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Title: Great Seljuks in Turkish historiography
Author: Başan, Osman Aziz
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2003
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The aim of this thesis is to present for the first time in English the corpus of Turkish scholarly writing on the Great Seljuks and to assess the internal consistency of the individual conclusions. In the West, the Great Seljuks are studied in the context of medieval Persian or Arabic history in particular and Islamic history in general [Lambton, 1987; Morgan, 1994a; Frye, 1993; Kennedy, 1994; Hodgson, 1974; Lewis, 1993]. In Turkey, the perspective that has emerged is quite different. According to Turkish scholars, besides Biblical studies and missionary activity, from the 19th century colonialism and industrialization were the main driving forces behind the study of Islamdom. This was because Western powers had to learn the languages and religion of their subjects in order to administer them and for industrialists to sell their goods to them [Koprilli.i, 1940:xxviii-xxix]. The racially and religiously biased Eurocentric histories that resulted also prejudged the Turks' historical role as solely military and destructive, arguing that they had not made a single contribution that furthered civilization [Ibid. 149-50 & 1981 :23; also Berktay, 1983:14-5]. At the Sevres Peace Talks, a memorandum to the Turkish delegation clearly expressed this prejudice Qune 23, 1919). According to the Allies, the Turks had ravaged and destroyed the lands they had conquered in Christendom and in Islamdom, because it was not in their nature 'to develop in peace what they had won in war' [Berktay, 1992:138-9]. It is not surprising, therefore, that Atatiirk initiated the search for a historical identity outside the confines of Islamic history and the West's assertion concerning the superiority of Graeco-Roman culture [Avctoglu, 1979/1 :18-27; Afetinan, 1981 :194ff]. Having said that, the roots of modern Turkish historiography must be sought in the century before Ataturk founded the Society for the Study of Turkish History (April 15, 1931).
Supervisor: Hillenbrand, Carole; Newman, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Seljuks ; Islamic Empire ; Turkey