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Miniature of Barkiyaruq
Sultan of the Great Seljuq Empire
Reign 1092–1105
Predecessor Mahmud I
Successor Malik-Shah II
Born 1079/1080
Died 1105 (aged 25)
Issue Malik-Shah II
House House of Seljuq
Father Malik-Shah I
Religion Sunni Islam

Abu al-Muzaffar Rukn ud-Din Barkyaruq ibn Malikshah (Persian: ابو المظفر رکن الدین رکن الدین برکیارق بن ملکشاه‎‎), better known as Barkyaruq. The Turkic word Berk Yaruq means (firm, unwavering light),[1] was the sultan of the Great Seljuq empire from 1092 to 1105.

Early life[edit]

Barkiyaruq was born in 1079/1080,[2] the oldest son of Malik Shah I[3] and a Seljuq princess. He had five brothers; Mahmud I, Ahmed Sanjar, Mehmed I, Dawud, and Ahmad.

During his youth, the succession to the Seljuq sultanate was complicated by the death of two of his half-brothers: Dawud (died 1082) and Ahmad (died 1088), whom both were sons of the Kara-Khanid Princess Turkan Khatun, she also had a son named Mahmud (born 1087) which she wanted to succeed his father, while the vizier Nizam al-Mulk and most of the Seljuq army was in favor of Barkiyaruq.[4] Turkan Khatun then allied with Taj al-Mulk Abu'l Ghana'im to try to remove Nizam from his post. Nizam was assassinated in 1092, which made Barkiyaruq lose a powerful supporter. Barkiyaruq's father eventually died some months later. Turkhan Khatun then took the opportunity of his death, and with the support of Taj al-Mulk, put her 4 year old son, Mahmud I, on the throne, while Barkiyaruq was proclaimed as Sultan of the Seljuq Empire at Ray by the faction of the late vizier Nizam al-Mulk.


However, Mahmud I was not the only Seljuq claimant to the throne, several other Seljuq princes such as Arslan-Argun, Mehmed I, and Tutush I, also claimed the throne.[5] Taj al-Mulk was later assassinated by the ghulams of Nizam al-Mulk,[6] while Turkhan Khatun and her son Mahmud I died in 1094. One year later, Barkiyaruq clashed with Tutush I at Ray, where Barkiyaruq managed to emerge victorious and kill Tutush I along with his supporter Ali ibn Faramurz.[7]

In 1105, Barkiyaruq died in Borujerd, and was succeeded by his son Malik Shah II. It has been reported that his body was returned to Isfahan. However, some people say[who?] his tomb is in 5 km north of Borujerd, where today is a historical monument called Zavvarian.

Affairs of the Empire during his reign[edit]

During Barkiyaruq's short reign, he had five viziers, three of them were the children of Nizam al-Mulk; Izz al-Mulk Husain, Mu'ayyid al-Mulk and Fakhr al-Mulk.[8] The two other viziers were Abd-al-Dihistani Jalil and Khatir al-Mulk Abu Mansur Maybudi. During his reign, Barkiyaruq's mostly focused on a way to find money to keep the expenses of the state.


  1. ^ Notes on Some Turkish Names in Abu 'l-Faḍl Bayhaqī's Tārīkh-i Masʿūdī, C.E.Bosworth, Oriens, Vol. 36, (2001), 305.
  2. ^ Bosworth 1968, pp. 220-221.
  3. ^ E. J. Van Donzel, Islamic Desk Reference, (E.J.Brill, 1994), 464.
  4. ^ Bosworth 1968, pp. 68-80.
  5. ^ Bernard Lewis, The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam, (Basic Books Inc., 2003), 51.
  6. ^ Bosworth 1968, p. 57.
  7. ^ Bosworth 1968, p. 38.
  8. ^ The Political and Dynastic History of the Iranian World (AD 1000-1217), C.E. Bosworth, The Cambridge History of Iran:The Saljuq and Mongol Periods, Vol. 5, ed. J.A. Boyle, (Cambridge University Press, 1968), 105.


Preceded by
Mahmud I of Great Seljuk
Sultan of Seljuq Empire
Succeeded by
Malik Shah II