Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Köse Dağ (1243)

When the Mongols expanded west in the 13th century, they were certainly not the first steppe people to make that journey. In fact, it was a group of ex-slaves who’d already come from the Eurasian steppe (albeit involuntarily), the Mamluks, who eventually ended the Mongols’ westward expansion at the Battle of Ayn Jalut in 1260. And several years earlier than that, the Mongols bumped into another people, the Seljuks, who had migrated out of Central Asia and at one time established a vast Middle Eastern empire of their own. That empire was already gone by 1243, but the Seljuks still ruled Anatolia, or as they called it the Sultanate of Rum, which they’d conquered from the Byzantine Empire starting with their victory in the 1071 Battle of Manzikert.

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