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Seljūks


from earlier buildings have been used in the construction of these fortifications: from their small size they may be mostly attributed to private houses. Away across the curving trench leads to an open space, where the Agora may have been situated: beyond it lay the town, the remains of which are scanty, though the line of the walls can be traced.

Outside the ancient city, on the W. of the river Selinus, lie the ruins of a temple of Demeter, with a propylon leading to the sacred enclosure: the temple itself has a cella with a narrow door and without columns. A large number of votive terra-cotta figures, vases and lamps were found in the course of the excavations. The earliest temple must have been erected soon after the foundation of the city, while the later building which superseded it dates from shortly after 600 B.C. The propylon, on the other hand, may date from after 409 B.C.

On the hill E. of Selinus, separated from it by a small flat valley, lies a group of three huge temples. No other remains have been found round them, though it seems improbable that they stood quite alone and unprotected. It is likely that they were outside the town, but stood in a sacred enclosure. All of them have fallen, undoubtedly owing to an earthquake. The oldest of the three is F. A peculiarity of the construction of this temple is that all the intercolumniations were closed by stone screens. In it were found the lower parts of two metopes. Next in date comes the huge temple G, which, as an inscription proves, was dedicated to Apollo; though it was never entirely completed (many of the columns still remain unfluted), it was in use. The columns vary somewhat in diameter (more than even the difference caused by fluting would warrant) and three different types of capital are noticeable. The plan is a curious one: despite the comparative narrowness of the cella, it had two rows of ten columns in it, in line with the front angles of the inner shrine. The third temple, E, has been proved by the discovery of an inscription to have been dedicated to Hera. It is famous for its fine metopes now in the museum at Palermo, belonging to the beginning of the 5th century B.C.

See R. Koldewey and O. Puchstein, Die griechischen Tempel in Unteritalien und Sicilien (Berlin, 1899), 77-131. (T. As.) 


SELJŪKS, Seljūḳs, or Seljuqs, the name of several Turkish dynasties issued from one family, which reigned over large parts of Asia in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries of the Christian era. The history of the Seljūks forms the first part of the history of the Turkish empire. Proceeding from the deserts of Turkestan, the Seljūks reached the Hellespont; but this barrier was crossed and a European power founded by the Ottomans (Osmanli). The Seljūks inherited the traditions and at the same time the power of the Arabian caliphate, of which, when they made their appearance, only the shadow remained in the person of the Abbāsid caliph of Bagdad. It is their merit from a Mahommedan point of view to have re-established the power of orthodox Islam and delivered the Moslem world from the subversive influence of the ultra-Shīite tenets, which constituted a serious danger to the duration of Islam itself. Neither had civilization anything to fear from them, since they represented a strong neutral power, which made the intimate union of Persian and Arabian elements possible, almost at the expense of the national Turkish—literary monuments in that language being during the whole period of the Seljūk rule exceedingly rare.

The first Seljūk rulers were Toghrul Beg, Chaḳir Beg and Ibrahīm Niyāl, the son of Mikail, the son of Seljūk, the son of Tuḳāḳ, or Tuqāq (also styled Timūryāliḳ, “iron bow”). They belonged to the Turkish tribe of the Ghuzz (Οὖζοι of Const. Porphyr. and the Byzantine writers), which traced its lineage to Oghuz, the famous eponymic hero not only of this but of all Turkish tribes. There arose, however, at some undefined epoch a strife on the part of this tribe and some others with the rest of the Turks, because, as the latter allege, Ghuzz, the son (or grandson) of Yafeth (Japhet), the son of Nuh (Noah), had stolen the genuine rain-stone, which Turk, also a son of Yafeth, had inherited from his father. By this party, as appears from this tradition, the Ghuzz were not considered to be genuine Turks, but to be Turkmans (that is, according to a popular etymology, resembling Turks). But the native tradition of the Ghuzz was unquestionably right, as they spoke a pure Turkish dialect. The fact, however, remains that there existed a certain animosity between the Ghuzz and their allies and the rest of the Turks, which increased as the former became converted to Islam (in the course of the 4th century of the Flight). The Ghuzz were settled at that time in Transoxiana, especially at Jand, a well-known city on the banks of the Jaxartes, not far from its mouth. Some of them served in the armies of the Ghaznavids Sabuktagīn (Sebuktegin) and Maḥmūd (997–1030); but the Seljūks, a royal family among them, had various relations with the reigning princes of Transoxiana and Khwārizm, which cannot be narrated here.[1] But, friends or foes, the Ghuzz became a serious danger to the adjoining Mahommedan provinces from their predatory habits and continual raids, and the more so as they were very numerous. It may suffice to mention that, under the leadership of Pīgu Arslān Israil, they crossed the Oxus and spread over the eastern provinces of Persia, everywhere plundering and destroying. The imprisonment of this chieftain by Masūd, the son and successor of Maḥmūd, was of no avail: it only furnished his nephews with a ready pretext to cross the Oxus likewise in arms against the Ghaznavids. We pass over their first conflicts and the unsuccessful agreements that were attempted, to mention the decisive battle near Merv (1040), in which Masūd was totally defeated and driven back to Ghazni (Ghazna). Persia now lay open to the victors, who proclaimed themselves independent at Merv (which became from that time the official capital of the principal branch of the Seljūks), and acknowledged Toghrul Beg as chief of the whole family. After this victory the three princes Toghrul Beg, Chaḳir Beg and Ibrahīm Niyāl separated in different directions and conquered the Mahommedan provinces, east of the Tigris; the last named, after conquering Hamadān and the province of Jebel (Irak i Ajami), penetrated as early as 1048, with fresh Ghuzz troops, into Armenia and reached Manzikert, Erzerūm and Trebizond. This excited the jealousy of Toghrul Beg, who summoned him to give up Hamadān and the fortresses of Jebel; but Ibrahīm refused, and the progress of the Seljūkian arms was for some time checked by internal discord—an ever recurring event in their history. Ibrahīm was, however, compelled to submit.

At this time the power of Qaim, the Abbāsid caliph of Bagdād (see Caliphate, section C, § 26), was reduced to a mere shadow, as the Shīite dynasty of the Būyids and afterwards his more formidable Fātimite rivals had left him almost wholly destitute of authority. The real ruler at Bagdād was a Turk named Basāsīrī, lieutenant of the last Būyid, Malik-ar-Raḥīm. Nothing could, therefore, be more acceptable to the caliph than the protection of the orthodox Toghrul Beg, whose name was read in the official prayer (khotba) as early as 1050. At the end of the same year (1055) the Seljūk entered the city and after a tumult seized the person of Malik-ar-Raḥīm. Basāsīrī had the good fortune to be out of his reach; after acknowledging the right of the Fātimites, he gathered fresh troops and incited Ibrahīm Niyāl to rebel again, and he succeeded so far that he re-entered Bagdād at the close of 1058. The next year, however, Toghrul Beg got rid of both his antagonists, Ibrahīm being taken prisoner and strangled with the bowstring, while Basāsīrī fell in battle. Toghrul Beg now re-entered Bagdād, re-established the caliph, and was betrothed to his daughter, but died before the consummation of the nuptials (September 1063). Alp Arslān, the son of Chakir Beg, succeeded his uncle and extended the rule of his family beyond the former frontiers. He made himself master, e.g. of the important city of Aleppo; and during his reign a Turkish amir, Atsiz, wrested Palestine and Syria from the hands of the Fātimites. He made successful expeditions against the Greeks, especially that of 1071, in which the Greek emperor Romanus Diogenes was taken prisoner and forced to ransom himself for a large sum (see Roman Empire, Later). The foundation of the Seljūk empire of Rūm (q.v.) was the immediate result of this great victory. Alp Arslān afterwards undertook an expedition against Turkestan, and met with his death at the hands of a captured chief, Barzami Yussuf (Yussuf Kothnal), whom he had intended to shoot with his own hand.

Malik Shāh, the son and successor of Alp Arslān, had to encounter his uncle Kāvurd, founder of the Seljūkian empire of Kermān (see below), who claimed to succeed Alp Arslān in accordance with the Turkish laws, and led his troops towards Hamadān. However, he lost the battle that ensued, and the

  1. Comp. Sachau, “Zur Geschichte und Chronologie von Khwārizm,” in Sitzungsberichte of the Vienna Acad., lxxiv. 304 seq.