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Title: Sanjar  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: History of Turkmenistan, Alamut Castle, Merv, Khwarezm, Karluks, Anvari, Mu'izzi, Al-Aziz Uthman, Il-Arslan, Muhammad I of Khwarazm
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"Sanjar" redirects here. For the village in Iran, see Sanjar, Iran.
Ahmad Sanjar
Ahmad Sanjar's tomb
Reign 1118 – 1153
Predecessor Muhammad I
Successor None
Spouse Turkan Khatun
Princess Mah-i Mulk
Princess Amir Siti Khatun
Princess Gouhar Khatun
Full name
Laqab: Muizz ad-Din (shortly), Adud ad-Dawlah
Kunya: Abul-Harith
Given name: Ahmad
Turkic nickname: Sanjar
House House of Seljuq
Father Malik-Shah I
Mother  ?
Born 1085
Died 8 May 1157
Religion Sunni Islam

Ahmad Sanjar (Turkish: Ahmed Sencer, Persian: احمد سنجر; full name: Muizz ad-Dunya wa ad-Din Adud ad-Dawlah Abul-Harith Ahmad Sanjar ibn Malik-Shah) (b. 1085 – d. 8 May 1157) was the Sultan of the Seljuq Empire from 1118 to 1153. He was initially the sultan of Khorasan until he gained the rest of the territory upon the death of Muhammad I. Bosworth notes Sanjar is a Turkic name, denoting "he who pierces", "thrusts".[1]

He was a son of Malik Shah I and participated in wars of succession against his three brothers and an uncle, namely Mahmud I, Barkiyaruq, Malik Shah II and Muhammad I. In 1096, he was given the province of Khorasan to govern under his brother Muhammad I.[2] Over the next several years Ahmed Sanjar became the ruler of most of Persia with his capital at Nishapur. A number of rulers revolted against him and continued the split of the Great Seljuq Empire that the dynastic wars had started. In 1102, he repulsed an invasion from Kashgaria, killing Jibrail Arslan Khan near Termez.[2]

Sanjar undertook a campaign to eliminate the Assassins of Alamut, and successfully drove them from a number of their strongholds.[3] However, an anecdote indicates that en route to their stronghold at Alamut, Sanjar woke up one day to find a dagger beside him, pinning a note from Hassan Sabbah stating that he (Hassan) would like peace. Sanjar, shocked by this event, sent envoys to Hassan and they both agreed to stay out of each other's way.[4]

In 1117 he marched against the Ghaznavid Sultan Arslan-Shah of Ghazna defeating him at Battle of Ghazni and installing his brother Bahram in the throne as a Seljuk vassal.

In 1141, Sanjar marched to confront the Kara Khitan threat and engaged them near Samarkand at the battle of Qatwan. He suffered an astounding defeat — his first — and escaped with only fifteen of his elite horsemen, losing all Seljuq territory east of the Syr Darya (Jaxartes).[5][6]

Oghuz Turks from Khuttal and Tukharistan captured Ahmed Sanjar in 1153 and held him prisoner until 1156.[7] While he was incarcerated, these same Oghuz Turks sacked Nishapur, killing the famous Shafi'i jurist,[8] Muhammad ibn Yahya.[9] Sanjar died in 1157 and was buried at Merv. His tomb was destroyed by the Mongols in 1221, during their invasion of the Khwarezmian Empire.[10]

Ahmed Sanjar married Turkan Khatun (died 1156) and he had two daughters with her - wives of his nephew Mahmud II. After her death Sanjar married Rusudan, daughter of Demetrius I of Georgia, widow of sultan Masud Temirek. He had no children with her.


External links

  • SANJAR, Aḥmad b. Malekšāh
Preceded by
Muhammad I
Sultan of the Seljuq Empire
Succeeded by
Conquered by the Khwarazmshahs

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