DĀNEŠMAND, Amir Ḡāzī Taylu Gümüš-tigin Aḥmad (or Moḥammad) Dānešmand (d. 498/1104), founder of a Turkman dynasty in northern Cappadocia toward the end of the 11th century. The name Dānešmand appears with some variations in Byzantine, European, and Syriac sources (e.g., Anna Comnena, II, p. 111; William of Tyre, Historia Rerum in Fartibus Transmarinis Gestorum, in Houtsma, I, pp. 396-97; Fulcher of Chartres, Gesta Francorum Iherusalem Peregrinantium in Houtsma, III, pp. 368-69; cf. pp. 519, 550-51, 709; Albert of Aix, Historia Hierosolymitana in Houtsma, IV, pp. 524-26, 567, 573, 581; Michael the Syrian, pp. 173, 175, 188). Reports about the origin of Dānešmand have a legendary flavor. For example, the Dānešmand-nāma, an epic romance based on oral traditions, is filled with legendary material and in this respect closely resembles the epics of Abū Moslem Ḵorāsānī and Sayyed Baṭṭāl Ḡāzī. The Byzantine author Nicetas Choniates (pp. 27, 29, 46) attributed an Arsacid lineage to him; according to Matthew of Edessa (p. 256) and following him the Armenian Kirakos Vartan (p. 188), he was of Armenian origin, which is not incompatible with Niketas’ report. Other historians identified him as a nephew of the Saljuq sultan Malekšāh (465-85/107292), sent by the latter to conquer Cappadocia (Niğdeli, fols. 285-86); as a maternal uncle of Solaymān b. Qutulmiš, the first Saljuq ruler of Rūm (470-79/1077-86; Ebn Šaddād, fol. 66a); and as one of the Saljuq commanders at the battle of Malāzgerd (463/1071). In the Dānešmand-nāma he is said to have been, like Baṭṭāl, a native of Malatya. Osman Turan’s suggestion (p. 114) that he was a Saljuq envoy to the Ghaznavid court was based on a misunderstanding of a passage in Abu’l-Fażl Bayhaqī’s Tārīḵ-emasʿūdī (ed. Fayyāż, p. 660) and is thus totally erroneous.
Dānešmand was often mentioned in accounts of the First Crusade in Anatolia. He reportedly joined other Turkish amirs to harass the Crusaders as they marched across northern Anatolia; participated in the defense of Ankara, Kayseri, and Sivas; and fought alongside the Saljuq Qilij Arslan I (485-500/1092-1107) in the battle in which the Crusaders were defeated near Eskişehir. But the exploit that made him famous was the capture of Bohémond, prince of Antioch, who was en route to assist Gabriel at Malatya, under siege by Dānešmand (493/1100). When Baudouin, prince of Edessa, arrived to rescue Bohémond, Dānešmand raised the siege and took his prisoner to Niksar, but he subsequently resumed the siege of Malatya and captured it the next year. In 496/1103 he released Bohémond for ransom and made an alliance with him against the Byzantine emperor Alexius and the Saljuq Qilij Arslan. The alliance came to naught, however, with the death of Dānešmand.
Moḥammad b. ʿAlī ʿAẓīmī, Tārīḵ, Umumi Kütüphane, Istanbul, ms. no. Kara Mustafa Paşa 398 (sub annis 490, 493, 495, 500, 524, 527-28, 535-36, 538).
C. Cahen, Pre-Ottoman Turkey. A General Survey of the Material and Spiritual Culture and History c.1071-1336, New York, 1968.
Nicetas Choniates, Historia, tr. M. Cousin as Histoire de Constantinople V, Paris, 1673.
Anna Comnena, Alexias, ed. A. Reifferscheid, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1884.
Ebn Qalānesī, Ḏayl Taʾrīḵ Demašq, ed. H. F. Amedroz, Beirut, 1908, pp. 138,143, 236, 275, 333.
ʿEzz-al-Dīn Ebn Šaddād, al-Aʿlāq al-ḵaṭīra fī ḏekr omarāʾ al-Šaʾm wa’l-Jazīra, Topkapı Sarayı Library, Istanbul, ms. no. Revan 1564, fol. 159a.
N. T. Houtsma, Recueil des historiens des Croisades. Historiens occidentaux, 5 vols., Paris, 1844-95.
Matthew of Edessa, Urfalı Mateos Vekayi-nāmesi, tr. H. D. Andreasyan, 2nd ed., Ankara, 1987, pp. 204, 218, 221, 225.
I. Mélikoff, La geste de Melik Dānişmend. Étude critique du Dānişmendnāme, 2 vols., Paris, 1960.
Michael the Syrian, Chronique du Michel le Syrien, ed. and tr. J. B. Chabot, III, Paris 1910.
Qāżī Aḥmad Niğdeli, al-Walad al-šafīq, Süleimaniye Library, Istanbul, ms. no. Fatih 4519.
O. Turan, Selçuklular zamanında Türkiye tarihi, Istanbul, 1984, index, s.v.
Kirakos Varian, Türk fütühat tarihi, tr. H. D. Andreasyan, I/2, Istanbul, 1937.
William of Tyre, Chronicle, ed. M. Paulin-Paris, 2 vols., Paris, 1879-80.
M. H. Yınanç, Anadolu’nun fethi, Istanbul, 1944.
Idem, “Danişmendliler,” İA III, pp. 468-75.
Originally Published: December 15, 1993
Last Updated: November 14, 2011
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Vol. VI, Fasc. 6, pp. 654-655