Toghtekin

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Zahir ad-Din Toghtekin (also Tughtigin or Toghtekin) (Tr: Tuğtekin) (Arabic: ظاهر الدين طغتكين‎) (died February 12, 1128) was a Turkic military leader, who was atabeg of Damascus from 1104 to 1128. He was the founder of the Burid dynasty of Damascus.

Biography[edit]

Zahir ad-Din Toghtekin was a junior officer to Tutush I, Seljuq ruler of Damascus and Syria. After the former's death in 1095, civil war erupted, and Toghtekin supported Tutush's son Duqaq as emir of the city against Radwan, the emir of Aleppo. In the chaotic years which ensued Toghtekin was sent to reconquer the town of Jebleh, which had rebelled against the qadi of Tripoli, but he was unable to accomplish his task.

On October 21, 1097, a Crusader army appeared at the gates of Antioch. The local emir, Yaghi-Siyan, though nominally under Radwan's suzerainty, appealed to Duqaq to send an armed force to their rescue. Duqaq sent Toghtekin, but on December 31, 1097, he was defeated by Bohemund of Taranto and Robert II of Flanders, and was forced to retreat. Another relief attempt was made by a joint force under Kerbogha, the emir of Mosul, and Toghtekin, which was also crushed by the Crusaders on June 28, 1098.

When the Crusaders moved southwards from the newly conquered Antioch, the qadi of Jebleh sold his town to Duqaq, who installed Toghtekin's son, Taj al-Muluk Buri, as its ruler. His tyrannical rule, however, led to his quick downfall. In 1103 Toghtekin was sent by Duqaq to take possession of Homs at the request of its inhabitants, after the emir Janah al-Dawla had been assassinated by order of Radwan.

The following year Duqaq died and Toghtekin, now acting as regent and de facto ruler, had the former's junior son Tutush II proclaimed emir, while he married Duqaq's widow and reserved for himself the title of atabeg. After deposing Tutush II he had another son of Duqaq, Baqtash, named emir, but soon afterward he had him exiled. Baqtash, with the support of Aitekin, the sahib of Bosra, tried to reconquer Damascus, but was pushed back by Toghtekin and forced to find help at the court of King Baldwin I of Jerusalem.

Around 1106 Toghtekin intervened to momentarily raise the siege of Tripoli by the Crusaders, but could not prevent the definitive capture of the city. In May 1108 he was able to defeat a small Christian force under Gervaise of Bazoches, lord of Galilee; Gervaise was proposed to be freed in exchange for his possession, but he refused and was executed. In April 1110 Toghtekin besieged and captured Baalbek and named his son Buri as governor.

Late in November 1111, the town of Tyre, which was besieged by Baldwin's troops, put itself under Toghtekin's protection. Toghtekin, supported by Fatimid forces, intervened, forcing the Franks to raise the siege on April 10, 1112; however, he refused to take part in the anti-Crusade effort launched by Mawdud of Mosul, fearing that the latter could take advantage of it to gain rule over the whole of Syria.

Nonetheless, in 1113 the two Muslim commanders allied in reply to the ravages of Baldwin of Jerusalem and Tancred of Hauteville. Their army besieged Tiberias, but they were unable to conquer it despite a sound victory at the Battle of Al-Sannabra, and they were forced to retreat to Damascus when Christian reinforcements arrived and supplies began to run out. During his sojourn in the city, Mawdud was killed by the Hashshashin (October 2, 1113); the inhabitants accused Toghtekin of the deed. In 1114 he signed an alliance against the Franks with the new emir of Aleppo, Alp Arslan, but the latter was also assassinated a short time later.

In 1115 Toghtekin decided to ally himself with the Kingdom of Jerusalem against the Seljuq general Aq Sonqor Bursuqi, who had been sent by the Seljuq sultan to fight the Crusaders. The following year, judging the Franks too powerful, he visited Baghdad to obtain a pardon from the sultan, though never forgetting to remain independent himself between the two main forces.

Allied with Ilghazi of Aleppo, he attacked Athareb in the Christian Principality of Antioch, but was defeated at Hab on August 14, 1119. In the June of the following year he sent help to Ilghazi, who was again under peril of annihilation in the same place. In 1122 the Fatimids, no longer able to defend Tyre, sold it to Toghtekin, who installed a garrison there, but the garrison was unable to prevent its capture by the Christians on July 7, 1124.

In 1125, Bursuqi, now in control of Aleppo, appeared in the Antiochean territory with a large army which Toghtekin joined; however, the two were defeated at the Battle of Azaz on June 11, 1125. The following January Toghtekin also had to repel an invasion by Baldwin II of Jerusalem. In late 1126 he again invaded the Principality of Antioch with Bursuqi, but again with no results.

Toghtekin died in 1128. He was succeeded by his son Buri.

In the Old French cycle of crusade chansons, Toghtekin is known as "Dodequin".

Sources[edit]

  • Grousset, René (1934). Histoire des croisades et du royaume franc de Jérusalem - I. 1095-1130 L'anarchie musulmane. 
  • Maalouf, Amin (1984). The crusades through Arab eyes. New York: Schocken Books. ISBN 0-8052-0898-4. 
  • Runciman, Steven (1951). A history of the Crusades - Volume 1. 


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Muhi ad-Din Baqtash
Atabeg of Damascus
1104–1128
Succeeded by
Taj al-Muluk Buri