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The Seljuk Empire for Unit 1 of AP World History

Cate O'Donnell

3 min read

Dec 15, 2023

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Did you know that the Seljuk Empire was once the largest contiguous land empire in the world? At its height in the 11th century, this expansive empire stretched from Central Asia to the Mediterranean Sea. In this article, you’ll learn about the rise and fall of the Seljuk Empire, and how this nomadic people left an indelible mark on Islamic culture and history. We’ll explore the key events and figures that drove the Seljuks to power and eventual decline, as well as their cultural and economic legacy. By the end of this article, you’ll understand why the Seljuks are still remembered today as one of the greatest empires of the ancient world.



map of the Seljuk Empire
2147855739/Shutterstock


You can read and watch videos on the Seljuk Empire using Google Slides, or you can scroll down to read on the website.




The Seljuk Turks

The Seljuk Turks were a prominent Turkic nomadic people who played a significant role in the history of the Islamic world during the medieval period. They were originally from Central Asia, and their rise to prominence occurred in the 11th century.


Founder: The Seljuk Empire was founded by Seljuk Bey, a chieftain of the Oghuz Turks, in the late 10th century. Seljuk Bey and his descendants led their people westward into Persia and Anatolia.


Expansion into Persia: The Seljuks initially settled in the region of Khorasan (in present-day Iran and Afghanistan) and gradually expanded their territory. They became the dominant power in Persia. They protected the Abbasid Caliph but also fought for political power.


Anatolian Campaigns: One of the most significant achievements of the Seljuk Turks was their conquest of Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) in the late 11th century. Under Alp Arslan, the Seljuk sultan at the time, they defeated the Byzantine Empire at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, opening the way for further expansion into Anatolia.


Sunni Islam: The Seljuks adhered to Sunni Islam, and their expansion into Persia brought them into conflict with the Shia Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt.


Political Organization: The Seljuk Empire was characterized by a feudal system, with local rulers or emirs exercising significant autonomy within the broader Seljuk state.


Influence on Islamic Art and Culture: The Seljuk period saw the development of distinctive architectural styles, particularly in the construction of mosques and madrasas (educational institutions).

Decline and Fragmentation: Over time, the Seljuk Empire began to fragment due to internal conflicts and external pressures, including invasions by the Mongols. By the 13th century, the Seljuk Empire had largely disintegrated.


Legacy: Despite their decline, the Seljuk Turks had a lasting impact on the Islamic world. Additionally, the Seljuks paved the way for subsequent Turkish empires, including the Ottoman Empire, which would become a dominant force in the Islamic world.


The Seljuk Empire

The Seljuk Empire stands as a crucial chapter in the medieval history of the Middle East and Anatolia. Originating from Central Asia, the Seljuk Turks migrated westward, ultimately establishing a powerful Sunni Muslim state that played a pivotal role in shaping the geopolitical landscape of the region. The Battle of Manzikert in 1071 marked a turning point when Sultan Alp Arslan’s forces defeated the Byzantine Empire, granting the Seljuks control over Anatolia and leading to the establishment of the Sultanate of Rum. The Seljuk Empire’s influence extended beyond military conquests; it contributed to the spread of Islamic culture and scholarship, fostering a vibrant intellectual environment. However, internal conflicts, external pressures from Crusaders, and the eventual onslaught of the Mongols in the early 13th century led to the decline and fragmentation of the empire. Despite its eventual dissolution, the Seljuk Empire left a lasting legacy, influencing subsequent political structures and cultural developments in the Islamic world.



Would you prefer to watch a video about the Seljuk Empire?




Developments in Dar al-Islam from 1200 to 1450


Unit 1:The Global Tapestry


AP World History


AP World History
Unit 1: The Global Tapestry
Dal al-Islam
The Seljuk Empire

#APWorldHistory #Islam #SeljukEmpire

Cate O'Donnell

3 min read

Dec 15, 2023

7

0

0

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