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Kutlushah, Kutluka (died 1307), (Mongol: Qutlugh-Shah, or Cotlesse in Frank sources), was a general under the Mongol Ilkhanate ruler Ghazan at the end the 13th century. He was particularly active in the Christian country of Georgia and especially during the Mongol invasion of Syria, until his ignominious defeat in 1303 led to his banishment. Kutlushah was from the Qongqotan clan of the Mongols. He was killed during the conquest of Gilan in 1307.

Early life[edit]

Kutlushah was a member of the Qonkhoton clan in Mongolia. He became a companion of then prince Ghazan in Khorasan when the prince was still a teenager.

Georgian campaigns[edit]

Kutlushah had an important role in the Kingdom of Georgia, where he owned lands, and his family was well known. He was often used as an intermediary and ambassador to negotiate with King David VIII who consistently opposed Mongol rule.[1]

When David VIII required reassurances from the Mongols, in the shape of promises and hostages, Kutlushah provided his own sons together with the sons of other Mongol princes, and brought the Ghazan's ring. These reassurances help establish more confident relations between the Georgians and the Mongols, as the Georgians were key in maintaining the northern defenses of the Il-Khan realm against the Golden Horde.[2]

In 1298 and 1300, Kutlushah led the repression against popular revolts in the lands of David VIII.[3]

1301 offensive[edit]

Mongol offensive led by Kutlushah

In 1300 Ghazan had promised a major invasion of Syria. However, he ended up sending a smaller force In February 1301, under Kutlushah. The force of approximately 60,000, did little else than engage in some raids around Syria. Kutlushah stationed 20,000 horsemen in the Jordan valley to protect Damas, where a Mongol governor was stationed.[4] Soon however, they had to withdraw. According to the medieval historian Templar of Tyre:

"That year [1300], a message came to Cyprus from Ghazan, king of the Tatars, saying that he would come during the winter, and that he wished that the Franks join him in Armenia (...) Amalric of Lusignan, Constable of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, arrived in November (...) and brought with him 300 knights, and as many or more of the Templars and Hospitallers (...) In February a great admiral of the Tatars, named Cotlesser ([Kutlushah]), came to Antioch with 60,000 horsemen, and requested the visit of the king of Armenia, who came with Guy of Ibelin, Count of Jaffa, and John, lord of Giblet. And when they arrived, Cotlesse told them that Ghazan had met great trouble of wind and cold on his way. Cotlesse raided the land from Haleppo to La Chemelle, and returned to his country without doing more."

— Le Templier de Tyre, Chap 620-622[5]

1303 offensive[edit]

Ghazan ordering Hethum II, King of Armenia, to accompany Kutlushah on the 1303 attack on Damascus.[6]

Kutlushah also led the 1303 Mongol offensive into Syria, with a strong force of about 80,000, plus troops from the Armenians.[7] However Kutlushah, along with another Mongol general Mulay, were defeated with the Armenians at Homs on March 30, 1303, and at the decisive Battle of Shaqhab, south of Damas, on April 21, 1303.[8] Their invasion, decisively repelled by the Egyptian Mamluks, is considered to be the last major Mongol invasion of Syria.[9]

Later life[edit]

According to the Mamluk historian Al-Maqrizi, Kutlushah barely escaped the death penalty for his defeat. Instead, he received the humiliation of being spat upon by all the people present at his judgement, and his generals all received baton strokes as a punishment. Kutlushah was then exiled to the region of Gilan.[10] During the reign of Oljeitu, he was killed in 1307 while leading an army into Gilan where the inhabitants ignored the Ilkhan's demand for submission.


  1. ^ Luisetto, p.141
  2. ^ Luisetto, p.142
  3. ^ Luisetto, p.140
  4. ^ Jean Richard, p.481
  5. ^ Quoted in Demurger, p.147. Original:online
  6. ^ In "Le Royaume Armenien de Cilicie", p.74-75
  7. ^ Demurger, "Jacques de Molay", p.158
  8. ^ Demurger, p. 158
  9. ^ Nicolle, p. 80
  10. ^ Luisetto, p.226


  • Demurger, Alain (2007). Jacques de Molay (in French). Editions Payot&Rivages. ISBN 2-228-90235-7. 
  • Luisetto, Frederic Armeniens et autres Chretiens d'Orient sous la domination mongole, Editions Geuthner, Paris ISBN 978-2-7053-3791-9
  • Nicolle, David (2001). The Crusades. Essential Histories. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-179-4. 
  • Richard, Jean (1996). Histoire des Croisades. Fayard. ISBN 2-213-59787-1. 
  • Wood, Frances (2002). The Silk Road. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24340-4.