The heritage of Manzikert: the myth of national identity

Carole Hillenbrand

in Turkish Myth and Muslim Symbol

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780748625727
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671359 | DOI:
The heritage of Manzikert: the myth of national identity

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This chapter shows the versatility of the Manzikert myth and how this eleventh-century battle serves as a key symbol in the formation of the Turkish Republic almost a millennium later. Atatürk's views on history and those of early twentieth- century Turkish scholars, such as Kafesoglu, Kaymaz and Köymen, are examined. Manzikert is shown to fit into Schöpflin's taxonomy of myths. The way in which Manzikert evokes analogies between the Greek-Turkish conflicts of the early twentieth century is also discussed. The chapter ends with an account of the anniversary celebrations of Manzikert in 1971, including the erection of a statue of Alp Arslan near the battle site, the issue of commemorative stamps, coins and medals, and a poem written for the occasion. It is argued that the memory of Manzikert, given this degree of state support, will continue to resonate for a long time to come in the hearts and minds of the Turks.

Keywords: Myth; Atatürk; Nationalism; Dumlupinar; Turkish Republic; Schöpflin; Greek; Scholars

Chapter.  10923 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Islam

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