Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Egyptian, and it proved a difficult task to penetrate through the mountainous, well-fortified accesses to the interior of Asia Minor, so that the advantage rested with Kaikobād, who took Kharput, and for some time even held Ḥarrān, Ar-Roha and Rakka (1232). The latter conquests were, however, soon lost, and Kaikobād himself died in 1234 of poison administered to him by his son and successor, Ghiyāss ed-dīn Kaikhosrau II. This unworthy son inherited from his father an empire embracing almost the whole of Asia Minor, with the exception of the countries governed by Vatatzes (Vataces) and the Christian princes of Trebizond and Lesser Armenia, who, however, were bound to pay tribute and to serve in the armies—an empire celebrated by contemporary reports for its wealth.[1] But the Turkish soldiers were of little use in a regular battle, and the sultan relied mainly on his Christian troops, so much so that an insurrection of dervishes which occurred at this period could only be put down by their assistance. It was at this epoch also that there flourished at Konia the founder of the order of the Mevlevis or Mawlawis, Jelāl ed-dīn Rūmī (see Rūmī), and that the dervish fraternities spread throughout the whole country and became powerful bodies, often discontented with the liberal principles of the sultans, who granted privileges to the Christian merchants and held frequent intercourse with them. Notwithstanding all this, the strength and reputation of the empire were so great that the Mongols hesitated to invade it, although standing at its frontiers. But, as they crossed the border. Kaikhosrau marched against them, and suffered a formidable defeat at Kuzadāg (between Erzingān and Sivās), in 1243, which forced him to purchase peace by the promise of a heavy tribute. The independence of the Seljūks was now for ever lost. The Mongols retired for some years; but, Kaikhosrau II. dying in 1245, the joint government of his three sons gave occasion to fresh inroads, till one of them died and Hulagu divided the empire between the other two, Izz ed-dīn (Kaikaus II.) ruling the districts west of the Halys, and Rukneddin (Kilij Arslan IV.) the eastern provinces (1259). But Izz ed-dīn, intriguing with the Mameluke sultans of Egypt to expel his brother and gain his independence, was defeated by a Mongol army and obliged to flee to the imperial court. Here he was imprisoned, but afterwards released by the Tatars of the Crimea, who took him with them to Sarai, where he died. Rukneddin was only a nominal ruler, the real power being in the hands of his minister, Muīn ed-dīn Suleimān, who in 1267 procured an order of the Mongol Khān Abaka for his execution. The minister raised his infant son, Ghiyāss ed-dīn Kaikhosrau III., to the throne, and governed the country for ten years longer, till he was entangled in a conspiracy of several amirs, who proposed to expel the Mongols with the aid of the Mameluke sultan of Egypt, Bibars (Beibars or Beybars). The latter marched into Asia Minor and defeated the Mongols in the bloody battle of Ablastān, the modern Albistan (1277); but, when he advanced farther to Caesarea, Muīn ed-dīn Suleimān retired, hesitating to join him at the very moment of action. Bibars, therefore, in his turn fell back, leaving Suleiman to the vengeance of the khān, who soon discovered his treason and ordered a barbarous execution. Kaikhosrau III. continued to reign in name till 1284, though the country was in reality governed by a Mongol viceroy. Masūd, the son of Izz ed-dīn, who on the death of his father had fled from the Crimea to the Mongol khān and had received from him the government of Sivās, Erzingān and Erzerūm during the lifetime of Kaikhosrau III., ascended the Seljūk throne on the death of Kaikhosrau. But his authority was scarcely respected in his own residence, for several Turkish amirs assumed independence and could only be subdued by Mongol aid, when they retired to the mountains, to reappear as soon as the Mongols were gone. Masūd fell, probably about 1295, a victim to the vengeance of one of the amirs, whose father he had ordered to be put to death. After him Kaikobād, son of his brother Farāmarz, entered Konia as sultan in 1298, but his reign is so obscure that nothing can be said of it; some authors assert that he governed only till 1300, others till 1315. With him ended the dynasty of the Seljūks; but the Turkish empire founded by them continued to exist under the rising dynasty of the Ottomans. (See Turkey.)

Bibliography.—The best, though insufficient, account of the Seljūks is still de Guignes, Histoire générale des Huns, bks. x.-xii., from whom Gibbon borrowed his dates. Among translations from original sources (of which the most trustworthy are yet unedited), comp. Mirkhond's Geschichte der Seldschuken (ed. Vullers), Giessen, (1838); Tarikh-ī-Guzideh, French translation by Defrémery in the Journal asiatique, 1848, i. 417 sqq., ii. 259 sqq., 334 sqq.; Seid Locmani ex libro Turcico qui Oghuzname inscribitur excerpta (ed. J. H. W. Lagus, Helsingfors, 1854) (on the Seljūks of Asia Minor exclusively, but of little value). Information respecting certain periods is given incidentally in the works of von Hammer and d'Ohsson (see bibliography to Turkey: History), and in Stanley Lane Poole's Mahommedan Dynasties (1894).  (M. T. H.) 

SELKIRK (or Selcraig), ALEXANDER (1676–1721), Scottish sailor, the prototype of “Robinson Crusoe,” seventh son of John Selcraig, shoemaker and tanner of Largo, Fifeshire, was born in 1676. In his youth he displayed an unruly disposition, and, having been summoned on the 27th of August 1695 before the kirk-session for his indecent behaviour in church, “ did not compear, being gone away to the seas.” In May 1703 he joined Dampier in a privateering expedition to the South Seas, going with the “Cinque Ports” galley as sailing master. In September 1704 the “Cinque Ports” put in at Juan Fernandez Island, west of Valparaiso; here Selkirk had a dispute with his captain, Thomas Stradling, and at his own request was put ashore with a few ordinary necessaries. Before the ship left he begged to be readmitted, but this was refused, and Selkirk remained alone in Juan Fernandez four years and four months, till on the 31st of January 1709 he was found, and on the 12th of February following taken off, by Captain Woodes Rogers, commander of the “Duke” privateer (with Dampier as pilot), who made him his mate and afterwards gave him command of one of his prizes, “The Increase” (March 29th). Selkirk returned to the Thames on the 14th of October 1711; he was back at Largo in 1712, in 1717 we find him again at sea, and in 1721 he died as master's mate of H.M.S. “Weymouth” (December 12th).

See Woodes Rogers, Cruising Voyage round the World (1712), and Edward Cooke, Voyage in the South Sea and round the World (1712), the earliest descriptions of Selkirk's adventures; also Providence Displayed, or a Surprising Account of one Alexander Selkirk . . . written by his own Hand (reprinted in Harl. Miscell. for 1810, v. 429); and Funnell's Voyage round the World (1707). Steele made Selkirk's acquaintance, and gave a sketch of the adventurer and his story in the Englishman for the 3rd of December 1713. In 1719, shortly after a second edition of Rogers' Voyage had appeared (1718), Defoe published Robinson Crusoe. While this is clearly indebted in its main outlines to Selkirk's story, most of its incidents are, of course, fairly independent of the latter; thus the decidedly tropical description of Crusoe's island and the whole narrative of the cannibals' visits, &c., agree rather with one of the West Indies than with Juan Fernandez.

The best modern biography is the Life and Adventures of Alexander Selkirk by John Howell (1829). In 1868 a tablet was put up on Juan Fernandez at a point on the hill road called “Selkirk's Look-out,” where in a gap in the trap rock a magnificent view may be had of the whole island, and of the sea north and south, over which the exile must have often watched for an approaching sail. It bears the following inscription:—“In memory of Alexander Selkirk, mariner, a native of Largo in the county of Fife, Scotland, who was on this island in complete. solitude for four years and four months. He was landed from the ‘Cinque Porte’ (sic) galley, 96 tons, 16 guns, 1704 A.D., and was taken off in the ‘Duke’ privateer, 12th February 1709. He died lieutenant of the ‘Weymouth’ 1723 A.D., aged forty-seven years. This tablet is erected near Selkirk's look-out by Commodore Powell and officers of H.M.S. ‘Topaze,’ 1868 A.D.

SELKIRK, THOMAS DOUGLAS, 5th Earl of (1771–1820), was born at St Mary's Isle, Kirkcudbrightshire, on the 20th of June 1771. He succeeded his father in 1799, his six elder brothers having predeceased him. At this time the Highlands of Scotland were being changed into grazing land and deer forests. Selkirk took deep interest in the evicted peasants, and tried to organize emigration to the British colonies. In 1803–1804 he founded a large and prosperous settlement in Prince Edward Island, and at about the same time a smaller one at Baldoon in Upper Canada. He later turned his attention to the Canadian west, and gradually

  1. See the details in Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum Historiale, bk. xxx. chaps. 143, 144.