The Zengid or Zangid (Persian: زنكيون) dynasty was a Muslim dynasty of Oghuz Turkic origin, which ruled parts of the Levant and Upper Mesopotamia on behalf of the Seljuk Empire. The dynasty was founded by Imad ad-Din Zengi.
Zengi, son of Aq Sunqur al-Hajib, became the Seljuk atabeg of Mosul in 1127. He quickly became the chief Turkic potentate in Northern Syria and Iraq, taking Aleppo from the squabbling Artuqids in 1128 and capturing the County of Edessa from the Crusaders after the siege of Edessa in 1144. This latter feat made Zengi a hero in the Muslim world, but he was assassinated by a slave two years later, in 1146.
On Zengi's death, his territories were divided, with Mosul and his lands in Iraq going to his eldest son Saif ad-Din Ghazi I, and Aleppo and Edessa falling to his second son, Nur ad-Din, atabeg of Aleppo. Nur ad-Din proved to be as competent as his father. In 1149, he defeated Raymond of Poitiers, Prince of Antioch, at the battle of Inab, and the next year conquered the remnants of the County of Edessa west of the Euphrates. In 1154, he capped off these successes by his capture of Damascus from the Burid dynasty that ruled it.
Now ruling from Damascus, Nur ad-Din's success continued. Another Prince of Antioch, Raynald of Châtillon was captured, and the territories of the Principality of Antioch were greatly reduced. In the 1160s, Nur ad-Din's attention was mostly held by a competition with the King of Jerusalem, Amalric of Jerusalem, for control of the Fatimid Caliphate. Ultimately, Nur ad-Din's Kurdish general Shirkuh was successful in leading an expeditionary force to prevent the Crusaders from establishing a strong presence in an increasingly anarchic Egypt. Shirkuh's army arrived in time and defeated the Crusaders' army. He took control as governor of Egypt, but unexpectedly died shortly afterwards.
Shirkuh's nephew Saladin was appointed vizier by the Fatimid caliph al-Adid and Governor of Egypt, in 1169. Al-Adid died in 1171, and Saladin took advantage of this power vacuum, effectively taking control of the country. Upon seizing power, he switched Egypt's allegiance to the Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate which adhered to Sunni Islam, rather than traditional Fatimid Shia practice. Three years later, he was proclaimed sultan following the death of his former master, Nur al-Din of the Zengid dynasty and established himself as the first Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
Nur ad-Din was preparing to invade Jerusalem when he unexpectedly died in 1174. His son and successor As-Salih Ismail al-Malik was only a child, and was forced to flee to Aleppo, which he ruled until 1181, when he died of illness and was replaced by his cousin Imad al-Din Zengi II. Saladin conquered Aleppo two years later, ending Zengid rule in Syria.
Zengid princes continued to rule in Northern Iraq as Emirs of Mosul well into the 13th century, ruling Mosul and Sinjar until 1234; their rule did not finally come to an end until 1250.
Coin of Nasir ad-Din Mahmud
, mint of Mosul, depicting a female with two winged victories, 1223. British Museum.
Zengid Atabegs and Emirs of Mosul
See Rulers of Mosul.
- Zengi, 1127–1146
- Sayf al-Din Ghazi I, son of Zengi, 1146–1149
- Qutb al-Din Mawdud, son of Zengi, 1149–1170
- Sayf al-Din Ghazi II, son of Qutb al-Din Mawdud, 1170–1180
- Izz al-Din Mas'ud, son of Qutb al-Din Mawdud, 1180–1193
- Nur al-Din Arslan Shah I, son of Izz al-Din Mas'ud, 1193–1211
- Izz al-Din Mas'ud II, son of Nur al-Din Arslan Shah I, 1211–1218
- Nur al-Din Arslan Shah II, son of Izz al-Din Mas'ud II, 1218–1219
- Nasir ad-Din Mahmud, son of Izz al-Din Mas'ud, 1219–1234.
Mosul was taken over by Badr al-Din Lu'lu', atabeg to Nasir ad-Din Mahmud, whom he murdered in 1234.
Zengid Emirs of Aleppo
See Rulers of Aleppo.
Aleppo was conquered by Saladin in 1183 and ruled by Ayyubids until 1260.
Zengid Emirs of Damascus
See Rulers of Damascus.
Damascus was conquered by Saladin in 1174 and ruled by Ayyubids until 1260.
Zengid Emirs of Sinjar
See Sinjar, Islamic Era.
- Imad al-Din Shahanshah, son of Qutb ad-Din Muhammad, 1219–1220
- Jalal al-Din Mahmud (co-ruler), son of Qutb ad-Din Muhammad, 1219–1220
- Fath al-Din Umar (co-ruler), son of Qutb ad-Din Muhammad, 1219–1220.
Sinjar was taken by the Ayyubids in 1220 and ruled by al-Ashraf Musa, Ayyubid emir of Diyar Bakr. It later came under the control of Badr al-Din Lu'lu', ruler of Mosul beginning in 1234.
Zengid Emirs of al-Jazira (in Northern Iraq)
See Upper Mesopotamia, Islamic Empires.
In 1250, al-Jazira fell under the domination of an-Nasir Yusuf, Ayyubid emir of Aleppo.
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