The Battle of Malazgirt and Its Results

The Battle of Manzikert is the battle that took place on 26 August 1071 between the Great Seljuk Ruler Alparslan and the Byzantine Emperor Roman Diogenes. The Battle of Manzikert, which resulted in the victory of Alp Arslan, is known as "the last battle that gave the Turks a decisive victory at the gates of Anatolia".

Pre-war situation

During the 1060s, the Great Seljuk Sultan Alp Arslan allowed his Turkish friends to migrate around the present-day Armenia lands and towards Anatolia, and the Turks settled there in cities and agricultural areas. In 1068, Romanian Diogenes organized a campaign against the Turks, but although he took back the city of Koçhisar, he could not reach the Turkish horsemen. In 1070, the Turks (under the command of Alparslan) captured the fortresses of Manzikert (Malazgirt in the Byzantine language) and Erciş in Malazgirt, a district of Muş today. Later, the Turkish army took Diyarbakır and besieged Urfa under Byzantine rule. However, he could not. Afşin Bey, one of the Turkish Beys, joined forces and took Aleppo. While staying in Aleppo, Alp Arslan allowed some of the Turkish cavalry troops and the Akinci Bey to organize raids into Byzantine cities. Meanwhile, the Byzantines, who were very disturbed by the Turkish raids and the last Turkish army, ascended the throne, the famous commander Roman Diogenes. Romanian Diogenes also set up a large army and left Constantinople (today's Istanbul) on 13 March 1071. The army's size is estimated at 200.000. Edessalı Matta, an Armenian historian who lived in the 12th century, gives the number of the Byzantine army as 1 million.

The Byzantine army consisted of Slav, Goth, German, Frank, Georgian, Uz, Pecheneg and Kipchak soldiers, as well as regular Greek and Armenian troops. The army first rested in Sivas. Here, the emperor, who greeted the people with enthusiasm, listened to the troubles of the people. Upon the complaints of the people about Armenian rampage and barbarism, he destroyed the Armenian neighborhoods of the city. He killed many Armenians and sent their leaders into exile. He arrived in Erzurum in June 1071. There, some of Diogenes' generals offered to continue the advance into the Seljuk region and capture Alp Arslan off guard. Some of the other generals, including Nikiphoros Bryennios, also offered to wait in place and strengthen their positions. As a result, the decision was made to continue progress.

Thinking that Alp Arslan was too far away or not coming at all, Diogenes proceeded towards Lake Van, hoping that he could quickly recapture Malazgirt and even the Ahlat fortress near Malazgirt. The emperor, who sent his vanguard forces to Manzikert, set out with his main forces. Meanwhile, he sent envoys to the ruler in Aleppo and asked the castles back. Welcoming the envoys in Aleppo, the ruler refused the offer. He gave up his campaign to Egypt and set out to Manzikert with an army of 20.000-30.000 people. Knowing the greatness of the Byzantine army with the information given by his spies, Alp Arslan sensed that the real goal of the Byzantine Emperor was to enter Isfahan (today's Iran) and destroy the Great Seljuk State.

Alp Arslan, who reached Malazgirt from Erzen and Bitlis road with his forced march that caused the old soldiers in his army to remain on the road, gathered the War Council to discuss the war tactics with his commanders. Roman Diogenes had prepared the war plan. The first attack would come from the Turks, and if they broke this attack, they would go on a counterattack. Alp Arslan, on the other hand, agreed with his commanders on the "Crescent Tactic".

Field Battle

Alp Arslan, who came out of his tent on Friday morning, 26 August, saw the enemy troops scattered on the plain, 7-8 km away from his encampment in the Malazgirt plain between Malazgirt and Ahlat. To prevent war, the Sultan made an offer for peace by sending envoys to the emperor. The emperor interpreted the Sultan's proposal as a cowardice in the face of the size of his army and refused the offer. He sent the envoys back with a cross in their hands to persuade their cognates to pass over to the Christian community.

Seeing that the size of the enemy army was greater than his own army, Sultan Alp Arslan sensed that the probability of surviving the war was low. Realizing that his soldiers were also worried by the excess number of his enemies, the Sultan wore white clothes resembling shrouds as a Turkish-Islamic custom. He also tied his horse's tail. He bequeathed to those with him that if he was martyred, he be buried where he was shot. The soldiers' spirituality increased, realizing that their commanders would not escape from the battlefield. The Sultan, who was the Imam for the Friday prayer of his soldiers, got in front of his army and gave a short and effective speech that boosted morale and spirituality. He read the verses that Allah promised victory in the Quran. He said that Martyr and Veteran offices would be reached. The Seljuk army, which was entirely Muslim and composed mostly of Turks, took a war position.

Meanwhile, religious rites were held in the Byzantine army and the priests blessed the soldiers. Roman Diogenes were sure that if he won this war (which he believed in), his reputation and prestige would increase. He dreamed that Byzantium would return to its former glory. He wore his most magnificent armor and rode on his pearl-white horse. He made big promises to his army in case of victory. He announced that God will give honor, glory, honor, and rewards of holy war. Alp Arslan knew very well that if he lost the war he would lose everything and the Seljuk state inherited from his ancestors. Roman Diogenes knew that if he lost the war, his state would lose tremendous power, prestige and territory. Both commanders were sure that if they lost, they would die.

Roman Diogenes arranged his army according to traditional Byzantine military bases. At a depth of several rows in the middle, most armored, infantry units and cavalry units were located on their right and left arms. Roman Diogenes to the center; General Bryennios commanded the left wing and General Alyattes of Cappadocia commanded the right wing. Behind the Byzantine army was a large reserve, which consisted of members of the special armies of the influential people, especially in the provinces. The young Andronikos Dukas was chosen as commander of the back reserve army. Roman Diogenes' choice was somewhat surprising, as this young commander was the nephew of the former emperor and the son of Caesar John Dukas, who were clearly against Roman Diogenes becoming emperor.

The war started at noon when Turkish horsemen attacked a mass arrow. Since the vast majority of the Turkish army consisted of cavalry units and almost all of them were arrows, this attack caused a significant loss of soldiers in the Byzantines. However, the Byzantine Army maintained its ranks without breaking its ranks. Upon this, Alp Arslan, who gave his army a misleading withdrawal order, began to retreat to the side of his small troops, which he hid behind. These troops he hid were made up of a small amount of organized soldiers. They were spread out in the form of a Crescent in the rear ranks of the Turkish army. Roman Diogenes, seeing the Turks withdrawing quickly, thought that the Turks had lost their offensive power and that they had fled out of fear of the outnumbered Byzantine army. The emperor, who believed that he would defeat the Turks from the very beginning, ordered his army to attack to catch the Turks who were deceived by this steppe tactic. With very little armor, the Turks, who could retreat quickly, were too quick to be caught by the Byzantine cavalry backed into armor. However, despite this, the Byzantine army began to chase the Turks. The Byzantine army, which was skillfully shot by the Turkish archers who had ambushed the side passes, but did not mind, continued the attack. The speed of the Byzantine army, which was unable to chase and catch the Turks, and was also very tired (the effect of heavy armor on them was great) came to a halt. Roman Diogenes, who were chasing the Turks with great ambition and could not realize that his army was tired, still tried to follow. However, Diogenes, who realized very late that they had gone too far from their position and that he was surrounded by Turkish archers attacking from the environment, was in a dilemma to order to withdraw. Just in this dilemma, Diogenes, who saw that the retreating Turkish cavalry crossed the direction of the Byzantine army and attacked and that the withdrawal paths were blocked by the Turks, panicked and gave the order of 'Retreat'. However, the main forces of the Turkish army, which grew until its army broke through the Turkish lines around them, started a complete panic in the Byzantine army. Seeing the generals trying to flee and getting even more panicked, the Byzantine soldiers tried to escape by throwing their armor, their greatest defense force. This time, the vast majority disappeared, equating with the Turkish forces that skillfully used swords.

Uzlar, Pechenegs and Kipchaks of Turkish Descent; Affected by the Turkish orders given by the Seljuk commanders such as Afşin Bey, Artuk Bey, Kutalmışoğlu Süleyman Şah, these cavalry units joined their kin, and the Byzantine army lost a significant part of its cavalry power. The gravity of the situation increased for the Byzantine army when the Armenian soldiers in Sivas, who wanted to relieve the pain of what they had done to their kin, abandoned everything and fled from the battlefield.

Seeing that he was no longer able to command his army, Roman Roman Diogenes tried to flee with his close troops, but saw that it was impossible now. As a result, a large part of the Byzantine army, which was in a complete defeat mood, was destroyed by nightfall. Those who could not escape and survived surrendered. The emperor was captured wounded in the shoulder.

This war, which is a great turning point for the whole world history, ended with the victory of the victorious commander Alp Arslan with the defeated Emperor Roman Diogenes. The Sultan, who forgave the Emperor and treated him well, released the Emperor according to the treaty. According to the treaty, the emperor would pay 1.500.000 denarius for his own ransom and 360.000 denarius each year as tax; He would also leave Antakya, Urfa, Ahlat and Malazgirt to the Seljuks. The emperor, who set out for Constantinople with the Turkish troops given to him until Tokat, gave the 200.000 denarius he could gather in Tokat to the Turkish troops that came with him and set out for the Sultan. In its place, the board VII. He found out that Mikhail Dukas was dating.

Roman Diogenes, on the way back, organized a makeshift army from the rest of the army dispersed in Anatolia and made two clashes against the armies of those who dethroned him. He was defeated in both battles and retreated to a small castle in Cilicia. There he surrendered; was made a monk; passed through Anatolia on a mule; miles were drawn to his eyes; He was closed to the monastery in Proti (Kinaliada) and died there within a few days of his wounds and infection.

Captivity of Roman Diogenes

When the Emperor Romanian Diogenes was brought before Alp Arslan, the following dialogue took place with Alp Arslan:

Alp Arslan: "What would you do if I was brought before you as a prisoner?" Romanos: "I would either kill it or put it in chains and show it around the streets of Constantinople." Alp Arslan: “My punishment is much more severe. I forgive you and set you free. ”

Alp Arslan treated him with reasonable kindness and offered him a peace treaty, as he did before the war.

Romanos remained the Sultan's prisoner for a week. During his sentence, the Sultan gave Romanos permission to eat at the Sultan's table in return for the surrender of the following realms: Antakya, Urfa, Hierapolis (a city near Ceyhan) and Malazgirt. This treaty would secure the vital Anatolia. Alp Arslan asked for 1.5 million gold for Romanos' freedom, but Byzantium stated that this was too much in a letter. Instead of asking for 1.5 million, the Sultan wanted a total of 360.000 gold every year, cutting his short-term expenses. Eventually, Alp Arslan married one of Romanos' daughters. Then he gave many gifts to Sultan Romanos and gave 2 commanders and 100 Mamluk soldiers to accompany him on the road to Constantinople. After the emperor began to rebuild his plans, he found his authority to be shaken. Although he gave a raise to his private guards, he was defeated three times in their war against the Dukas family and was deposed, his eyes removed and exiled to the island of Proti; He died shortly afterward from an infection that was transmitted while blinded. Romanos was put on a donkey and walked around, while his face was bruised, when he last set foot in Anatolia, where he had worked hard to defend.


VII. Mihail Dukas declared the treaty signed by Romanos Diogenes invalid. Having heard about this, Alparslan ordered his army and Turkish Beys to conquer Anatolia. In line with this order, the Turks started to conquer Anatolia. These attacks started a historical process that would reach the Crusades and the Ottoman Empire.

This war showed that the Turks, who were warriors, would restart the old Jihad Raids in order for Anatolia to be fully captured by the Turks. These raids, which ended in the Abbasid period, saved Europe from the threat of Islam. However, the Turks, who had taken over Anatolia and caused a great loss of power and land by the Byzantine state, which formed a buffer zone between Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East, became the harbinger of new raids to begin in Europe by seizing this region in between. In addition, the Turks, who had achieved a great unity in the Islamic world, would use this union against Christian Europe. The Pope, who foresaw that the entire Islamic world would start invading Europe under the leadership of the Turks, would start the Crusades as a precaution, and this would partially work. However, he could not stop the Turkish invasion of Europe. The Battle of Malazgirt was recorded as the first war that opened the doors of Anatolia to the Turks.

📩 04/01/2023 09:06

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