History of Turkmenistan - Seljuks


In the eleventh century, Seljuk domains stretched from the delta of the Amu Darya delta into Iran, Iraq, the Caucasus region, Syria, and Asia Minor. In 1040 the Seljuk Turks crossed the Oxus from the north, and having defeated Masud, sultan of Ghazni, raised Toghrul Beg, grandson of Seljuk, to the throne of Iran, founding the Seljukid dynasty, with its capital at Nishapur. A younger brother of Toghrul, Daud, took possession of Merv and Herat. Toghrul was succeeded by his nephew Alp Arslan (the Great Lion), who was buried at Merv. It was about this time that Merv reached the zenith of her glory. In 1055 Seljuk forces entered Baghdad, becoming masters of the Islamic heartlands and important patrons of Islamic institutions. Until these revolts, Turkmen tribesmen were an integral part of the Seljuk military forces. Turkmen migrated with their families and possessions on Seljuk campaigns into Azerbaijan and Anatolia, a process that began the Turkification of these areas. During this time, Turkmen also began to settle the area of present-day Turkmenistan. Prior to the Turkmen habitation, most of this desert had been uninhabited, while the more habitable areas along the Caspian Sea, Kopetdag Mountains, Amu Darya, and Murgap River (Murgap Deryasy) were populated predominantly by Iranians. The city-state of Merv was an especially large sedentary and agricultural area, important as both a regional economic-cultural center and a transit hub on the Silk Road. The last powerful Seljuk ruler, Sultan Sanjar (d. 1157), witnessed the fragmentation and destruction of the empire because of attacks by Turkmen and other tribes. During the reign of Sultan Sanjar or Sinjar of the same house, in the middle of the 11th century, Merv was overrun by the Turkish tribes of the Ghuzz from beyond the Oxus. It eventually passed under the sway of the rulers of Khwarizm (Khiva). After mixing with the settled peoples in Turkmenistan, the Oguz living north of the Kopet-Dag Mountains gradually became known as the Turkmen.

The Seljuk empire broke down in the second half of the 12th century, and the Turkmen became independent tribal federation.

Read more about this topic:  History Of Turkmenistan

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