The Danishmend dynasty was a Turcoman dynasty ruling in eastern Anatolia in the 11th and 12th centuries. They were the chief rivals of the Sultanate of Rum.
The dynasty was established by a man whose name is not known, but who held the Persian title Danishmend, a term for an educated man (cf. the Iranian Daneshmand magazine). The Danishmend state was a gazi state, a mercenary despotate, not a monarchy like their Seljuk neighbours. They established themselves in Anatolia in the aftermath of the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, in which the Seljuks defeated the Byzantine Empire and captured almost all of Anatolia.
The Danishmends ruled territory between Sivas and Melitene. In 1097 Kilij Arslan I was in the east fighting the Danishmends at Melitene, and in his absence the crusaders captured his capital at Nicaea; the Seljuks and Danishmends then allied against the crusaders but were defeated at the Battle of Dorylaeum.
In 1100 Danishmend's son Malik Ghazi captured Bohemund I of Antioch, who remained in their captivity until 1103. A Seljuk-Danishmend alliance was also responsible for defeating the Crusade of 1101. After the defeat of the crusade, Kilij Arslan established his capital at Konya and continued to fight with the Danishmends. The Danishmends were probably involved in overthrowing Kilij Arslan’s son; they reduced the Sultanate of Rum to Konya and its immediate surroundings.
In 1130 Bohemund II of Antioch was killed in a battle with the Danishmend emir Gumushtugin, after coming to the aid of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, which Gumushtugin had invaded. Gumushtugin died in 1134; his successor Muhammad was weak and the Danishmend state began to decline after his death in 1140, falling under control of the reinvigorated Seljuks.
In 1155 Kilij Arslan II attacked Yaghi-Basan, who sought help from Nur al-Din, the Zengid emir of Mosul. Nur al-Din captured Sivas in 1173, but was more concerned with his territory to the south. The Danishmends were eventually defeated and incorporated into Seljuk territory by 1178, after the Seljuk victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Myriocephalon.