An analysis of the strategy and tactics of Alexios I Komnenos



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Texas Tech University


This thesis is an attempt to analyze the strategy and tactics used in the most pivotal battles and wars waged by Alexios I Komnenos, Byzantine Emperor from 1081-1118. Alexios I is generally credited with inciting the Crusades due to his appeal to Pope Urban for assistance against the Muslims. While considering the style and effectiveness of warfare used by Alexios, I examined numerous military treatises, spanning over two thousand years. These included both Byzantine sources, especially Maurice, and non-Byzantine sources, most notably Sun-Tzu and Clausewitz, to gather a comprehensive collection of ideals of warfare. These texts formed the basis with which to judge the quality of generalship. I then compared the strategies and tactics used by Alexios I to those espoused by these authors in their respective military manuals. There were many universal concepts that were consistent in all sources used. After careful consideration of the sources and ideals of warfare presented within the research material, I have determined that Alexios I Komnenos should be considered the penultimate Byzantine general.