Post-classical history

Duqaq (d. 1104)

King (Arab. malik) of Damascus (mod. Dimashq, Syria) and southern Syria (1095-1104), with the title Shams al-Mulûk (Sun of the Kings).

Duqāq was born around 1083, one of five sons of Tutush I ibn Alp Arslān, the Saljûq ruler of Syria. During Tutush’s attempt to gain the Saljûq sultanate, he appointed Tughtakin in 1093 as atabeg for Duqāq and married him to Duqāq’s mother, Safwat. When Tutush was killed in battle in Persia in 1095, a struggle for power over Syria broke out between Duqāq in Damascus and his elder brotherRidwān in Aleppo, aided by their respective atabegs. This civil war was still going on when the armies of the First Crusade (1096-1099) arrived in the Levant.

At this time Duqāq’s realm was a large one, extending from the Jaulan (Golan) in the south to the city of Homs in the north. As well as his capital of Damascus, Duqāq ruled the towns of Jaffa (mod. Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel) and Haifa (mod. Hefa, Israel) on the Mediterranean coast, which he had inherited from his father. When the crusaders started to besiege Antioch on the Orontes (mod. Antakya, Turkey) in October 1097, Yāghisiyān, who governed the city for Duqāq’s brother Ridwān, sent to Damascus for help. Duqāq and his atabeg did not respond at once, but joined the army being assembled by Karbughā, lord of Mosul. The joint Muslim army arrived at Antioch on 5 June 1098, two days after the city’s capture by the crusaders, and was eventually defeated in battle outside the walls on 28 June 1098.

After the fall of Jerusalem to the crusaders (15 July 1099), the inhabitants of Damascus sent an embassy to Baghdad urging the Great Saljûq sultan and the ‘Abbāsid caliph to send help. By contrast, Duqāq did not share the concerns of his subjects, and in 1100 he took his army to secure his dominions in Mesopotamia from the Franks of Edessa, who threatened the strategic route to Iraq, Persia, and central Asia, where Turcomans were recruited for the Saljûq armies. One of Duqāq’s few contributions to the struggle against the Franks took place near Beirut in 1100, when he attempted to intercept a limited force led by Count Baldwin I of Edessa, who was coming south to take up the throne of Jerusalem. However, Baldwin was warned of the attack by the Arab ruler of Tripoli (mod.Trâblous, Lebanon) and managed to reach Jerusalem with minor casualties.

In 1101 Baldwin I seized the coastal town of Haifa from Duqāq’s control. Duqāq, however, refrained from serious hostilities and turned down an Egyptian offer for an alliance against the Franks of Jerusalem. In the same year Duqāq and his atabeg responded to a plea from Tripoli to save the port of Jabala from the Franks and managed to take it over, aiming to guard the Damascene commerce that passed through Tripolitan territory.

In June 1104 Duqāq died suddenly while still in his early twenties. According to Ibn ‘Asākir (d. 1176), he was poisoned by his mother, in conspiracy with the ambitious Tughtigin, who became regent for Duqāq’s infant son Tutush II.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!