In 1176, on this day in the mountain passes of Phrygia, the Army of Emperor Manuel I Komnenos recovered from an ambush at the hands of the Seljuk Turks. This spectacular victory enabled the Byzantine Empire to recover the interior of Anatolia which it had lost after the Battle of Manzikert a century before.
Miracle at MyriokephalonFor much of that time, a long peace with the Sultanate of Rûm had enabled the Empire to concentrate on the Western theatre, defeating Hungary and imposing Byzantine control over all the Balkans. Meanwhile the strongest Muslim ruler in Syria, Saladin was more concerned with Egypt and Palestine than the border territory.
The hard won victory at Myriokephalon created a strategic pause in which the Empire could consider its future natural borders more holistically. And a new possibility soon began to take shape in the minds of the Byzantine Leadership: to abandon Anatolia altogether and perhaps shift the Empire Westwards, relocating Constantinople out of Asia and back into Europe.