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Manzikert

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  Quote Seko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Manzikert
    Posted: 14-Aug-2005 at 20:05

The 934'th anniversary of the Battle of Manzikert is comming up on August 26. I am interested to know how many troops were involved for both sides prior to the battle. So far I have come across diverse numbers from varied sources.

Internet:   worldhistory.com, outship.com, wikipedia and ozturkler.com

Books:      George Childs Kohn- Dictionary of Wars, Ian Heath - Byzantine Armies 886-1118 (Osprey-Men at Arms series)

 

Numbers: Byzantine - 40,000 to 1,000,000. The Ospresy book claims any where from 200,000 to Mathew of Edessa's dubious claim of 1,000,000. 

                 Seljuk - 12,000 to 40,000.  Ozturkler.com shows the number of  Sultan Alp Arslan as having 15,000-20,000 under his direct command with his brigade of guards.

 

 An interesting note, both Wikipedia, worldhistory.com and outship.com appear to provide the same articles and references yet differ on 40,000 or 100,000 Byzantine troops.

 Hopefully, I will add more sources tommorow which I currently do not have handy.

 



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  Quote Jagatai Khan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2005 at 03:49

The edit of the nations in Byzantine Army,numbers of the armies,the night pillage of Seljuk Army at 24th August in Wikipedia was done by me.

As I said there,Byzantine Army gathered Byzantine troops from the western provinces, and probably about the same number from the eastern provinces; French 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. Also, from Balkans and around the empire, Russians, Khazars, Alans, Uzes (Oghuz Turks), Cumans (Kypchak Turks), Georgians, Franks, Crimean Goths, Bulgars, and Patzinaks.

There are sources that sey the Byzantines have 1 million men,but of course their number was about 100.000

I think in Greece it is known that Alparslan had more men,but it is just impossible that Seljuks had more men while Seljuks established their Empire about 30 years ago.

I am not sure about the Seljuk Army's number,but it is said as 40-50.000 and it looks like accurate.



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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2005 at 04:03
As far as I knew the date for the anniversary of Manzikert was not yet determined. It was definitely a Friday in August according to primary sources, and judging by the lunar patterns also described that would mean the battle took place either on the 19th or 26th or August, 1071.

The size of the forces gathered is very dubious, Matthew of Edessa's claim of one million Byzantine troops is simplu laughable though. Most reliable estimates put the Byzantine army at 70,000 men who marched out from Constantinople and into Armenia. However, half this army was separated from the bulk and for reasons we can only speculate on that other half of the army never marched forward to engage in the conflict. So Romanus IV had 35-40,000 men with him at the battle most likely. It was a heterogeneous and polyglot force. After years of neglect the Byzantine army was a wreck compared to what it had been 50 years before, with many mercenaries instead of local Byzantine troops.

 The Turks could not have been too small an enemy, their dominion had only been recently established but it must have taken a very sizeable force to occupy Baghdad and Persia. Arslan was fully prepared for a campaign against the Fatimids when he set out, having mustered as many of his loyal Turks as possible for what was a very ambitious expedition. On turning back to face Romanus he also persuaded many independent Turcomen raiders to join him. Again figures for the battle are dubious, but most authors such as Norwich claim the Turks likely had 40-50,000 men in total at Manzikert.

The issue at the battle was not numbers but the unity of the two sides. The Byzantines were betrayed by years of neglecting their military, dubious mercenaries, traitorous factions back in Constantinople and disloyal commanders at the battle itself. Rather then poor performance by a particular commander of the soldiers themselves, the Byzantines lost the battle thanks to their own suicidal divisions.
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  Quote Seko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2005 at 08:49

Stuart Legg, The Barbarians of Asia-The peoples of the Steppes from 1600 B.C. presents 60,000 men for the Byzantines. No more than 30,000 were native Byzantines. The rest being made up of multi ethnic mercenaries. The Seljuks brought 40,000.

TimeFrame AD 1000-1100: Light in the East has 60,000-100,000 men for the Byzantine army and 40,000 for Alp Arlsan's Seljuks.

 

Next question. How many reserves were with Andronicus Ducas?

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  Quote Mortaza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2005 at 09:02

I remember a historical  story  about AlpArslan.

When of his  soldiers warned him,  A big army was aproaching us," he said "we are also approaching them".

I dont know what is odds, but It look like It was not fine for Turks.

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  Quote Seko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2005 at 09:10
Yes. Alp Arslan made a risky decision in facing a larger host. He was doubtful about his own chances of achieving victory. Stuart Legg and Edward Gibbon similarly mention the Sultan -'rising from his prayers, put on a plain white robe, perfumed himself with musk, and had his horse's tail carefully plaited". He is said to have armed himself with a scimitar instead of his usual bow. Even though his chance of victory lie with the arrows of the Seljuks followed by close contact fighting.
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  Quote Mortaza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2005 at 09:22

I think he used scimitar for increasing his soldiers motivation. It means he  was risking his life, like ordinary soldiers.

I  think he also tied tail of his horse, this was meaning at  that times, He would enter close combat.

 

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  Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2005 at 16:40

John Haldon writes in his Warfare, State and Society in the Byzantine World, 565-1204 that it was internal politics and battlefield miscommunication which brought about the disaster at Manzikert.  He uses the account of Psellos to show that Romanus IV probably inherited a disciplined and professional army.  In fact, one could surmise from this that the expeditionary army of Romanus IV for his campaigns in the late 11th century was the last gasp of the thematic soldiers in the Byzantine army. 

Haldon cites Attaleiates for a contemporary account of Romanus IV's military career.  Evidently there were some thematic soldiers around, but they were found to be poorly trained and equipped when they mustered for his campaigns in the late 1060's.  Nevertheless, Romanus proceeded with some rigorous reform and drilling and seems to have whipped them into shape by the time he set out on campaign (225).  Obviously, Romanus had to supplement the Thematic troops with a healthy dose of mercenaries; however, the plain fact that there were enough Thematic soldiers in the army for a Byzantine historian to even mention them at this late of a date, is quite notable.

Haldon goes on to say that the Byzantine army of Romanus IV failed because of political vendettas and battlefield miscommunication.  A noble family in Constantinople had designs on the imperial throne and caused quite an uproar when members of this family (who happened to be officers in Romanus' army) openly disobeyed orders on the field.  When Romanus commanded an orderly withdrawal from the fight (possibly for resupplying and regrouping), some of the outter units became confused when they saw the back of the emperor's banner - in short, they thought he had been defeated and was fleeing from the battle (229).

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  Quote Seko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2005 at 17:26

Indeed! Politics, miscommunication, too much dependence on mercenaries, and treachery proved fatal for Romanus'.

I wonder how many troops were in the rear guard when Ducas eventually withdrew from the battle?

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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2005 at 20:23
Most historians assert that had Ducas actually moved forward like he should have done then the Turkish soldiers sweeping behind Romanus would have been crushed between the two bodies of Byzantine troops. The truly critical moment of the battle was when he fled instead of advancing for an almost assured victory.

Also important to mention is that a large portion of the troops in the Byzantine army did not engage the Turks. In the case of Ducas' formation this was due to treachery, while a number of mercenaries (most notably the Frankish cavalry) outright refused to engage the enemy.
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  Quote Mortaza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Aug-2005 at 03:12

I think  There were Turkic mercenaries  who changed sides too. Pechenek and  Avars

 



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  Quote Jagatai Khan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Aug-2005 at 04:51
Turkish origined Pecheneg,Uz and Kypchak mercenaries established contact with Seljuks at the night of 24th August.But I still couldn't find how and when they escaped and.
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  Quote Seko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Aug-2005 at 11:58

Excerpt from: TimeFrame AD 1000-1100- The Advent of the Turks

In battle proven Byzantine tradition, Romanus had disposed his forces in two campact lines, marching several hundred yards apart. He himself commanded the vanguard, giving charge of the rear guard to his bitter political rival Andronicus. The battle order was basically defensive, designed to absorb the shock of an enemy charge by allowing the vanguard to fall back without disorder into spaces left between the rearguard troops. The Seljuks, however, who were drawn up in loose cresent formation, declined to press home a general attack. Instead, they harried the Byzantines with swarms of arrows, withdrawing when threatened, luring the enemy ever closer to an upland ridge where the Seljuk Sultan Alp Arslan watched and waited. Steppe tactics of the feigned retreat were in action.

As the evening shadows lengthened, Romanus realized that further pursuit would be futile and signaled a general retreat by reversing the imperial standard. Some of the men on the wings took the signal to mean that he had fallen, and they broke ranks, spreading panic. At that moment, Alp Arslan launched an attack with his reserves, who had been kept hidden in the broken terrain below his comman post. "It was like an earthquake," the soildier Attaleiates reported, "with howling, sweat, a swift rush of fear, clouds of dust, and not least hordes of Turks riding all around us." The Turks cut their way between the center and the right wing, isolating the front line from the rear guard, which promptly turned and fled, encouraged by the treacherous Andronicus. By nightfall, most of the Byzantine vanguard had been put to the sword, and the emperor himself was a prisoner of the Seljuks.

 



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