Acropolites And Gregoros On The Byzantine- Seljuk Confrontation At Antioch-On-The Maeander (A.D.1211). English Translation And Commentary

Acropolites And Gregoros On The Byzantine- Seljuk Confrontation At Antioch-On-The Maeander (A.D.1211). English Translation And Commentary

By Alexis.G.C. Savvides

Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü Tarih Araştırmaları Dergisi, Vol.15:26 (1991)

Introduction: Modern research has conclusively established that the battle of Antiochad-Maenderum in Phrygia, considered to be the third most hotly contested confrontation between the Byzantines and the Seljuks since Manzikert (Malasgirt) in 1071 and Myriocephalum (Çardak) in 1176, took place is the spring or early summer of A.D. 1211 and not in A.D. 1210, as it was previously believed. Apart from the accounts of the basic Moslem chroniclers on 13th-centruy Anatolia, that is, ibn al Athir and ibn Bibi, who consider Alaşehr (Philadelphia) as the battle’s location, that eventful confrontation was recorded in detail by two major 13th-and 14th-century historiographers, i.e. George Acropolites (1217-1282), the official court-chronicler of the Nicaean Empire of the Lascarids, and the polymath Nicephorus Gregoras (c.1290-c.1359).

Apart from the relevant texts of the two aforementioned Byzantine scholars, which follow here in a English adaptation, the event was also recorded by the bishop-chronicler of Cyzicus, Theodore Scutariotes (died c.1284), who follow closely Acropolites, by the monk-chronicler Ephaem (died post 1313), by the 14th-century Vita loannis Batatzae composed by the Greek bishop of Pelegonia (in Macedonia), George as well asby an anonymous Byzantine Short Chronicle for the year A.M.6719 (A.D.1211) . To these we may also add the indirect references to the battle by the scholarly Choniatae brothers, Michael and Nicetas, who, following the Byzantine victory over the sultan of Konium (Konya), Ghiyath al-Din Kaykusraw I, who fell in the battlefield, rejoiced at the Christian victory in rather long and bombastic panegyrics eulogizing the victorious Nicaean ruler, Theodore I Lascaris.

The accounts of both Acropolites and Gregoras are in agreement in saying that he cause which spar}ced the hostilities between the Lascarids of Nicaea and the Seljuks of Rum was the arrival of the exiled Byzantine emperor, Alexius III Angelus (1195-1203, died post. 1211)(5), in the lands of the Sultanate and his attempt to regain his throne (now in Nicaen exile-since 1204/1204) with Seljuk assistance.

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