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Friday, 30 April 2010

Chaka the Emperor, Death of Sultan Malik Shah and Rise of Kilij Arslan

1091-92AD: In the year 1091 the fleet of Chaka, the rebel governor of Smyrna, was defeated in the sea of Marmara.
Whether due to the instigation of Chaka or of their own will, the governors of Crete and Cyprus rebelled

The following year, 1092, Chaka had himself proclaimed 'emperor'.
His rebellion had been against Alexius the emperor, but he must have been seeking formal backing all that time.
He might have got that from Byzantine lords and governors in the region, but more likely he was being supported by the Turks, his brethren, in Anatolia.
He had also made contact, via Paulician merchants, with the Pecheneg Turks.
These tribes mostly lived across the river Danube but had made continuous raids into Byzantine territory, mostly at will, but also at the invitation of the rebellious Paulicians who lived in that region.
Chaka might have been a Pecheneg Turk, since a battalion of them had betrayed the emperor Romanus at the battle of Manzikert in 1071.
No further record is known on what happened to them, though they probably joined the army of Alp Arslan, maybe raiding the region of Anatolia.

The emperor Alexius sent a fleet under the Caesar John Ducas to recapture the Aegean islands, Rhodes, Crete and Cyprus.
The rebel governor of Cyprus, Rapsomates, proved to be out of his depth and at a battle in the north of the island, much of his army defected to the Caesar, the rebellion was over.

Also in this year the Sultan Malik Shah sent a deputation to the emperor for a marriage alliance between his son and a daughter of the emperor.
In return he vowed to force the Seljuks and other Turks out of Anatolia.
However the Sultan was murdered in November.
There are three versions for this murder, one had it as revenge for his supposed order to kill his Vizier, Nizam al-Mulk.
The other version had it that the Shi'a Assassins killed him.
The third was that both Nizam and he were killed for converting to the Shi'a sect by Sunni extremists.

Whatever the reasons, his death saw the rapid disintegration of the Sultanate, and no hope for any benign help from a strong Sultan anymore.

After the murder of the Sultan, the captive son of Sulayman, Kilij Arslan, left Isfahan with an army of Uz Turks.
Once he reached the city of Nicea, the governor Yamin e Ghazni, handed control over to him.


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