Chapter

ASPECTS OF THE COURT OF THE GREAT SELJUQS

Carole Hillenbrand

in The Seljuqs

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780748639946
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653294 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639946.003.0002
ASPECTS OF THE COURT OF THE GREAT SELJUQS

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This chapter highlights few of the many ceremonial, intellectual and leisure activities pursued by the Seljuq sultans. Most of the evidence in this chapter is drawn from the heyday of their rule, from the reign of Sultan Tughrid until the reign of Sultan Muhammad. Before focusing on the three dominant themes connected with the court of Seljuq, the chapter provides an overview of the medieval princely court in the context of the Great Seljuqs. Seljuq courts were often peripatetic and can be found wherever the sultan happened to be. Although there has been a transition in the Seljuq courts during the reign of Sultan Malikshāh by the tendency to have a court in one place, the nomadic tradition of the Seljuq rulers remained. The chapter then discusses the three themes of the Seljuq courts. The first one is the nawra ceremony, a Muslim tradition given with Turkish gloss to fit with the ancient and colour geo-symbolism of the Seljuq Turks. It then discusses the patronage of scholars which was a key status symbols of the Perso-Islamic ruler. This intellectual milieu was something new for the Seljuq tribal chiefs. The final theme of Seljuq courts was hunting which was regarded as the ‘sport of kings’. Here, the tough exigencies of survival in the steppes were exchanged for lavish court hunting style parties which dated back to the pre-Islamic Iran.

Keywords: Seljuq sultans; court of Seljuq; Seljuq courts; nawra ceremony; Seljuq Turks; patronage of scholars; hunting

Chapter.  6901 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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