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[Anatolian Civilizations] [Seljuks]


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Anatolian Seljuk sultans supported works done in the cultural areas and gave a lot of importance to science and education. Madrasas that were centers of education were free to everybody. All needs of the students were met by the profits of Vakif (a foundation). In madrasas, along with Islamic subjects like tefsir, hadis, hadis procedures, kelam, kelam procedures, fikih, fikih procedures and Islamic mysticism, subjects like mathematics, medicine, astronomy and philosophy were also told. Usually, near the madrasas, hospitals called darussifa, mosque, library, a small dervish lodge, caravanserai and a hostel for pilgrims were found. These were seats of learning too. Many scientists from other Islamic countries were coming to these education centers in Anatolia. These teachers were warmly accepted by the public, government people and sultan himself on top of everybody.

Among some great scientist and intellectuals that made Turkish Seljuk’s Republic the center of science and wisdom were Sihabuddin-i Suhreverdi, Necmeddin-i Razi, Muhyiddin-i Arabi, Ahmed Fakih, Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, Haci Bektaş-i Veli, Sadreddin-i Konevi, Safiyyuddin Muhammed Urmevi, Siracuddin Mahmud Urmevi, Seyh Necmeddin Daye, Izzeddin Urmevi, Celaleddin Habib, Sadeddin-i Fergani, Fahreddin-i Iraki, Kadi Burhaneddin, Kutbeddin-i Şirazi, Ahi Evran, Ebu Hamid Kirmani, Sems-i Tebrizi, Muhammed Behauddin Veled, Seyyid Burhaneddin Muhakkik Tirmizi, Seyh Husameddin Celebi, Mevlana Muhyiddin Kayseri, Seyh Edebali, Ibn-i Turkmani, Ibrahim-i Hemedani, Cemaleddin-i Aksarayi.

Although during XIII century Anatolian Seljuks experienced very severe political difficulties, this was also the period when significant developments were observed in Turkish literature. Great scholars and intellectuals of this period wrote their scientific and literary works partially in Arabic but, mostly in Persian and presented them to Seljuk rulers and important political leaders. In XIII century when great developments were observed in Islamic cultural life of Anatolia, Ahmet b. Muhammed et-Tusi wrote Kelile and Dimne for Izzeddin Keykavus and Kadi Siraceddin Urmevi Mesud b. wrote Kistasu'l-adalet fi kavaidi's-saltanat for Izzeddin Keykavus. Muhammed b. Mahmud too had a work in the Siyasetname style. During this period Ibni Bibi wrote el-Evamirul'Alaiyye – the main historical source about Anatolian Seljuks.

From the very beginnings Anatolian Seljuks had a lot respect towards Sufism. Close attention and warm interest of Seljuk leaders and political figures encouraged Sufis from many different regions to come to Anatolia.

Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi was writing in Persian but, he had an important and continuous effect on Islamic Turkish literature. Mevlana, the son of Sultanu'l-Ulema Bahaeddin Veled, was born in Belh and died in Konya, in the year 1273. Other than his most famous six volumes of Mesnevi, Fihi Mafih and Divan-i Kebir are also very important. Although most religious and literary works were written in Arabic and Persian, most of the population was talking in Turkish language. Turkmen people in Anatolia were speaking in Turkish and created oral and written artworks in Turkish. Then later, Turkish became a literature language. Poets like Ahmet Fakih, Hoca Dehhani, Hoca Mesud, Seyyad Hamza, Sultan Veled and Yunus Emre were writing in Turkish and had a great contribution to making Turkish the literature language. Sultan Veled, the son of Hazreti Mevlana wrote his artworks like Divan, Ibtidaname, Rebabname and Intihaname under the influence of his father.

Hoca Ahmet Fakih was one of the most famous sheikhs in Anatolia during XIII and XIV centuries. He was older than Mevlana and learned the canon law from his father Sultanu'l-ulema Bahaeddin Veled. Later, from a divine inspiration he climbed to a mountain and stayed there and returned only after the death of Bahaeddin Veled. Two works of Ahmet Fakih that remained until our times are Carhname and Kitab-i Mesacidi's-Serife. These are the most beautiful examples of the Turkish language in use.

Seyyad Hamza followed Ahmet Fakih with his Islamic and sufistic poems. Works of Seyyad Hamza who had a great influence on the development of Turkish Sufi literature inspired many new talented poets to write poems in this style. It is known that Seyyad Hamza traveled from one village to another in Anatolia, reading his religious and Sufi poems to people in order to educate them. He is famous for his mesnevi called Yusuf-u Zuleyha.

Hoca Dehhani is one of the poets who moved from Horasan to Anatolia and wrote an ode to Sultan III. Alaeddin Keykubad and wrote his famous Selcukname that remained till our times. Dehani wrote many non-religious poems as well.

Yunus Emre who lived in the end of XIII, beginning of XIV centuries is one of the brightest representatives of Turkish Sufi literature. Many writers and poets that emerged after him remained under his influence. Yunus Emre wrote his poems with a superior power and Sufi love giving the best examples of the Turkish language in use. Yunus Emre has mesnevis named Divan and Risaletu'n-nushiyye. He is the first person who wrote divan in Turkish. He wrote his poems in aruz and hece measures. Yunus Emre is a great Islamic poet who lived with a divine love and expressed this love in his poems. He is a great master who proved the Turkish language’s power of expression with his works. The works of Yunus Emre whose poems are being read and loved by Turkish people even after many centuries are haven’t lost their beauty, actuality and dynamism. He is without a doubt one of the best representatives of the Turkish Islamic literature.

Haci Bektas-i Veli who lived in Anatolia during XIII century is a person who had a strong influence over the population. He was a great scholar with deep knowledge of Islam and Sufism.

With his smart, sensual and delicate anecdotes, Nasreddin Hoca (1208 - 1284) is one of the greatest Turkish humorists and he also lived during the Seljuk period.

Epic poems Oguzname and Dede Korkut that were very popular among migrants as well as Danismendname and Battalname that were famous among ghazi are the examples of spoken literature that were converted into written literature during this period.