This volume brings together a set of key articles, along with a new introduction to contextualize them, on the role of Turkish peoples in the Western Asiatic world up to the 11th century. Such topics as the geographical and environmental original milieux of these peoples in the forest zone and steppelands of Inner Asia, the formation and breakup of tribal confederations within the steppes, and the evolution of tribal structures, are examined as the background for the appearance of Turks within the Islamic caliphate from the 9th century onwards. These came first as military slaves, then as movements of peoples, such as the tribal migrations of the Oghuz, leading to the establishment of the Seljuq sultanate, whilst from within Islamic society, individual Turkish commanders were able at the same time to build up their own military empires such as that of the Ghaznavids. In this way was put in place a Turkish dominance of the northern tier of the Middle East, with attendant changes in demography and land utilisation, which was to last for centuries.
’For students of the Seljuq period, this collection of scholarly papers is long overdue… This collection forms a solid bank of knowledge and support for any researcher into or student of the early history of the Turks and their contacts with the Islamic world… Though some of the papers date back decades their ideas have withstood subsequent scholarship and they are as relevant now as when they first appeared. This book will doubtless become a fixture and of any library, public or private, aspring to cover the history of the Turks.’ Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society ’Preceding the sixteen papers reprinted (or translated, where necessary, into English) in this volume is a lucid introduction by Edmund Bosworth… Since the majority of the papers themselves, classics as they are, are some decades old, the frequent references made here to more recent scholarly literature are especially valuable. … The volume is a welcome addition to a fine series, and constitutes a valuable guide to a range of scholarly literature on the subject.’ Journal of Islamic Studies
Contents: Introduction; The steppe region in world history, Kaare GrÃ¸nbech; A geographical history of Central Asia, K. de B. Codrington; Tribal names and titles amongst the Altaic peoples, Omeljan Pritsak; The oldest mentions of the Turks in Arabic literature, Tadeusz Kowalski; The Turks in the Shah-nama, Tadeusz Kowalski; Khazar Turkish ghulams in caliphal service, Peter B. Golden; Al-Xwarazmi on the peoples of Central Asia, C.E. Bosworth and Sir Gerard Clauson; Turks in the Middle East before the Saljuqs, Richard N. Frye and Aydin M. Sayili; The Turks in the Islamic lands up to the mid-11th century, C.E. Bosworth; Barbarian incursions: the coming of the Turks into the Islamic world, C.E. Bosworth; Notes on the Risala of Ibn-Fadlan, R.N. Frye and R.P. Blake; Mu`tasim and the Turks, Osman S.A. Ismail; Aspects of the early history of the Central Asian guard corps in Islam, C.I. Beckwith; The founding of a new capital: Samarra', Osman S.A. Ismail; The Malik-nama and the history of Seljuqid origins, Claude Cahen; The Turkish tribes of Western Asia during the Seljuqid period, Claude Cahen; Index.