Battle of Manzikert | Historic Defeat of the Byzantine Empire by the Seljuk Empire

Historic Defeat of the Byzantine Empire by the Seljuk Empire

Battle of Manzikert was fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Seljuk Empire in 1071 CE. The negative impact of this war was that it weakened the forces and manpower of the Byzantine Empire. Basically, it was the time of the disharmony between Christians and Muslims. Pechenegs and Turkmen had early depicted the dangers for Catholic West. Therefore, the Byzantine Empire was careful in order to save it from the Islamic state and barbarian’s jeopardy.

But after the Manzikert battle, it became difficult to protect the Catholic West. This war lead to the inner distraction of Byzantine and it made a way for Seljuks to butt in the matters of the Byzantine Empire.

Relations and Small Raids

In the previous Era, Byzantine Empire had not to face any invades from Seljuks but in 1048 CE, the Era of the Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos, Ibrahim Yanal overrun on Trabzon city, Abkhazia and Erzurum city of Byzantine Empire. Therefore, the Seljuk Muslims made marvelous triumphs. In 1049 CE, a concession of Give and Take was made which was meant that Byzantine will construct a mosque in Constantinople for Seljuks and Seljuks in return will free the king of Abkhazia.

Later, the leader of Seljuks, Tughril Beg sent a message to Emperor Constantine IX that he allowed them to visit Egypt through the Levant. But the Byzantine Emperor did not allow the request. And explained to him that how could he allow him to harm Fatimid Caliph, Al-Mustansir Billah as he had close relations with him. Byzantine Empire knew very well that after occupying Baghdad, Seljuks now had become very strong. In 1055 CE Tughril Beg once again sent his messenger to Theodora who was the Queen of Byzantine. He wanted her to allow Tughril Beg to address in Constantinople for the Abbasid Caliph and the Seljuk sultan. Theodora accepted it.

As the Byzantine Empire was busy with the raids of Seljuks in Iraq and the Levant. Therefore, the relations of Byzantines with Fatimid State became weak. Hence, the Fatimid State wasn’t able to start any military operation.  In 1063 CE, Tughril Beg passed away. After his death, many conflicts raised among Seljuks. In late 1063 CE, Alp Arslan had overpowered Rayy city. Alp Arslan initiated a campaign against Azerbaijan in order to conquer Byzantine.

Battle of Manzikert

The leader of Seljuks, Alp Arslan had stimulated his army before the war. On 06 August 1071 CE, in the North of Lake Van in Armenia, the war started in the field between Manzikert and Ahlat city.

In the “Battle of Manzikert”, Seljuks defeated Byzantine Empire then Alp Arslan became the Chief of Seljuk and it headed the Seljuk Turks. Later, Seljuks got more victories in Anatolia and as a state of martially feasible, they marked the initiating end of the Byzantine Empire. Seljuks invaded the Byzantine Empire many times. Therefore, Romanos IV Diogenes gathered his army to save the Byzantine Empire. For this purpose, Romanos organized his army for the protection of Byzantine.

In 1071 CE, Romanos sent his army to Armenia which was under the control of Turks, along the Euphrates river. When his army reached the town of Manzikert, he split his army in different directions which included a delegate of Turkmen. He ordered his army to move forward in order to protect the castle of Ahlat near Lake Van. While he moved with some of his warriors towards Manzikert.

When Alp Arslan came to know about the Byzantine raid then in such a hurried situation, he moved quickly towards Manzikert and encountered the army of Romanos. But Romanos wanted to gather his whole army in Ahlat. Therefore, they left Manzikert. But while moving towards Ahlat, his army entrapped in a dale. Meanwhile, Turks attacked them. Romanos fought back with full courage as they were very close to victory but due to betrayal, their positions became weak. The Turk’s army approached them and occupied. The main reason for the defeat of Romanos and Byzantine was that their General Andronikous Doukas fled away with his army. Turks imprisoned the army of Romanos. Most of the army of the Byzantine Empire was killed at Manzikert. However, Alp Arslan made an agreement that they will hand over the most important regions of the Byzantine Empire.

When the troops of the Byzantine Empire returned, their political enemies killed them. Byzantine Empire appealed for their assistance. And this appeal was known as the reinforcement of 1st Crusade.


Seljuks were very powerful that they defeated even the Byzantine Empire. Due to this war, the Byzantine Empire became weaker and weaker from 1071 to 1204 CE. But on the other hand,  Seljuks continued their victories. As they conquered Ani city which was the capital of Armenia and occupied the highland of Armenia.

In this way, these victories of Seljuks helped them to grow a more powerful and strong state of Seljuks Rome and  Konya became its Capital. They expanded the empire towards the North areas as well as the Mediterranean Sea towards the South.

There is a big news for the readers that a movie named “Battle of Manzikert” is now in the list with Cengiz Coskun (Turgut Alp) as the main role.

Who was Turgut Alp


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