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1097 Battle of Nicaea ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Outcome: The Byzantines captured the city with the help of the Crusaders 14/5 - 19/6/ 1097
War  &  Enemy: Enemy:
Seljuk Turks
Seljuk Wars
Battle Type:
City Capture
The Battlefield Nicaea Location:
Nicaea (modern Iznik), on the eastern shore of Lake Iznik
Modern Country:
  The Byzantines(emperor:  Alexios I Komnenos) The Enemies
Commander: Godfrey de Bouillon, Manuel Boutoumites Kilij Arslan ibn- Suleiman
Forces: 30,000 infantry+4,500 cavalry+2,000 peltasts 10,000
Background story: Nicaea had been captured by the Seljuk Turks in 1081, and became the capital of the Sultanate of Rüm. In 1096, the People's Crusade, the first wave of the 1st Crusade, had plundered the land surrounding the city, before being destroyed by the Turks. So, Sultan Kilij Arslan I felt that the next wave of crusaders would not be a serious threat. He left his family and his treasury behind in Nicaea and went east to fight the Danishmend Turks for control of the Melitene.
The crusaders, in return for assistance while passing through Byzantium, marched east to besiege Nicaea under the command of Godfrey de Bouillon. They left Constantinople in April 1097 and they put the city to siege beginning on May 14. The city walls were well-defended with 200 towers.
When Kilij Arslan realized the strength of the crusaders, he quickly turned back. An advance Turkish party was defeated on May 20, and on May 21, the crusaders defeated Kilij in a pitched battle which lasted long into the night. Losses were heavy on both sides but, in the end, the Sultan retreated, despite the pleas of the Nicaean Turks.
The Battle:
Seljuk warriors
Emperor Alexios I had chosen not to accompany the crusaders, but marched out behind them and sent boats, rolled over the land, to help the crusaders blockade Lake Ascanius, which had been used by the Turks to supply Nicaea. The boats arrived on June 17, under the command of Manuel Boutoumites. General Tatikios was also sent, with 2,000 foot soldiers. Alexius had instructed Boutoumites to secretly negotiate the surrender of the city without the crusaders' knowledge. Tatikios was instructed to join with the crusaders and make a direct assault on the walls, while Boutoumites would pretend to do the same to make it look as if the Byzantines had captured the city in battle. This was done, and on June 19 the Turks opted to surrender the city to the Byzantines to avoid a sack by the Crusaders .
When the crusaders discovered the trick, they were furious, as they had hoped to plunder the city for money and supplies.
Noteworthy: Boutoumites, who was named dux of Nicaea, forbade the crusaders from entering in groups larger than 10 men at a time. Kilij Arslan's family was transferred to Constantinople and were eventually released without ransom.
Aftermath: Alexios gave the crusaders money, horses, and other gifts. The crusaders were not pleased, but eventually left to continue their march to Jerusalem where they arrived 2 years later.