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Alp Arslan summoned his army and delivered a speech by appearing in a white robe similar to an Islamic funeral shroud on the morning of the battle. This was an encouraging message that he was ready to die in battle.
Romanos was unaware of the loss of Tarchaneiotes and continued to Manzikert, which he easily captured on 23 August; the Seljuks responded with attacks by horse archers. The next day, some foraging parties under Bryennios discovered the main Seljuk force and were forced to retreat to Manzikert. Watch Malazgrit 1071 Urdu Subtitles
Romanos sent the Armenian general Basilakes and some cavalry, as Romanos did not believe this was Alp Arslan’s full army. The cavalry was routed, and Basilakes was taken, prisoner. Romanos then drew his troops into formation and sent the left wing out under Bryennios, who was almost surrounded by the rapidly approaching Turks and forced to retreat. Watch Malazgrit 1071 Urdu Subtitles
The Seljuk forces hid among the nearby hills for the night, making it nearly impossible for Romanos to counterattack.
Byzantine territory (purple), Byzantine attacks (red) and Seljuk attacks (green)
On 25 August, some of Romanos’ Turkic mercenaries came into contact with their Seljuk kin and deserted. Romanos then rejected a Seljuk peace embassy. Watch Malazgrit 1071 Urdu Subtitles
He wanted to settle the eastern question and the persistent Turkic incursions and settlements with a decisive military victory. He understood that raising another army would be both difficult and expensive. The emperor attempted to recall Tarchaneiotes and his half of the forces, but they were no longer in the area.
There were no engagements that day, but on 26 August, the Byzantine army gathered itself into a proper battle formation and began to march on the Turkish positions, with the left wing under Bryennios, the right wing under Theodore Alyates, and the centre under the emperor. Watch Malazgrit 1071 Urdu Subtitles
At that moment, a Turkish soldier said to Alp Arslan, “My Sultan, the enemy army is approaching”, and Alp Arslan is said to have replied, “Then we are also approaching them”. Andronikos Doukas led the reserve forces in the rear – a foolish mistake by the emperor, considering the dubious loyalties of the Doukas family. The Seljuks were organized into a crescent formation about four kilometres away.
Seljuk horse archers attacked the Byzantines as they drew closer; the centre of their crescent continually moved backwards while the wings moved to surround the Byzantine troops. Watch Malazgrit 1071 Urdu Subtitles
The Byzantines pressed on despite the arrow attacks and captured Alp Arslan’s camp by the end of the afternoon. However, the right and left wings, where the arrows did most of their damage, almost broke up when individual units tried to force the Seljuks into a pitched battle; the Seljuk cavalry simply disengaged when challenged, in the classic Parthian tactics of steppe warriors. With the Seljuks avoiding battle, Romanos was forced to order a withdrawal by nightfall. Watch Malazgrit 1071 Urdu Subtitles
However, the right-wing misunderstood the order, and Doukas deliberately ignored the emperor’s order to cover the army’s withdrawal and marched directly back to the Byzantine camp outside Manzikert. With the Byzantines thoroughly confused, the Seljuks seized the opportunity and attacked.
The Byzantine right wing was almost immediately routed, thinking they were betrayed either by the Armenians or the army’s Turkish auxiliaries. Some authors suppose that Armenians were the first to flee, and they all managed to get away, while by contrast, the Turkish auxiliaries remained loyal to the end. Other sources suggest that Armenian infantry stoutly resisted and did not turn tail, and did not abandon the emperor as many had. Watch Malazgrit 1071 Urdu Subtitles
When Romanos saw the boldness of the Armenian foot soldiers, he displayed great affection for them and promised them unheard-of rewards. In the end, the emperor’s personal troops and these Armenian foot soldiers suffered the heaviest casualties in the Byzantine army. The left-wing under Bryennios held out a little longer but was also soon routed.
The remnants of the Byzantine centre, including the emperor and the Varangian Guard, were encircled by the Seljuks. Romanos was wounded and taken prisoner by the Seljuks. The survivors were many who fled the field and were pursued throughout the night, but not beyond that; by dawn, the professional core of the Byzantine army had been destroyed, while many of the peasant troops and levies who had been under the command of Andronikus had fled. Watch Malazgrit 1071 Urdu Subtitles