The origin of the Seljuqs

The Seljuqs were the ruling military family of the Oghuz Turkoman tribes, which ruled over wide territories in Central and Nearer Asia from 11th to 13th century. Among them, the following dynasties were sprouted:- The Great Seljuqs (429-552/1038-1157), the Seljuqs of Iraq (511-590/1118-1194), the Seljuqs of Kirman (433-582/1041-1186), the Seljuqs of Syria (471-511/1078-1117) and the Seljuqs of Asia Minor (571-702/1077-1302). The Seljuq had originated as chieftains of nomadic bands in Central Asian steppes, and appeared first in Transoxiana and Khorasan in the 5th/11th century. Mahmud Kashghari writes in "Diwan lughat al-Turk" (comp. 466/1074) that, "The leading tribe of the Oghuz, from whom the Seljuq rulers sprang, was Qiniq. The Seljuq family belonged to the Qiniq." Another report indicates that the progenitor of the Seljuq family was a certain Duqaq, which in Turkish language means "iron bow", a man of resources, discernment and competence, who alongwith his son Seljuq, served Yabghu. Eventually, Yabghu became jealous of Seljuq's power, and the latter was forced to flee with his flocks to Jand. In the last decade of the 10th century, the Seljuq family embraced Islam, and then turned to raiding against the pagan Turks. Some Russian scholars have expressed an opinion that the Seljuq family accepted Islam through Christianity, because of the Biblical names of his sons, Mikail, Musa and Israil. Over the next decades, Musa, Mikail and Arslan Israil, the three sons of Seljuq moved southwards for pasture for their herbs. Soon afterwards, Mikail's two sons, Chaghri Beg and Tughril Beg occupied Khorasan in 431/1040, and extended their influence in Iran, and founded rule of the Great Seljuqs. Henceforward, the Seljuq chiefs became the territorial rulers instead of a wandering band. Tughril Beg was the founder of the Seljuq rule, who adopted title ofSultan al-Muazzam (an exalted ruler). The Abbasids of Baghdad recognised the Seljuq rule in 447/1055. Tughril Beg was succeeded by Alp Arslan, the son of Chaghri Beg in 455/1063. He was also succeeded by his son, Malikshah (d. 485/1092), the contemporary of Hasan bin Sabbah.

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