail: it only furnished his nephews with a ready pretext to cross the Oxus likewise in arms against the Ghaznavids. We pass over their first conflicts and the unsuccessful agreements that were attempted, to mention the decisive battle near Mery (1040), in which Masud was totally defeated and driven back to Ghazni (Ghazna). Persia now lay open to the victors, who proclaimed themselves independent at Mery (which became from that time the official capital of the principal branch of the Seljuks), and acknowledged Toghrul Beg as chief of the whole family. After this victory the three princes Toghrul Beg, Chalzir Beg and Ibrahim Niyal separated in different directions and conquered the Mahommedan provinces east of the Tigris; the last named, after conquering Hamadan and the province of Jebel (Irak i Ajami), penetrated as early as ro48, with fresh Ghuzz troops, into Armenia and reached Manzikert, Erzerum and Trebizond. This excited the jealousy of Toghrul Beg, who summoned him to give up Hamadan and the fortresses of Jebel; but Ibrahim refused, and the progress of the Seljukian arms was for some time checked by internal discord—an ever-recurring event in their history. Ibrahim was, however, compelled to submit. At this time the power of Qaim, the Abbasid caliph of Bagdad (see CALIPHATE, section C, § 26), was reduced to a mere shadow, as the Shiite dynasty of the Buyids and afterwards his more formidable Fatimite rivals had left him almost wholly destitute of authority. The real ruler at Bagdad was a Turk named Basasiri, lieutenant of the last Buyid, Malik-ar-Rahim. Nothing could, therefore, be more acceptable to the caliph than the protection of the orthodox Toghrul Beg, whose name was read in the official prayer (khotba) as early as 1050. At the end of the same year (1055) the Seljuk entered the city and after a tumult seized the person of Malik-ar-Rahim. Basasiri had the good fortune to be out of his reach; after acknowledging the right of the Fatimites, he gathered fresh troops and incited Ibrahim Niyal to rebel again, and he succeeded so far that he re-entered Bagdad at the close of 1o58. The next year, however, Toghrul Beg got rid of both his antagonists, Ibrahim being taken prisoner and strangled with the bowstring, while Basasiri fell in battle. Toghrul Beg now re-entered Bagdad, re-established the caliph, and was betrothed to his daughter, but died before the con-summation of the nuptials (September 1663). Alp Arslan, the son of Chakir Beg, succeeded his uncle and extended the rule of his family beyond the former frontiers. He made himself master, e.g. of the important city of Aleppo; and during his reign a Turkish amir, Atsiz, wrested Palestine and Syria from the hands of the Fatimites. He made successful expeditions against the Greeks, especially that of 1071, in which the Greek emperor Romanus Diogenes was taken prisoner and forced to ransom himself for a large sum (see ROMAN EMPIRE, LATER). The foundation of the Seljuk empire of Rum (q.v.) was the immediate result of this great victory. Alp Arslan afterwards undertook an expedition against Turkestan, and met with his death at the hands of a captured chief, Barzami Yussuf (Yussuf Kothnal), whom he had intended to shoot with his own hand. Malik Shah, the son and successor of Alp Arslan, had to encounter his uncle Kavurd, founder of the Seljukian empire of Kerman (see below), who claimed to succeed Alp Arslan in accordance with the Turkish laws, and led his troops towards Hamadan. However, he lost the battle that ensued, and the Comp. Sachau, " Zur Geschichte and Chronologie von Khw .-rizm," in Sitzungsberichte of the Vienna Acad., lxxiv. 304 seq. bowstring put an end to his life (1o73). Malik Shah regulated also the affairs of Asia Minor and Syria, conceding the latter province as an hereditary fief to his brother Tutush, who established himself at Damascus and killed Atsiz. He, however; like his father Alp Arslan, was indebted for his greatest fame to wise and salutary measures of their vizier, Nizam ul-Mulk. This extraordinary man, associated by tradition with Omar Khayyam (q.v.), the well-known mathematician and free-thinking poet, and with Hassan (ibn) Sabbah, afterwards the founder of the sect of the Assassins (q.v.), was a renowned author and statesman of the first rank, and immortalized his name by the foundation of several universities (the Nizamiyah at Bagdad), observatories, mosques, hospitals and other institutions of public utility. At his instigation the calendar was revised, and a new era, dating from the reign of Malik Shah and known as the Jelalian, was introduced. Not quite forty days before the death of his master this great man was murdered by the Assassins. He had fallen into 'disfavour because of his unwillingness to join in the intrigues of the princess Turkan Khatun, who wished to secure the succession to the throne for her infant son Mahmud at the expense of the elder sons of Malik Shah. Constitution and Government of the Seljuk Empire.—It has been already observed that the Seljuks considered themselves the de-fenders of the orthodox faith and of the Abbasid caliphate, while they on their side represented the temporal power which received its titles and sanction from the successor of the Prophet. All the members of the Seljuk house had the same obligations in this respect, but they had not the same rights, as one of them occupied relatively to the others a place almost analogous to that of the great khan of the Mongols in later times. This position was inherited from father to son, though the old Turkish idea of the rights of the elder brother often caused rebellions and violent family disputes. After the death of Malik Shah the head of the family was not strong enough to enforce obedience, and consequently the central government broke up into several independent dynasties. Within the limits of these minor dynasties the same rules were observed, and the same may be said of the hereditary fiefs of Turkish amirs not belonging to the royal family, who bore ordinarily the title of atabeg or atabek (properly " father bey "), e.g. the atabegs of Fars, of Azerbaijan, of Syria, &c. The title was first given to Nizam ul-Mulk and expressed the relation in which he stood to the prince,—as lala, " tutor." The affairs of state were managed by the divan under the presidency of the vizier; but in the empire of Rum its authority was inferior to that of the pervaneh, whom we may name " lord chancellor." In Rum the feudal system was extended to Christian princes, who were acknowledged by the sultan on condition of paying tribute and serving in the armies. The court dignitaries and their titles were manifold; not less manifold were the royal prerogatives, in which the sultans followed the example set by their predecessors, the Buyids. Notwithstanding the intrigues of Turkan Khatun, Malik Shah was succeeded by his elder son Barkiyaroq (1092-1104), whose short reign was a series of rebellions and strange adventures such as one may imagine in the story of a youth who is by turns a powerful prince and a miserable fugitive). Like his brother Mahommed (1104-1118), who successfully rebelled against him, his most dangerous enemies were the Isma`ilites, who had succeeded in taking the fortress of Alamut (north of Kazvin) and become a formidable political power by the organization of bands of fedais, who were always ready, even at the sacrifice of their own lives, to murder any one whom they were commanded to slay. Mahommed had been successful by the aid of his brother Sinjar, who from the year 1097 held the province of Khorasan with the capital Merv. After the death of Mahommed, Sinjar became the real head of the family, though Irak acknowledged Mahmud, the son of Mahommed. Thus there originated a separate dynasty of Irak with its capital at Hamadan (Ecbatana) ; but Sinjar during his long reign often interfered in the affairs of the new dynasty, and every occupant of the throne had to acknowledge his supremacy. In 1117 he led an expedition against Ghazni and bestowed the throne upon Bahr-am Shah, who was also obliged to mention Sinjar's name first in the official prayer at the Ghaznavid capital—a prerogative that neither Alp Arslan nor Malik Shah had attained. In 1134 Bahrain Shah failed in this obligation and brought on himself • See Defremery, Journ. asiatique (1853), i. 425 seq., ii. 217 seq. XXIV. 20 a fresh invasion by Sinjar in the midst of winter; a third one took place in 1152, caused by the doings of the Ghorids (Hosain Jihansuz, or " world-burner "). Other expeditions were under-taken by him against Khwarizm and Turkestan; the government of the former had been given by Barkiyaroq to Mahommed b. Anushtagin, who was succeeded in 1128 by his son Atsiz, and against him Sinjar marched in 1'38. Though victorious in this war, Sinjar could not hinder Atsiz from afterwards joining the gurkhan (great khan) of the then rapidly rising empire of the Karakitai, at whose hands the Seljuk suffered a terrible defeat at Samarkand in 1141. By the invasion of these hordes several Turkish tribes, the Ghuzz and others, were driven beyond the Oxus, where they killed the Seljuk governor of Balkh, though they professed to be loyal to Sinjar. Sinjar resolved to punish this crime; but his troops deserted and he himself was taken prisoner by the Ghuzz, who kept him in strict confinement during two years (1153-1155), though treating him with all outward marks of respect. In the meantime they plundered and destroyed the flourishing cities of Mery and Nishapur; and when Sinjar, after his escape from captivity, revisited the site of his capital he fell sick of sorrow and grief and died soon afterwards (1157). His empire fell to the Karakitai and afterwards to the shah Khwarizm. The successors of Mahommed in Irak were:—Mahmnd (d. 1131); Toghrul, son of Mahommed, proclaimed by Sinjar (d. 1134); Masud (d. 1152); Malik Shah and Mahommed (d. 1159), sons of Mahmud; Suleiman Shah, their brother (d. 1161); Arslan, son of Toghrul (d. 1x75); and Toghrul, son of Arslan, killed in 1194 by Inanej, son of his atabeg, Mahommed, who was in confederation with the Khwarizm shah of the epoch, Takash. This chief inherited his possessions; Toghrul was the last representative of the Seljuks of Irak. The province of Kerman was one of the first conquests of the Seljuks, and became the hereditary fief of Kavurd, the son of Chakir Beg. Mention has been made of his war with Malik Shah and of his ensuing death (1073). Nevertheless his descend-ants were left in possession of their ancestor's dominions; and till 1170 Kerman, to which belonged also the opposite coast of Oman, enjoyed a well-ordered government, except for a short interruption caused by the deposition of Iran Shah, who had embraced the tenets of the Isma'Ilites, and was put to death (1 'ox) in accordance with a falwa of the ulema. But after the death of Toghrul Shah (1170) his three sons disputed with each other for the possession of the throne, and implored foreign assistance, till the country became utterly devastated and fell an easy prey to some bands of Ghuzz, who, under the leadership of Malik Dinar (1185), marched into Kerman after harassing Sinjar's dominions. Afterwards the shahs of Khwarizm took this province? The Seljukian dynasty of Syria came to an end after three generations, and its later history is interwoven with that of the crusaders. The first prince was Tutush, mentioned above, who perished, after a reign of continuous fighting, in battle against Barkiyaroq near Rai (Rhagae) in 1095. Of his two sons, the elder, Ridwan, established himself at Aleppo (d. 1113); the younger, Duqaq, took possession of Damascus, and died in 1103. The sons of the former, Alp Arslan and Sultan Shah, reigned a short time nominally, though the real power was exercised by Lulu till x n7. After the great victory of Alp Arslan in which the Greek emperor was taken prisoner (1071), Asia Minor lay open to the inroads of the Turks. Hence it was easy for Suleiman, the son of Kutulmish,3 the son of Arslan Pigu (Israil), to penetrate as far as the Hellespont, the more so as after the captivity of Romanus two rivals, Nicephorus Bryennius in Asia and Nicephorus Botaneiates in Europe, disputed the throne with one another. The former appealed to Suleiman for assistance, and was by his aid brought to Constantinople and seated on the imperial throne. But the possession of Asia Minor was insecure to the Seljuks 2 An outline of the history of this branch of the Seljuks is given in Z.D.M.G. (1885), pp. 362-401. 3 This prince rebelled against Alp Arslan in 1064, and was found dead after a battle. I1 as long as the important city of Antioch belonged to the Greeks, so that we may date the real foundation of this Seljuk empire from the taking of that city by the treason of its commander Philaretus in 1084, who afterwards became a vassal of the Seljuks. The conquest involved Suleiman in war with the neighbouring Mahommedan princes, and he met his death soon afterwards (1o86), near Shaizar, in a battle against Tutush. Owing to these family discords the decision of Malik Shah was necessary to settle the affairs of Asia Minor and Syria; he kept the sons of Suleiman in captivity, and committed the war against the unbelieving Greeks to his generals Bursuk (Ilpo End of Article: SELJUKS SELJOKS
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