Anatolia in 1097, before the Siege of Nicaea
Capital Sivas
Language(s) Turkish
Religion Islam
Government Monarchy
Bey, Melik
 - 1071-1104 Danishmend Gazi
 - 1175-1178 Nasreddin Muhammed
Historical era High Medieval
 - Established 1071
 - Disestablished 1178

The Danishmend dynasty was a Turcoman dynasty that ruled in north-central and eastern Anatolia in the 11th and 12th centuries. The centered originally around Sivas, Tokat, and Niksar in central-northeastern Anatolia, they extended as far west as Ankara and Kastamonu for a time, and as far south as Malatya, which they captured in 1103. In early 12th century, Danishmends were rivals of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm, which controlled much of the territory surrounding the Danishmend lands, and they fought extensively with the Crusaders.



The dynasty was established by Danishmend Gazi for whom historical information is rather scarce and was generally written long after his death.

His title or name, Dānishmand or more accurately Dāneshmand, means "learned man" in Persian: دانشمند . As of 1134, Danishmend dynasty leaders also held the title Melik (the King) bestowed in recognition of their military successes by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mustarshid, although the Beys (Emirs) of Danishmend prior to 1134 may also be retrospectively referred to as Melik. Danishmend Gazi himself was alternatively called "Danishmend Taylu".[1]

The dynasty

Danishmends established themselves in Anatolia in the aftermath of the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, in which the Seljuks defeated the Byzantine Empire and captured most of Anatolia. Gazi took advantage of the dynastic struggles of the Seljuks upon the death of the Sultan Suleyman I of Rûm in 1086 to establish his own dynasty in central Anatolia. The capital was likely first established in Amasia.[2]

In 1100, Gazi's son, Emir Gazi Gümüshtigin. captured Bohemond I of Antioch, who remained in their captivity until 1103. A Seljuk-Danishmend alliance was also responsible for defeating the Crusade of 1101.

In 1116, the Danishmends helped Mesud I become the Seljuk sultan.[3]

In 1130 Bohemond II of Antioch was killed in a battle with Gazi Gümüshtigin, after coming to the aid of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, which Gümüshtigin had invaded. Gümüshtigin died in 1134 and his son and successor Mehmed did not have the martial spirit of his father and grandfather. He is nevertheless considered the first builder of Kayseri as a Turkish city, despite his relatively short period of reign.

When Mehmed died in 1142, the Danishmend lands were divided between his two brothers, Melik Yaghibasan, who maintained the title of "Melik" and ruled from Sivas, and Ayn el-Devle, who ruled from Malatya.

In 1155, Seljuk Sultan Kilij Arslan II attacked Melik Yaghibasan, who sought help from Nur ad-Din, the Zengid emir of Mosul. However, when Nur ad-Din died in 1174, the Sivas lands were incorporated into the Sultanate. Four years later, the Malatya Danishmends were defeated and also incorporated, marking the end of Danishmend rule.

Danishmends in folklore

Danishmend Gazi, the founder of the dynasty, is the central figure of a posthumous romance epic, Danishmendnâme, in which he is mis-identified with an 8th century Arab warrior, Sidi Battal Gazi, and their exploits intertwined.

Virtually all Danishmend rulers entered the traditions of the Turkish folk literature, where they are all referred to as "Melik Gazi".[4] Hence, there are "tombs of Melik Gazi", many of which are much visited shrines and belong in fact to different Danishmend rulers, in the cities of Niksar, Bünyan, Kırşehir, along the River Zamantı near the castle of the same name (Zamantı) and elsewhere in Anatolia, and Melikgazi is also the name of one of the central districts of the city of Kayseri. The same uniformity in appellations in popular parlance may also apply to other edifices built by Danishmends.


Danishmends Reign Notes
Danishmend Gazi 1097 -d. 1104 Also called Danishmend Taylu
Gazi Gümüshtigin 1104-d. 1134
Melik Mehmed Gazi 1134-d. 1142
Sivas branch (Meliks - The Kings) 1142–1175 Incorporated to Anatolian Seljuks
Melik Yaghibasan 1142–1164
Melik Mücahid Gazi 1164–1166
Melik İbrahim 1166-1166
Melik İsmail 1166-1166
Melik Zünnun 1172–1174
Malatya branch (Emirs) 1142–1178 Incorporated to Anatolian Seljuks
Ayn el-Devle 1142–1152
Zülkarneyn 1152–1162
Nasreddin Muhammed 1162–1170
Fahreddin 1170–1172
Afridun 1172–1175
Nasreddin Muhammed 1175–1178 Second reign
History of Turkey Geographical Map of Turkey
Seljuq dynasty 1071–1325
Great Seljuq Empire 1071–1194
Sultanate of Rum 1075–1307
Under The Seljuks after 1071
    Anatolian Beyliks
   • Artuqids 1098–1409
   • Mengujekids 1072–1277
   • Ahlatshahs 1085–1207
   • Saltukids 1072-1202
   • Beylik of İnal 1096–1183
   • Danishmends 1071–1178
   • Tzachas 1081–1098
Under The Ilkhanates 1243–1335
    Anatolian Beyliks
Ottoman Emirate 1302–1922
• Ramadanids 1352–1608
Dulkadirids 1348–1507
• Karamanids 1250–1487
• Isfendiyarids 1291–1461
• Germiyanids 1300–1429
• Aydinids 1300–1425
Beylik of Teke 1321–1425
Menteşe 1261–1424
• Sarukhanids 1300–1410
Kadi Burhan al-Din 1381–1398
• Hamidids 1300–1391
Beylik of Lâdik 1262–1391
Pervâneoğlu 1262–1391
• Eretnids 1335–1381
• Karasids 1296–1357
• Sahib Ataids 1275–1341
• Eshrefids 1285–1326
Ottoman Dynasty 1302–1922
Occupation 1918–1923
Republic of Turkey from 1923
Related topics
Republic of Hatay 1938-1939
Turkish Republic of
 Northern Cyprus
from 1983
List of sultans of the Ottoman Empire
List of Presidents of Turkey
Economic history of Turkey
Constitutional history of Turkey
Military history of Turkey
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See also


  1. ^ Claude Cahen cited in Donald Sidney Richards (2006). The Chronicle of Ali ibn al-Athir for the Crusading Period ISBN 0754640779. Ashgate Publishing Inc.. 
  2. ^ Fisher, p. 8.
  3. ^ "Turkmen Ruling Dynasties in Asia Minor".
  4. ^ Dr. Mürselin Güney. All Danishmend rulers are referred to as "Melik Gazi" by the general public "History of Ünye" (in Turkish). http://www.unye.net/TARIH1.HTM All Danishmend rulers are referred to as "Melik Gazi" by the general public. 


External links

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