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Turkish Myth and Muslim SymbolThe Battle of Manzikert$
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Carole Hillenbrand

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748625727

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625727.001.0001

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(p.3) Chapter 1 Introduction
Turkish Myth and Muslim Symbol

Carole Hillenbrand

Edinburgh University Press

The introduction justifies the publication of yet another book on the battle of Manzikert in 1071, described by Runciman as the most decisive disaster in Byzantine history. The chapter summarises existing scholarship on Manzikert, and explains that this book will provide full coverage of the surviving medieval Arabic and Persian accounts of the battle. The book aims especially to show how the memory of Manzikert gradually became a historiographical and propaganda tool for portraying spiritual truths, for praising Turkish rule in the Middle East and for demonstrating the inherent superiority of Islam over Christianity. The introduction then proceeds to an analysis of the complex political situation in the Middle East in the eleventh century and summarises the events which led up to the battle itself. The story of the battle itself is then given in broad outline, using Byzantine sources, including the eye-witness account of Attaleiates, as well as Muslim chronicles.

Keywords:   Gibbon, Runciman, Manzikert, Arabic, Persian, Historiography, Attaleiates, Nicephorus Bryennius, Battle date, Battlefield

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