In 1081, on this day the Normans of southern Italy under Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria were defeated at the gates of Dyrrhachium, the Byzantine capital of Illyria.
Byzantine Victory at the Battle of DyrrhachiumFollowing the Norman conquest of Byzantine Italy and Saracen Sicily, the Byzantine emperor, Michael VII Doukas had betrothed his son to Guiscard's daughter. But when Michael was deposed, Robert took this as an excuse to invade the Byzantine Empire in 1081.
His army laid siege to Dyrrhachium, but his fleet was defeated by the Venetians. On October 18, the Normans engaged a Byzantine army under Alexius I Comnenus outside Dyrrhachium. The battle began with the Byzantine right wing routing the Norman left wing, which broke and fled. This introduced an unexpected new danger of separation because Varangian mercenaries launched an ill-disciplined pursuit of the fleeing Normans, but fortunately Commanders Alexius I Comnenus and George Palaeologus were able to rein them in and restore order to the Byzantine Army.