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Court and Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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One of the most productive periods in the history of the region from Iran to Anatolia corresponds to the rule of the Seljuqs and their immediate successors, from 1038 to 1307. The Seljuqs were a Turkic dynasty of Central Asian nomadic origin that in short time conquered a vast territory in West Asia stretching from present-day Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. The lands controlled by the Seljuqs were not a unified empire, but controlled by various branches of the Seljuqs and their successor dynasties (Rum Seljuqs, Artuqids, Zangids, and others). Under Seljuq rule, the exchange and synthesis of diverse traditions—including Turkmen, Perso-Arabo-Islamic, Byzantine, Armenian, Crusader, and other Christian cultures—accompanied economic prosperity, advances in science and technology, and a great flowering of culture within the realm. Read more.

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