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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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The ongoing Muslim-Christian confrontation: the victorious contribution of the Turks

The ongoing Muslim-Christian confrontation: the victorious contribution of the Turks

(p.147) Chapter 6 The ongoing Muslim-Christian confrontation: the victorious contribution of the Turks
Turkish Myth and Muslim Symbol

Carole Hillenbrand

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter looks at the legacy of Manzikert in the later Middle Ages. It examines the ways in which the Turks are portrayed in the historical writings of the Muslim Arabs and Persians over whom they ruled until the period of European colonialism and the creation of nation-states in the Middle East. The role of the Turks in the crusading context is analysed. The neglect by Muslim chroniclers of the battle of Myriocephalon of 1176 (in several ways a replay of Manzikert) in which the Seljuq sultan Kilij Arslan defeated the Byzantine emperor Manuel Comnenus, is revealed as a lost historiographical opportunity. The chapter also discusses early legendary folk literature, written in Turkish. The victories of the Mamluk sultans against Crusaders in the Middle East and those of the Ottoman sultans against Christian Europe (Varna, Kosovo and Mohacs) are then analysed. Close attention is given to the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453; the way in which its propagandistic potential is exploited to the full by contemporary Turkish historians is highlighted. Throughout the chapter the Turks are shown as exemplary upholders of Sunni Islam and jihad fighters against the Christian infidel, both Crusader and Byzantine.

Keywords:   Myriocephalon, Mamluks, Ottomans, Constantinople, Mehmet II, Varna, Kosovo, Mohacs, Vienna, Christian

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