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Seljuq Turk

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 11 months ago

Seljuq Turk (III/73)


1. Seljuq "Askari" as Cv (S)

2. Oghuz Turks 999-1063 AD including early Seljuqs

3. Great Seljuqs (1063-1096)

4. Seljuqs in Syria(1070-1098)

5. Eastern Seljuqs (1096-1181)

6. Seljuqs of Kirman (1063-1196)


No changes yet proposed for the Seljuqs of Hamadan or of Rum, though some of the suggestions in the other lists will no doubt apply.


Proposal 1: Cv (S)

Author: Brendan Moyle


Synopsis: Seljuq cavalry be optionally regraded as Cv(S).



Replace Seljuq irr Cv(O) @ 7 AP with irr Cv(S) @ 9 AP or reg Cv(O) @ 8 AP with reg Cv(S) @ 10 AP - any



According to the current lists, Seljuq cavalry are unlike any other Turkish cavalry (free or ghulam) in the Middle East. This is based on two erroneous beliefs. The first is that Seljuq cavalry used javelins rather than lances. The second is that tijfaf-barding was uncommon on their horses. In consequence, Seljuq askari are classed exclusively as Cv(O), while contemporary Turkish cavalry are classed as a blend of Cv(O) and Cv(S). This issue is relatively straighforward as it is based on equipment, rather than perceived effectiveness (a).


The only reference supporting the use of javelins is the Gesta Francorum at Dorylaeum (presumably the Crusader-source referred to in the list notes). However, this was an army largely comprised of Turkmens (1), and was not the professional army of Sultanate's core. Thus it only shows that some Turkmens were armed with javelins, not the heavier cavalry.


Lances are mentioned in other Crusader sources, such as the Bella Antiochena (2). Lances are also depicted in many Middle Eastern sources of Turkish cavalry this period (3). Smail correctly notes in Crusading Warfare that many Latin sources mention Turkish troops using lances.


Horse-armour was also more widely used. Evidence of this include the above-mentioned depictions (3). It is also manifested in the Agulani of the Gesta Francorum. Agulani has been argued to be a synonym for ghulam (4). Finally, when Togrhil Beg captured Nishapur in the wake of the Ghaznavid defeat at Dandanqan, he was accompanied by 3000 cavalry, most of which were armoured (5). This implies numbers in excess of a general's element, thus large forces of well-protected cavalry were likely available to the Seljuq Sultans.



a. The fact that equipment rather than perceived effectiveness is used to determine grading is a source of contention.

(1) This point is made both in Claude Cahen's Pre-Ottoman Turkey and John France's Victory in the East.

(2) Walter the Chancellor descrives Il-Ghazi's cavalry slinging their bows on their shoulders then wielding their lances.

(3) The most well-known of these is the Warqa wa Gulshah manuscript, Topkapi Library, Ms. Haz. 841, Istanbul, Turkey. It is reproduced as Fig 558 in Nicolle's volume on eastern armies in the Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era series.

(4) This argument is made by Nicolle in his Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era - and much earlier by H A R Gibb (1932) in his translation of The Damascus Chronicle of the Crusades p33.

(5) Bayhaqi, cf. France (1994), Victory in the East p149.

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