The Ildegizids, Eldiguzids or Ildenizids, also known as Atabegs of Azerbaijan were a Turkic dynasty (founded by Eldiguz of Kipchak origin) which controlled most of northwestern Persia, eastern Transcaucasia, including Arran, most of Azerbaijan, and Djibal. At their greatest extent, the territory under their control, roughly corresponds to most of north-western and upper-central modern Iran, most of the regions of modern Azerbaijan and smaller portions in modern Armenia (southern part), Turkey (northeastern part) and Iraq (eastern part). Down to the death in war 1194 of Toghril b. Arslan, last of the Great Seljuq rulers of Iraq and Persia, the Ildenizids ruled as theoretical subordinates of the Sultans, acknowledging this dependence on their coins almost down to the end of the Seljuqs. Thereafter, they were in effect an independent dynasty, until the westward expansion of the Mongols and the Khwarazm-Shahs weakened and then brought the line to its close.
Atabeg (literally means “fatherly lord” in Turkic) was the title conferred upon the Turkic officers who served as guardians of minor Seljuq rulers. In the political circumstances of the time, Atabegs were not only tutors and vice-regents of their princes but also de facto rulers. At the height of Eldiguzid power, their territory stretched from Isfahan in the south to the borders of the Kingdom of Georgia and Shirvan in the north. However, closer to the end of their reign amidst continuous conflicts with the Kingdom of Georgia, the Eldiguzid territory shrank to include only Azerbaijan and eastern Transcaucasia.
The historical significance of the Atabeg of Azerbaijan lies in their firm control over north-western Persia during the later Seljuq period and also their role in Transcaucasia as champions of Islam against the Bagratids of Georgia.