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Seljuk Empire

آلِ سلجوق
Āl-e Saljuq
1037–1194
Seljuk double-headed eagle of Seljuk Empire
Seljuk double-headed eagle
Seljuq Empire at its greatest extent in 1092, upon the death of Malik Shah I
Seljuq Empire at its greatest extent in 1092,
upon the death of Malik Shah I
Capital
  • Nishapur
    (1037–1043)
  • Rey
    (1043–1051)
  • Isfahan
    (1051–1118)
  • Merv, Eastern capital (1118–1153)
  • Hamadan, Western capital (1118–1194)
Common languages
  • Persian (official and court; literature and lingua franca)
  • Oghuz Turkic (dynastic and military)
  • Arabic (theology, law and science)
Religion
Sunni Islam (Hanafi)
Government De facto: Independent Sultanate
De jure: Under Caliphate
Caliph  
• 1031–1075
Al-Qa'im
• 1180-1225
Al-Nasir
Sultan  
• 1037–1063
Toghrul I (first)
• 1174–1194
Toghrul III (last)
History  
• Tughril formed the state system
1037
• Battle of Dandanaqan
1040
1071
1095–1099
• Battle of Qatwan
1141
• Replaced by the Khwarezmian Empire
1194
Area
1080 est. 3,900,000 km2 (1,500,000 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Oghuz Yabgu State
Ghaznavids
Buyid dynasty
Byzantine Empire
Kakuyids
Fatimid Caliphate
Kara-Khanid Khanate
Sultanate of Rûm
Anatolian beyliks
Ghurid Dynasty
Khwarezmian Empire
Atabegs of Azerbaijan
Salghurids
Bavandids
Ayyubid dynasty
Burid dynasty
Zengid dynasty
Danishmends
Artuqid dynasty
Shah-Armens
Shaddadids

The Seljuk Empire was a high medieval Turko-Persian Sunni Muslim empire, originating from the Qiniq branch of Oghuz Turks. At its greatest extent, the Seljuk Empire controlled a vast area stretching from western Anatolia and the Levant to the Hindu Kush in the east, and from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf in the south.

The Seljuk empire was founded by Tughril Beg (990–1063) and his brother Chaghri Beg (989–1060) in 1037. From their homelands near the Aral Sea, the Seljuks advanced first into Khorasan and then into mainland Persia, before eventually conquering eastern Anatolia. Here the Seljuks won the battle of Manzikert in 1071 and conquered most of Anatolia from the Byzantine Empire, which became one of the reasons for the first crusade (1095-1099). From c. 1150-1250, the Seljuk empire declined, and was invaded by the Mongols around 1260. The Mongols divided Anatolia into emirates. Eventually one of these, the Ottoman, would conquer the rest.

Seljuk gave his name to both the empire and the Seljuk dynasty. The Seljuks united the fractured political landscape of the eastern Islamic world and played a key role in the first and second crusades. Highly Persianized in culture and language, the Seljuks also played an important role in the development of the Turko-Persian tradition, even exporting Persian culture to Anatolia. The settlement of Turkic tribes in the northwestern peripheral parts of the empire, for the strategic military purpose of fending off invasions from neighboring states, led to the progressive Turkicization of those areas.

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