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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

Byzantium and the Crusades

Policies of Manuel I and the Second Crusade 


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Relations with the Turks. If John, in his external policy, had turned his chief attention to the East, his successor Manuel, particularly because of the Norman relations and his personal sympathies with the West, was involved chiefly in western policy, which had sad consequences to the Empire. The Seljuq danger, which met no adequate resistance, became again very threatening on the eastern border. The Byzantine border territory of Asia Minor was almost continuously exposed to the ruinous incursions of the Muslims who were exterminating or expelling the Christian population. Manuel had to secure order and safety in the border regions, and for that purpose he erected and restored a number of fortified places intended to check the invaders, mainly in those places where the enemy carried on most of their invasions.

It cannot be said, however, that Manuel's hostilities against the Turks were successful. In the first years of his reign he made an alliance with the Muhammedan emirs of Cappadocia, the above-mentioned Danishmandites, and began a war against his enemy of Asia Minor, the sultan of Iconium or Rum. The imperial troops successfully reached the chief city of the sultanate, Iconium (Konia); but, probably because they were aware that the sultan had received some reinforcements, they only pillaged the city suburbs and then withdrew; on their way back they met with a severe defeat from the Seljuqs, which barely escaped ending in a real catastrophe to the retreating troops. But the news of the crusade, which was threatening both to the Emperor and sultan, compelled both adversaries to seek peace, and a peace was concluded.

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