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History of Malazgirt

The Battle of Malazgird was fought on 26 August 1071 between the Seljuk Empire and the Byzantine Empire near Malazgird in present-day Mas Province, Turkey. The Byzantines were defeated in this battle and the emperor Romanos IV was captured, thereby reducing Byzantine authority in Anatolia, and Armenia, and paving the way for Anatolia to be annexed by the Turks.

The Malazgird defeat spelled disaster for the Byzantines. This resulted in the civil war and an economic crisis that reduced the Byzantine Empire’s ability to defend its borders. As a result, the Turks began to enter central Anatolia in large numbers. By 1080, the Seljuk Turks had conquered an area of ​​about 78,000 square kilometers (30,000 sq mi).

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It took three decades for Alexios I to bring stability to Byzantium by eliminating internal turmoil. Historian Thomas Enbridge says: “In 1071 the Seljuks destroyed an imperial force at the Battle of Malazgirda (in eastern Asia Minor), and although historians no longer regard it as a terrible disaster for the Greeks, it was a painful setback.” This was the first time in history that a Byzantine emperor had defeated a Muslim emperor. be imprisoned

Although the Byzantine Empire remained strong during the Middle Ages, it began to decline due to military weakness during the reigns of Constantine IX and Constantine X. The decline was somewhat prolonged by military reforms during the brief two-year reign of Isaac I. [14] The Byzantines first engaged the Seljuks when the Seljuk Turks attempted to seize the Armenian capital of Ani during the reign of Constantine IX.

Constantine made a treaty with the Seljuks that lasted until 1064. They then captured Ani and in 1067 captured the rest of Armenia, including Caesarea.

Romanos IV came to power in 1068 and after some rapid military reforms put Manuel Comnenus in charge of the campaign against the Seljuks. Manuel captured Manbij in Syria. He then repulsed a Turkish attack on Konya,[8] but was then defeated and captured by Sultan Alp Arsalan. Despite the success, Alp Arsalan made a peace treaty with the Byzantines in 1069. At that time, the Fatimids of Egypt became his main opponents.

In February 1071 the Romanos sent envoys to Alp Arsalan to renew the treaty. The Sultan agreed. [5] Lifting the siege of Edessa, he marched on Fatimid-held Aleppo. Romanos marched a large army into Armenia to recapture the fortress, breaking the peace treaty.

Romanos’ opponent Andronicus Doukas was also with him. This force consisted of about 5,000 regular Byzantine soldiers from the western provinces and an equal number from the eastern provinces. There were 500 Franks and Normans under Rosell de Baile. There were also some Oghuz Turks, Pecheng, and Bulgarian warriors. The infantry was under the duke of Antioch. There was also a contingent of Georgian and Armenian troops. As well as some soldiers of the Varangian Guards. In all, the strength of the force was 40,000 to 70,000

Alp Arsalan led the Seljuk Turks to victory.
The journey through Asia Minor was long and arduous. Romanos’ popularity among the troops decreased due to bringing his own luxury luggage. Also the local populace was suffering due to the depredations of his Frankish warriors and he did not depose them. They reached Theodosiopolis in June 1071.

They’re some of the emperor’s generals advised to enter the Seljuk territory, launch an expedition and defeat Alp Arsalan before he was ready. Others, including Nicephorus Bryennius, proposed to wait and strengthen their position. But in the end, it was decided to go ahead.

Assuming that Alp Arsalan was far away or not approaching, Romanos advanced toward the lake. He thought he could quickly take possession of Malajgird. Alp Arsalan was already in the area. He was accompanied by his allies and 30,000 cavalries from Aleppo and Mosul. Although Romanos was unaware of Alp Arsalan’s actions, Alp Arsalan’s spies discovered Romanos’ exact location. Malazgirt 1071 Bangla Subtitles

After making peace with the Byzantines, the Seljuks planned an invasion of Egypt. But after Alp Arsalan received news of the Byzantine advance in Aleppo, he marched north to confront the Byzantines.

Romanos ordered his general, Josephus Tarkeniotes, to march towards Khaliat with some regulars, Varangians, and Pecheng and Frankish warriors, and he marched towards Malazgird with the rest of the force. As a result, the force’s capacity is halved. According to Muslim sources, Alp Arsalan defeated the forces of Joseph Tarkeniotesk. However, there is no mention of this in Roman sources.


On the morning of the battle, Alp Arsalan summoned his army and gave a speech wearing the white cloth of the shroud. Romanos was then unaware of Tarkeniotes’ defeat and marched towards Malaugirde. On 23 August he captured Malajgird easily. Seljuk archers are formidable He responded by attacking.

The next day a scouting party from Briennis saw the Seljuk army and retreated to Malajgird. Romanos sent the Armenian general Basilakis with some cavalry because he thought it was not the whole force of Alp Arsalan. The cavalry was destroyed by the Seljuks and Basilakis was captured.

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Romanos marshaled his troops and sent the left part of the force under Brienne. They were almost overwhelmed by the rapidly advancing Seljuks and were forced to retreat once more. The Romans were unable to mount a counterattack as the Seljuks remained hidden throughout the night on nearby hills.

Byzantine territory (purple), Byzantine invasion (red), and Seljuk invasion (green) On August 25, Romanos‘ Turkish warriors defected. Romanos then rejected the peace proposals sent by the Seljuks. He wanted to destroy the eastern adversary by military means. The emperor summoned Tarkeniotes, who was absent from the region. There was no fight on both side that day.

On August 26, the Byzantine army formed and marched toward the Turkish positions. The army was led by the Emperor in the center, Briennenis on the left, and Theodore Elites on the right. At this time a Turkish soldier said to Alp Arsalan, “My Sultan, the enemy troops are advancing”, and Alp Arsalan replied, “Then we are also advancing towards them”.

Andronicus Docus was leading the reserve force in the rear. Four kilometers away, the Seljuks lined up in a half-moon formation. Seljuk archers attacked the Byzantines as they approached; The center of the crescent formation of the Seljuk forces continued to fall back, and the two flanks surrounded the Byzantines. Malazgirt 1071 Bangla Subtitles

The Byzantines advanced and reached the camp of Alp Arsalan before the end of the afternoon. However, the right and left parts of the army, which suffered the most from the arrows, collapsed during the fight with the Seljuks. The Seljuk cavalry were able to defeat them easily. The Romanos avoided battle and were forced to retreat during the night. However, the right wing of the army misunderstood the order and Dokus disobeyed the emperor’s orders and retreated beyond Malajgird without protecting the emperor as he retreated.

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The Seljuks took advantage of this misunderstanding by the Byzantines and attacked. [8] The right wing of the Byzantine army was almost destroyed, believing that the Armenians or supporting Turks had defected. But mainly the Armenians defected first and the supporting Turks remained loyal to the end. The left wing of the army under Bryennios held out for a while but they too were finally crushed. The remnants of the Byzantines, including the Emperor and the Varangian Guard, were besieged by the Seljuks. Romanos was captured wounded. Besides, the professional core of the Byzantine army was completely destroyed by dawn.

Captivity of the Romanos

Emperor Romanos IV was captured in front of Alp Arsalan. A 15th-century French painting.
After being captured, Emperor Romanos was brought before Alp Arsalan. But the Sultan did not at first want to believe that the captive was Emperor Romanos. A famous conversation is said to have taken place at this time

Alp Arsalan: “What would you do if I were brought before you as a prisoner?” Romanos: “Perhaps I would have killed you, or paraded you in the streets of Constantinople.” Alp Arsalan: “My punishment is more severe than this. I forgive you, and set you free.” Alp Arsalan treated him well and restored the pre-war truce.

After his release and return, the Romanos regime was troubled. He fought against the Dokus family three times and was defeated. After his overthrow, he was blinded and banished to every island. He died soon after due to an infection from the wound during the blinding.


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