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The Great Seljuk Empire

A. C. S. Peacock

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The first textbook introduction to the history of the Great Seljuk Islamic Empire to be published in English

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List of box texts
Illustrations and maps
A note on transliteration, conventions and geographical terminology
Chapter 1. The Rise of the Seljuk Empire: from the Eurasian Steppe to the Gates of Cairo, c. 965-1092
Chapter 2. Crisis, Consolidation and Collapse: the Great Seljuk Empire and the Sultanate of Iraq, 1092-1194
Chapter 3. Sovereignty, Legitimacy and the Contest with the Caliphate
Chapter 4. The Dargāh: Courts and Court Life
Chapter 5. The Kuttāb: Bureaucrats and Administration
Chapter 6. The ‘Askar: The Seljuk military
Chapter 7. Religion and the Seljuk Empire
Chapter 8. The Economic and Social Organisation of the Seljuk Empire
Conclusion: The Seljuk Legacy
Appendices: Regnal Dates of Seljuk Sultans
‘Abbasid Caliphs, Khwarazmshahs and principal Atabegs
Genealogical chart of the Seljuk Sultans
Chronological Outline

About the Author

A.C.S. Peacock is Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic History at the University of St Andrews, and holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. His previous publications include The Great Seljuk Empire (2015) and Early Seljuq History (2010).


'The Great Seljuk Empire is a truly impressive piece of scholarship that provides arguably the first full-length overview of Seljuk history in English and demonstrates Peacock’s considerable experience in this area. It will also appeal to a broad audience. I am sure that students and non-specialists will find Peacock’s engaging manner accessible, whilst appreciating the trouble he takes explaining key terms and concepts. For specialists, interested in the key thematic debates on this subject, this work provides new insights, but it also acts as a much-needed benchmark, drawing together the various studies produced thus far and reflecting upon their implications when considered as a corpus. In general, I am fully in agreement with Deborah Tor that this will rapidly become "a standard work in the field".'

- Nicholas Morton, Nottingham Trent University, Al-Masāq, Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean

An elegantly and entertainingly written, painstakingly researched work that fills a glaring lacuna in the scholarly literature. Peacock’s book is, quite simply, the first ever to cover the entire Seljuq period, and the only available comprehensive overview of this critical era. It will no doubt become a standard work in the field.

- Professor Deborah G. Tor, University of Notre Dame

'Andrew Peacock is to be commended on the challenge undertaken. He has produced ‘the first serious overall study of the Great Seljuk Empire which has ever existed’. Our reviewer was impressed by the fact that the book is ‘very well and clearly organised’ and written in a ‘pleasing style which renders it remarkably accessible to the reader’. The book ‘places strong emphasis on the nomadic background of the Seljuks, and on the continued importance of their relations with the nomadic Turks who they led as well as were often in conflict with. This is something which the sources, the majority of which were written by bureaucrats or clerics – and certainly not by the Seljuks themselves or other Turks – has tended to obscure’. In short, Andrew Peacock has produced ‘a most remarkable book’.'

- British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize
'This book is well written and the author provides an excellent overview of how the Seljuk empire probably looked and functioned.'
- Willem Floor, Der Islam

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