In August 26, 1071 Byzantine emperor Romanos Diogenes was captured by Seljuk Turks under Sultan Alp Arslan. When the Emperor Romanos IV was conducted into the presence of Alp Arslan, he refused to believe that the bloodied and tattered man covered in dirt was the mighty Emperor of the Romans. After discovering the identity of the Emperor, he placed his boot on the Emperor's neck and forced him to kiss the ground.
A famous conversation is also reported to have taken place:
Alp Arslan: "What would you do if I were brought before you as a prisoner?"
Romanos: "Perhaps I'd kill you, or exhibit you in the streets of Constantinople."
Alp Arslan: "My punishment is far heavier. I forgive you, and set you free."
He treated him with considerable kindness and again offered the terms of peace which he had offered previous to the battle.
Romanos remained a captive of the Sultan for a week. During this time, the Sultan allowed Romanos to eat at his table whilst concessions were agreed upon; Antioch, Edessa, Hierapolis and Manzikert were to be surrendered.
This would have left the vital core of Anatolia untouched. A payment of 10 million gold pieces demanded by the Sultan as a ransom for Romanos was deemed as too high by the latter so the Sultan reduced its short-term expense by instead asking for 1.5 million gold pieces as an initial payment followed by an annual sum of 360,000 gold pieces.
Finally, Romanos would marry one of his daughters to the Sultan. The Sultan then gave Romanos many presents and an escort of two emirs and one hundred Mamelukes to Constantinople. Shortly after his return to his subjects, Romanos found his rule in serious trouble. Despite attempts to raise loyal troops, he was defeated three times in battle against the Doukas family and was deposed, blinded and exiled to the island ofProti; soon after, he died as a result of an infection caused by an injury during his brutal blinding. Romanos' last time in the Anatolian heartland, that he worked so hard to defend, was a public humiliation on a donkey with a rotten face.