Episode 193 – Manzikert

Doukas’ widow Eudocia marries Romanos Diogenes to empower a General who can stop the Turkic raids. Diogenes does his best but ends up meeting the Sultan, Alp Arslan, in battle on the fields outside the city of Manzikert.

Period: 1067-72

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Categories: Podcast | 21 Comments

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21 thoughts on “Episode 193 – Manzikert

  1. Myriokephalon

    On the subject of fictional parallels, I have to say the character Loghain from the game Dragon Age: Origins has an striking resemblance to Andronikos Doukas. Loghain was a leading general and lord of the the Kingdom of Ferelden and his daughter Arnora was the wife of King Cailan. He command the reserve force of the army of Ferelden at the Battle of Ostagar…and upon receiving a signal to come to aid of the king who was fighting in the center, he instead ordered his men to abandon the battlefield, left the rest of the army to be totally destroyed, dashed to the capital, and declared himself regent, probably for political motives (Cailan may have been considering putting aside Anora on grounds of barrenness and marrying the Empress of Orlais, a state Loghain had a pathological hatred for). And like Doukas, nobody in-universe can agree if his retreat at Ostagar was a carefully planned betrayal or a impromptu decision to pull out of a battle that was already lost.

  2. Myriokephalon

    I will say you’ve done a great job taking us from “I don’t get it…how did the state’s ability to keep men in the field fall off so quickly? to “My god, how in the WORLD is Alexios going to fix all of this?”.

    I am still having trouble grasping why what is about to happen didn’t happen, or couldn’t have happened, at the end of the 7th century. The Turkish raiders that will eventually create the Sultanate of Rum aren’t receiving the full attention and support of the Seljuk Sultan the way Maslama was. The 20 years before the accession of Leo III certainly weren’t lacking of political disunity. And while the Empire is in dire financial straits right now, it’s still a far richer society than it was in 680. The biggest difference I can think of is that these invaders are far better suited to the Steppe economy needed to settle on the Anatolian Plateau.

    • You’ve already identified one of the key reasons. Ultimately I think it’s just that the nomads wanted to settle there and the Arabs did not. Part of that is the conditions which suited the Turks much better. But it ended up suiting the Caliphate to have a neighbour they could perpetually attack. Whereas the 11th century nomads saw a chance to escape the control of the Sultan and live an independent life.

  3. Graham

    I was so happy to see that run time! Almost two new hours of Byzantium!!!

  4. I’m probably among those who, in spite of the anti-Doukid historical biases of those who wrote after their downfall, am left appalled at the fate of Romanos IV.

    Dare I ask… how bad did Diogenes’ blinding
    procedure need to be for him to die so shortly after of infection? And was that calculated orders or just a particularly inept or sadistic blinder?

    • The sources imply it was both (deliberate via the use of a sadistic blinder). But its equally possible it was just an accident. Blindings often led to infections.

  5. Kuzyaka

    Great work, Alp-Arslan isn’t Persian though, both of these words are Turkic in origin

    • Apologies, I need to correct that

      • Hawkmav

        I thought aslan=lion in Turkish form and that the origin of arslan was in fact Persian. This makes perfect sense since the nomads from Afshin to Alp arslan would’ve gladly taken persianized or islamized names to solidify/consolidate power within new conquered territories. At the end of the day this region has been a mix bowl peoples, languages, cuisines, etc… Many words even today spoken are interchangeably used by the various race groups that live there.

    • Came here to say that, though it seems I am about 800 days late 🙂
      Also I think it is worth mentioning that the real name of Alp Arslan (Muhammad bin Dawud Chaghri) is also part Turkic as “Chaghri” (Çağrı) is Turkic.

  6. Jay Abbott

    Finally got to listen, Robin, that was as good o fa podcast as I’ve ever heard. When Justinian seen the finished Hagia Sophia, legend said that he said, “O Solomon, I have outdone thee!’ Well, you outdone yourself with this one.

  7. Pingback: Historical Notes: The Empress and the Prison Rat | crafty theatre

  8. Enrico

    I was a little late discovering this series, but I finally caught all the way up. I just wanted to comment to say this was an absolutely amazing episode and one of your best. Every episode has been enjoyable, but this one particularly stood out for its gripping story, ominous tone, and emotion.

  9. Faidon

    I normally listen to this podcast when I cycle back home. I get 40-60 minutes of Byzantium a day. This took me like 4 days to listen to. Probably one of the best episodes yet.

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