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27 Jul

Byzantine-Seljuk Wars (1064 – 1096)

The Byzantine-Seljuk Wars were series of armed conflicts between the Byzantine Empire and the Seljuk Turks over Asia Minor and Syria from 1064 to 1096. The Seljuk Turks established themselves as an important power in the Muslim world and started expansion westwards after the conquest of Baghdad from the Abassid Caliphate in 1055. The first encounter between the Byzantine Empire and Seljuk Turks took place in 1064 when Seljuk Sultan, Alp Arslan invaded and captured Armenia. The Seljuk Turks invaded Asia Minor in 1067 but a Byzantine counterattack pushed them back. However, the Seljuk Turks decisively defeated the Byzantine forces and captured the Byzantine Emperor, Romanos IV Diogenes in the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.

Asia Minor was permanently lost after the Battle of Manzikert. Sultan of Great Seljuk, Malik Shah I who succeeded Alp Arslan after his death in 1072 captured Palestine including Jerusalem in 1077 and Syria with Antioch in 1085. Despite that he could not prevent fragmentation of the Seljuk Empire and establishment of the independent Seljuk Sultanate of Rum by Seljuk commander Suleyman bin Kutalmish in 1077. The Seljuk Empire dissolved into several warring states after Malik Shah’s death in 1092 but the Seljuk Turks remained a serious threat to the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Emperor, Alexios I Comnenus (Komnenos) appealed to Pope Urban II for military assistance against the Seljuk Turks in 1094 which resulted in the First Crusade that was launched in 1096.

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