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    Posted: 13-Mar-2006 at 21:02
With so many members who are Byzantine "buffs" and so many from Turkey, does any one know a good book/chapter/article that looks at the Battle of Manzikert? Given the significance of this battle, there must be quite a few.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote unicorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Mar-2006 at 21:49
Manzikert proved (if it was anylonger necessary) that Byzance had lost any political cohesion. Romanus the 4-th Diogenes (it is interesting and it was noted that all the emperors called Romanus had a terrible ill-fate) represented the military clique (itself divided in many little groups of influence) who sought relief in front of the Turkish threat by better military composure of the Empire. But Romanus started as an usurper as he in fact was saved at the last moment by Constantine the X-th widow (Evdokia Makrembolitissa, who became his wife) from being executed and had strong oposition from all the directions. The campaign was ill-designed, and many had actually the desire to see the Emperor fail.

The defeat was a combination of the Emperor's lack of experience in managing large armies (he was a general but not reported to have had any consistent successes at such scale), the ill behavior of heteroclitically composed troups, treason and of course the fact that Alp Arslan himself was no small meat to chew. The principal mistake is alleged to be the division of the Byzantine troups, but the corps lead by (the quite ill-chosen and of doubtful loyalty) Tarchaneiotes actually disappeared, which makes questionable of what use it'd have been in the day of the battle, which was lost not because of numbers but because of catastrophic lack of communication and tactical errors.

Andronikos Dukas, the general chosen by Romanus to accompany him, was a member of Dukas clan (of the former Emperor Constantine Dukas) and with but less doubt regarded Romanus as an usurper. When the Byzantine troups engaged successfully the first lines of the army of Arslan, surviving through volleys of arrows, the rest of the Turks refused to further engage combat and after holding position for some time Romanus might have dreaded to be outflanked or simply deemed it is too costful to hold the ground, so he ordered what should have been a tactical retreat on the previous positions.

Instead, Dukas either mistook this as a defeat or indeed wished to think so and ordered a hasty retreat which left uncovered the bulk of the army. It was later reported that he spread rumors (did he really believe them or not ?) that the Emperor himself was killed. This caused even greater panic. The Turks seized opportunity and cut the Byzantine army into pieces, isolating Romanus from any possible help. He is reported to have fought valiantly but to no avail.

Alp Arslan is to be considered aware what treatment could the defeated Romanus expect at home, as he asked Romanus what would have been his own treatment should the Byzantines have laid hands on him instead of being repelled. Romanus answered (perhaps still hoping that he was more valuable alive than dead) that undoubtedly he'd either have killed Arslan or made him a trophy for his triumph in Constantinople. Arslan is said to have replied : I will be more cruel instead, I will simply send you back home. He was accurate in his expectations. Romanus was seized by the members of the Dukas clan and instead of the regular procedure of blinding (of a milder nature than a life-threatening torture) has his eyes dug out with an iron used to hold tents in place. Reports say that he was crying in pain that they can leave him alone as his eyes were since long time burnt to ashes, but the executioners instead dug his empty orbits no less than 3 other times with the red iron. He did not survive to the cruelty more than few days.

It proved that Byzance was not unable to rise forces (at least not until Manzikert shattered the bulk of them) but was totally out of range in respect to political order. They also underestimated grossly the cavalry tactic of the mongolian troups of Arslan and had a very poor coordination of field, testifying the total decay of interest in training troups of the later Byzantine rulers, in spite of not having lost quite at all the means to convoque a mass recruitment. The defeat brought in a harsher economical crisis than already existent. The successor of Romanus was Michael the 7-th Dukas, nicknamed "Parapinakios" which explains all by mere translation : parapinakios means "for a pinakion", pinakion being a measure for grain used in commercial transaction. The debasement of the coin and the downfall of production were so deep that a nomisma, which was prior to this enough to buy 4X this quantity, sufficed now only for a pinakion...

As a collateral comment : after the decay of the Makedonians it was such a strike of bad luck that the first Komnene (Isaac the 1-st) seized power but fell ill, and before he knew he could recover, he abdicated (1059). This left place instead of an earlier establishment of the Komnene dinasty (and it can be deemed it would have been even more a success) to endless dynastic intrigues which weakened the Empire even beyond what the Komnene emperors could repair...
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Edited by unicorn
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Mar-2006 at 21:53

Pretty good write up unicorn!

Cunctator there is some info on this thread too - http://www.allempires.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=5012& ;PN=5

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote unicorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Mar-2006 at 22:31
Thanks  for the nice comment. My main source is a  Russian brief anthology of the Byzantine emperors but for the given moment I can't remember the name of the author (shame on me, grr).

About the thread mentioned : Psellos is to be distrusted even about petty things in respect to historiography of Romanos 4-th reign for quite a simple reason - he was the preceptor of Michael Parapinakios and as such one of the heads of the clique which saw the removal of Romanos as the advent of their own influence at the highest level. In fact, Psellos is quite dytirambic in exciting Michael's exploits but can finally only agree that his "student" was far from what was expected from him. Psellos also (of what is quoted from him which arrived to my knowledge) depicts in heavy terms the incapacity of Romanus (true to a certain extent) but is much more silent in respect to the true sabotage that went to massive size, or gives imaginary persecution reasons for the nobles undermining the authority of the Emperor. In fact Romanus tried to utmost (but lacked the diplomatic and organizatoric skills) to resurrect the theme system in order to revive the army. As such he obviously ellicited the tremendous antipathy of the nobles at the court. The history occurred more than once in Byzance with the efforts of military Emperors being undermined by the court, and Psellos is rather complacent in depicting a much more idealized image of the Greek nobles of the imperial hierarchy. His disgrace under Alexios Komnenos (himself one of the best exponents of the military clans) was the result of him being regarded as a high intellectual value but at the same time a very ill-minded courtier.  < id="kpfLog" src="http://127.0.0.1:44501/pl.?START_LOG" onload="destroy(this)" style="display: none;"> < ="text/">
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2006 at 00:18

As far as books go, there are a couple that go into Manzikert a little more than introductory texts.  These are:

John Haldon, Warfare, State and Society in the Byzantine World, 565-1204 (London: University College London Press, 1999).

John W. Birkenmeier, The Development of the Komnenian Army: 1081-1180 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2002).

The only journal articles that I am aware of at the moment are:

Michael Angold, "The Byzantine State on the Eve of the Battle of Manzikert." Byzantinische Forschungen 16 (1991): 9-34.

I found this on the De Re Militari website, but I am not sure how reliable the author is because I have not heard of him before:

http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/articles/markham.htm

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The Battle of Manzikert occurred on August 26, 1071 between the Byzantine Empire and Seljuk Turkish forces led by Alp Arslan, resulting in the defeat of the Byzantine Empire and the capture of Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes.


Battle of Manzikert
Part of the Byzantine-Seljuk wars
Date: August 26, 1071
Location: Manzikert (Malazgirt, Turkey)
Result: Seljuk victory
Combatants
Byzantine Empire Seljuk Turks
Commanders
Romanus IV
Nicephorus Bryennius
Theodore Alyates
Andronicus Ducas
Alp Arslan Han
Strength
40,000
54,000
Casualties
Unknown Unknown

Background


Background

During the 1060s the Seljuk sultan Alp Arslan allowed his Turkish allies to migrate towards Armenia and Asia Minor, where they sacked cities and plundered farmland. In 1064 they destroyed the Armenian capital at Ani. In 1068 Romanus IV led an expedition against them, but his slow-moving infantry could not catch the speedy Turkish cavalry, although he was able to capture the city of Hierapolis. In 1070 Romanus led a second expedition towards Manzikert, a city in eastern Turkey's province of Mu, now known as Malazgirt, a Byzantine fortress that had been captured by the Seljuks, and offered a treaty with Arslan Romanus would give back Hierapolis if Arslan gave up the siege of Edessa. Romanus threatened war if Arslan did not comply, and prepared his troops anyway, expecting the sultan to decline his offer, which he did.


Preparations

Accompanying Romanus was Andronicus Ducas, an odd choice as Ducas was an old enemy of the emperor. Romanus left his best general, Nicephorus Botaniates, at home, suspecting his loyalties (although he was certainly more loyal than Ducas). The army consisted of about 5000 Byzantine troops from the western provinces, and probably about the same number from the eastern provinces; 500 Franks and Normans mercenaries under Roussel de Bailleul; some Turkish, Bulgarian, and Pecheneg mercenaries; infantry under the duke of Antioch; a contingent of Armenian troops; and some (but not all) of the Varangian Guard. Turkish sources give the number of troops to be closer to 200 000. Other sources estimate them to be around 40 000. Gibbons claims it was the largest army ever fielded by the Roman Empire, East or West.

The march across Asia Minor was long and difficult, and Romanus did not endear himself to his troops by bringing a luxurious baggage train along with him; the Byzantine population also suffered some plundering by Romanus' German mercenaries, whom he was forced to dismiss. The expedition first rested at Sebasteia on the Halys, and reached Theodosopolis in June of 1071. There, some of his generals suggested continuing the march into Seljuk territory and catching Arslan before he was ready. Some of the other generals, including Nicephorus Bryennius, suggested they wait there and fortify their position. Eventually it was decided to continue the march.

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

Romanus ordered his general John Tarchaneiotes to take some of the Byzantine troops and Varangians and accompany the Pechenegs and French to Khliat, while Romanus and the rest of the army marched to Manzikert. This probably split the forces in half, about 20 000 men each. Although it is unknown precisely what happened to Tarchaneiotes and his half of the army after this, they apparently caught sight of the Seljuks and fled, as they later appeared at Melitene and did not take part in the battle.


The battle

Romanus was unaware of the loss of Tarchaneiotes and continued to Manzikert, which he easily captured on August 23. The next day some foraging parties under Bryennius discovered the Seljuk force and were forced to retreat back to Manzikert. The Armenian general Basilaces was sent out with some cavalry, as Romanus did not believe this was Arslan's full army; the cavalry was destroyed and Basilaces taken prisoner. Romanus drew up his troops into formation and sent the left wing out under Bryennius, who was almost surrounded by the quickly approaching Turks and was forced to retreat once more. The Turks hid among the nearby hills for the night, making it nearly impossible for Romanus to send a counterattack.

On August 25, some of Romanus' Turkish mercenaries came into contact with their Seljuk relatives and deserted. Romanus then rejected a Seljuk embassy and attempted to recall Tarchaneiotes, who was of course no longer in the area. There were no engagements that day, but on August 26 the Byzantine army gathered itself into a proper battle formation and began to march on the Turkish positions, with the left wing under Bryennius, the right wing under Theodore Alyates, and the centre under the emperor. Andronicus Ducas led the reserve forces in the rear. The Seljuks were organized into a crescent formation about four kilometres away, with Arslan observing events from a safe distance. 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 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 fled when challenged. With the Seljuks avoiding battle, Romanus was forced to order a withdrawal by the time night fell. However, the right wing misunderstood the order, and Ducas, as an enemy of Romanus, deliberately ignored the emperor and marched back to the camp outside Manzikert, rather than covering the emperor's retreat. Now that the Byzantines were thoroughly confused, the Seljuks seized the opportunity and attacked. The Byzantine right wing was routed; the left under Bryennius held out a little longer but was soon routed as well. Romanus was injured, and taken prisoner when the Seljuks discovered him.

When the Emperor Romanus IV was conducted into the presence of Alp Arslan, he was treated him with considerable kindess, and offered him the terms of peace which he had offered previous to the battle. He was also loaded with presents and Alp Arslan had him respectfully escorted by a military guard to his own forces. But prior to that, when he first was brought to the Sultan, this famous conversation is recorded to have taken place:

Alp Arslan: "What would you do if I was brought before you as a prisoner?"

Romanus: "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."

Alas for Romanus, his own subjects were far less kind than his enemy, making the mercy of Alp Arlsan a curse: Shortly after his return to his subjects, Romanus was deposed, and then blinded and finally killed after great torture and torment.

Outcome

Despite the defeat, Byzantine casualties were apparently relatively low. Ducas had escaped with no casualties, and quickly marched back to Constantinople where he led the coup against Romanus. Bryennius also lost few men in the rout of his wing. Since the battle had not occurred until after nightfall, the Turks did not pursue the fleeing Byzantines, which probably saved most of them. The Turks did not even recapture Manzikert itself at this point. The Byzantine army regrouped and marched to Dokeia, where they were joined by Romanus when he was released a week later. Given what then happend to him, Romanus should have remained with the Turks. The most serious loss materially seems to have been the emperor's extravagant baggage train.

Years and decades later, Manzikert came to be seen as a disaster for the Empire; later sources greatly exaggerate the numbers of troops and the numbers 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, however, an immediate disaster; most units survived intact and were fighting in the Balkans or elsewhere in Asia Minor within a few months. On the other hand, 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 Andronicus Ducas also politically destabilized the empire, and it was difficult to organize a resistance to the Turkish migrations that followed the battle. Within the next few decades almost all of Asia Minor was overrun by the Seljuks. Norwich says in his great trilogy on Byzantium that the loss of the Anatolian heartland of the empire was "its death blow, through 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." Finally, while intrigue and deposing of Emperors had taken place before, the fate of Romanus was particularly horrific, and the destabilization caused by it also rippled through the centuries.

Thus, in hindsight historians are practically unanimous in dating the decline of Byzantine fortunes to this battle. It is also considered one of the root causes for the later Crusades: the West saw Manzikert as a signal that Byzantium was no longer capable of being the protector of Eastern Christianity, or Christian prilgrims to the Holy Places in the Middle East.

Sources

  • John Haldon, "The Byzantine Wars."
  • Warren Treadgold, "A History of the Byzantine State and Society."
  • Runciman, "History of the Crusades" (Volume One)
  • John Julius Norwich "Byzantium: The Apogee" (Volume II of his triology on the Byzantine Empire)

 

Edited by Komnenos: Even if it's obvious knows that the article is pasted from Wikipedia, please name your source and post a link. (See the announcement on "Plagiarism)






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Evrenosgazi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2006 at 10:55

Turkoglu I am sure that Byzantine army was superior numerically. Because the saljuk armies main part was gainst Fatimids in Syria. Alpaslan left Atsz in Syria and crossed the Euphrates with 4000 ghulams. And by parcipitant turkomans and Kurds the number must be low than 54000. The byzantine army was a huge and heterogenous army. Their number was much more. Also include the veterans 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cunctator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2006 at 11:48
This exchange is exactly the reason that I enjoy visiting this forum. The participants are so enthusiastic and, with reference to the replies to my question, so very giving. Thank you for such interesting answers and reading suggestions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2006 at 11:57

Originally posted by Cunctator Cunctator wrote:

This exchange is exactly the reason that I enjoy visiting this forum. The participants are so enthusiastic and, with reference to the replies to my question, so very giving. Thank you for such interesting answers and reading suggestions.

Thanks for the kind compliments and you are welcome.  Keep the Byzantine topics coming! 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Digenis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2006 at 15:21
Interesting posts.
But which is the source about the strength of the armies ?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Evrenosgazi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2006 at 17:13
Originally posted by Digenis Digenis wrote:

Interesting posts.
But which is the source about the strength of the armies ?

It was obvious that Roman army was superior in number and equipment. Before the field battle Alpaslan send emisarries to Romanus for peace but the answer was "peace will be concluded in Ray".That shows that Romans were sure for their victory
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kapikulu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Mar-2006 at 21:22

Actually Turks had been organizing raids into Anatolia till the beginning of 11th century,and even before that, during the Abbasid era, Turks were put as guards to borders and had been making similar raids either.

But Manzikert had been the "key battle" which opened the gates of Anatolia to Turks, with a clichee saying,as it was the major battle that broke Byzantine power and influence, therefore made Turkish entrance to Anatolia much easier.

Even though Byzantine army was more equipped and crowded, Turkish victory was more because of army structure and tactics.Turkish cavalry archers and light cavalry,which were mobile units, had been effective against Byzantine army.

There is also another fact that Turkic mercenaries in the Byzantine army had changed sides during the war(Like Kipchaks,Kumans and Pecheneks).The victory had been so crushing that even emperor Romanos Diogenes fell as a prisoner.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2006 at 14:16
Originally posted by unicorn unicorn wrote:

Instead, Dukas either mistook this as a defeat or indeed wished to think so and ordered a hasty retreat which left uncovered the bulk of the army. It was later reported that he spread rumors (did he really believe them or not ?) that the Emperor himself was killed.


Ah, but there is much to suggest that at Manzikert, Romanus, and in consequence the whole Empire, was victim of a plot by the Ducas family to overthrow the Emperor and place their own candidate, Michael Ducas, on the throne. Remember, Michael was the legitimate son of the Emperor Constantine X Ducas, and when Romanus IV Diogenes ascended in his stead, it left the Ducas family feeling cheated. This would also explain Tarchaniotes' seemingly pointless flight at Khelat.

It's just a theory though.

Originally posted by Evrenosgazi Evrenosgazi wrote:

It was obvious that Roman army was superior in number and equipment. Before the field battle Alpaslan send emisarries to Romanus for peace but the answer was "peace will be concluded in Ray".That shows that Romans were sure for their victory


From the Seljuk point of view, it sure does, doesn't it? But actually, Romanus' position was one of desperation; as mentioned earlier his general Tarchaniotes had fled with his part of the army, seemingly for no reason, depriving the main army of somewhere between 30000-40000 men. This also included the Frankish mercenaries under Roussell de Ballieul. Not long afterwards, the Uz mercenary contigent went turncloak and sided with their Turkic brethren and Alp Arslan, who had recieved additional 10000 Kurdish heavy cavalry reinforcements prior to the battle.

Now, in this situation, why did Romanus give Alp Arslan such a haughty reply to his genuine offer of a truce? He could easily have avoided the whole battle that way, Alp Arslan was primarily interested in getting back to his campaign against the Fatimids. But this battle was all or nothing for Romanus; lately his support at home had plummeted, the Ducas family continuously plotted his downfall (as exemplified above). Just months prior to the campaign against the Seljuks, the Byzantines had lost Bari on the Italian coast to the Normans, the last and one of the strongest Byzantine footholds in Italy. If Romanus returned without a victory against the Seljuks, but instead a humiliating truce, he would surely be deposed. Which was exactly what happened when Romanus was sent back by Alp Arslan after the battle, to carry into effect the truce forced on him in captivity (a most gentle captivity, it must be added).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BigL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2006 at 15:28
How did the byzantine army compare in numbers ,tactics to the byzantine army, How come it was able to defeat the Seljuks under arp arlslan in 1097ad
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BlindOne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2006 at 15:31
Originally posted by Kapikulu Kapikulu wrote:

Even though Byzantine army was more equipped and crowded, Turkish victory was more because of army structure and tactics.Turkish cavalry archers and light cavalry,which were mobile units, had been effective against Byzantine army.

There is also another fact that Turkic mercenaries in the Byzantine army had changed sides during the war(Like Kipchaks,Kumans and Pecheneks).The victory had been so crushing that even emperor Romanos Diogenes fell as a prisoner.

 

 The victory wasn't the result of better tactic and the victory wasn't crushing.

First if Ducas had actually attacked the Turk would be surounded. This should not be suprising. If someone read they Byzantine tactical books will reallise that they know they nomad tactics in battlefield. The byzantines Fought against Nomads 500 years before the Turks made their presence in their bordes.

 So even at the battle the Byzantine army had lesser troops on the field we can easily see that the potition of the troop was the correct to counter Nomand fighting style troops. They put some soldier in order to get surounded from the Nomads and when that happen the rest soldier will suround the nomads. It is a clever tactic that make the vitcim hunter.

 

 Also how can you say the it was a crushing victory when the bigger part of army haven't been destroyed (actually not even take part in the battle). It was the civil war that follow the capture of the emperor that destroyed the eastern army and open the gate to anatolia for the Turks.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Evrenosgazi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2006 at 16:57
Originally posted by BlindOne BlindOne wrote:

Originally posted by Kapikulu Kapikulu wrote:

Even though Byzantine army was more equipped and crowded, Turkish victory was more because of army structure and tactics.Turkish cavalry archers and light cavalry,which were mobile units, had been effective against Byzantine army.

There is also another fact that Turkic mercenaries in the Byzantine army had changed sides during the war(Like Kipchaks,Kumans and Pecheneks).The victory had been so crushing that even emperor Romanos Diogenes fell as a prisoner.

 

 The victory wasn't the result of better tactic and the victory wasn't crushing.

First if Ducas had actually attacked the Turk would be surounded. This should not be suprising. If someone read they Byzantine tactical books will reallise that they know they nomad tactics in battlefield. The byzantines Fought against Nomads 500 years before the Turks made their presence in their bordes.

 So even at the battle the Byzantine army had lesser troops on the field we can easily see that the potition of the troop was the correct to counter Nomand fighting style troops. They put some soldier in order to get surounded from the Nomads and when that happen the rest soldier will suround the nomads. It is a clever tactic that make the vitcim hunter.

 

 Also how can you say the it was a crushing victory when the bigger part of army haven't been destroyed (actually not even take part in the battle). It was the civil war that follow the capture of the emperor that destroyed the eastern army and open the gate to anatolia for the Turks.

Before Manzikert the turkish pressure was so obvious that Emperor Romanus thought that a big campaign will stop it.

We are not debating Roman armies valour. But the battle was crushing. The empire fragmantated, and Turks even captured Aegean posts. The Roman army was a large, high quality army with all kinds of troops(Greeks,Armenians,Russians,Turkic tribes,Normans,Italians....).Not the human casualties but the army dispersed. Armenians was waiting this chance and established their pitty states. Normans tried to establish akingdom in Central Anatolia. A lot of emperor candidates appear........................My friend this was a terrible date for Romans

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2006 at 17:36
Originally posted by Evrenosgazi Evrenosgazi wrote:

Before Manzikert the turkish pressure was so obvious that Emperor Romanus thought that a big campaign will stop it.

We are not debating Roman armies valour. But the battle was crushing. The empire fragmantated, and Turks even captured Aegean posts. The Roman army was a large, high quality army with all kinds of troops(Greeks,Armenians,Russians,Turkic tribes,Normans,Italians....).Not the human casualties but the army dispersed. Armenians was waiting this chance and established their pitty states. Normans tried to establish akingdom in Central Anatolia. A lot of emperor candidates appear........................My friend this was a terrible date for Romans


Oh, yes. No one doubts the consequences of this battle. The issue at hand here however, seems to me is whether the outcome should be attributed mostly to Seljuk strength or Roman weakness.

One shouldn't downplay the prowess of the Seljuks. Their horse archery tactics had prevailed throughout the middle east, elevating them to be masters of this region, the Caliph merely a puppet in their hands. At Manzikert, Alp Arslan fooled Romanus into a trap, with the classic Seljuk feigned retreat in a crescent formation. Romanus pursued for a while, then decided to turn his army around, and that's when Alp Arslan struck. The Seljuks charged and penetrated the Byzantine lines. Now this is when Ducas, commanding the rearguard, should have struck. But he didn't, instead he spread rumours of the Emperor being dead, leading the entire army into flight.

Alp Arslan did everything right, while Romanus made two tactical blunders that cost him the battle: first, he put a deadly rival to command his rearguard, second, he followed Alp Arslans feigned retreat, and instead of trying to pin the Seljuks down in face of the approaching mountainsides he turned the army around, exposing it to attack.

Of course, all the desertions from the Byzantine army leads one to doubt whether the Seljuks would have stood a chance in this clash, had not Tarchaniotes fled, the Uz defected, and Ducas failed to engage with the rearguard. But this they did, and we end up discussing one of those tiresome "what if" scenarios that historians shouldn't waste their time on.

Whether the actual battle was crushing we can never really establish, but that the consequences were is hardly up for debate.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BlindOne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2006 at 08:07

Evrenosgazi:

 Manziketrt as a battle wasn't devastating for the empire, it was a minor battle with a few loses and almost no land lose.

 It has however some devastating outcomes for the empire. What that was:

- Dukas with the biggest part of the army when back to Constantinouple and because Emperor. So with two emperors a civil war was inevitable. That civil war which took part in Asia minor devastate the empire. Empires army because weaker and the empires people sicked for the leadership behaviour.

 So with the Empires army weaker from a long civil war it was easy for the Seljuks to conquer a big part of Asia minor, they have meet almost no resist.

Also that civil war make the other nations (like the armenians) to become sick with the empire. It was actually the armenians that ask for the empire help against the Seljuks. So when they see the empires fell into a civil war after a minor battle , with had no real lost,  it is understantable to try make their own  state, so they can defend their lands.

 Also i want from you to stop calling the armenian states pitty, Seljuk statement wan't any better......

 

Rengimunt:

 Alp Aslan didn't make everything right. He did what he knew. Seljuk tactic as i said in my former post was ancient (Byzantine have faced such tactics from the birth of their empire).

 The formation that Romanus follow was the correct to counter the Seljuks.

 Why he lost the battle? For a couple mistakes he made:

 It's what you wrote. Dukas almost mock the emperor openly. It is really a mistery why he give him such authorities in the army.

But i have to disagree when you say that it was Romanus mistake to follow Alp Aslan. I believe that the general knew that the Seljuks retreat was feint (as i said many time here the have seem it in the past) but they couldn't say in one spot for the rest eternity...

Byzantine formation was the correct one, they have the infantry protected by their heavy cavalary and their hose archers. It was impossible for the Seljuks to break that formation. The plan was that the army would move as one body. Here is the crittical point. As we see from facts Ducas wanted to provoce a defeat so what he could do? Break the formation. So he stayed behind and let the Romanus move forwat alone . The formation was broked and the first line surrounded.

 But even now the battle wasn't lost. As we see the Seljuks needed a big time to defeat the surrounded army. And here most istorians says that even if the Ducas changed his mind and deside to attack alp aslan would be dead that day.

 What i want to say is that the biggest enemies above all that surround the empire was itself and not the others....



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That I am stricken and can't let you go
When the heart is cold, there's no hope, and we know
That I am crippled by all that you've done
Into the abyss, will I run


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2006 at 12:17
Originally posted by BlindOne BlindOne wrote:

But i have to disagree when you say that it was Romanus mistake to follow Alp Aslan. I believe that the general knew that the Seljuks retreat was feint (as i said many time here the have seem it in the past) but they couldn't say in one spot for the rest eternity...


Of course Romanus had to pursue, that was not the mistake. The mistake was turning his army around, exposing it to a Seljuk countercharge. Now, whether he turned it around because he was tired of chasing the Turks, or to lure them out of their retreat, cannot be determined for sure. The latter seems more likely to me. But this move, combined with putting Ducas in command of the rearguard, cost Romanus the battle, the throne and his eyes.

PS: Blind Guardian is a great band.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gharanai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2006 at 13:07
Very interesting topic, pleased to know about it. Thanks to all for their contributions.


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