Full name: ¢imād ad-dīn zankī
Other spellings: Zengi; Zengui; Zenki; Zanki
(1084-1146) Founder and atabeg of the Zangid Dynasty (1127-1146), which ruled over the territories of Aleppo (modern northern Syria) and Mosul (northern modern Iraq).
Zangi acted much as a jihadi fighter, a warrior of Islam. His territories faced the forces of Christian states in the north and west, and being the ruler of some of the richest countries with borders to the Christian states, his role here was central. But in reality, he was just as much an ordinary military ruler, set out to win as much territory as possible. His main goal was after all to bring Damascus under his control, this being a state ruled by a Muslim ruler. His methods were notoriously cruel on many occasions, using treatchery in addition to warfare and diplomacy. Muslim chroniclers described as violent, brutal and cruel. He was feared and unpopular with Muslims as well other groups of the region.
Among his good sides, was that he was courageous and a strong leader.
The fact that his state disintegrated upon his death, despite his son, Nureddin, being installed as new atabeg, proves that Zangi had done little to build effective state structures.
1084: Born as son of Aq Sunqur al-Hajib, governor of Aleppo.
1094: Aq Sunqur is beheaded, and Zangi is brought up by the governor of Mosul, Karbuqa.
1126: Is appointed governor of Basra by the Seljuq sultan.
1127: Is appointed governor of Mosul, as a reward of having supported the sultan in the fight with the Abbasid caliph, al-Mustarshid.
1128: Aleppo submits to Zangi, in exchange of military protection against the Christian Crusaders.
1130: Forms an alliance with the emir of Damascus, against Christian Crusaders.
He soon betrays his ally, taking control of Hama, and placing Homs under siege.
1135: Gets a call from the emir of Damascus for assistance, but the emir is murdered by his own mother, Zumurrud. Zangi lays Damascus under siege, but would be unable to take the city.
1137: Puts Homs under siege, causing Damascus to forge an alliance with the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem.
1138 May: Marries Zumurrud, and receives Homs from her.
1139 July: Has the only heir to Damascus murdered, and marches on the city, but has no more success taking over the city this time.
1144 December 24: Conquers Edessa, taking control of the eastern half of the Christian Countship of Edessa. This provoked the second Crusade.
1146 September 14: Is killed by a servant in Mosul, while there to repress a local revolt. His death caused great disintegration in his state. Nureddin, his son and successor, begins a campaign of reestablishing control within the state.