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Ahmad Sanjar (Mu'iz ud-Dīn Ahmad-e Sanjar ( also Ahmed Sindjar)) (1085May 8 1157) was the sultan of the Great Seljuq Empire from 1118 to 1153. He was initially the sultan of Khorasan until he gained the rest of the territory upon the death of Muhammad I.

He was a son of Malik Shah I and participated in wars of succession against his three brothers and an uncle, namely Mahmud I, Barkiyaruq, Malik Shah II and Muhammad I. In 1096, he was given the province of Khorasan to govern under his brother Muhammad I. Over the next several years Ahmed Sanjar became the ruler of most of Persia with his capital at Nishapurmarker. A number of rulers revolted against him and continued the split of the Great Seljuk Empire that the dynastic wars had started. In 1102, he repulsed an invasion from Kashgaria, killing Jibrail Arslan Khan near Termezmarker.

Sanjar undertook a campaign to eliminate the Assassins of Alamut, and successfully drove them from a number of their strongholds. However, an anecdote indicates that en route to their stronghold at Alamut, Sanjar woke up one day to find a dagger beside him, pinning a note from Hassan Sabbah stating that he (Hassan) would like peace. Sanjar, shocked by this event, sent envoys to Hassan and they both agreed to stay out of each other's way.

In 1141, Sanjar marched to confront the Kara Khitan threat and engaged them near Samarkand at the Battle of Qatwan. He suffered an astounding defeat — his first — and escaped with only fifteen of his elite horsemen, losing all Seljuk territory east of the Syr Daryamarker (Jaxartes).

Oghuz Turks from Khuttal and Tukharistan captured Ahmed Sanjar in 1153 and held him until 1156. He died the following year and was buried at Mervmarker, where his tomb was destroyed by the Mongols during their invasion of the Khwarezmian Empire.

Ahmed Sanjar married Turkan Khatun (d. 1156) and he had two daughters with her - wives of his nephew Mahmud.

After her death Ahemed Sanjar married Rusudan, daughter of Demetre I of Georgia, widow of sultan Masud Temirek. He had no children with her.


  1. Grousset, René (1970) The Empire of the Steppes Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, p. 159, ISBN 0-8135-0627-1
  2. Franzius, Enno (1969) History of the Order of Assassins Funk and Wagnalls, New York, p. 59, OCLC 23676
  3. Lewis, Bernard (1968) The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam Basic Books, New York, p. 30, OCLC 436364
  4. Ibn al-Athir as cited by Zarncke, Friedrich (1879) Der Priester Johannes S. Heizel, Leipzig, p. 856-857 OCLC 7619779
  5. Liao Shih (the official history of the Khitan Dynasty) cited by Wittfogel, Karl A. and Feng Chia-Sheng (1949) History of Chinese Society: Liao, 907-1125 American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, p. 639 OCLC 9811810
  6. Sinor, Denis (1990) The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, p. 368, ISBN 0-521-24304-1

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