Battle of Köse Dağ

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Battle of Köse Dağ
Part of the Mongol invasions of Anatolia
Bataille de Közä Dagh (1243).jpeg
The Mongols chasing the Seljuqs. Hayton of Corycus, Fleur des histoires d'orient.
DateJune 26, 1243
Kösedağ (about 60 km east of Sivas)[2]
Result Decisive Mongol victory
The Sultanate of Rum and the Empire of Trebizond became vassals of the Mongols.
Mongol Empire
Armenian & Georgian Mercenaries[1]
Seljuq Sultanate of Rum
Georgian Auxiliaries
Trapezuntine Auxiliaries
Latin Mercenaries
Commanders and leaders
Baiju Kaykhusraw II
Pharadavla of Akhaltsikhe
Dardin Shervashidze 
30,000[3][4]-40,000[5][6] 60,000[3][6]-80,000[4]
(20,000–25,000 participated, the rest deserted)[5][7][8][9]
Casualties and losses
5,000 approximately 3,000 killed[5]

The Battle of Köse Dağ was fought between the Sultanate of Rum ruled by the Seljuq dynasty and the Mongol Empire on June 26, 1243 at the defile of Köse Dağ, a location between Erzincan and Gümüşhane in modern northeastern Turkey.[10][11] The Mongols achieved a decisive victory.


During the reign of Ögedei Khan, the Sultanate of Rum offered friendship and a modest tribute to Chormaqan, a kheshig and one of the Mongols' greatest generals.[12] Under Kaykhusraw II, however, the Mongols began to pressure the sultan to go to Mongolia in person, give hostages and accept a Mongol darughachi.


Under the leadership of Baiju, the Mongol commander, the Mongols attacked Rum in the winter of 1242-1243 and seized the city of Erzurum. Sultan Kaykhusraw II immediately called on his neighbours to contribute troops to resist the invasion. The Empire of Trebizond sent a detachment and the sultan engaged a group of "Frankish" mercenaries.[13] A few Georgian nobles such as Pharadavla of Akhaltsikhe and Dardin Shervashidze also joined him, but most Georgians were compelled to fight alongside their Mongol overlords.

The decisive battle was fought at Köse Dağ on June 26, 1243. The primary sources do not record the size of the opposing armies but suggest that the Mongols faced a numerically superior force.[14] Baiju brushed aside an apprehensive notice from his Georgian officer regarding the size of the Seljuq army by stating that they counted as nothing the numbers of their enemies: "the more they are, the more glorious it is to win, and the more plunder we shall secure".[15]

Kaykhusraw II rejected the proposal of his experienced commanders to wait for the Mongol attack. Instead, he sent a force of 20,000 men, led by inexperienced commanders, against the Mongol army.[7] The Mongol army, pretending a retreat, turned back, encircled the Seljuq army and defeated it.[9]

When the rest of the Seljuq army witnessed their defeat, many Seljuq commanders and their soldiers, including Kaykhusraw II, started to abandon the battlefield.[7] Eventually, the Seljuq army was left without leaders and most of their soldiers had deserted, without seeing any combat.[7][9]

After their victory, the Mongols took control of the cities of Sivas and Kayseri. The sultan fled to Antalya but was subsequently forced to make peace with Baiju and pay a substantial tribute to the Mongol Empire.


The defeat resulted in a period of turmoil in Anatolia and led directly to the decline and disintegration of the Seljuq state. The Empire of Trebizond became a vassal state of the Mongol Empire. Furthermore, the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia became a vassal state of the Mongols.[16] Real power over Anatolia was exercised by the Mongols.[17]


  1. John Freely, Children of Achilles: The Greeks in Asia Minor since the Days of Troy, (I.B. Tauris, 2010), 143.
  2. Enver Behnan Şapolyo: Selçuklu İmparatorluğu tarihi, Güven Matbaasi, 1972, page 191 (in Turkish)
  3. 3.0 3.1 S. Burhanettin Akbaş: Kayseri yöresine yerleşen Türk boyları ve akraba topluluklar, Geçit, 1997, page 45 (in Turkish) [Source states= Mongol army: 30,000 men; Seljuq army: 70,000 men]
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ali Çimen, Göknur Akçadağ Göğebakan: Tarihi değiştiren savaşlar (engl.: Wars that changed history) ,Timaş Yayınevi, 2. Edition, 2007, ISBN 975-263-486-9, pg 134 (in Turkish) [Source states= Mongol army: 30,000 men; Seljuq army: 80,000 men]
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Hüseyin Köroğlu: Konya ve Anadolu medreseleri, Fen Yayınevi, 1999, pages 29, 367. (in Turkish)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Anadolu University, I. Uluslararası Seyahatnamelerde Türk ve Batı İmajı Sempozyumu belgeleri: 28. X-1 XI. 1985, page 28 (in Turkish) [Source states: Mongol army= 40,000 men; Seljuq army= 60,000 men]
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Ali Sevim, Erdoğan Merçil: Selçuklu devletleri tarihi: siyaset, teşkilât ve kültür, Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 1995, ISBN 9789751606907, page 472 (in Turkish)
  8. Murat Ocak: The Turks: Middle ages, Yeni Türkiye, 2002, ISBN 9756782552
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Nuri Ünlü: İslâm tarihi 1, Marmara Üniversitesi, İlâhiyat Fakültesi Vakfı, 1992, ISBN 9755480072, page 492. (in Turkish)
  10. Anthony Bryer and David Winfield, The Byzantine Monuments and Topography of the Pontos, vol. 1, (Washington D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1985) 172, 353.
  11. Köy Köy Türkiye Yol Atlası (Istanbul: Mapmedya, 2006), map 61.
  12. C. P. Atwood, Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, p. 555
  13. Claude Cahen, Pre-Ottoman Turkey: a general survey of the material and spiritual culture and history, trans. J. Jones-Williams, (New York: Taplinger, 1968) 137.
  14. Claude Cahen, “Köse Dagh” Encyclopaedia of Islam, ed. by P. Bearman, et al. (Brill 2007)
  15. Henry Desmond Martin, "The Mongol army", Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1943/1-2, pp. 46–85
  16. İdris Bal, Mustafa Çufalı: Dünden bugüne Türk Ermeni ilişkileri, Nobel, 2003, ISBN 9755914889, page 61.
  17. Josef W. Meri, Jere L. Bacharach-Medieval Islamic Civilization: A-K, index, p.442

External links

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