Sunday, 11 April 2010

1074; First half of the year; At his wits end, Michael VII pardons his uncle the Caesar John, and scraps together a mercenary army and what ever is left of the Army of the East for him to command with the aim to defeat Roussel.
Near the city of Doryleaum, by the bridge that crosses the Zompi River, Roussel defeats John but this has more to do with the fact his own Norman mercenaries and the Anatolikon brigade under the command of Nicephorus Botaneiates deserted.
The Caesar and his son Andronikos are captured whilst Constantine Ducas dies (he may have been assassinated) as he attempts to intercept Roussel.
However, after this victory, Roussel decided to placate the emperor and requested the title of Grand Domestic of the East in exchange for 'protecting' the region from invading Turks, rather than to be independent from the empire.
His request was refused and so he proclaimed the Caesar John Ducas as emperor at the city of Nicomedia, then he marched west and sacked the town of Chyrsopolis, just across the Bosphorus channel to let the emperor understand his seriousness...

Isaac Comnenus, after his debacle the previous year, was made Duke of Antioch with a mercenary Norman contingent under General Herve of Brettany to defend that vulnerable region from the incursions of the Seljuks of Syria.
Never mind the gaping hole that was Anatolia, the emperor saw this as a priority, but then he was still under the control of his Prime minester, Nicephoritzes.
Isaac fought the Turks near the city of Edessa (Urfa), but he was captured again (for the 2nd time in his military career, treachery from the Normans is not out of the question) and again ransomed.

Isaac must either have been useless as a general, or the only capable general still alive but with totally unreliable mercenary troops, I think the later is more likely.

The Pontic city of Trapizond must have falled to the Muslims at this time.

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