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Dynasty: Seljuks of Rum
Ruler: Ghiyath al din Kai Khusru II
Reigned: 634-643 AH,1236-1245 AD
Denomination: AR Dirhem
Mint: Siwas
Date of Issue: 639 AH, 1241 AD
Obverse: Sun above Lion and Stars. Above, titles of the Caliph Mustansir
Reverse: Outside, inscription in square design, "Struck at Siwas". Inside, on four lines, "The very great Sultan/ help of the World and of the Faith/ Kai-Khusru / son of Kai-Qubad"
Reference: MW1 983, Album 1218
Weight: 3.2 gms
Diameter: 29.8 mm

The Seljuks of Rum (1078-1307) and Kai Khusru II (1236-1245)

The Seljuks were Ghuzz Turkoman tribesmen who original lived around the Jaxartes River and in the 10th century A.D., had been converted to Islam. They moved into the Bukhara region around 985 A.D. under the Samanid rulers. With the rise of Mahmud of Ghazni, Mahmud established the Seljuks in the frontier region of Khorasan, but they rebelled against Mahmud’s son Mas’ud, defeating them near Merv in 1040 A.D. Tughril Beg, their leader, occupied Persia, capturing Baghdad in 1055 A.D., where the Caliph el-Qa’im welcomed him as a deliverer from the Buwaiyids.

Tughril Beg’s son, Alp Arslan, 1063-72 A.D., directed Seljuk conquests Westwards, defeating and capturing the Byzantine emperor Romanus IV at Manzikert in 1071 AD. Alp’s son, Malik Shah, 1072-92 A.D., held the Empire together, dividing it up into provinces ruled by princes with their own armies. After Malik Shah’s death these provinces were taken over piecemeal by army officers, who were known as Atabegs. The Seljuks that moved into Anatolia, modern day Turkey, became known as the Seljuk Sultans of Rum, 'Rum' being a corruption of 'Rome', since the territory had belonged to the Byzantine or Roman Empire.

Ghiyath al din Kai Khusru II gained the throne by killing his two half brothers and their Ayyubid mother along with many military commanders and dignitaries. He had some success in the southeastern part of his realm by annexing Amida (Diyarbakir), but then in 1239, a three-year religio-political uprising led by the popular preacher Baba Ishaq broke out among the Turkmens in southeastern and central Anatolia. After finally quashing this revolt, he was faced by a far more dangerous threat as the Mongols moved in, taking Erzurum in 1242. In 1243 Kay-Khusraw II was defeated by the Mongol commander Bayju at Köse Dag between Sivas and Erzincan, and the Anatolian Seljuqs passed under Mongol suzerainty as vassals. Kay-Khusraw II fled to Antalya.

The most interesting of all Seljuk dirhems are those of Kai-Khusru II. This sultan was madly in love with his beautiful Georgian wife, and he wanted to put her portrait on his coins; but, this not being approved of by his advisers, he put his wife’s horoscope on his coins instead - the Sun in Leo. Or so the story goes.

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