Turkey, remains of the historical battle of Manzikert

Experts search Turkey for the remains of a great historical battle

1,000 years ago a great battle took place between Turks and Byzantines in Manzikert (eastern Turkey) that changed the history of Anatolia.

A group of experts and academics made up of Turkish historians, anthropologists and archaeologists is conducting a search in eastern Turkey to try to find the remains of a great battle that took place in this region about 1,000 years ago: the historic Battle of Manzikert, which has great significance for Turkish history since it marked the beginning of the definitive settlement of the Turks, coming from the steppes of Central Asia, in Anatolia.

The field studies, which include areas such as archaeology, art history, anthropology, geology, geophysics and geography, are being carried out for now in an area that covers no less than 150 square kilometres in the current Turkish town of Malazgirt, in the eastern province of Muş, including an study of the ancient Malazgirt fortress and its walls.

According to the academics, as a result of the excavations in the area – which have lasted for the last two years – several tombs have been brought to light, although the ultimate goal of the experts participating in the study is to find the actual remains of the famous battle, such as swords, shields or arrowheads.

Traditionally the battle had been considered to have taken place on the outskirts of Malazgirt; but now, new theories point to a location further south, east of the village of Sarıdavut and west of the village of Çatmaoluk, between the provinces of Muş and Ağrı. .

The only Roman emperor captured by a Muslim army

The Battle of Manzikert took place on August 26, 1071, and in it the armies of the Seljuk Turks under the command of Alp Arslan defeated in numerical inferiority the regular army of the Byzantine Empire, a force of about 70,000 men commanded by the emperor Romanos IV Diogenes, who was captured, being the only Roman emperor captured by a Muslim army.

Although after the great historical battle of Manzikert, Alp Arslan treated Romanos as a guest and offered him an agreement to occupy only some border cities and an escort to return to Constantinople, on his return Romanos was dethroned and blinded and the new emperor did not comply the agreement with Alp Arslan, so the Seljuk sultan considered himself free of the pact and penetrated in Anatolia – main source of grain and soldiers for Byzantium – occupying most of the cities, and beginning the Turkish settlement in what had been Asia Minor.