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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.226) Conclusion
Turkish Myth and Muslim Symbol

Carole Hillenbrand

Edinburgh University Press

The book's short conclusion reminds the reader of how Manzikert is perceived, both by medieval Muslim and Byzantine chroniclers, as a pivotal event in the perennial conflict between Christianity and Islam. Manzikert is the set piece of Seljuq historiography. The capture of Romanus IV Diogenes, the Byzantine emperor himself, at the battle gave the incoming nomadic Turks enormous prestige in both East and West. His subsequent release by Alp Arslan, the Turkish sultan – a magnanimous deed recorded by both Christian and Muslim chroniclers – greatly enhanced the latter's prestige. This victory can be seen as the first step in a much wider process in which Turkish-led dynasties definitively defeated the Crusaders and eventually came to control the entire Middle East. For scholars nowadays, Manzikert can be seen as a distant but key precursor of the fall of Constantinople in 1453. And in the minds of the many millions of Turks today, it is above all the founding myth of the battle of Manzikert in 1071 that has determined their history.

Keywords:   Romanus, Alp Arslan, Crusaders, Turks, Founding myth, Atatürk, Constantinople

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