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Tughril's tomb
Sultan of Seljuq Empire
Reign 1037 – 1063
Predecessor None (empire founded)
Successor Alp Arslan
Spouse Aka
Altun Jan Khatun
Seyyedeh Fatima
Full name
Laqab: Rukn ad-Din (shortly)
Kunya: Abu Talib
Given name: Muhammad
Turkic nickname: Toghrul-Beg
House House of Seljuq
Father Mikail ibn Seljuq
Mother  ?
Born 990
Died 4 September 1063
Religion Sunni Islam

Tughril (Turkish: Tuğrul, Persian: رکن‌الدین طغرل‌بک بن سلجوق; full name: Rukn ad-Dunya wa ad-Din Abu Talib Muhammad Toghrul-Beg ibn Mikail) also spelled Toghrul I, Tugril, Toghril, Tugrul or Toghrïl Beg;[1] (b. 990 - d. September 4, 1063) was the founder of the Seljuq Empire, and the first sultan of this empire from 1037 to 1063. Tughril united the Turkmen warriors of the Great Eurasian Steppes into a confederacy of tribes, who traced their ancestry to a single ancestor named Seljuq, and led them in conquest of eastern Iran. He would later establish the Seljuq Sultanate after conquering Persia and retaking the Abbasid Capital of Baghdad from the Buyid Dynasty in 1055. Tughril relegated the Abbasid Caliphs to state figureheads and took command of the caliphate's armies in military offensives against the Byzantine Empire and the Fatimid Caliphate in an effort to expand his empire's borders and unite the Islamic world.


He ascended to power c. 1016. In 1025 he, and his brother Chaghri served under the Kara-Khanids of Bukhara, but they were defeated by the Ghaznavid Empire under Mahmud of Ghazni, and Tughril was forced to flee to Khwarezm while his nephew Alp Arslan settled in Khorasan. When their uncle was later driven out of Khorasan by Mahmud, Tughril and his brother moved onto Khorasan and conquered the cities of Merv and Nishapur in 1028–1029. They then extended their raids to Bukhara and Balkh and in 1037 sacked Ghazni and in 1038 he was crowned Sultan at Nishapur. In 1040 they decisively won the Battle of Dandanaqan against Mahmud's son, Mas'ud I forcing Mas'ud I to abandon his western provinces and flee towards Lahore. Tughril then installed Chagri to govern Khorasan and prevent a Ghaznavid reconquest, then moved on to the conquest of the Iranian plateau in 1040-1044. By 1054 his forces were contending in Anatolia with the Byzantines and in 1055 he was commissioned by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Qa'im to recapture Baghdad from the Buyids. A revolt by Turkmen forces under his foster brother İbrahim Yinal, Buyid forces and an uprising against the Seljuqs led to the loss of the city to the Fatimids Caliph in 1058. Two years later Tughril crushed the rebellion, personally strangling İbrahim with his bowstring and entered Baghdad. He then married the daughter of the Abbasid Caliph.


He died childless in the city of Rey in modern Iran and was succeeded by his nephew Suleiman which was contested by Alp Arslan, both of them sons of his brother Chaghri. His cousin Kutalmish who had both been a vital part of his campaigns and later a supporter of Yinal's rebellion also put forth a claim. Alp Arslan defeated Kutalmish for the throne and succeeded on April 27, 1064.


  • Ferishta, History of the Rise of Mohammedan Power in India' [1]
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External links[edit]

Born: 990 Died: 4 September 1063
Regnal titles
Preceded by
None (empire founded)
Sultan of the Seljuq Empire
Succeeded by
Alp Arslan