Seljuk (warlord)

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Seljuk Beig
Died c. 1021
House Seljuq dynasty

Seljuk Beig (سلجوق ﺑﯿﮓSaljūq; also romanized Seldjuk, Seldjuq, Seljuq; modern Turkish: Selçuk; died c. 1038) was an Oghuz Turkic warlord, eponymous founder of the Seljuk dynasty.

Seljuk was the son of a certain Toqaq[1] surnamed Temür Yalığ (meaning "of the iron bow") and either the chief or an eminent member of the Oghuz Kınık tribe.[2]

In 985, the Seljuq clan split off from the bulk of the Tokuz-Oghuz,[3] a confederacy of nine clans long settled between the Aral and Caspian Seas.[4] They set up camp on the right bank of the lower Syr Darya (Jaxartes), in the direction of Jend, near Kzyl Orda in present-day south-central Kazakhstan. There, in 985, Seljuk converted to Islam.[5]

The names of his four sons — Mikâîl (Michael), Isrâîl (Israel), Mûsâ (Moses), and Yûnus (Jonah) — suggest previous acquaintance with either Khazar Judaism or Nestorian Christianity.[6] According to some sources, Seljuk began his career as an officer in the Khazar army.[7]

Under Mikâîl's sons Tuğrul and Çağrı, the Seljuqs migrated into Khurasan. Ghaznavid attempts to stop Seljuqs raiding the local Muslim populace led to the Battle of Dandanaqan on 23 May 1040. Victorious Seljuqs became masters of Khurasan, expanding their power into Transoxiana and across Iran. By 1055, Tuğrul had expanded his control all the way to Baghdad, setting himself up as the champion of the Abbasid caliph, who honored him with the title sultan. Earlier rulers may have used this title but the Seljuqs seem to have been the first to inscribe it on their coins.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Golden 2007, p. 159.
  2. ^ Cahen 1969, p. 140.
  3. ^ Golden 2011, p. 74.
  4. ^ Bosworth 1968, p. 16.
  5. ^ Adas 2001, p. 99.
  6. ^ Brook 2006, p. 74.
  7. ^ Rice 1961, p. 18-19.
  8. ^ Findley 2005, p. 68.


  • Adas, Michael (2001). Agricultural and Pastoral Societies in Ancient and Classical History. Temple University Press.
  • Bosworth, C.E. (1968). "The Political and Dynastic History of the Iranian World". In Boyle, J. A. The Cambridge History of Iran:The Saljuq and Mongol Periods. Vol.5. Cambridge University Press.
  • Brook, Kevin Alan (2006). The Jews of Khazaria (2nd ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Cahen, Claude (1969). "The Turkish Invasion: The Selchukids". In Setton, Kenneth Meyer. A History of the Crusades: The First Hundred Years. The University of Wisconsin Press.
  • Dunlop, D.M (1966). The Khazars, The Dark Ages: Jews in Christian Europe, 711-1096.
  • Findley, Carter Vaughn (2005). The Turks in World History. Oxford University Press.
  • Grousset, Rene (1970). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press.
  • Rice, Tamara Talbot (1961). The Seljuks in Asia Minor. Thames and Hudson.
  • Golden, Peter (2007). "The Conversion of the Khazars to Judaism". In Golden, Peter; Ben-Shammai, Haggai; Roná-Tas, András. The World of the Khazars: New Perspectives. Brill.
  • Golden, Peter B. (2011). Central Asia in World History. Oxford University Press.