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1043 Battle of Ostrovo ★ ★ ★ ★
Outcome: Unexpected defeat and death of the rebel General Maniakes May 1043
War  &  Enemy: Enemy:
(Civil War)
Military Revolts
Battle Type:
Pitched Battle
The Battlefield Ostrovo Location:
Near lake Vegoritis, west of Thessalonica
Modern Country:
  The Byzantines(emperor:  Constantine IX Monomachos) The Enemies
Commander: Stefanos Pergaminos General George Maniakes
Forces: Unknown Unknown
Background story: In 1038, the great Byzantine general George Maniakes was sent to campaign in Sicily. By 1040 he had reconquered most of the island. His successes made him famous both in Europe and in the Arab world, but this caused the envy of the imperial court. He was recalled back to Constantinople and imprisoned. The Byzantine gains in Sicily were soon lost and Maniakes was sent back in 1042 as Catepan of Italy.
Maniakes was again successful there and pushed back the Arabs and also the Normans who were the new threat in South Italy. However, Maniakes accomplishments were largely ignored by the new Emperor Constantine IX who was poisoned against him by the brother of his mistress Romanos Scleros. Scleros, like Maniakes, was one of the immensely wealthy landowners of Anatolia. Finding himself in a position of power, Scleros ransacked the Maniakes' house and even seduced his wife, using the charm his family were famed for.
Maniakes response, when faced with Scleros demanding to take command of the empires forces in Apulia, was to brutally torture him to death, after sealing his eyes, ears, nose and mouth with excrement. Next, George Maniakes revolted against Constantine IX and, allowing his troops to proclaim him Emperor. He crossed to Epirus, captured Dyrrhachium and marched on Constantinople
The Battle:
Emperor Constantine IX sent against Maniakes a large army under the command of the inexperienced eunuch Stefanos Pergaminos. The two armies met in battle near the lake Ostrovo (Vegoritis) in North Greece. The rebel army -better organized, seasoned and with superior leadership- was winning, but Maniakes was killed by an arrow at the moment of his triumph. After this, his army was routed.
The head of Maniakes was paraded in triumph in Constantinople. The surviving rebels were also paraded in the Hippodrome, seated backwards on donkeys.
Aftermath: If Maniakes had prevailed, he would have probably become one of the great Byzantine emperors. Constantine IX remained emperor until 1055. His reign was the beginning of the decline of the Empire.