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

Danishmend (Turkish: Danişmentliler) dynasty or Danishmendid was a Turkish dynasty that ruled in north-central and eastern Anatolia in the 11th and 12th centuries.[1] The dynasty 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 Rum, which controlled much of the territory surrounding the Danishmend lands, and they fought extensively with the Crusaders.


  • Founder 1
  • The dynasty 2
  • Culture and legend 3
  • Rulers 4
  • See also 5
  • Footnotes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


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, means "wise man" in Persian (دانشمند).

The dynasty

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".[2]

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.[3]

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.[4]

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.

Following the death of Fahreddin in a riding accident in 1172, he was succeeded by his brother Afridun.[5] By 1175, Nasreddin Muhammed was back in power, and ruled as a Seljuk vassal.[5] In 1178, Malatya was occupied which marked the end of the Danishmend rule, while the remaining Danishmends joined Seljuk service.[5]

Culture and legend

Danishmend Gazi, the founder of the dynasty, is the central figure of a posthumous romance epic, Danishmendnâme, in which he is misidentified 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".[6] 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.

The official title of the Danischmend dynasty, Grand Melik of All Romania and the East, was always inscribed in the local currency in

  • ) Tomb in Niksar"Melik Gazi(fact sheet) "Danishmend Gazi ( .  
  • Prof. Dr. Mehmet Eti. Coins: "Specimens of Danishmend numismatics" . 
  • Mustafa Güler, İlknur Aktuğ Kolay. 12th century Turkish mosques in Anatolia)"(full text) "12. yüzyıl Anadolu Türk Camileri ( (PDF) (in Turkish).  

External links

  • Oktay Aslanapa (1991). Early Turkish architecture in Anatolia: Beginnings and development)Anadolu'da ilk Türk mimarisi: Başlangıcı ve gelişmesi ( (in Turkish). AKM Publications,  
  • "Turkmen Ruling Dynasties in Asia Minor"


  1. ^ The New Islamic Dynasties: A Chronological and Genealogical Manual, Clifford Edmund Bosworth, Edinburgh University Press, p.215, Online
  2. ^ Claude Cahen cited in Donald Sidney Richards (2006). The Chronicle of  
  3. ^ Fisher, p. 8.
  4. ^ "Turkmen Ruling Dynasties in Asia Minor".
  5. ^ a b c d Danishmendids, I. Melikoff, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, ed. B. Lewis, C. Pellat and J. Schacht, (Brill, 1986), 111.
  6. ^ Dr. Mürselin Güney. "History of Ünye"All Danishmend rulers are referred to as "Melik Gazi" by the general public (in Turkish). 
  7. ^ Bryer, Anthony (1980). The Empire of Trebizond and the Pontos. Historical Journal, University of Birmingham. p. 170. 
  8. ^ Ocak, Murat. The Turks: Middle ages. p. 202. 
  9. ^ Khidr and the Changing Frontiers of the Medieval World, Ethel Sara Wolper, Confronting the Borders of Medieval Art, ed. Jill Caskey, Adam S. Cohen, Linda Safran, (Brill, 2011), 136.


See also

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 1166-1172 Killed in palace revolt.[5]
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



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