Battle of Manzikert

The Battle of Manzikert was fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Seljuk Empire on 26 August 1071 near Manzikert, theme of Iberia (modern Malazgirt in Muş Province, Turkey). The decisive defeat of the Byzantine army and the capture of the Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes[9] played an important role in undermining Byzantine authority in Anatolia and Armenia,[10] and allowed for the gradual Turkification of Anatolia. Many of the Turks, who had been, during the 11th century, travelling westward, saw the victory at Manzikert as an entrance to Asia Minor.[11]

The brunt of the battle was borne by the professional soldiers from the eastern and western tagmata, as large numbers of mercenaries and Anatolian levies fled early and survived the battle.[12] The fallout from Manzikert was disastrous for the Byzantines, resulting in civil conflicts and an economic crisis that severely weakened the Byzantine Empire's ability to adequately defend its borders.[13] This led to the mass movement of Turks into central Anatolia—by 1080, an area of 78,000 square kilometres (30,000 sq mi) had been gained by the Seljuk Turks. It took three decades of internal strife before Alexius I (1081 to 1118) restored stability to Byzantium. Historian Thomas Asbridge says: "In 1071, the Seljuqs crushed an imperial army at the Battle of Manzikert (in eastern Asia Minor), and though historians no longer consider this to have been an utterly cataclysmic reversal for the Greeks, it still was a stinging setback."[14] It was the first time in history a Byzantine Emperor had become the prisoner of a Muslim commander.[15]

Battle of Manzikert
Part of the Byzantine–Seljuq wars
131 Bataille de Malazgirt

In this 15th-century French miniature depicting the Battle of Manzikert, the combatants are clad in contemporary Western European armour.
Date26 August 1071

Decisive Seljuk victory

Byzantine Empire
  • Frankish, English, Norman, Georgian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Turkic Pecheneg and Cuman mercenaries
Seljuk Empire
Commanders and leaders
Romanos IV (POW)
Nikephoros Bryennios
Theodore Alyates
Andronikos Doukas
Alp Arslan
Afshin Bey
Artuk Bey
Kutalmışoğlu Suleyman
(Orig. 40,000; half deserted before battle) (Turkic mercenaries defected to the Seljuk side)
Casualties and losses

Killed: 2,000[8]-8,000[6] Captured: 4,000[8]

Deserted: 20,000[5]


Although the Byzantine Empire had remained strong and powerful in the Middle Ages,[16] it began to decline under the reign of the militarily incompetent Constantine IX and again under Constantine X—a brief two-year period of reform under Isaac I merely delayed the decay of the Byzantine army.[17]

About 1053 Constantine IX disbanded what the historian John Skylitzes calls the "Iberian Army", which consisted of 50,000 men and it was turned as a contemporary Droungarios of the Watch. Twoother knowledgeable contemporaries, the former officials Michael Attaleiates and Kekaumenos, agree with Skylitzes that by demobilizing these soldiers Constantine did catastrophic harm to the Empire's eastern defenses. Constantine made a truce with the Seljuks that lasted until 1064, but a large Seljuk army under Alp Arslan attacked the theme of Iberia and took Ani; after a siege of 25 days, they captured the city and slaughtered its population.[18]

In 1068 Romanos IV took power, and after some speedy military reforms entrusted Manuel Comnenus (nephew of Isaac I Comnenus) to lead an expedition against the Seljuks. Manuel captured Hierapolis Bambyce in Syria, next thwarted a Turkish attack against Iconium with a counter-attack,[9] but was then defeated and captured by the Seljuks under the Sultan Alp Arslan. Despite his success Alp Arslan was quick to seek a peace treaty with the Byzantines, signed in 1069; he saw the Fatimids in Egypt as his main enemy and had no desire to be diverted by unnecessary hostilities.[6]

In February 1071, Romanos sent envoys to Alp Arslan to renew the 1069 treaty, and keen to secure his northern flank against attack, Alp Arslan happily agreed.[6] Abandoning the siege of Edessa, he immediately led his army to attack Fatimid-held Aleppo. However, the peace treaty had been a deliberate distraction: Romanos now led a large army into Armenia to recover the lost fortresses before the Seljuks had time to respond.[6]


Accompanying Romanos was Andronicus Ducas, son of his rival, John Ducas. The army consisted of about 5,000 professional Byzantine troops from the western provinces and probably about the same number from the eastern provinces. This included 500 Frankish and Norman mercenaries under Roussel de Bailleul, some Turkic (Uz and Pecheneg) and Bulgarian mercenaries, infantry under the duke of Antioch, a contingent of Georgian and Armenian troops and some (but not all) of the Varangian Guard to total around 40,000 men.[19] The quantity of the provincial troops had declined in the years prior to Romanos, as the government diverted funding to mercenaries who were judged less likely to be involved in politics and could be disbanded after use to save money.

Alp Arslan led the Seljuq Turks to victory against the Byzantine annexation of Manzikert in 1071.

The march across Asia Minor was long and difficult and Romanos did not endear himself to his troops by bringing a luxurious baggage train along with him. The local population also suffered some plundering by his Frankish mercenaries, whom he was obliged to dismiss. The expedition rested at Sebasteia on the river Halys, reaching Theodosiopolis in June 1071. There, some of his generals suggested continuing the march into Seljuk territory and catching Alp Arslan before he was ready. Others, including Nicephorus Bryennius, suggested they wait and fortify their position. It was decided to continue the march.

Thinking that Alp Arslan was either further away or not coming at all, Romanos marched towards Lake Van, expecting to retake Manzikert rather quickly and the nearby fortress of Khliat if possible. Alp Arslan was already in the area, however, with allies and 30,000 cavalry from Aleppo and Mosul. Alp Arslan's scouts knew exactly where Romanos was, while Romanos was completely unaware of his opponent's movements.

Malazkirt Manzikert battle campaign map 1071
Having made peace with the Byzantines, the Seljuks intended to attack Egypt, until Alp Arslan learned in Aleppo of the Byzantine advance. He returned north and met the Byzantines north of Lake Van.

Romanos ordered his general Joseph Tarchaniotes to take some of the regular troops and the Varangians and accompany the Pechenegs and Franks to Khliat, while Romanos and the rest of the army marched to Manzikert. This split the forces into halves of about 20,000 men each. It is unknown what happened to the army sent off with Tarchaniotes — according to Islamic sources, Alp Arslan smashed this army, yet Roman sources make no mention of any such encounter and Attaliates suggests that Tarchaniotes fled at the sight of the Seljuk Sultan — an unlikely event considering the reputation of the Roman general. Either way, Romanos' army was reduced to less than half his planned 40,000 men.[19]


Alp Arslan summoned his army and delivered a speech by appearing in a white robe similar to an Islamic funeral shroud in the morning of the battle.[20] This was an encouraging message that he was ready to die in battle. Romanos was unaware of the loss of Tarchaneiotes and continued to Manzikert, which he easily captured on 23 August; the Seljuks responded with heavy incursions of bowmen.[21] The next day, some foraging parties under Bryennios discovered the Seljuk army and were forced to retreat back to Manzikert. Romanos sent the Armenian general Basilakes and some cavalry, as Romanos did not believe this was Alp Arslan's full army. The cavalry was destroyed and Basilakes taken prisoner. Romanos drew up his troops into formation and sent the left wing out under Bryennios, who was almost surrounded by the quickly approaching Turks and was forced to retreat once more. The Seljuk forces hid among the nearby hills for the night, making it nearly impossible for Romanos to counterattack.[9][22]

Byzantium vs Seljuk c 1071
Byzantine territory (purple), Byzantine attacks (red) and Seljuk attacks (green)

On 25 August, some of Romanos' Turkic mercenaries came into contact with their Seljuk kin and deserted. Romanos then rejected a Seljuk peace embassy. He wanted to settle the eastern question and the persistent Turkic incursions and settlements with a decisive military victory, and he understood that raising another army would be both difficult and expensive. The Emperor attempted to recall Tarchaneiotes, who was no longer in the area. There were no engagements that day, but on 26 August the Byzantine army gathered itself into a proper battle formation and began to march on the Turkish positions, with the left wing under Bryennios, the right wing under Theodore Alyates, and the centre under the emperor. At that moment, a Turkish soldier said to Alp Arslan, "My Sultan, the enemy army is approaching", and Alp Arslan is said to have replied, "Then we are also approaching them". Andronikos Doukas led the reserve forces in the rear—a foolish mistake, considering the loyalties of the Doukids. The Seljuks were organized into a crescent formation about four kilometres away.[23] Seljuk archers attacked the Byzantines as they drew closer; the centre of their crescent continually moved backwards while the wings moved to surround the Byzantine troops.

The Byzantines held off the arrow attacks and captured Alp Arslan's camp by the end of the afternoon. However, the right and left wings, where the arrows did most of their damage, almost broke up when individual units tried to force the Seljuks into a pitched battle; the Seljuk cavalry simply disengaged when challenged, the classic hit and run tactics of steppe warriors. With the Seljuks avoiding battle, Romanos was forced to order a withdrawal by the time night fell. However, the right wing misunderstood the order, and Doukas, as a rival of Romanos, deliberately ignored the emperor and marched back to the camp outside Manzikert, rather than covering the emperor's retreat. With the Byzantines thoroughly confused, the Seljuks seized the opportunity and attacked.[9] The Byzantine right wing was almost immediately routed, thinking they were betrayed either by the Armenians or the army's Turkish auxiliaries. Some authors suppose that Armenians were the first to flee and they all managed to get away, while by contrast the Turkish auxiliaries remained loyal to the end.[24] Other sources suggest that Armenian infantry were stoutly resisting and not turning tail and did not abandon the emperor as many had. When Romanos saw the boldness of the Armenian foot soldiers, he displayed great affection for them and promised them unheard of rewards. In the end, the emperor's personal troops and these Armenian foot soldiers suffered the heaviest casualties in the Byzantine army.[25] The left wing under Bryennios held out a little longer but was also soon routed.[12] The remnants of the Byzantine centre, including the Emperor and the Varangian Guard, were encircled by the Seljuks. Romanos was injured and taken prisoner by the Seljuks. The survivors were the many who fled the field and were pursued throughout the night, but not beyond that; by dawn, the professional core of the Byzantine army had been destroyed whilst many of the peasant troops and levies who had been under the command of Andronikus had fled.[12]

Captivity of Romanos Diogenes

BnF Fr232 fol323 Alp Arslan Romanus
Alp Arslan humiliating Emperor Romanos IV. From a 15th-century illustrated French translation of Boccaccio's De Casibus Virorum Illustrium.

When Emperor Romanos IV was conducted into the presence of Alp Arslan, the Sultan refused to believe that the bloodied and tattered man covered in dirt was the mighty Emperor of the Romans. After discovering his identity, Alp Arslan placed his boot on the Emperor's neck and forced him to kiss the ground.[12] A famous conversation is also reported to have taken place:[26]

Aftermath of the Battle of Manzikert, a diorama at the Istanbul Military Museum
Alp Arslan: "What would you do if I were brought before you as a prisoner?"
Romanos: "Perhaps I'd kill you, or exhibit you in the streets of Constantinople."
Alp Arslan: "My punishment is far heavier. I forgive you, and set you free."

Alp Arslan treated Romanos with considerable kindness and again offered the terms of peace that he had offered prior to the battle.[15]

According to Ibn al-Adim, in the presence of Arslan, Romanos blamed the raids of Rashid al-Dawla Mahmud into Byzantine territory for his interventions in Muslim territories which eventually led to the Battle of Manzikert.[27] Romanos remained a captive of the Sultan for a week. During this time, the Sultan allowed Romanos to eat at his table whilst concessions were agreed upon: Antioch, Edessa, Hierapolis, and Manzikert were to be surrendered.[13] This would have left the vital core of Anatolia untouched. A payment of 10 million gold pieces demanded by the Sultan as a ransom for Romanos was deemed as too high by the latter, so the Sultan reduced its short-term expense by asking for 1.5 million gold pieces as an initial payment instead, followed by an annual sum of 360,000 gold pieces.[13] Plus, a marriage alliance was prepared between Alp Arslan's son and Romanos’ daughter.[6] The Sultan then gave Romanos many presents and an escort of two emirs and one hundred Mamluks on his route to Constantinople.

Shortly after his return to his subjects, Romanos found his rule in serious trouble. Despite attempts to raise loyal troops, he was defeated three times in battle against the Doukas family and was deposed, blinded, and exiled to the island of Proti. He died soon after as a result of an infection caused by an injury during his brutal blinding. Romanos' final foray into the Anatolian heartland, which he had worked so hard to defend, was a public humiliation.[13]


Aftermath of Manzikert
The Turks did not move into Anatolia until after Alp Arslan's death in 1072.

While Manzikert was a long-term strategic catastrophe for Byzantium, it was by no means the massacre that historians earlier presumed. Modern scholars estimate that Byzantine losses were relatively low,[28][29] considering that many units survived the battle intact and were fighting elsewhere within a few months, and most Byzantine prisoners of war were later released.[29] Certainly, all the commanders on the Byzantine side (Doukas, Tarchaneiotes, Bryennios, de Bailleul, and, above all, the Emperor) survived and took part in later events.[30] The battle did not directly change the balance of power between the Byzantines and the Seljuks, however the ensuing civil war within the Byzantine Empire did, to the advantage of the Seljuks.[29]

Doukas had escaped with no casualties and quickly marched back to Constantinople, where he led a coup against Romanos and proclaimed Michael VII as basileus.[13] Bryennios also lost a few men in the rout of his wing. The Seljuks did not pursue the fleeing Byzantines, nor did they recapture Manzikert itself at this point. The Byzantine army regrouped and marched to Dokeia, where they were joined by Romanos when he was released a week later. The most serious loss materially seems to have been the emperor's extravagant baggage train.

The result of this disastrous defeat was, in simplest terms, the loss of the Eastern Roman Empire's Anatolian heartland. John Julius Norwich says in his trilogy on the Byzantine Empire that the defeat was "its death blow, though centuries remained before the remnant fell. The themes in Anatolia were literally the heart of the empire, and within decades after Manzikert, they were gone." In his smaller book, A Short History of Byzantium, Norwich describes the battle as "the greatest disaster suffered by the Empire in its seven and a half centuries of existence".[31] Sir Steven Runciman, in his "History of the Crusades", noted that "The Battle of Manzikert was the most decisive disaster in Byzantine history. The Byzantines themselves had no illusions about it. Again and again their historians refer to that dreadful day."

Anna Komnene, writing a few decades after the actual battle, wrote:

...the fortunes of the Roman Empire had sunk to their lowest ebb. For the armies of the East were dispersed in all directions, because the Turks had over-spread, and gained command of, countries between the Euxine Sea [Black Sea] and the Hellespont, and the Aegean Sea and Syrian Seas [Mediterranean Sea], and the various bays, especially those which wash Pamphylia, Cilicia, and empty themselves into the Egyptian Sea [Mediterranean Sea].[32]

Years and decades later, Manzikert came to be seen as a disaster for the Empire; later sources therefore greatly exaggerate the numbers of troops and the number of casualties. Byzantine historians would often look back and lament the "disaster" of that day, pinpointing it as the moment the decline of the Empire began. It was not an immediate disaster, but the defeat showed the Seljuks that the Byzantines were not invincible—they were not the unconquerable, millennium-old Roman Empire (as both the Byzantines and Seljuks still called it). The usurpation of Andronikos Doukas also politically destabilized the empire and it was difficult to organize resistance to the Turkish migrations that followed the battle. Finally, while intrigue and the deposition of Emperors had taken place before, the fate of Romanos was particularly horrific, and the destabilization caused by it also rippled through the empire for centuries.

11 13th century Asia Minor Turkish Invasions
Settlements and regions affected during the first wave of Turkish invasions in Asia Minor (until 1204).

What followed the battle was a chain of events—of which the battle was the first link—that undermined the Empire in the years to come. They included intrigues for the throne, the fate of Romanos, and Roussel de Bailleul attempting to carve himself an independent kingdom in Galatia with his 3,000 Frankish, Norman, and German mercenaries.[33] He defeated the Emperor's uncle John Doukas, who had come to suppress him, advancing toward the capital to destroy Chrysopolis (Üsküdar) on the Asian coast of the Bosphorus. The Empire finally turned to the spreading Seljuks to crush de Bailleul (which they did). However the Turks ransomed him back to his wife, and it was not before the young general Alexios Komnenos pursued him that he was captured. These events all interacted to create a vacuum that the Turks filled. Their choice in establishing their capital in Nikaea (Iznik) in 1077 could possibly be explained by a desire to see if the Empire's struggles could present new opportunities.

In hindsight, both Byzantine and contemporary historians are unanimous in dating the decline of Byzantine fortunes to this battle. As Paul K. Davis writes, "Byzantine defeat severely limited the power of the Byzantines by denying them control over Anatolia, the major recruiting ground for soldiers. Henceforth, the Muslims controlled the region. The Byzantine Empire was limited to the area immediately around Constantinople, and the Byzantines were never again a serious military force."[34] It is also interpreted as one of the root causes for the later Crusades, in that the First Crusade of 1095 was originally a western response to the Byzantine emperor's call for military assistance after the loss of Anatolia.[35] From another perspective, the West saw Manzikert as a signal that Byzantium was no longer capable of being the protector of Eastern Christianity or of Christian pilgrims to the Holy Places in the Middle East. Delbrück considers the importance of the battle to be exaggerated, but the evidence makes clear that it resulted in the Empire being unable to put an effective army into the field for many years to come.[36]

The Battle of Myriokephalon, also known as the Myriocephalum, has been compared to the Battle of Manzikert as a pivotal point in the decline of the Byzantine Empire.[37] In both battles, separated by over a hundred years, an expansive Byzantine army was ambushed by a more elusive Seljuk opponent. The implications of Myriocephalum were initially limited, however, thanks to Manuel I Komnenos holding on to power. The same could not be said of Romanos, whose enemies "martyred a courageous and upright man", and as a result "the Empire ... would never recover".[33]


  1. ^ Pechenegs and Cumans defected to the Seljuq side when the war began.


  1. ^ Nesbitt, John and Eric McGeer. Catalogue Of Byzantine Seals At Dumbarton Oaks And In The Fogg Museum Of Art. 1st ed. Washington, DC: N.p., 2001. Print.
  2. ^ Church, Kenneth. From Dynastic Principality To Imperial District. 1st ed. 2001. Print.
  3. ^ The Cambridge Medieval History. — Cambridge University Press, 1986. — vol. 6. — p. 791: "In 1071, five years after Hastings, the Byzantine army, the oldest and best trained military force in Europe, was destroyed in battle with the Seljuq Turks at Manzikert in Armenia."
  4. ^ Steven Runciman. A History of the Crusades. — Cambridge University Press, 1987. — vol. 1. — p. 62-63: "With this large but untrustworthy army Romanus set out in the spring of 1071 to reconquer Armenia. As he was leaving the capital the news came through from Italy that Bary, the last Byzantine possession in the peninsula, had fallen to the Normans. The chroniclers tell in tragic detail of the Emperor's march eastward along the great Byzantine military road. His intention was to capture and garrison the Armenian fortresses before the Turkish army should come up from the south. Alp Arslan was in Syria, near Aleppo, when he heard of the Byzantine advance. He realized how vital was the challenge; and he hurried northward to meet the Emperor. Romanus entered Armenia along the southern branch of the upper Euphrates. Near Manzikert he divided his forces."
  5. ^ a b Haldon 2001, p. 173
  6. ^ a b c d e f Markham, Paul. "Battle of Manzikert: Military Disaster or Political Failure?".
  7. ^ Haldon 2001, p. 172
  8. ^ a b Haldon 2001, p. 180.
  9. ^ a b c d Grant, R.G. (2005). Battle a Visual Journey Through 5000 Years of Combat. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 77. ISBN 1-74033-593-7.
  10. ^ Holt, Peter Malcolm; Lambton, Ann Katharine Swynford & Lewis, Bernard (1977). "The Cambridge History of Islam": 231–232.
  11. ^ Barber, Malcolm. “The Crusader States” Yale University Press. 2012. ISBN 978-0-300-11312-9. Page 9
  12. ^ a b c d Norwich, John Julius (1997). A Short History of Byzantium. New York: Vintage Books. p. 240. ISBN 0-679-45088-2.
  13. ^ a b c d e Norwich, John Julius (1997). A Short History of Byzantium. New York: Vintage Books. p. 241. ISBN 0-679-45088-2.
  14. ^ Thomas S. Asbridge The Crusades (2010) p 27
  15. ^ a b Alp Arslan, the lion of Manzikert
  16. ^ Konstam, Angus (2004). The Crusades. London: Mercury Books. p. 40. ISBN 0-8160-4919-X.
  17. ^ Norwich, John Julius (1997). A Short History of Byzantium. New York: Vintage Books. p. 236. ISBN 0-679-45088-2.
  18. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Baynes, T.S., ed. (1878), "Anni", Encyclopædia Britannica, 2 (9th ed.), New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, p. 72
  19. ^ a b J. Haldon, The Byzantine Wars, 180
  20. ^ Carole Hillenbrand (2007), Turkish Myth and Muslim Symbol: The Battle of Manzikert
  21. ^ J. Norwich, Byzantium: The Apogee, 238
  22. ^ Konstam, Angus (2004). The Crusades. London: Mercury Books. p. 41. ISBN 0-8160-4919-X.
  23. ^ Norwich, John Julius (1997). A Short History of Byzantium. New York: Vintage Books. p. 239. ISBN 0-679-45088-2.
  24. ^ Heath, Ian; McBride, Angus (1979). Byzantine Armies, 886–1118. London: Osprey. p. 27. ISBN 0-85045-306-2.
  25. ^ Nicolle, David. Manzikert 1071: The breaking of Byzantium. Osprey Publishing (20 August 2013), pp. 80–81. ISBN 978-1780965031
  26. ^ Peoples, R. Scott (2013) Crusade of Kings Wildside Press LLC, 2008. p. 13. ISBN 0-8095-7221-4, ISBN 978-0-8095-7221-2
  27. ^ Carole Hillenbrand (2007). Turkish Myth and Muslim Symbol: The Battle of Manzikert (illustrated ed.). Edinburgh University Press. p. 78. ISBN 9780748625727.
  28. ^ Haldon, John (2000). Byzantium at War 600–1453. New York: Osprey. p. 46. ISBN 0-415-96861-5.
  29. ^ a b c Mikaberidze, Alexander (2011). Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 563. ISBN 1-59884-336-2.
  30. ^ Norwich, John Julius (1997). A Short History of Byzantium. New York: Vintage Books. pp. 240–3. ISBN 0-679-45088-2.. Andronikus returned to the capital, Tarchaneiotes did not take part, Bryennios and all the others, including Romanos, took part in the ensuing civil war.
  31. ^ Norwich, John Julius (1997). A Short History of Byzantium. New York: Vintage Books. p. 242. ISBN 0-679-45088-2.
  32. ^ "Medieval Sourcebook: Anna Comnena: The Alexiad: Book I". Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
  33. ^ a b Norwich, John Julius (1997). A Short History of Byzantium. New York: Vintage Books. p. 243. ISBN 0-679-45088-2.
  34. ^ Paul K. Davis, 100 Decisive Battles from Ancient Times to the Present: The World's Major Battles and How They Shaped History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 118.
  35. ^ Madden, Thomas (2005). Crusades The Illustrated History. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan P. p. 35. ISBN 0-8476-9429-1.
  36. ^ Delbrück, Hans (1923). "7. Kapitel: Byzanz" [Chapter 7: Byzantium]. Geschichte der Kriegskunst im Rahmen der politischen Geschichte (in German). 3. Teil: Das Mittelalter (2nd ed.). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. pp. 209–210. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  37. ^ For example, Vryonis, Speros (1971). The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor: and the process of Islamization from the eleventh through the fifteenth century. Berkeley: University of California. p. 125. ISBN 0-520-01597-5.

Further reading

  • Haldon, John (2001). The Byzantine Wars: Battles and Campaigns of the Byzantine Era. Stroud: Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-1795-9.
  • Treadgold, Warren (1997). A History of the Byzantine State and Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2421-0.
  • Runciman, Steven (1951). "A History of the Crusades". One. New York: Harper & Row.
  • Norwich, John Julius (1991). Byzantium: The Apogee. London: Viking. ISBN 0-670-80252-2.
  • Carey, Brian Todd; Allfree, Joshua B. & Cairns, John (2006). Warfare in the Medieval World. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books. ISBN 1-84415-339-8.
  • Konstam, Angus (2004). Historical Atlas of The Crusades. London: Mercury. ISBN 1-904668-00-3.
  • Madden, Thomas (2005). Crusades The Illustrated History. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-03127-9.
  • Konus, Fazli (2006). Selçuklular Bibliyografyası. Konya: Çizgi Kitabevi. ISBN 975-8867-88-1.

External links

Coordinates: 39°08′41″N 42°32′21″E / 39.14472°N 42.53917°E

Alp Arslan

Alp Arslan (honorific in Turkish meaning "Heroic Lion"; in Persian: آلپ ارسلان‎; full name: Diya ad-Dunya wa ad-Din Adud ad-Dawlah Abu Shuja Muhammad Alp Arslan ibn Dawud ابو شجاع محمد آلپ ارسلان ابن داود;‎ 20 January 1029 – 15 December 1072), real name Muhammad bin Dawud Chaghri, was the second Sultan of the Seljuk Empire and great-grandson of Seljuk, the eponymous founder of the dynasty. As Sultan, Alp Arslan greatly expanded Seljuk territory and consolidated power, defeating rivals to his south and northwest. His victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 ushered in the Turkish settlement of Anatolia. For his military prowess and fighting skills he obtained the name Alp Arslan, which means "Heroic Lion" in Turkish.

Battle of Kara Killisse (1915)

The Battle of Kara Killisse (Lit. Black church, Turkish: Karakilise Muharebesi), also known as the Battle of Malazgirt, was a battle on the Caucasus front in July 1915 after the Battle of Manzikert. In Russian historical literature, this engagement is considered as a part of "Alashkert defensive operation" (9 July-3 August).

Previously in the summer of 1915 the Russians attacked Turkish positions northeast of lake Van but they underestimated the size of their enemy. They were defeated at the Battle of Manzikert. This success encouraged the Turks under Abdul Kerim Pasha to advance towards the Russians in the Eleşkirt valley while the Turks were pursuing the remnants of Oganovki's army across the Ağrı mountains they spread out and Russian general Yudenich took the opportunity to counterattack from the west with some 20.000 reinforcements mostly Cossack units to encircle them. in the following battles between 5–8 August the Turks retreated south but the Russians succeeded only partially. The Turks lost some guns, large provisions and 10.000 killed and wounded and 6.000 became prisoners. Due to difficulties the Russians could not gain total advantage and retreated from the town of Van and Turks occupied it on 3 August.

Battle of Manzikert (1915)

The Battle of Manzikert or Battle of Malazgirt (Russian: Битва при Манцикерте Bytva pri Mantsikerte ;Turkish: Malazgirt Muharebesi) was a battle of the Caucasus Campaign of World War I, in July 10–26, 1915. Even though losses were heavy on both sides, the Russians retreated north and the Turks retook Malazgirt then they further advanced towards Karakilise where they were defeated on 5–8 August at the Battle of Kara Killisse.

Danishmend Gazi

Danishmend Gazi, full name Gümüştekin Danishmend Ahmed Gazi (Persian: دانشمند احمد غازی‎), Danishmend Taylu, or Malik Dānishmand Aḥmad Ghāzī (died 1104), was the founder of the beylik of Danishmends. After the Turkish advance into Anatolia that followed the Battle of Manzikert, his dynasty controlled the north-central regions in Anatolia.

Decline of the Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire (the Eastern Roman Empire during the medieval period, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire) following the Sack of Constantinople (1204) slowly collapsed by Ottoman expansion. After the crisis of the Gothic Wars it managed to re-establish itself in a golden age under the Justinian dynasty in the 6th century, and during the Early Middle Ages it continued to flourish even after the Muslim conquest of the Levant and the constant threat of Arab invasion.

But in the High Middle Ages, under pressure from the Seljuk Empire, it suffered serious setbacks and fell into decline. After the Battle of Manzikert (1071) it lost control of Anatolia, and while the Komnenos dynasty restored a degree of stability in the 12th century with help from the First Crusade, the empire was captured and partitioned by the Crusaders themselves in the Fourth Crusade in 1204.

Even after Byzantine rule was restored in 1261, the empire was now a shadow of its former self, and after the end of the Crusades, the empire had little to set against the rise of the Ottoman Empire during the late medieval period, and was eventually conquered with the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.

Gazi Gümüshtigin

Emir Gümüshtigin Gazi (Turkish: Gümüştekin; also known as Emir Ghazi II or Melik Gazi; died 1134) was the second ruler of the Danishmend state which his father Danishmend Gazi had founded in central-eastern Anatolia after the Battle of Manzikert.

He succeeded his father when the latter died in 1104. In 1130, he allied with Leo I, Prince of Armenia against the crusader Bohemond II of Antioch, who was killed in the subsequent battle; Bohemond's head was embalmed and sent to the Abbasid caliph in Baghdad. Gümüshtigin may have been able to conquer more territory in the Principality of Antioch if not for the intervention of Byzantine emperor John II Comnenus, who wished to exert his own influence in Antioch.

In 1131, he besieged the castle of Kaysun (today near the village of Çakırhüyük) in the County of Edessa, but retreated upon the arrival of Count Joscelin, whom Gümüshtigin believed had already died.

Gümüshtigin died in 1134, and the Danishmend state began to collapse under pressure from the Byzantines and the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm.

House of Mengüjek

The House of Mengüjek (Modern Turkish: Mengüçoğulları or Mengücek Beyliği or Mengüçlü Beyliği ) was an Anatolian beylik of the first period, founded after the Battle of Manzikert. The Mengujekids ruled the regions of Erzincan, Kemah, Şebinkarahisar and Divriği in Eastern Anatolia in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Kemah, Erzincan

Kemah (Zazaki: Kemax, Armenian: Անի-Կամախ Ani-Kamakh), known historically as Gamakh, Kamacha or Kamachon (Greek: Κάμαχα, Κάμαχον) is a town and district of Erzincan Province in the Eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey.

Kemah is a town with a present population of 2141 (2010 est.). The town is located almost in the centre of Erzincan Province.

The necropolis of Armenia's Arsacid Dynasty was located in Kemah, including the tomb of Tiridates III who was instrumental in the conversion of the Armenian people to Christianity.

During the early Middle Ages, Kemah was a strategically important border fortress in the border wars between the Byzantines and the Ummayads and Abbasids. It first fell to the Muslims in 679 and changed hands frequently until the mid-9th century (cf. Siege of Kamacha (766)), when Byzantine control was consolidated. According to Constantine VII, in the late 9th century Kemah formed a tourma in the thema of Koloneia. Under Emperor Leo VI the Wise, Kemah was joined together with the district of Keltzene to form the new thema of Mesopotamia. Little is known of the site thereafter, except that it was the seat of a bishopric named "Armenia". The Byzantines lost control of the area following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.Kemah was the scene of massacres during the Armenian Genocide. In one instance, 25,000 Armenians were killed in one day by throwing the victims off a steep gorge and into the Euphrates river.

Koloneia (theme)

The Theme of Koloneia (Greek: θέμα Κολωνείας) was a small military-civilian province (thema or theme) of the Byzantine Empire located in northern Cappadocia and the southern Pontus, in modern Turkey. It was founded sometime in the mid-9th century and survived until it was conquered by the Seljuk Turks soon after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.


Kınalıada (Armenian: Գնալը կղզի; Greek: Πρώτη, Proti 'first') is an island in the Sea of Marmara; it is the closest of the Prince Islands to Istanbul, Turkey, lying about 12 kilometres (7 mi) to the south. Administratively, it is a neighbourhood in the Adalar district of Istanbul.

Kınalıada means "Henna Island" in Turkish, as the land has a reddish colour from the iron and copper that has been mined here. This is one of the least forested of the Prince Islands.

Proti was the island most used as a place of exile under the Byzantine Empire. The most notable exile was emperor Romanos IV Diogenes, after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, who remained in the Monastery of the Transfiguration on Hristo Peak of the island.

Muş Province

Muş Province (Turkish: Muş ili), (Kurdish: Mûş) is a province in eastern Turkey. It is 8,196 km² in area and has a population of 406,886 according to a 2010 estimate, down from 453,654 in 2000. The provincial capital is the city of Muş. Another town in Muş province, Malazgirt (Manzikert), is famous for the Battle of Manzikert of 1071. The majority of the province's population is Kurdish.

Nicholas III of Constantinople

Nicholas III Grammatikos or Grammaticus (? – May 1111) was an Eastern Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople (1084–1111).

Educated in Constantinople, Nicholas spent much of his early years in Pisidian Antioch, where it is believed he took his monastic vows. He eventually left the city around 1068 when it was threatened by Seljuk Turkish raids. Moving to Constantinople, he founded a monastery dedicated to John the Baptist. In 1084, Alexios I Komnenos selected him to replace the deposed patriarch Eustratius Garidas.

By nature a conciliarist, Nicholas was immediately presented with a number of delicate and difficult issues. He took the emperor's side in the case of Leo of Chalcedon, who protested over Alexios' confiscation of church treasures to alleviate the financial strain the Byzantine-Norman Wars had caused, which was resolved when he presided over the Council of Blachernae. He was also prominent in the fight against doctrinal heresy, for instance Nicholas condemned as heretical the Bogomil leader Basil the Physician. But he was very cautious in the ongoing conflict between the provincial metropolitans and the Patriarchate. In spite of some hostile opposition from the clergy of Hagia Sophia, he ended up supporting Niketas of Ankyra against the emperor's right to elevate metropolitans, and exerted a great deal of energy trying to restrict the influence of the Chartophylax. Nicholas was also very concerned with ecclesiastical discipline. He wrote a monastic Rule for Mount Athos monastery, while ordering the removal of the Vlachs from Mount Athos. He also rigorously enforced the regulations around fasting.

Meanwhile, the ongoing political situation in the Byzantine Empire especially in Anatolia after the disaster of the Battle of Manzikert forced Nicholas to seek a union with Pope Urban II, though he was firm in his views about the major contentious issues of the day, principally the Filioque, the azymes, and Papal Primacy.

Nicholas died in April or May 1111 at Constantinople.

Parthian shot

The Parthian shot is a light horse military tactic made famous in the West by the Parthians, an ancient Iranian people. While in real or feigned retreat their horse archers would turn their bodies back in full gallop to shoot at the pursuing enemy. The maneuver required superb equestrian skills, since the rider's hands were occupied by his composite bow. As the stirrup had not been invented at the time of the Parthians, the rider relied solely on pressure from his legs to guide his horse.

You wound, like Parthians, while you fly,And kill with a retreating eye.

In addition to the Parthians, this tactic was used by most nomads of the Eurasian steppe, including the Scythians, Huns, Turks, Magyars, and Mongols, as well as armies from elsewhere such as the Sassanid clibanarii and cataphracts.

The Parthians used the tactic to great effect in their victory over the Roman general Crassus in the Battle of Carrhae.

The tactic was also used by Muslim conqueror Muhammad of Ghor in the Second Battle of Tarain in 1192 against Indian elephants and heavy infantry, by Alp Arslan in the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 against the Byzantines, and by Subutai in the Battle of Legnica in 1241 against Polish knights.

Robert Crispin

Robert Crispin (French: Crépin, died 1071), called Frankopoulos, was a Norman mercenary and the leader of a corps of his countrymen stationed at Edessa under the command of the Byzantine general Isaac Komnenos, in the 1060s. He fought against the invading Seljuk Turks and was supposedly poisoned shortly after the Battle of Manzikert.

Romanos IV Diogenes

Romanos IV Diogenes (Greek: Ρωμανός Δ΄ Διογένης, Rōmanós IV Diogénēs), also known as Romanus IV, was a member of the Byzantine military aristocracy who, after his marriage to the widowed empress Eudokia Makrembolitissa, was crowned Byzantine emperor and reigned from 1068 to 1071. During his reign he was determined to halt the decline of the Byzantine military and to stop Turkish incursions into the Byzantine Empire, but in 1071 he was captured and his army routed at the Battle of Manzikert. While still captive he was overthrown in a palace coup, and when released he was quickly defeated and detained by members of the Doukas family. In 1072, he was blinded and sent to a monastery, where he died of his wounds.


The Saltukids or Saltuqids (Modern Turkish: Saltuklu Beyliği ) were a dynasty ruling one of the Anatolian beyliks founded after the Battle of Manzikert (1071) and centered on Erzurum. The Saltukids ruled between 1071 and 1202. The beylik was founded by Emir Saltuk, one of the Turkmen commanders of the Great Seljuk Alp Arslan. The beylik fought frequently against the Georgian Kingdom for hegemony of the Kars region. The center of the beylik, Erzurum, was occupied by the Byzantine Empire between 1077 and 1079, and was besieged by the Georgian King Giorgi III in 1184. It comprised the entirety of present-day Erzurum and Bayburt provinces, lands east of Erzincan, most of Kars, and lands north of Ağrı and Muş provinces during its height.

The first known Saltukid is Ali, who was ruler of Erzurum in 1103. His son and successor was Saltuk, who succeeded him sometime after 1123. Saltuk had a female relative, a daughter or sister, who married Shah-i- Armind of Akhlat, Sukman II.The Beys of Saltuk left important works of architecture, particularly in Erzurum and Mamahatun.

The Saltukid dynasty is also notable for having a woman, Melike Mama Hatun, sister of Nasiruddin Muhammed, directly administering its realm for an estimated nine years, between 1191 and 1200. She was later dethroned by the Beys and replaced by her son Malik-Shah once she had started searching for a husband among the Mamluk nobility. Mama Hatun built an impressive caravanserai in the town of Tercan, where her mausoleum also stands. Tercan itself used to be called "Mamahatun", and is sometimes still called as such locally.

The name of the ruling dynasty of the beylik should not be confused with that of Sarı Saltuk, a Turkish mystic and saint; who is of later date, more associated with western Anatolia and the Balkans (especially Dobruja), and to whom the epic Saltuknâme is dedicated. The last ruler of the Saltukids, Alaeddin Muhammed, was dethroned and imprisoned by the Sultan of Rum Süleymanshah II during Süleymanshah's Georgian rout in 1202, and the Saltukid beylik was subsequently annexed by the Sultanate of Rum.


Saluk (Persian: سالوك‎, also Romanized as Sālūk and Salook) is a village in Kuh Sardeh Rural District, in the Central District of Malayer County, Hamadan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 117, in 26 families. 'Saluk' is also used as a surname, mainly in the Aegean region of Turkey. Denizli is the most populated city by the Saluks. There are some Saluks overseas, such as Australia and India. 'Saluk' is a Turko-Persian name.

'Saluk' is believed to be derived from the name 'Saltuk' which was the name of the first ruler of an Anatolian Beylik 'Saltukids', Ebulkasım Saltuk Bey. Ebulkasım Saltuk Bey was a Seljuk commander. He formed the 'Saltukids' in Northeastern Anatolia in 1072 after a decisive victory at the Battle of Manzikert against the Byzantine Empire, in 1071. He was under the command of Alp Arslan, the second Sultan of the Seljuk Empire.

Sebasteia (theme)

The Theme of Sebasteia (Greek: θέμα Σεβαστείας) was a military-civilian province (thema or theme) of the Byzantine Empire located in northeastern Cappadocia and Armenia Minor, in modern Turkey. It was established as a theme in 911 and endured until its fall to the Seljuk Turks in the aftermath of the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.

Siege of Manzikert (1054)

The Siege of Manzikert in 1054 was a successful defense of the city of Manzikert by Byzantine forces under Basil Apocapes against the Seljuk Turks led by sultan Toğrül. Seventeen years later, the Turks would experience greater success against Romanus Diogenes under Alp Arslan at the same place.

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