The siege of Sozopolis saw the Byzantine conquest of the Seljuk Turk-held town of Sozopolis in 1120, improving Byzantine communications with the city of Attaleia.

Siege of Sozopolis
Part of the Byzantine–Seljuq wars
Result Byzantine victory
Byzantine Empire Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm
Commanders and leaders
John II Komnenos Unknown
Casualties and losses
Unknown Garrison killed, captured or routed

Background edit

After re-conquering the city of Laodicea from a Seljuk Turkish garrison of 700 men in 1119, the Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos continued his campaigns against the Turks in 1120 after a brief stay in Constantinople.[1] The 1120 campaign target was the town of Sozopolis in Pisidia, which controlled the lines of communication to Attaleia.[2]

Siege edit

Sozopolis was protected by an armed garrison and steep hills.[1][2] A large-scale siege attack was thus impossible.[2] The town could only be attacked by small forces.[2] John was initially at a loss how to proceed but later came up with a plan.[1][2] He ordered a force of missile-armed cavalry under Paktiarios and Dekanos to attack the town gates and shoot at the Turkish soldiers manning the walls.[1][2] The Turks took the bait and poured out of the gate.[1] The Byzantine force then executed a planned retreat, drawing the Turks far out beyond the town.[1][2] The rest of the Byzantine army had lain hidden in the thick undergrowth and assaulted the undefended town after the Turks had passed them.[1] The fleeing Byzantines turned about and faced the pursuing Turks.[1][2] The Turks were trapped between the Byzantine cavalry to their front and the army to their back and were largely killed or captured, with a handful making it out of the encirclement.[1]

Aftermath edit

Next, the fortress of Hierakokoryphitis capitulated to John without a fight, along with many other towns and fortifications near Attaleia, after which John returned to Constantinople.[3]

Analysis edit

The combat at Sozopolis demonstrated the discipline of the Byzantine troops, who could feign flight without panicking.[2] The Byzantine cavalry could fight effectively with both missile and close-combat weapons.[2] John showed himself a competent general, carrying out a complex tactical maneuver at the very beginning of his reign.[4]

Citations edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Magoulias 1984, p. 9.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Birkenmeier 2002, p. 89.
  3. ^ Magoulias 1984, pp. 9–10.
  4. ^ Birkenmeier 2002, p. 90.

References edit

Primary edit

  • Magoulias, Harry J., ed. (1984). O City of Byzantium: Annals of Niketas Choniatēs. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 978-0-8143-1764-8.

Secondary edit