ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

Erkan Göksu

Keywords: Seljuks, Seljuks of Rum, Vassalage Law, Suzerain State, Vassal State, Relations between Suzerain and Vassal States


According to the Medieval laws of states; obligations of being a vassal state and duties resulting from those obligations were carried out by kings, princes or emirs who submitted to the sovereignty of another state by way of war or peace. The vassalage law is seen to have existed in the states founded in Europe, the Far East and in the other regions and the most important obligations and requirements of the vassalage law seen in Medieval Islamic states were paying annual tribute, reading khutba in the name of the suzerain state, minting coins (sikka) in the name of the suzerain king. In addition to these, those had been accepted as the signs of being vassal: that the suzerain king bears the title "sultan" and the vassal king bears the title "malik", that the suzerain king has five nawbats (the ceremony of military band as a sign of sovereignty) a day in front of his palace and the vassal king has three nawbats a day, that the suzerain king keeps someone descending from a king family and usually one of sons of the vassal king and that the vassal king runs -as a leader of the auxiliary troops- to the service of the suzerain king in any necessary time. However every vassal king was independent in his domestic and foreign relations on condition that he not spoil the interests of the suzerain king, the vassal king was free for fighting or making peace with another state, sending or accepting envoys. Though the general outline of the vassalage law was in that way, occasionally different practices were seen. Additionally, even if it is seemed very simple, sometimes suzerain-vassal relations could be very complicated. One of the states where this case could be seen was Seljuk Sultanate of Rum. During the age of that state, even if classical vassalage law usually was seen having been in effect, different practices can be seen in terms of nature and form.