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1117 Battle of Philomelion ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Outcome: A victory of the Byzantines who employed innovative battle tactics 1117
War  &  Enemy: Enemy:
Seljuk Turks
Seljuk Wars
Battle Type:
Pitched Battle
The Battlefield Philomelion Location:
Modern Aksehir in the Konya Province in Central Anatolia
Modern Country:
  The Byzantines(emperor:  Alexios I Komnenos) The Enemies
Commander: Emperor Alexius I Komnenos Sultan Malik Shah II
Forces: Unknown Unknown
Background story: Following the success of the 1st Crusade, the Byzantines reconquered the Aegean coastline and much of the interior of western Anatolia. However, after the failure of the Crusade, the Seljuk and Danishmend Turks resumed their offensive operations against the Byzantines. In his attempt to recover territory in Anatolia (lost by his father Kilij Arslan at the time of the 1st Crusade), Sultan Malik Shah II of Rum was defeated by Byzantine Emperor Alexios I at Cotyaeum, then renewed his campaign 3 years later.
In 1116 Alexios was engaged in defensive operations in northwest Anatolia. He had succeeded in defeating raiding Turks in a minor battle at Poemanenon. Then, after receiving reinforcements, he decided to move onto the offensive.
The Byzantines introduced in this conflict a new battle formation of Alexios' devising, the parataxis. It was a defensive formation, a hollow square with the baggage in the center, infantry on the outside and cavalry in-between, from whence they could mount attacks.
The Battle:
Emperor Alexios I
Alexios marched to Philomelion where he learned that a substantial Seljuk army was approaching from the north and began to retreat. His army resumed its defensive formation with the civilians accompanying the baggage in the center. The Turks, under an officer called Manalugh, were initially baffled by the formation and did not attack with any vigor. However, the following day Sultan Malik Shah arrived and the Turks mounted a simultaneous attack on the van and rear of the Byzantine army. The Byzantine cavalry made two counterattacks, the first seems to have been unsuccessful, with Alexios' son Andronikos being killed. A further counterattack was more fortunate, led by Nikephoros Bryennios the Younger (Anna Komnene's husband and Alexios' son-in-law) the leader of the Byzantine right wing, it broke that part of the Turkish force led in person by the Sultan, which then turned to flight. Malik Shah narrowly escaped capture.
The Seljuks then made a night attack, but the Byzantine dispositions again frustrated them. The following day Malik Shah again attacked, his troops completely surrounding the Byzantine army on all sides. The Turks were once more repulsed, having achieved nothing. The next day Malik-Shah sent to Alexios with proposals for peace and was forced to recognize the borders of Byzantium.
Aftermath: The loss of prestige for Malik Shah at Philomelion probably contributed to his demise as he was soon deposed.