Battle of Dyrrhachium (1081)
The Battle of Dyrrhachium took place on October 18, 1081. It was fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Normans of southern Italy. The battle ended in a Norman victory, with Alexios I Komnenos routing the Norman left wing, which broke and fled.
About Battle of Dyrrhachium (1081) in brief
The Battle of Dyrrhachium took place on October 18, 1081. It was fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Normans of southern Italy. The Normans were led by Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria. The battle ended in a Norman victory, with Alexios I Komnenos routing the Norman left wing, which broke and fled. Varangian mercenaries joined in the pursuit of the fleeing Normans, but became separated from the main force and were massacred. The Byzantine recovery began the Komnenian restoration. The Norman fleet of 150 ships including horse transports set off towards the Byzantine empire at the end of May 1081, including about 60,000 men. The fleet sailed to Avalona in Byzantine territory; they were joined by several ships from Ragusa, who were enemies of the Balkans. Robert soon left Avalona and sailed to the island of Corfu, which surrendered because of a small garrison. Having won a bridgehead and a clear path for reinforcements he advanced on the city of Dithrachium, the capital of Illyria, the chief port of the Illyrian peninsula. The city was well defended on a long, narrow peninsula running parallel to the coast, but separated by marshlands and marshlands. Robert brought his army onto the peninsula and pitched his camp outside the city walls, pitched his army outside the camp and pitched the camp.
The army numbered about 1,300 men, including 15,300 Norman knights to fight against the Byzantine army. In 1059, the Pope made Robert GuISCard, of the Hauteville family, Dukeof Apulia, Calabrio, and Sicily. By 1071, Robert, together with his brother Roger, had taken over the last Byzantine stronghold in Italy, Bari. By the next year, they conquered all of Sicily, ending the Islamic Emirate of Sicily. After the Norman conquest of Byzantine Italy and Saracen Sicily, the Byzantine emperor, Michael VII Doukas, betrothed his son to Robert’s daughter Helena. However, in 1078, Michael was overthrown by Nicephorus Botaneiates, an event that destroyed any chances Helena had for the throne. This gave Robert a motive to invade the empire claiming his daughter had been mistreated. Robert conscripted all men of a fighting age into the army, which he refitted. He sent his son Bohemond with an advance force towards Greece and Bohemond landed at Aulon, with Robert following shortly after. He was initially successful, defeating Alexios in several battles, but was defeated by Alexios outside Larissa in 1083. Forced to retreat to Italy, Bohemond lost all the territory gained by the Norman in the campaign. Robert was then forced to leave Greece to deal with an attack on the Pope, by the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV.