Today in Middle Eastern/European history: the Battle of Manzikert (1071)

and that's the way it was

We’re in kind of a high season for major historical battles in the Middle East, like Yarmouk, Chaldiran, and Marj Dabiq (there’s another one coming next week). You could argue that Manzikert is the biggest of the bunch, because although it took another 400 years to finally come to fruition, Manzikert set in motion the eventual collapse of the Byzantine (AKA Roman) Empire.

After Yarmouk, the Byzantines retreated to the opposite side of the Taurus Mountains, which separate Anatolia from the Syrian plains to the south, and relied on those mountains, plus the Caucasus in the east, to protect them from further caliphal incursions. And for the most part, this strategy worked; caliphal armies made several campaigns into Anatolia and even besieged Constantinople on a few occasions during the caliphate’s first couple of centuries, but keeping an army supplied for an extended stay on the other side of…

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