1176 – A Byzantine Crusade?
In his well-written monograph on Manuel Comnenos Paul Magdalino1 covers the expedition against the Seljuk’s of Iconium and the disastrous battle of Myriokephalon of 1176 under the title “The Byzantine Crusade 1175–76”. In this sense Magdalino describes the refortification of Dorylaion under Manuel’s initiative as “the beginning of a holy war”2. This interpretation of the events of 1176 had been advanced already by Ralph-Johannes Lilie in his book on Byzanz und die Kreuzfahrerstaaten3. In Lilie’s reconstruction, Manuel’s military initiative was the beginning of a crusade (“Iniziierung eines neuen Kreuzzuges”). Scholars involved in the discussion about options and forms of “holy war” in Byzantium may be wondering about this categorical interpretation of the events of 1175/76 as a Byzantine “crusade”. Perhaps one could pass over this without comment as rhetorical hyperbole, if a young scholar in Australia, Andrew Stone, had not brought this topic recently to the center of the discussion, first with an article in the Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik4 and soon thereafter with an article in the Revue des Études Byzantines