Zengid Dynasty at its greatest extent
|Status||Vassal of the Seljuk Empire|
|Common languages||Oghuz Turkic|
|Imad ad-Din Zengi (first)|
|Mahmud Al-Malik Al-Zahir (last reported)|
The dynasty was founded by Imad ad-Din Zengi, who became the Seljuk Atabeg (governor) of Mosul in 1127. He quickly became the chief Turkish potentate in Northern Syria and Iraq, taking Aleppo from the squabbling Artuqids in 1128 and capturing the County of Edessa from the Crusaders 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 ed-Din's Kurdish general Shirkuh was successful in conquering Fatimid Egypt in 1169, but Shirkuh's nephew and successor as Governor of Egypt, Saladin, eventually rejected Nur ad-Din's control.
Nur ad-Din was preparing to invade Egypt to bring Saladin under control 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 was murdered and replaced by his relation, the Atabeg of Mosul. Saladin conquered Aleppo two years later, ending Zengid rule in Syria.
Zengid princes continued to rule in Northern Iraq well into the 13th century, ruling Mosul until 1234; their rule did not come finally to an end until 1250.
Zengid Atabegs and Emirs of Mosul
- Imad ad-Din Zengi I 1127-1146
- Saif ad-Din Ghazi I 1146-1149
- Qutb ad-Din Mawdud 1149-1170
- Saif ad-Din Ghazi II 1170-1180
- Izz ad-Din Mas'ud 1180-1193
- Nur ad-Din Arslan Shah I 1193-1211
- Izz ad-Din Mas'ud II 1211-1218
- Nur ad-Din Arslan Shah II 1218-1219
- Nasir ad-Din Mahmud 1219-1234
- Badr al-Din Lu'lu' 1234-1259
Zengid Emirs of Aleppo
- Imad ad-Din Zengi I 1128-1146
- Nur ad-Din Mahmud 1146-1174
- As-Salih Ismail al-Malik 1174-1181
- Imad ad-Din Zengi II 1181-1183
Zengid Emirs of Damascus
Zengid Emirs of Sinjar (in Northern Iraq)
- Imad ad-Din Zengi II 1171-1197
- Qutb ad-Din Muhammad 1197-1219
- Imad ad-Din Shahanshah 1219-1220
- Jalal ad-Din Mahmud 1219-1220
- Fath ad-Din Umar 1219-1220
Zengid Emirs of Jazira (in Northern Iraq)
- Mu'izz ad-Din Sanjar Shah 1180-1208
- Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud 1208-1241
- Mahmud Al-Malik Al-Zahir 1241-1250
- C.E. Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynasties, (Columbia University Press, 1996), 191.
- Kirk H. Sowell, The Arab world: An Illustrated History, (Hippocrene Books, Inc., 2002), 102.
- David Ayalon, Eunuchs, Caliphs and Sultans: A Study in Power Relationships, (Hebrew University Magnes Press, 1999), 166.
- Islam and the Crusades 1096-1699, Robert Irwin, The Oxford History of the Crusades, ed. Jonathan Riley-Smith, (Oxford University Press, 1999), 227.
- Zsolt Hunyadi and József Laszlovszky, The Crusades and the Military Orders, (Central European University, 2001), 28.
- Thomas Asbridge, The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land, (Simon & Schuster, 2012), 1153.
- William Barron Stevenson, The Crusaders in the East, (Cambridge University Press, 1907), 194.