Sultan Alâeddin Keykubat I

Anadolu Selçuklu Devleti Sultanı

31 Mayıs, 1237

Sultan of Anatolian Seljuk Empire (Seljuk-i Rumi) (B. 1190 – D. May 31st, 1237, Kayseri). There were three sultans of Anatolian Seljuks named - Alâeddin Keykubad. Among those sultans, Alâeddin Keykubad I, the son of Gıyâseddin Kaykhusraw I, were well educated. According to the Turkish-Islamic tradition, Emir Seyfeddin, Ayaba and Emir Bedreddin Gevhertaş were appointed as his Atabegs (Atabeg or Atabey: high ranking officers who educated and trained Seljuk princes). In addition to Turkish, which was his mother language, he learned Persian, Greek, and Arabic. Also, he learned Islamic information and astronomy. He learned state affairs and administration by being assigned as melik (governor) of Tokat and gained experience in that field in 1205. Upon his father’s death, his brother Izzeddin Kaykaus I became sultan. Keykubad marched on his brother in Kayseri by agreeing with Tugrul Shah, the governor of Erzurum, who didn’t accept Kaykaus becoming the sultan and wanted to succeed the throne. But when his supporters allied with his brother, he took refuge in the Castle of Ankara. Kaykaus, by laying siege to the Castle of Ankara captured Keykubad and imprisoned him in Castle of Minşar in Malatya.

Alâeddin Keykubad, after the death of Kaykaus in 1220, like the three preceding Seljuk sultans before him, ascended to the throne by being chosen by the great statesmen and commanders such as Governor Seyfeddîn Ayaba, Emîr-i Âhûr Zeyneddîn Beşâra, Emîr-i Meclis Mübârizeddîn Behramşâh and Bahâeddîn Kutluğca.

In the period of his reign he followed the policy of Kaykaus which was expanding and becoming a great state. The most brilliant period of the Anatolian Seljuk Empire was experienced during his reign: First, he took the castle of Kalonoros from the Armenians by taking advantage of the conflict between Armenians and the Eastern Latin. He re-built and enclosed the city with solid walls, which was then named Alâiye (Alanya) in honor of the Sultan. Alâeddin Keykubad re- built the castle of the city (Castle of Alanya) by setting up a shipyard and an arsenal. Upon the suffering of merchants from Armenians on the land and European pirates on the water, he annexed the entire coastline from İçel to Antalya to his territory.

Meanwhile, since the ruler of Diyarbakır, Mesud of Artuqids, cancelled the Khutbah that was in the name of Keykubad and sent an army under the command of Mubarezeddin Çavlı. This army, defeating Mesud, captured some fortresses such as Çemişgezek. In addition, they put the forces to rout that were sent for help by the Ayyubid ruler Melik Eşref. After that, Alâeddin Keykubad, who wanted to get on well with Ayyubids, released the Ayyubid commanders, who were held captive and let Melik Mesud hold his place, in return of some gifts.

Sultan Alâeddin had a navy built in Sinop to break the power of the Roman Empire of Trebizond. Meanwhile due to the complaints of the Seljuk merchants, he assigned Hüsameddin Çoban, Emir of Kastamonu, for the expedition on Crimea with Black sea Navy. Emir Çoban seized the city of Sugdak which was an important trade center. He had a mosque built in the city and established a garrison. Thus, the Russians had to recognize the domination of the Seljuk on Sugdak.

Alâeddin  Keykubad, by sending an army under the command of Mübârizeddîn Çavlı and Mübârizeddîn Ertokuş in order to punish small kingdom of Armenia threatening the trade routes coming from south, annexed İçel with Seljuk territory. Therefore, entire coastline from İçel to Antalya became the part of Anatolian Seljuk Empire. Due to the danger of Mongol invasion into Anatolia, he improved his relations with the Ayyubids in 1226. Alâeddin Keykubad, upon hearing about the cooperation established by Davud Shah b. Behramshah, who ruled the Mengujekids between 1226-28 with Tugrul Shah, Harzemshah Sultan Celaleddin Mengüberti and Alâeddin, the leader of Ismailiyya against Anatolian Seljuks, he took action against them and annexed Erzincan, Kemah and Şebinkarahisar to the country. In the meantime, the last Harzemshah Sultan Celaleddin Mengüberti attacked Ahlat. He crushed Celaleddin who was allied with Trebizond Empire in the Battle of Yassı Çemen in 1230 and then easily captured Erzurum.

Alâeddin Keykubad made the greatest mistake of his reign by fighting Celaleddin Harzemshah. These battles between the Muslim-Turkish countries facilitated the advance of Mongols in to Anatolia. In particular, because the power of Harzemshah was broken, there was no significant power before the Mongols.

Indeed, Mongols, under the command of Gergoman Noyan, burnt down the region by coming to Sivas. Seljuk forces were not able to catch the Mongols although they followed them to as far as Erzurum. After noticing that this raid had been provoked by Georgian Queen Rosudan, he launched an expedition on Georgia. In the battles fought against Georgians, Georgian forces were put to rout and some castles in Georgia were left to Anatolian Seljuks according to the agreement. Alâeddin Keykubad, who foresaw the Mongol danger, reinforced the eastern borders. During this reinforcement, Ahlat was conquered. But the conquest disturbed the Ayyubids. After defeating the army that was sent by the Ayyubids in the south of Taurus Mountains, he captured Harput and Urfa. Alâeddin Keykubad, by expertly manipulating the Mongol ambassadors before he died, protected Anatolia from Mongol invasion.

Alâeddin Keykubad was a scientist as well as a great politician and soldier. He gathered the scholars in the palace and protected them. The important figures of that period like Necmeddîn Dâye, Ahmed b. Mahmudi Tûsî el-Kâniî, Ahi Evren chose Anatolia to live due to the features of his sultanate and character. Also Bahaeddin Veled and his son Mevlânâ Celaleddin-i Rumi, who grew up in his reign and near him, and Sadreddin Konevî had great effects in the cultural life in Anatolia. It was recorded that he was interested in history and read “Siyasetnâme” of Nizam al-Mulk,Kimyâ-yı Saâdet” of Gazzâlî and Kâbûsnâme” of Keykavus b. Iskender.

Alâeddin Keykubad managed to have the country that he took over in good condition reach the climax during his reign of seventeen years by further improving it in every aspect. Undoubtedly, one of the biggest factors in his success was his emphasize on trade. Based on two major port cities Antalya (1207) and Sinop (1214) conquered by his father, he expanded the country's coastline and gave great importance to building navy movement and bringing the north-south line into trade. Particularly making Alanya a prosperous port of Seljuk (1221-22) and with the agreements signed with the republic of Venice and Kingdom of Cyprus the positions of the Seljuks and the related merchants were strengthened a lot in the trade of the region.

Alâeddin Keykubad had good relations with Non-Muslim citizens as well as Muslim citizens. As Giragos from Gence told, when the Sultan returned from the Yassı Çemen Battle near Kayseri, Muslims with their Imams and Christians with their priests and musical instruments went to welcome the Sultan. Muslims, pushing them back, tried to prevent them from greeting and congratulating the Sultan before they did, then Christians showed themselves by getting on top of a hill. Alâeddin Keykubad, who noticed that Christian citizens stood away, left the encampment and went to them and wanted them to play their instruments and sing their songs loudly. To set an example he entered city in their midst gave them gifts and donations. Turcoman called him “Uluğ Sultan” and the source writer of the era, İbn Bibi, called him with the name and title of “Uluğ Keykubâd”.

           During the Alâeddin Keykubad reign, there were great and vast construction movements. The remains of the caravansary, castles and palaces still stand in the different places of Anatolia. One of the two palaces, of which the building dates are not known, is Keykubad Palace, which is on the Kayseri route, and the other one is Kubadâbâd Palace on the Konya- Beyşehir route. In addition to those, the Konya Darüşşifası (Darüşşifâ-i Alâiye) which was recorded in its foundation certificate-charter even there is no trace of the building. As it is known, there is a hot spring among the healthcare buildings that Sultan Alâeddin Keykubad had had built in 1236.

Alâeddin Keykubad I was killed by being poisoned in a feast he had given in Kayseri in 1237. He was buried in a mausoleum called “Kümbedhane” which had been built by Sultan Mesud (1116-57) on the Alâeddin hill. Alâeddin Mosque in Konya was built in 1220 by the Seljuk sultan Alâeddin Keykubat as Ulu Mosque of Konya. To show the magnificence of the country, an aggregate hill was built in the center of Konya, where the landforms are mostly plains. Seljuks built a palace on the hill and on top of that they had built a mosque.



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