- 東洋学報 / The Toyo Gakuho
- vol.90, no.1, pp.86-112, 2008-06
Ottoman historians often claimed the existence of a close relationship between the Ottoman Empire and the Seljuk Dynasty, although no reliable contemporary source can show this relationship to be based on historical fact. Nevertheless, these accounts of such a relationship were of value because they provided legitimacy for Ottoman empire rule. The purpose of this article is to investigate how the Ottoman historians of the 15th and 16th centuries went about narrating this pseudo-genealogical relationship.During the 15th century, Ottoman historians stressed the Oğuz origins common to the Ottoman Empire and Seljuk Dynasty (see Yazıcıoğlu, Kemâl and Neşrî), and even invented a marriage between the Ottoman ancestor and the Seljuk royal family (see Enverî, Râdvûn and Ebû'l-heyr). These accounts worked as a means of legitimizing Ottoman rule in 15th century Anatolia, where many Turkish emirates claimed to be successors of the Seljuks.However, the narrative concerning the Seljuks drastically changed during the 16th century, with no Ottoman historian writing about the above-mentioned marriage and only a few (Bitlîsî, Nasûh and Lokmân) regarding the Seljuk Dynasty as Oğuz in origin. The most popularly supported non-Oğuz origin was Afrasiyab, the legendary Turkish king of Shāhnāme (see Bitlîsî, Küçük Nişancı and Lokmân), who was generally favored among such Persian historians as Mustawfī. Another possible ancestor was the Prophet Abraham (see Zaʻîm, Abû'l-ʻAbbâs), although no non-Ottoman historian ever mentioned any Abrahamic origins regarding the Seljuks. Some of the sources argued that the Turks originated from Abraham, however(see Jāhiz, Ibn ʻInaba).The author concludes from this examination that the change of narrative between the two centuries in question was caused by two factors: the political situation and historiographical trends. During the 16th century, the legitimizing force of the Seljuks was deemphasized, as the Ottoman Empire developed beyond the former territories of the Rum Seljuks and came under the stronger influence of Persian historiography.