Battle of Kapetron

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Battle of Kapetron
Part of the Byzantine-Seljuq wars
Date 1048
Location Anatolia, in the Theme of Iberia
Result Byzantine tactical victory; Seljuk strategic success
Belligerents
Byzantine Empire
Kingdom of Georgia
Great Seljuq Sultanate
Commanders and leaders
Aaron
Katakalon Kekaumenos,
Liparit IV Baghvashi  (POW)
Ibrahim Yinal
Kutalmish
Strength
50,000 20,000

The Battle of Kapetron or Kapetrou (Turkish: Pasinler Savaşı) was fought between the Byzantine-Georgian armies and the Seljuq Turks on September 10 or September 18, 1048. It was the culmination of an Anatolian expedition of İbrahim Yinal, a uterine brother of the sultan Toğrül and Kutalmış, a cousin of the sultan.

Background

The emperor Constantine IX sent to the Georgian warlord Liparit, whom the Byzantines had aided in his struggle against the Georgian king Bagrat IV, to unite against the advancing Seljuqs; but ordered defensive strategy till the arrival of Georgian reinforcements.

Prelude and description

The battle was preceded by the complete destruction of Armenian town Arzen or Artze, a vibrant commercial center in the Byzantine-administered thema of Iberia (near the modern-day Erzerum, Turkey), by the Seljuq forces. A combined Byzantine-Georgian army of 50,000, under the command of Aaron, Katakalon Kekaumenos and Liparit, met the Seljuqs head-on at Kapetrou (modern-day Pasinler, Erzurum).

In a fierce nocturnal battle, the Christian allies managed to repel the Turks, and Aaron and Kekaumenos, in command of the two flanks, pursued the Turks "till cock's crow". In the centre, however, Yinal managed to capture the Georgian prince Liparit, a fact of which the two Byzantine commanders were not informed until after they gave thanks to God for their victory.[1]

Ibrahim Yinal was nevertheless able to safely leave the Byzantine territory, laden with spoils and captives. The emperor later sent ransoms to Toğrül who refused them, however, and released Liparit on condition that he would never again fight the Seljuqs.

Aftermath

The devastation left behind by the Seljuq raid was so fearful that the Byzantine magnate Eustathios Boilas described, in 1051/52, those lands as "foul and unmanageable... inhabited by snakes, scorpions, and wild beasts." The Arab chronicler Ibn al-Athir reports that Ibrahim brought back 100,000 captives and a vast booty loaded on the backs of ten thousand camels.[2]

References

  1. ^ Minorsky 1977, pp. 61–63.
  2. ^ Paul A. Blaum (2005). Diplomacy gone to seed: a history of Byzantine foreign relations, A.D. 1047-57. International Journal of Kurdish Studies. (Online version)

Sources

  • Minorsky, Vladimir (1977) [1953]. Studies in Caucasian History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-05735-3. 

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