Real History of Seljuk Sultan Alp Arslan | The Great Seljuk Empire
In this article, we will discuss the second and perhaps one of the greatest Sultans of the Mighty Seljuk Empire. Alp Arslan, the conqueror of Mazikert. His full name was “Diyā ad-Dunyā wa ad-Dīn Adud ad-Dawlah Abu Shujā’ Muhammad Ālp Ārslan ibn Dawūdand” but is more commonly known by his title “ALP Arslan”, which translates to “Heroic lion” in Turkish.
He was the son of Chagri, one of the founding Rulers of the Seljuk Empire and the nephew of “Tughril”, the first Sultan of the empire. Alp Arslan was trained in sword fighting, riding, and marksmanship from a very young age and as a young man proved his abilities in the battle of Dandanaqan commanding his soldiers. He was of an acute political mind as well and realized the difficulties faces by the Seljuk Empire as it was still in its early days.
Tughril had no direct heir, so he nominated Chaghri’s other Son, Suleiman as the next in line for the throne, a decision, Alp Arslan, and a few of the prominent wazir’s opposed. And that proved to be right as after Tughril’s death, civil wars broke out for control of the throne. The biggest threat came from Tughril’s cousin Qutalmish who surrounded the capital with his armies. Realizing that the capital was in grave danger, everybody turned to Alp Arslan for help who with his great battle prowess defeated the threat with ease and killed Qutalmish. Alp Arslan ascended to the throne of Sultan soon after and made Nizam UL Mulk his grand-vizir.
As his first order of business, he set his eyes on the Eastern Anatolian regions. He went on a series of conquest accompanied by his son Malik Shah and won every battle with ease. His conquest earned him another title, “The father of conquests” by the Abbasid Caliph. Upon his return from the great conquests, he was met with a shocking betrayal as one of his brothers “Quvert” had started a rebellion against Alp Arslan in his absence. Alp Arslan was swift in crushing the rebellion and proved to be very merciful when he forgave his brother for his grave betrayal after he was defeated.
Alp Arslan now started another expedition towards Georgia. He swiftly won every battle he was in and quickly brought peace and stability to the bordering regions. He made his way to the Holy Lands of Jerusalem, Medina, and Mecca bringing peace and prosperity to the regions and kept making his way to Egypt. All this expansion of the Turk empire greatly disturbed Emperor Romanos Diogenes, the ruler of the great byzantine empire. Who ordered his armies to march to Aleppo? He met with a lot of resistance by the Turk forces and had to retreat to Afyon. This angered Romanos and he made his way to Euphrates River.
Meanwhile, Alp Arslan with his forces had almost reached Damascus when he learned of Romanos’s plans to attack. He immediately canceled the expedition and returned to defend his homeland. He caught up to the massive Byzantine army of for a hundred and fifty thousand heavily armored foot soldiers at Malazgirt. While the Subject army consisted of only a hundred and fifty thousand men mainly comprised of archers on horseback. Alp Arslan sent an Envoy to Ramanos proposing peace for the greater good. The offer was rejected by Romanos. A great battle started at Malazgirt 1071. Alp Arslan once again defeated the byzantine army quickly and Romanos Diogenes was arrested. This battle proved finally that the Turks could not be driven out of Anatolia. The battle was won but it took a lot of effort and years on ALP Arslan’s part to stabilize the region.
Another threat arose after the battle as the Karakhanids started attacking the Seljuke borders. Alp Arslan went to attack the Berzem castle accompanied by his Son Malik Shah and Nizam Ul Mulk. He was quick to eliminate the threat and won the battle. After the battle, he was very merciful again and was talking to the commander when he fatally stabbed him with a poisoned arrow hidden in his clothes. Alp Arslan’s Son Malik Shah ascended the throne of the Sultan after his death.