Chapter

CONTROLLING AND DEVELOPING BAGHDAD: CALIPHS, SULTANS AND THE BALANCE OF POWER IN THE ABBASID CAPITAL (MID-5TH/11TH TO LATE 6TH/12TH CENTURIES)

Vanessa Van Renterghem

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/9780748639946.003.0007
CONTROLLING AND DEVELOPING BAGHDAD: CALIPHS, SULTANS AND THE BALANCE OF POWER IN THE ABBASID CAPITAL (MID-5TH/11TH TO LATE 6TH/12TH CENTURIES)

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Seljuq Iraq, though a central Islamic land and heart of the Abbayasid caliphate has not received the scholarly attention it deserves. Generally, descriptions of Iran under the Seljuq rule were seen in religious and social life in Baghdad and many questions regarding Iran history during the fifth/eleventh until the middle of the sixth/twelfth centuries remained unanswered. The nature and extent of Seljuq domination over Iraq remains under-research in terms of the exact territories under the Seljuq control, the relationship between Seljuq agents and local powers, the nature of urban and extra-urban control exerted by the sultans, and the forms of taxation and evolution of iqtā، granting. This chapter discusses issues concerning the degree of Turkmen presence, contacts with local nomadic and sedentary populations and acculturation in Iraq. It focuses on the Abbasid capital and its relations with the Seljuq sultans and officials. It covers Tughril Berg's first entry into Baghdad until the beginning of the reign of the caliph al-Nāsir. As a caliphal capita, Baghdad had a special status compared to other cities in the Seljuq empire. Baghdad is marked by a power balance between the caliphs and the sultans whose policy was shaped by the nature of the relationship they intended to establish with the Abbasids. The ‘Sunni-Abbasid’ policy of the Seljuqs is considered a part of the ‘Sunni revival’ which is considered an integral part of the evolution of the period, however on a closer inspection this notion cannot be considered as the key explanation of all evolutions of this period.

Keywords: Seljuq Iraq; Seljuq domination; Turkmen presence; acculturation; Abbasid capital; Tughril Berg; Baghdad; Sunni-Abbasid policy; Sunni revival

Chapter.  11240 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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