History of Seljuk Empire

Who Was Sultan Tugrul / Seljuk Empire?

Who Was Sultan Tugrul?

Abu Talib Muhammad Tughril ibn Mika’il better known as Tughril was a Turkoman chieftain, who founded the Seljuk Empire, ruling from 1037 to 1063. Tughril was born in c. 993, most likely in the Central Asian steppes, where nomadic Oghuz Turks were roaming to find pasture for livestock.

After the death of his father Mikail, Tughril and his brother Chaghri were reportedly raised by their grandfather Seljuk (the eponymous founder of the Seljuks) in Jand. It was seemingly during this period that the Seljuk family converted to Islam, at least nominally. In the following decades, the Seljuks were employed as mercenaries under the warring factions of Transoxiana and Khwarazm, in exchange for pasture for their herds.

History Of Sultan Tugrul:

Tughril united many Turkoman warriors of the Central Asian steppes into a confederacy of tribes and led them in conquest of Khorasan and eastern Persia. He would later establish the Seljuk Sultanate after conquering Persia and taking the Abbasid capital of Baghdad from the Buyids in 1055. Before the advent of the Seljuks, Persia was divided between several warring local powers, such as the Saffarids, Buyids, Kakuyids, and Ghaznavids. As a result, it suffered from continuous war and destruction.

However, under Tughril peace and prosperity were brought to the country and to Mesopotamia, a transition that was further reinforced due to the Seljuks’ assimilation to Iranian-Muslim culture. Tughril relegated the Abbasid Caliphs to state figureheads and took command of the caliphate’s armies in military offensives against the Byzantine Empire and the Fatimids in an effort to expand his empire’s borders and unite the Islamic world.

“Tughril” was the Old Turkic word for a bird of prey, possibly the Crested goshawk. In early Turkic history and culture, starting from the Uyghur Khaganate and onwards, it was used as a personal name. In 1037, the Seljuks also forced the Ghaznavids to cede them Sarakhs, Abivard and Marw. The Seljuks then slowly began to subdue the cities of Khorasan, and, when they captured Nishapur, Tughril proclaimed himself Sultan of Khorasan.

In the 1020s, Tughril and his other relatives were serving the Kara-Khanids of Bukhara. In 1026, the Kara-Khanids were driven out of Bukhara by the Ghaznavid Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. Seljuk’s son Arslan Isra’il fled to a place near Sarakhs, where he asked Mahmud for permission to settle in the area in return for military aid. Mahmud, however, had Arslan Isra’il put in prison, where the latter soon died.

Meanwhile, Tughril and Chaghri remained loyal to their Kara-Khanid overlords, although there were disputes between them in 1029; in 1032, they fought alongside the Kara-Khanids at the Battle of Dabusiyya. After the Kara-Khanid ruler Ali-Tegin’s death, however, the Seljuks changed their allegiance to the ruler of Khwarazm, Harun, but were repelled by the Oghuz ruler Shah Malik in 1035. The Seljuks then went to the same place as Arslan Isra’il, and asked the son of Mahmud, Mas’ud I, for asylum.

Mas’ud, however, considered the nomadic Turks to be dangerous and sent an army under his commander-in-chief Begtoghdi. The army was shortly defeated by the Seljuks, who forced Mas’ud to surrender Nasa, Farava and Dihistan in return for Seljuk recognition of Ghaznavid authority and protection of the region from other Turkic tribes.

Tughril then installed Chagri as the governor of Khorasan and prevented a Ghaznavid reconquest, then moved on to the conquest of the Iranian plateau from 1040 to 1044; in 1041–1042, Tughril conquered Tabaristan and Gurgan, and appointed a certain Mardavij ibn Bishui as the governor of the region. In 1042/3, he conquered Ray and Qazvin, and at the same his suzerainty was acknowledged by the Justanid ruler of Daylam.

The Sallarid ruler of Shamiran also shortly acknowledged his overlordship. In 1054, Tughril forced the Rawadid ruler of Azerbaijan, Abu Mansur Wahsudan, to acknowledge his authority. Tughril’s name was placed in the khutba (Friday prayer), while a son of Wahsudan, possibly Abu’l-Hayja Manuchihr, was sent as a Seljuk hostage to Khurasan. In the same year, Tughril’s forces were contending in Anatolia with the Byzantines.

Death Of Sultan Tugrul:

Tughril died on 4 October 1063 in Ray, at the age of seventy. Having no children, he had nominated his infant nephew Sulayman (a son of Chaghri Beg) as his successor. The vizier al-Kunduri supported this choice and may have been the one to suggest it to greatly expand his authority as the regent of the child.

The succession was contested by Chaghri Beg’s more competent and elder son Alp Arslan, who had ruled Khurasan since his father’s death in 1059. Alp Arslan quickly asserted his authority over the whole empire, becoming the first Seljuk ruler to rule over both Tughril’s and Chaghri’s lands.

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