July 25, 2012


A Turmen dynasty that ruled the province of Diyar Bakr (northern Iraq) through two branches: at Hisn Kayfa and Amid (1098-1232) and at Mardin and Mayyafariqin (1104-1408).

Artuq ibn Ekseb, founder of the dynasty, was rewarded for his services to the Seljuq sultan Malik-Shah and his brother Tutush with the grant of Palestine in 1086. Forced out of Palestine by the Fatimids of Egypt, Artuq´s descendant Muin ad-Din Sökmen returned to Diyar Bakr, where he took Hisn Kayfa (1102), Mardin, and several other northern districts. His brother Najm ad-Din Ilghazi returned to Seljuq service and was made governor of Iraq by the Seljuq sultan Muhammad. Sent to Diyar Bakr c. 1107, Ilghazi displaced one of Sökmen´s sons at Mardin (1108); he then made it the capital of his line, leaving Hisn Kayfa to his brother´s descendants.

Artuqid´s relations with the Seljuqs thenceforth steadily worsened. Ilghazi organized a Turkmen coalition against the Seljuq governor of Mosul and was able to win control of all Diyar Bakr by 1118. In the following year he defeated European crusaders who were threatening Aleppo.

The Artuqids were at this time (from 1113) also expanding into the northeast, along the eastern Euphrates, where Ilghazi´s nephew Balak set up a state at Harput. It did not survive Balak´s death, in 1124, and was incorporated into the principality of Hisn Kayfa by Daud (reigned c. 1109-44).

The rise of the Zangids in Mosul and later in Aleppo during the reigns of Daud and his successor, Kara Arslan (1144-67), ended Artuqid expansion. The Artuqids were instead drawn into war against the crusaders and the Byzantines by the Zangid Nureddin and at his death, in 1174, found themselves Zangid vassals. Their position in Diyar Bakr weakened further as Saladin, ruler of Egypt, gradually began to reconquer Nureddin´s old kingdom. Muhammad (reigned 1167-85) engineered a brief alliance with Saladin in 1183, for which he was given the city of Amid, henceforth the new Artuqid capital. In 1185, Saladin took Mayyafariqin, and the several ruling Artuqids, mostly young princes, soon submitted to him.

The Artuqids survived in Diyar Bakr for two more centuries as vassals of the Seljuqs of Rum and the Khwarezm-Shahs. In 1232 the Artuqid line in Hisn Kayfa, Amid, and Harput was destroyed by the Seljuqs; but the Mardin branch continued under the Mongols until 1408, when it was finally displaced by the Turkmen federation of the Kara Koyunlu.

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