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Joseph Tarchaneiotes and the Battle of Mantzikert (AD 1071)

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The absence of the magister Joseph Tarchaneiotes – one of the key persons involved in the events that led to the fateful battle of Mantzikert in 1071 – affected its outcome to a significant extent. This article elucidates his role in Romanos IV Diogenes’s last campaign in Asia Minor. As I demonstrate, the magister intentionally fled from the scene. Yet, his action seems to have been entirely irrelevant to the internal machinations of the Doukai. Two more issues will also be considered and precede the matter of Tarchaneiotes’s withdrawal: a) the time he was despatched to Chliat; and b) the ethnic composition of the troops under his command. Close inspection shows that his despatch from the bulk of the army took place earlier than was previously considered possible; and that his troops consisted of Armenians. In essence, our knowledge of Tarchaneiotes in medieval literature is restricted to those three issues.
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Keywords: Alp Arslan; Mantzikert (battle of); Romanos IV Diogenes; Tarchaneiotes/Trachaneiotes

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 3, 2020

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