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Died c. 1021
House Seljuq dynasty

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

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

In 985, the Seljuq clan split off from the bulk of the Tokuz-Oghuz,[1] a confederacy of nine clans long settled between the Aral and Caspian Seas.[2] 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.[3][4]

The names of his four sons — Mikail (Michael), Isrâîl (Israel), Mûsâ (Moses), and Yûnus (Jonah) — suggest previous acquaintance with either Khazar Judaism or Nestorian Christianity.[5] According to some sources, Seljuk began his career as an officer in the Khazar army.[6]

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.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Golden, Peter B. Central Asia in World History, (Oxford University Press, New York, 2011), 74.
  2. ^ The Political and Dynastic History of the Iranian World, C.E. Bosworth, The Cambridge History of Iran:The Saljuq and Mongol Periods, Vol.5, ed. J. A. Boyle, (Cambridge University Press, 1968), 16.
  3. ^ Michael Adas, Agricultural and Pastoral Societies in Ancient and Classical History, (Temple University Press, 2001), 99.
  4. ^ E.J.W. Gibb memorial series. 1928. p. 257. 
  5. ^ Brook 74; Dunlop passim.
  6. ^ Rice 18-19.
  7. ^ Findley 68.


  • Brook, Kevin Alan. The Jews of Khazaria. 2nd ed. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 2006.
  • Dunlop, D.M. "The Khazars." The Dark Ages: Jews in Christian Europe, 711-1096. 1966.
  • Findley, Carter Vaughn. The Turks in World History, pp. 68, 2005, Oxford University Press
  • Grousset, Rene . The Empire of the Steppes Rutgers University Press, 1970.
  • Rice, Tamara Talbot. The Seljuks in Asia Minor. Thames and Hudson, London, 1961.
  • Golden, Peter B. "Central Asia in World History". Oxford University Press, New York, 2011.
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