Alp Arslan

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Alp Arslan (1029 – 15 December 1072) was the third sultan of the Seljuk dynasty and great-grandson of Seljuk, the eponym of the dynasty. He assumed the name of Muhammad bin Da'ud Chaghri when he embraced Islam, and for his military prowess, personal valour, and fighting skills he obtained the surname Alp Arslan, which means "Warrior Lion" in Turkish.

Contents

Career

He succeeded his father Chagri Begh as governor of Khorasan in 1059. When his uncle Toğrül died he was succeeded by Suleiman, Alp Arslan's brother. Alp Arslan and his uncle Kutalmish both contested this succession. Alp Arslan defeated Kutalmish for the throne and succeeded on 27 April 1064 as sultan of Great Seljuk, and thus became sole monarch of Persia from the river Oxus to the Tigris.

In consolidating his empire and subduing contending factions he was ably assisted by Nizam ul-Mulk, his vizier, and one of the most eminent statesmen in early Muslim history. With peace and security established in his dominions, he convoked an assembly of the states and declared his son Malik Shah I his heir and successor. With the hope of capturing Caesarea Mazaca, the capital of Cappadocia, he placed himself at the head of the Turkish cavalry, crossed the Euphrates and entered and invaded the city. He then marched into Armenia and Georgia, which he conquered in 1064.

Byzantine struggle

In 1068, en route to Syria, Alp Arslan Oush invaded the Byzantine Empire. The Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes, assuming the command in person, met the invaders in Cilicia. In three arduous campaigns, the first two of which were conducted by the emperor himself while the third was directed by Manuel Comnenos (great-uncle of Emperor Manuel Comnenos), the Turks were defeated in detail in 1070 and driven across the Euphrates. In 1071 Romanos again took the field and advanced with possibly 30,000?, including a contingent of the Cuman Turks as well as contingents of Franks and Normans, under Ursel de Baieul, into Armenia.

At Manzikert, on the Murad Tchai, north of Lake Van, Diogenes was met by Alp Arslan. The sultan proposed terms of peace, which were rejected by the emperor, and the two forces met in the Battle of Manzikert. The Cuman mercenaries among the Byzantine forces immediately defected to the Turkish side; and, seeing this, "the Western mercenaries rode off and took no part in the battle."[1] The Byzantines were totally routed.

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