Friday, August 3, 2007
Zengi, Atabek of Mosul
After a recent post (July 28, No comment serie: The last of the famous), a friend of mine asked me who was Zengi and what was the link between myself and Zengi. The picture was taken in the very place where Zengi was supposely assassinated. Hope this will clarify the situation.
Imad ad-Din Atabeg Zengi (al-Malik al-Mansur) (also Zangi, Zengui, Zenki, or Zanki; in Turkish İmadeddin Zengi, in Arabic: عماد الدین زنكي) (c. 1085–September 14, 1146) was the son of Aq Sunqur al-Hajib, governor of Aleppo under Malik Shah I. His father was beheaded for treason in 1094, and Zengi was brought up by Karbuqa, the governor of Mosul.
Zengi became atabeg of Mosul in 1127, and of Aleppo in 1128, uniting the two cities under his personal rule, and was formally invested as their ruler by the Sultan Mahmud II of Great Seljuk. Zengi had supported the young sultan against his rival, the caliph Al-Mustarshid.
In 1144 Zengi besieged the crusader County of Edessa. Edessa was the weakest and least Latinized crusader state, and Zengi captured it on December 24, 1144. This event led to the Second Crusade, and later Muslim chroniclers noted it as the start of the jihad against the Crusader states.
Though he continued his attempts to take Damascus in 1145, Zengi was assassinated by a Frankish slave named Yarankash in 1146. The Christian chronicler William of Tyre said that he was killed by a number of his retinue while he lay drunk in his bed.
Zengi's sudden death threw his forces into a panic. His army disintegrated, the treasury was looted, and the crusader princes, made bold by Zengi's demise, plotted to attack Aleppo and Edessa.
He was the founder of the eponymous Zengid dynasty. In Mosul he was succeeded by his eldest son Saif ad-Din Ghazi I and in Aleppo he was succeeded by his second son Nur ad-Din.
Zengi was courageous, strong in leadership and a very skilled warrior according to all of the Islam chroniclers of his day. The conquest of Edessa being his greatest achievement. These same chroniclers however, also relate Zengi as being a very violent, cruel, and brutal man. Muslims, Byzantines, and Franks all suffered at his hands.
“The atebeg was violent, powerful, awe-inspiring and liable to attack suddenly… When he rode, the troops use to walk behind him as if they were between two threads, out of fear they would trample over crops, and nobody out of fear dared to trample on a single stem (of them) nor march his horse on them… If anyone transgressed, he was crucified. He (Zengi) used to say: ‘It does not happen that there is more than on tyrant (meaning himself) at one time.’” By Ibn al-‘Adim (Source: Ibn al-‘Adim, Zubda, vol. 2, p. 471)