Sultanate of Rum

1278 Jan 1


Antakya/Hatay, Turkey
  • The Seljuk dynasty of Rum, as successors to the Great Seljuks, based its political, religious and cultural heritage on the Perso-Islamic tradition and Greco-Roman tradition, even to the point of naming their sons with Persian names.
  • Despite their Turkic origins, the Seljuks used Persian for administrative purposes, even their histories, which replaced Arabic, were in Persian. Their usage of Turkish was hardly promoted at all.
  • One of its most famous Persian writers, Rumi, took his name from the name of the state. Moreover, Byzantine influence in the Sultanate was also significant, since Byzantine Greek aristocracy remained part of the Seljuk nobility, and the native Byzantine (Rûm) peasants remained numerous in the region.
  • In their construction of caravanserais, madrasas and mosques, the Rum Seljuks translated the Iranian Seljuk architecture of bricks and plaster into the use of stone. Among these, the caravanserais (or hans), used as stops, trading posts and defense for caravans, and of which about a hundred structures were built during the Anatolian Seljuk period, are particularly remarkable.
  • The Seljuk palaces, as well as their armies, were staffed with ghulams, enslaved youths taken from non-Muslim communities, mainly Greeks from former Byzantine territories. The practice of keeping ghulams may have offered a model for the later devşirme during the time of the Ottoman Empire.