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The Saljūq-Nāma (Turkish: Selçukname, Persian: سلجوق‌نامه‎‎, "Book of Seljuk [Empire]") is a history of the Great Seljuk Empire written by the Persian historian Ẓāhir al-Dīn Nīshāpūrī around 1175.[1] Written in Persian,[2] it has been acknowledged as the primary source for Saljuq material for Persian works dating from 13th century to 15th century, which include; Rahat al-sudur, Jami al-tawarikh, Tarikh-i Guzida, Zubdat al-Tawarikh and Rawdat as-Safa. Abulqasim Qashani, a Persian historian who wrote about the Ilkhanids,[3] made alterations and additions to the original text, which was later misidentified as the original Saljuq-nama.[4]


The Saljuq-nama is vague concerning the history of the sultans prior to Toghrul III, as noted by Claude Cahen, that Nishapuri had, "..relatively poor sources at his disposal for the Seljuqs before his own lifetime...".[5] Being of a complicated textual history and consisting of a rhyming preface, it first appears as the historical part of a compendium known as Rahat al-sudur.[6] A later version appears in the 14th century compendium of histories known as Jami al-tawarikh, which was compiled by Rashid al-Din Fadl Allah, vizier of the Ilkhanids of Iran.[7]

Modern era[edit]

In 1953, Ismail Afshar claimed he had found a copy of the Saljuq-nama.[8] A.H. Morton believes this copy to be a work by Abu l'Qasim Qashani.[9] Accordingly, no copy of the Saljuq-nama is believed to exist today. However, A.H. Morton is producing a text based on MS. Persian 22b which is an anonymous history of the Seljuqs dedicated to Sultan Toghrul III. Morton contends that this is a copy of Nishapuri's original work.[10]


  1. ^ Lambton, Ann K.S., Continuity and change in medieval Persia, (State University of New York Press, 1988), 366.
  2. ^ Safi, Omar, The Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam, (University of North Carolina Press, 2006), xlv.
  3. ^ Daftary, Farhad, The Ismāʻı̄lı̄s: Their History and Doctrines, (Cambridge University Press, 2007), 307.
  4. ^ The History of the Seljuq Turks: from the Jāmi al-Tawārīkh : an Ilkhanid Adaptation of the Saljuq nama, Transl. Kenneth Allin Luther, Ed. C.E. Bosworth, (Curzon Press, 2001), viii.
  5. ^ The History of the Seljuq Turks, 7.
  6. ^ The History of the Seljuq Turks, 15.
  7. ^ The History of the Seljuq Turks, 15.
  8. ^ Meisami, Julie Scott, Persian Historiography to the End of the Twelfth Century, (Edinburgh University Press, 1999), 229.
  9. ^ The History of the Seljuq Turks, viii.
  10. ^ The History of the Seljuq Turks, ix.