Battle of Myriokephalon

Battle of Myriokephalon
conflict Byzantine seldschukische wars
date 17. September 1176
place Ankara, Turkey
result Seldschuki victory
Byzantine realm Sultanate of Rum
of commanders
Manuel I. Komnenos
Balduin of Antiochia †
Johannes Kantakuzenos
Andronikos Batatzes †
Kiliç Arslan II.
around 25.000 (possibly 50,000) unknown
unknown unknown
Byzantine Seldschuki wars
Manzikert - Myriokephalon

the battle of Myriokephalon was an argument between the Byzantine realm and the Seldschuken in the Phrygien; she found to 17. September 1176 instead of.

Table of contents


Manuel I. Komnenos and the seldschukische Sultan of Rum, Kiliç Arslan II. peace held with one another into the 1170er year. It was deeper a fragiler peace, since the Seldschuken pushed after the west, to small Asia inside, while the Byzantiner wanted to back-conquer area in the east, which they had lost after the battle of Manzikert one hundred years before. However the great power politics of the emperor Byzanz brought the exhaustion to the edge. Manuel was able to back-conquer Kilikien and to expand its power since the principality Antiochia, whereby it helped it that only ad-DIN von Aleppo had died 1174 and its successor Saladin more was busy to Byzanz with Egypt than with the border, so that the Seldschuken without strong allied one was. 1175 refused Kiliç Arslan returning area which it the common enemy, whom Danischmenden had removed.

the marching-up

Manuel collected an army, which was allegedly so large that it extended over 10 miles, and marched with it to the seldschukischen border. Arslan tried to negotiate with Manuel, which estimates however its supremacy so highly that he rejected a new peace. A part of the army it sent under Andronikos Batatzes direction Amasia, the larger remainder turned to direction Iconium (Konya). Both routes were on forest-rich distances, where the Turks could hide themselves simply and put on ambushes. Batatzes army was destroyed in such an ambush, Kiliç Arslan were dispatched the head of the commander.

The Turks destroyed beyond that the harvest, poisoned the wells, in order to make Manuels more difficult advance. Arslan chicaned the Byzantine army and tried to lure it in particular into the Meandertal and on the bottleneck with the destroyed fortress Myriokephalon. Here Manuel decided to the attack, although he had to fear further ambushes, and although he could have tried to place the Turks him the nearby level from Philomelion to.

the battle

Manuel had approximately 25,000 men available (it to have been able in addition, 50,000 be), under it a troop from the Principality of Antiochia. The army was divided into an infantry - Vorhut , Kavallerie, elbow contactors and infantry after hat. Led the right wing Balduin of Antiochia, the son of the Raimund of Poitiers and brother-in-law Manuels, the left Johannes Kantakuzenos. The Nachhut befehligte Manuel themselves. Arslan will have had for instance the same Truppenstärke, is unknown the exact number also here. The Byzantine Vorhut was first, which met the seldschukischen troops, came however with only few losses by the passport, since the Turks had not locked obviously their preparations yet. When the Vorhut had reached the end of the passport, was the Nachhut about to enter him - the Turks had occupied meanwhile the flanks of the passport and the Byzantiner nearly completely in the trap. The Seldschuken attacked the right wing first, to which they caused large losses, under which also Balduin was: the soldiers stood so closely pushed that those could hardly move.

Manuel was seized obviously by panic, fled from the passport, which tried main army to follow him saw however the way back blocked by the own unit train, and the escape succeeded to only few. As the night fallow, the Turks offered an armistice, on the condition that Manuel without takes off to hesitate and the border fortresses while Doryläum and Siblia sharpens. When the emperor accepted, the ungeschlagene Vorhut was allowed to return by the passport.


Manuels war machines had been destroyed and were never again replaced. Manuel compared the defeat with Manzikert. Actually however this battle probably did not runierte (differently than often assumed) by far the Byzantine army, which fought a little later already to the Balkans. Although Kiliç Arslan needed for a long time to shift in order to understand, this victory was worth what, the equilibrium between two powers - as after Manzikert - began itself: Manuel never reached the Turks, who continued to penetrate on the other hand ever to the west, deeply into Byzantine area inside.

Myriokephalon was rather more psychological as a military impact. The army was supplemented fast again by mercenaries and could recover 1177 some at areas. Manuel was limited to step the Seldschuken smaller engagements opposite until it died 1180. Its politics had let appear outwardly successful Byzanz, but on the inside clear crisis symptoms showed up. No conquest Konstantinopels terminated 30 years after the battle of Myriokephalon by the cross drivers finally the time, in which Byzanz was a great power.

The result of the battle from Myriokephalon was that the Turks from Anatolien could not be finally sold no more. The Byzantine Gegenoffensive after Manzikert had reached its high point and had failed. The Greeks Westkleinasien nevertheless still held 14 for further 120 years, up to final conquest in the first half of the century by the Turkish Osmanen.


  • John Haldon: The Byzantine Wars, 1986.
  • Ralph Johannes lily: The battle of Myriokephalon (1176): Effects on the Byzantine realm in outgoing 12. Century, in: Revue of the Études Byzantines 35 (1977), S. 257–275.
  • Warren Treadgold: A History OF the Byzantine State and Society, 1997.

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