Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Battle of Manzikert in 1071

In the Battle of Manzikert, fought in a region of Armenia held by the Turks, the army of the Byzantine Empire under Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes was defeated by a Seljuk Turkish army under Sultan Arp-Arslan.

The battle was the first major defeat of a Byzantine army by the Seljuk Turks. The battle took place near Lake Van in eastern Anatolia. Before the battle, the Byzantine Empire appeared mighty, and it controlled more territory that it had for centuries.

Concerned about Turkic nomads who were increasingly encroaching on Byzantine territories, in the spring of 1071, the Byzantine Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes assembled an army of 60, 000 men an move eastward, intending to drive the Seljuk Turks, led by Sultan Alp-Arslan, from Anatolia.

Romanus’ forces encountered the Seljuk horde of 100, 000 mounted bowmen on the plain of Manzikert in eastern Turley on 26 August. The Turks avoided close engagement, harassing the Byzantine troops from a distance with arrows.

In the afternoon Romanus’ troops drove the Turks for some distance, capturing the Turks’ camp, but at dusk, he ordered a withdrawal. The withdrawal was not well executed and the Seljuks pressed the Byzantine forces severely. Romanus suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hand of the Seljuks and was captured in the battle, allowing the powerful Ducas family to seize control of Constantinople before Romanus was released.

The Battle of Manzikert began the long slow Byzantine retreat which ended with the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
Battle of Manzikert in 1071
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