A. C. S. Peacock

in The Seljuqs

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780748639946
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653294 | DOI:

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Even if such influential developments in the history of the Middle East such as madrasahs, Sunnism, and the use of Persian for official purposes did not originate in the Seljuq period, it was then that they grew and spread. However, to what extent the Seljuq dynasty deserved credit remains debatable. It is often argued that in many ways the sultans were mere bystanders to historical processes over which they had little control. The institution of the atabegate, the guardians for royal princes was seen as a Seljuq contributions, however, because its origin is obscure, it remains questionable. One of the definite contributions of the Seljuq was the political legitimacy of the dynastic name itself, by linking themselves to which later rulers sought to add lustre to stories of their own origins. Throughout history, political legitimacy has been a dilemma for many rulers seeking to justify their existence. For many new dynasties, the processes by which they have the right to rule is such an acute issue. Centuries after the demise of the last Seljuq rulers of Anatolia, Ottomans promoted their own legitimacy by claims of inherited sovereignty from their predecessors. Their rivals meanwhile claimed their right to rule by stating they were Seljuq's true heirs. This chapter examines how the Seljuqs came to have a lasting political influence for several generations. This nostalgia for dynasty and political necessity pave the way for the composition of several Saljūqnāmas or ‘Books of the Seljuqs’.

Keywords: Seljuq dynasty; atabegate; political legitimacy; Ottomans; political influence; Saljūqnāmas

Chapter.  8363 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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