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The story of Alp Arslan, Part Three

 Malaz Kurdish website

The course of events and skirmishes was now geared towards a decisive battle between the new Seljuk Empire and the powerful Byzantine state, which happened in the Battle of Manzikert, considered a decisive event in the history of the Islam and the Byzantine State. , and even in relations between East and West in general, since its results guided world policies after its end. All the powers and empires have made new plans based on what happened in this battle.

If we want to put the battle in historical context, we will see the countries of the Islamic East and West retreat and collapse. Andalusia is divided between sect kings, the whole of Morocco is plunged into endless tribal conflicts and the Fatimids. The state in Egypt, the Levant and the Hejaz became weak and factors of disintegration appeared after the end of the struggle against Mustansiriya. The era of powerful caliphs brought with it the era of viziers, generally characterized by a struggle for power at the expense. The Abbasid state reached the height of its weakness under Buyid control, and Seljuk attempts to strengthen it and revive Sunni doctrine faced serious challenges.

On the other hand, the Western project began to mature and its characteristics became clearer, and the Byzantine state regained its cohesion and strength and launched invasions into Islamic lands with the characteristics of what was later known under the name of the Crusades. All factors pointed to a decisive global confrontation.

The rapid and light movement of the Seljuks and Alp Arslan into the Levant and Anatolia and their movement towards Egypt precipitated the confrontation. The Byzantine Empire felt the fear and anxiety of this new power, which disturbed it with skirmishes during the time of Tughrul Beg and later. by seizing part of his possessions in Armenia, Karaj (Georgia) and Anatolia during the time of Alp Arslan.

In the year 463 AH, while Alp Arslan was busy with the clashes in his march to eliminate the Fatimid state in Egypt and completely rid himself of its conspiracies against the Abbasid state, the Byzantine emperor Romanos Diogenes , called in Islamic sources Armanos, decided to assemble a large army to storm the new Seljuk state, eliminate it and end the Abbasid Caliphate and remove it from history.

The Western Church came to terms with him, forgetting the disputes and grievances complained of by Catholics in the Byzantine lands, and provided him with a large crowd of Russians, Karaj, Romans, Armenians, Khazars and Franks, in estimated numbers by two Islamic sources. one hundred thousand and Western sources one hundred thousand. This is what we can call a first crusade.

Alp Arslan was in the town of Khoy in Azerbaijan when he heard the news of the Western Byzantine mobilization. He quickly made the decision to confront and sent the spoils with his minister Nizam al-Mulk. He marched with strength estimated by Islamic sources. at fifteen thousand and the Western sources at forty thousand, and he found no alternative to confrontation, whatever it might be, because he feared that the postponement would give Armanos the opportunity to enter Muslim lands and commit crimes. massacres that could not happen. be tolerated, so he marched with his forces, inspired by the past of Turkish wars, which were based on rapid march, lightning confrontation and military deception with dispersion which deceived the enemy until disintegration, then a rapid return and a sudden attack.

On the other hand, Armanos had great confidence in victory, so much so that he divided all the Islamic kingdoms among the commanders of his army, deceived by his strength and the number of his crowds. He divided the army without worrying about any confrontation. thus the Seljuk army, led by Alp Arslan, attacked part of the Byzantine army, defeated it with a thunderbolt and captured its leader, Basilicus.

Although the Seljuk strike had a painful impact on the Byzantine advance, as the Franks retreated, the Russians rebelled and Armanos suffered from the disintegration of his army, Alp Arslan proposed a truce, but Armanos responded arrogantly and diverted army messengers. Seljuk king, and declared: "We will conclude a truce at Ray", with his confidence in crushing the Seljuks and conquering their capital.

Alp Arslan was annoyed by Armanos' response, so the imam and jurist Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn Abd al-Malik al-Bukhari told him: "You are fighting for a religion that God has promised to grant victory and victory over all other religions. I hope God has written this conquest in your name, so come see them Friday afternoon when it does. » The preachers from the pulpit pray for the victory of the mujahideen, and the supplication is accompanied by a response.

The moment of truth

When this hour came, he prayed with the people, and the Sultan cried, and the people cried because of his crying, then he called and they prayed with him, then he said: “Whoever wants leave, let him leave, because there is no sultan here who commands and forbids. He put down the bow and arrows, took the sword and the pin, tied his horse's tail in his hand, dressed himself in white, mummified himself and said: "If I kill, that will be enough for me." » Before the meeting, he dismounted, covered his face with earth, wept and prayed diligently. Then he rode with determination and attacked his enemy, taking his soldiers with him, knowing that there was no escape from the fight. that the courage of his soldiers would resist the great number of their enemies, and he counted on the skill of his archers.

As for Armanos, he continued in his arrogance. He rushed his army in one mass and did not return to Roman plans in war with the system of successive and reserve forces. The Muslims showed astonishing valor and the Byzantine army became exhausted. At that time, Armanos wanted to withdraw to continue the fight the next day, but the Seljuks did not give him time. They breached the retreating Byzantine forces, attacked them from all sides and caused a great massacre. annihilated by the masses, Armanos tried to gather the disintegrated and torn forces and fought with them desperately until he was captured and taken to the Islamic camp.

The captured Byzantine Caesar, Armanos, stood before the victorious Muslim leader Alp Arslan. He reprimanded him, warned him of the refusal of the truce and asked him: What would you do if you were captured? He said: I will hurt you. He said: What do you think I'm going to do to you? He said: Murder, slander, or forgive me and use me. Other stories are told about the situation, but in any case it ended with an amnesty in exchange for a ransom of one million five hundred thousand dinars, an annual tribute of three hundred thousand dinars, the release of all Muslim prisoners and marriage. from the daughters of the emperor to the sons of the sultan.

The Battle of Manzikert and the victory of Alp Arslan had a great impact on the direction of events in history after it. The fear of collusion between the Fatimids and the Byzantines was removed and the Seljuks marched into Anatolia and took possession of it. The oppression of the Byzantines in the lands they controlled was removed, Islam spread there, and the battle declared the Seljuk state a world empire. The European West felt the danger heading towards it from the East and weakened the Byzantine state. , which the West considered as a barrier protecting it.

Years later, another historic victory was won in the Islamic West, when the armies of Andalusia and Morocco defeated the army of Alfonso, King of Castile, at the Battle of Zallaqa at Rajab in 479 AH. This increased the tension, and it showed in the sermon. of Pope Urban II, that fear of the Seljuks was the main reason for the outbreak of the Crusades.


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