Alp Arslan الپ ارسلان- عظیم شیر۔

الپ ارسلان- عظیم شیر۔

Alp Arslan (1026-1072) was the second Seljuk sultan of Persia and Iraq and a member of the Turkish dynasty which revitalized Moslem rule in the declining days of the Abbasid caliphate. He greatly expanded the Seljuk territory and consolidated his power, defeating rivals to south and northwest and his victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert, in 1071, ushered in the Turkoman settlement of Anatolia.

Famed as a military leader, Alp Arslan—his name means “Lion Hero”—began his career campaigning extensively for his father, Daud Chaghri Beg, commander of the Turkoman forces in Khurasan. Upon his father’s death in 1059/1060, Alp Arslan succeeded. Meanwhile, Seljuk forces under Chaghri’s brother, Tughril Beg, had ended a century of Shiite Buyid dominance in Baghdad, whereupon Caliph al-Kaim made him sultan. With Tughril’s death in 1063, Alp Arslan succeeded, despite an attempt to enthrone Tughril’s brother Suleiman.

Alp-Arslan’s personality

Alp-Arslan’s personality, in spite of the glory surrounding his name, is not easy to evaluate. Muslims see in him a great captain, a trainer of men, an honest man, an enemy of all treachery.

Alp Arslan was a courageous man, generous in his treatment of opponents. His strength lay in the military realm, domestic affairs being handled by his Persian vizier, Nizam al-Mulk, founder of the administrative organization which characterized and strengthened the sultanate during the reigns of Alp Arslan and his son. Military fiefs, governed by Seljuk princes, were established to provide support for the soldiery and to accommodate the nomadic Turks to the established Persian agricultural scene.

Byzantine struggle

En route to fight the Fatimids in Syria in 1068, Alp Arslan invaded the Byzantine Empire. The Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes, assuming command in person, met the invaders in Cilicia. In three arduous campaigns, the Turks were defeated in detail and driven across the Euphrates in 1070. The first two campaigns were conducted by the emperor himself, while the third was directed by Manuel Comnenos, great-uncle of Emperor Manuel Comnenos. During this time, Arslan gained the allegiance of Rashid al-Dawla Mahmud, the Mirdasid emir of Aleppo.


In 1072, campaigning in Turkestan, Alp Arslan was stabbed by the captive commander of a recently conquered fortress. He died soon after, on November 24, and was succeeded by his son Malik Shah.

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