Battle of Caesarea
|Battle of Caesarea|
|Part of the Byzantine-Seljuk wars|
|Byzantine Empire||Great Seljuk Sultanate|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Constantine X||Alp Arslan|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Caesarea occurred in 1067 when the Seljuk Turks under Alp Arslan attacked Caesarea as part of the wave conquests implemented by him to expand west of Central Asia.
Main article in Seljuk dynasty
Ever since the mid 11th century, the Seljuk Turks had advanced from their lands in Central Asia into the Middle East, where they met limited opposition, due to the continuing decline of the unity of the Arab factions in the region, and the declining power of the Abbasid caliphate. By the mid 11th century, the Seljuk Turks had deposed the sovereign of Buyids. Their expansion into the Middle East brought them to the borders of Antioch and Armenia which were under the control of the Byzantine Empire.
The Byzantine Empire had steadily increased in power, with a large force capable of being assembled from their successful tagmata army. Despite this, the Byzantine empire seemed not to have been prepared for this danger, since Seljuk raids had been occurring across Armenia and Caesarea was stormed by the Seljuks in 1067. A Byzantine counter-attack was launched from Antioch. The Byzantine Emperor Romanos IV in 1071 had sent an army to Manzikert near Armenia to recapture it after it had fallen to Alp Arslan. Since the Seljuk Turks had abandoned Manzikert prior to the Battle of Manzikert and had even been driven into Mesopotamia, it is likely that Caesarea was abandoned too, else the Seljuk would have found themselves out-flankled, something that a steppe peoples such as the Seljuk Turks are known to skillfully avoid.
The battle woke the Byzantine empire to the threat of the Seljuk Turks. Though Caesarea was most likely re-captured, no doubt the Seljuk Turks had developed a taste for the lands of the Byzantine Empire. Following Caesarea, the Seljuk Turks made another attempt invading Anatolia, with an assault on Iconium in 1069. The Byzantines launched another counter-attack and the city was not taken by the Seljuks until after the Battle of Manzikert.
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