Battle of Dandanaqan

Battle of Dandanaqan
Part of the Seljuk-Ghaznavid Wars

Artwork of the battle of Dandanaqan
DateMay 23, 1040
LocationDandanaqan, near Merv
Result Seljuk victory[1]
Ghaznavid Empire Seljuk Turks
Commanders and leaders
Mas'ud I
Ali Daya
Ahmad Shirazi
Abu Sahl Zawzani
Abd al-Razzaq Maymandi
50,000 men
60[3] or 12[4] war elephants
Casualties and losses
Unknown, likely heavy Unknown

The Battle of Dandanaqan was fought in 1040 between the Seljuqs and the Ghaznavid Empire. The battle ended with a Seljuq victory and brought down the Ghaznavid domination in the Khorasan.


When the Seljuq leader Tughrul and his brother Chaghri began raising an army, they were seen as a threat to the Ghaznavid territories. Following the looting of border cities by Seljuq raids, Sultan Mas'ud I (son of Mahmud of Ghazni) decided to expel Seljuqs from his territories.

The battle

During the march of Sultan Mas'ud's army to Sarakhs the Seljuq raiders harassed the Ghaznavid army with hit-and-run tactics. Seljuq raiders also destroyed the supply lines of Ghaznavids, cutting them off from the nearby water wells. The discipline and morale of the Ghaznavid army dropped seriously. Finally, on May 23, 1040, around 16,000 Seljuk soldiers engaged in battle with an estimated 50,000 Ghaznavid soldiers in Dandanaqan and defeated them, between Merv and Sarakhs.


The Seljuks occupied Khorasan and the cities of the area, encountering little resistance.[6] Tughrul's successful siege of Isfahan in 1050-1051,[7] led to the establishment of the "Great Seljuk Empire". On Mas'ud's retreat to India, he was overthrown and later murdered in prison.[8]

Coordinates: 37°23′31″N 61°20′43″E / 37.391933°N 61.345353°E / 37.391933; 61.345353


  1. Grousset, Rene, The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia , (Rutgers University, 2002), 147.
  2. Abū Manșūr Farāmarz, C. E. Bosworth, Encyclopaedia Iranica, (July 19, 2011).
  3. Christian, David, A history of Russia, Central Asia, and Mongolia , (Wiley-Blackwell, 1998), 373.
  4. C.E. Bosworth, The Ghaznavids:994-1040, (Edinburgh University Press, 1963), 115.
  5. Ann K. S. Lambton (1988). Continuity and Change in Medieval Persia. SUNY Press. pp. 5–. ISBN 978-0-88706-133-2.
  6. The Histories of Herat, Jürgen Paul, Iranian Studies, Vol. 33, No. 1/2 Winter - Spring, 2000, 106.
  7. Tony Jaques, Dictionary of Battles and Sieges: F-O, (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007), 476.
  8. Ghaznawids, B. Spuler, The Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. II, Ed. B.Lewis, C. Pellat and J. Schacht, (Brill, 1991), 1051.


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