Submission Date

7-20-2017

Document Type

Paper

Department

History

Faculty Mentor

Susanna Throop

Comments

Presented during the 19th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 21, 2017 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

The Seljuq Turks were a group of nomadic warriors who converted to Sunni Islam by the end of the tenth century. Over the course of the next half century the Seljuqs conquered the majority of what we now call the Middle East. One Seljuq dynasty in particular, known to historians as the Great Seljuqs, positioned themselves as the dominant political power in the region as well as champions of Sunni Islam. Scholars refer to this period of Seljuq control as the “Sunni Revival” and debate heavily whether Seljuq political and religious practices were the cause of this “Revival,” as well as whether there was ever a “Sunni Revival” at all. The question of the extent of direct Seljuq involvement matters because this period was a pivotal moment in the religious and political history of the region. My research seeks to understand the factors that caused the structural changes evident in Islamic societies between 1000-1200 CE, including the question of "revival," the role of the Great Seljuqs, and the political and religious strategies they and others employed. Indeed, as I show, the Great Seljuqs were so influential in their religious devotion and political system that they created standards of rule that would influence Islam and Islamic rule for centuries.

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