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Marc Czarnuszewicz

Marc Czarnuszewicz
University of St Andrews
Invaders to Sultans: Landscaping the Socio-economic Impact of the Great Seljuqs

Mr. Czarnuszewicz’s project examines the Great Seljuq dynasty, a dynasty whose ‘Greatness’ belies its relative neglect in the historiography of Anatolia and Iran. In the former case, the dynasty’s involvement in the region is often seen to both begin and end with the battle of Manzikert in 1072, the beyliks of early Turkish Anatolia being viewed as wholly separate states politically and culturally. In the latter, the dynasty’s perceived ‘Turkishness’ has led to ungrounded assertions that they were destructive conquerors in the shape of the later Mongols or Timurids, and a lack of analysis of their wider socio-cultural legacy.
Reconsidering the Great Seljuqs requires a remapping of their Empire. By focussing on the mechanics of the cultural change their conquests engendered, and mapping exactly where and how this change occurred, Marc’s project will propose a new model for the Seljuqs’ impact and governance which avoids anachronistic borders and links regions rather than dividing them. This will help answer why Manzikert was fought, why the entirety of surviving works associated with the Great Seljuq court were written in Persian and Arabic rather than Turkish, and why their disputed cultural legacy varies so much between Anatolia and Iran.