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What is behind the sun and lion figure ?


Thamara is daughter of Rosudan, the Queen of Georgia.  His father is one of the sons of Toghril Shah, the Malik of Arzurum.  So, Thamara is granddaughter of Toghril Shah.  Rosudan married to this Seljuq Prince in 629 AH, 1223 AD.  We do not know his name. He adopted Christianity to marry with Rosudan.  But afterwards, when Thamara’s father noticed that there was an affair between his wife Rosudan and one of her slaves, the husband-wife relations of the couple upset.  Finally, Rosudan put her husband in prison.  When Jalal al-Din Khwarezmshah (Mengubirti), coming from the East, captured Tiflis, set the Seljuq prince free from the prison and treated him well.  However after Jalal al-Din went away toward Khalat, Thamara’s father reunited with Georgians and took Tiflis back.  Jalal al-Din Khwarezmshah was defeated by Ala al-Din Kay-Kubadh I in the battle of Yassıçimen.  Following Jalal al-Din, Mongols came in Caucasia and began to raid in Eastern Anatolia.  Also Rosudan was at the side of Mongols and supporting these raids.  Kay-Kubadh sent an army under the command of Kemal al-Din Kamyar over Georgia.  By seeing there was no hope against Seljuq army, Rosudan proposed a treaty and her proposal was accepted.  According to one of the entries of this treaty, Rosudan should give her daughter Thamara to Kay-Khusraw II., one of the sons of Kay-Kubadh.  So began the story of Kay-Khusraw and Thamara.

Kay-Khusraw II.

Kay-Khusraw II is the eldest son of Kay-Kubadh.  His mother was Mah-Peri Khatun.  Mah-Peri is the daughter of Kyr Vart, the King of Alaiye.  After Kay-Kubadh had captured Alaiye, he had married to Kyr Vart’s daughter too.  Kay-Kubadh had two more sons also, Izz al-Din Qilich Arslan and Rukn al-Din, whose mother was Melike Adiliyye, an Ayyubid princess.  Kay-Khusraw was quite weak in personality. For this reason, Kay-Kubadh wanted his second son Qilich Arslan to become the Sultan, after his death, instead of his eldest son Kay-Khusraw.  But, on the contrary of his wish, upon his death in 634 AH 1237 AD, his commanders leading by Saadeddin Köpek, brought Kay-Khusraw II to the throne.  First, Kay-Khusraw II was married to Gaziye Hatun, an Ayyubid Princess, the daughter of Malik al-Nasir Salah el-Din Yusuf II, of Dimashq.  It is known that one of Kay-Khusraw’s wives was a Mangujakid Princess.  His two other wives were from Christian families in Konya.  One of these was Berduliye Hatun who was the mother of Kay-Ka’us II and Kay-Kubadh II.  The other Christian wife, whose name we do not know, was the mother of Qilich Arslan IV.  Beside all of these wives, Kay-Khusraw II was engaged with Thamara too.

Kay-Khusraw II, after putting the things in order, sent a special committee leading by one of his viziers Shahab al-Din Kirmani to Tiflis, to bring his fiancée, Thamara.  Kay-Khusraw moved to Kayseri to meet Thamara, and there they married with a glamorous wedding ceremony.  Among his wives, Kay-Khusraw loved Thamara most. It is being said that this is why he had the sun and lion figure, known as şir-i hurşid,  put on his coins, the sun symbolizing Thamara, and the lion, himself. At the beginning Thamara maintained as a Christian.  But after a while, she became a good Muslim and was given the name of Gürcü Hatun.  Also it is said that she had good friendships with the wise men of the time and even with Mevlana Jalal al-Din Rumi.

Among the Kay-Khusraw II coins bearing the sun and lion figure, the lion figure has little differences, if any,  from one coin to the other.  Look at the most different one, at which the tail of the lion is straight instead of being curved between two hind legs.  Look at the most beautiful lion.

Besides, the sun representing Thamara shows more differences than the lion both in expression of the face and in the design of the rays.  See all of them together.