There was no central court in Syria and Northern Iraq during the 4th–6th / 10th–12th centuries, rather a plethora of smaller courts co-existed with complex political alliances. The rulers often began as atabegs
appointed by the Seljuqs of Iran (r. 429–590 / 1038–1194), but they soon established courts of their own. They built their palaces within citadels to protect them from the constant threat of the Crusaders
, the best surviving example of which is the palace within Aleppo Citadel.