MANZIKERT, BATTLE OF (1071). In the spring of 1071 Romanus Diogenes, the Byzantine emperor, having collected together an army of some 6o,000 men marched into Armenia to recover the fortresses of Akhlat and Manzikert which had been captured by Alp Arslan and his Seijouk Turks. His forces were composite, consisting of Byzantine cavalry and infantry, German mercenaries and Franks. At Akhlat he divided his army leaving there a division to besiege the fortress, and with the main body marched on to Manzikert and reduced that place. Hardly had he done so when he fell in with Alp Arslan's advanced guard. The Sultan's army was 1 oo,000 strong, and mainly consisted of horse archers. The tactics which the emperor should have employed were those laid down by Leo the Wise, namely, to maintain an un broken front, to beware of surprise and never to fight with uncovered flanks or rear.
Romanus was a brave soldier but impetuous. In the advanced guard encounter one of his generals, Basilakes, fell into an ambush losing 41 his men. The emperor then drew up his army in front of his camp. The right wing was composed of Asiatic cavalry, the left of European and the centre of Byzantine horse. In rear he
drew up a strong second line of Germans and Normans under Andronicus Ducas. As he advanced on his enemy, the Turks refused to close, hovering round the two lines and plying them with arrows. In the evening a halt was called, and the emperor fearing that his camp was in danger ordered a retirement. This order was misinterpreted, and confusion resulted, whereupon the Turks closing in compelled the emperor to face about. Andronicus refused to halt and retired to the camp. The loss of the rear line left the rear of the front line open to attack. Eventually this line was overwhelmed and Romanus was decisively defeated and made a prisoner. The result of this defeat was disastrous, Asia Minor was overrun, and by 108o the old Byzantine army had all but ceased to exist.
See E. Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; G. Findlay, History of the Byzantine and Greek Empires; C. Oman, A History of the Art of War. The Middle Ages (1924). (J. F. C. F.)