Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

as long as the important city of Antioch belonged to the Greeks, so that we may date the real foundation of this Seljūk empire from the taking of that city by the treason of its commander Philaretus in 1084, who afterwards became a vassal of the Seljūks. The conquest involved Suleiman in war with the neighbouring Mahommedan princes, and he met his death soon afterwards (1086), near Shaizar, in a battle against Tutush. Owing to these family discords the decision of Malik Shāh was necessary to settle the affairs of Asia Minor and Syria; he kept the sons of Suleimān in captivity, and committed the war against the unbelieving Greeks to his generals Bursuḳ (Προσουχ) and Buzān (Πουζανος). Barkiyāroq, however, on his accession (1092), allowed Kilij Arslān, the son of Suleimān, to return to the dominions of his father. Acknowledged by the Turkish amirs of Asia Minor, he took up his residence in Nicaea, and defeated the first bands of crusaders under Walter the Penniless and others (1096); but, on the arrival of Godfrey of Bouillon and his companions, he was prudent enough to leave his capital in order to attack them as they were besieging Nicaea. He suffered, however, two defeats in the vicinity, and Nicaea surrendered on the 23rd of June 1097. As the crusaders marched by way of Dorylaeum and Iconium towards Antioch, the Greeks subdued the Turkish amirs residing at Smyrna, Ephesus, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, Lampes and Polybotus;[1] and Kilij Arslān, with his Turks, retired to the north-eastern parts of Asia Minor, to act with the Turkish amirs of Sivās (Sebaste), known under the name of the Danishmand.

The history of the dynasty of the Danishmand is still very obscure, notwithstanding the efforts of Mordtmann, Schlumberger, Karabaçek, Sallet and others to fix some chronological details, and it is almost impossible to harmonize the different statements of the Armenian, Syriac, Greek and Western chronicles with those of the Arabic, Persian and Turkish. The coins are few in number, very difficult to decipher, and often without date. The founder of the dynasty was a certain Tailu, who is said to have been a schoolmaster (danishmand), probably because he understood Arabic and Persian. His descendants, therefore, took the style of “Ibn Danishmand,” often without their own name. They took possession of Sivās, Tokāt, Niksār, Ablastān, Malatia, probably after the death of Suleimān, though they may have established themselves in one or more of these cities much earlier, perhaps in 1071, after the defeat of Romanus Diogenes. During the first crusade the reigning prince was Kumushtegin (Ahmed Ghāzi), who defeated the Franks and took prisoner the prince of Antioch, Bohemund, afterwards ransomed. e died probably in 1106, and was succeeded by his son Mahommed (d. 1143), after whom reigned Jaghi Basān; but it is very probable that other members of the same dynasty reigned at the same time in the cities already named, and in some others, e.g. Kastamuni.

Afterwards there arose a natural rivalry between the Seljfiks and the Danishmand, which ended with the extinction of the latter about 1175. Kilij Arslān took possession of Mosul in 1107, and declared himself independent of the Seljūks of Irak; but in the same year he was drowned in the Khaboras through the treachery of his own amirs, and the dynasty seemed again destined to decay, as his sons were in the power of his enemies. The sultan Mahommed, however, set at liberty his eldest son Malik Shāh, who reigned for some time, until he was treacherously murdered (it is not quite certain by whom), being succeeded by his brother Masūd, who established himself at Konia (Iconium), from that time the residence of the Seljūks of Rūm. During his reign—he died in 1155—the Greek emperors undertook various expeditions in Asia Minor and Armenia; but the Seljūk was cunning enough to profess himself their ally and to direct them against his own enemies. Nevertheless the Seljūkian dominion was petty and unimportant and did not rise to significance till his son and successor, Kilij Arslān II., had subdued the Danishmands and appropriated their possessions, though he thereby risked the wrath of the powerful atabeg of Syria, Nureddin, and afterwards that of Saladin. But as the sultan grew old his numerous sons, who held each the command of a city of the empire, embittered his old age by their mutual rivalry, and the eldest, Ḳutb ed-dīn, tyrannized over his father in his own capital, exactly at the time that Frederick I. (Barbarossa) entered his dominions on his way to the Holy Sepulchre (1190). Konia itself was taken and the sultan forced to provide guides and provisions for the crusaders. Kilij Arslān lived two years longer, finally under the protection of his youngest son, Kaikhosrau, who held the capital after him (till 1199) until his elder brother, Rukneddin Suleimān, after having vanquished his other brothers, ascended the throne and obliged Kaikhosrau to seek refuge at the Greek emperor's court. This valiant prince saved the empire from destruction and conquered Erzerūm, which had been ruled during a considerable time by a separate dynasty, and was now given in fief to his brother, Mughīt ud-dīn Toghrul Shāh. But, marching thence against the Georgians, Suleiman's troops suffered a terrible defeat. After this Suleiman set out to subdue his brother Masūd Shāh, at Angora, who was finally taken prisoner and treacherously murdered. This crime is regarded by Oriental authors as the reason of the premature death of the sultan (in 1204); but it is more probable that he was murdered because he displeased the Mahommedan clergy, who accused him of atheism. His son, Kilij Arslān III., was soon deposed by Kaikhosrau (who returned), assisted by the Greek Maurozomes, whose daughter he had married in exile. He ascended the throne the same year in which the Latin empire was established in Constantinople, a circumstance highly favourable to the Turks, who were the natural allies of the Greeks (Theodore Lascaris) and the enemies of the crusaders and their allies, the Armenians. Kaikhosrau, therefore, took in 1207 from the Italian Aldobrandini the important harbour of Attalia (Adalia); but his conquests in this direction were put an end to by his attack upon Lascaris, for in the battle that ensued he perished in single combat with his royal antagonist (1211). His son and successor, Kaikāūs, made peace with Lascaris and extended his frontiers to the Black Sea by the conquest of Sinope (1214). On this occasion he was fortunate enough to take prisoner the Comnenian prince (Alexius) who ruled the independent empire of Trebizond, and he compelled him to purchase his liberty by acknowledging the supremacy of the Seljūks, by paying tribute, and by serving in the armies of the sultan. Elated by this great success and by his victories over the Armenians, Kaikāūs was induced to attempt the capture of the important city of Aleppo, at this time governed by the descendants of Saladin; but the affair miscarried. Soon afterwards the sultan died (1219) and was succeeded by his brother, Alā ud-dīn Kaikobād I., the most powerful and illustrious prince of this branch of the Seljūks, renowned not only for his successful wars but also for his magnificent structures at Konia, Alaja, Sivās and elsewhere, which belong to the best specimens of Saracenic architecture. The town of Alaja was the creation of this sultan, as previously there existed on that site only the fortress of Candelor, at that epoch in the possession of an Armenian chief, who was expelled by Kaikobād, and shared the fate of the Armenian and Frankish knights who possessed the fortresses along the coast of the Mediterranean as far as Selefke (Seleucia). Kaikobād extended his rule as far as this city, and desisted from further conquest only on condition that the Armenian princes would enter into the same kind of relation to the Seljūks as had been imposed on the Comnenians of Trebizond. But his greatest military fame was won by a war which, however glorious, was to prove fatal to the Selūk empire in the future: in conjunction with his ally, the Ayyubite prince Ashraf, he defeated the Khwārizm shāh Jalāl ud-dīn near Erzingān (1230). This victory removed the only barrier that checked the progress of the Mongols. During this war Kaikobād put an end to the collateral dynasty of the Seljūks of Erzerūm and annexed its possessions. He also gained the city of Khelāt with dependencies that in former times had belonged to the Shah-i-Armen, but shortly before had been taken by Jalāl ud-dīn; this aggression was the cause of the war just mentioned. The acquisition of Khelāt led, however, to a new war, as Kaikobād's ally, the Ayyubite prince, envied him this conquest. Sixteen Mahommedan princes, mostly Ayyubite, of Syria and Mesopotamia, under the leadership of Malik al-Kāmil, prince of Egypt, marched with considerable forces into Asia Minor against him. Happily for Kaikobād, the princes mistrusted the power of the

  1. The Turkmans who dwelt in these western parts of Asia Minor, which were never regained by the Seljūks, were called Utch (Outsiders).