Empire of Trebizond

Empire of Trebizond

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Empire of Trebizond'
Start a new discussion about 'Empire of Trebizond'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Empire of Trebizond, founded in April 1204, was one of three Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 successor states of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. However, the creation of the Empire of Trebizond was not directly related to the capture of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 by the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

, rather it had broken away from the Byzantine Empire a few weeks prior to that event.

Geographically, the Empire of Trebizond never consisted of much more than the southern coast of the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

. Its demographic legacy endured for several centuries after the Ottoman conquest in 1461, and a substantial number of Greek Orthodox inhabitants (called Pontic Greeks
Pontic Greeks
The Pontians are an ethnic group traditionally living in the Pontus region, the shores of Turkey's Black Sea...

) remained in the area until the early 20th century.

At that time, the remainder of Orthodox Christian inhabitants in the area were deported to Greece (starting in 1923), as determined by the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey
Population exchange between Greece and Turkey
The 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey was based upon religious identity, and involved the Greek Orthodox citizens of Turkey and the Muslim citizens of Greece...

. This agreement did not include local Muslims who spoke Greek dialects, who live in the Trebizond area at present.

Foundation


The Empire of Trebizond was founded in early April 1204, when Alexios Komnenos
Alexios I of Trebizond
Alexios I Megas Komnenos or Alexius I Comnenus was Emperor of Trebizond from 1204 to 1222. He was the eldest son of Manuel Komnenos and of Rusudan, daughter of George III of Georgia. He was thus a grandson of the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos I. Andronikos was dethroned and killed in 1185...

, taking advantage of the preoccupation of the central Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 government with the encampment of the soldiers of the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 outside their walls (June 1203 – mid-April 1204), seized the city of Trebizond and the surrounding province of Chaldia
Chaldia
Chaldia was a historical region located in the Black Sea coast of Asia Minor . Its name was derived from a people called the Chaldoi that inhabited the region in Antiquity. Chaldia was used throughout the Byzantine period and was established as a formal theme, known as the Theme of Chaldia , in...

 with troops provided by his relative, Tamar of Georgia
Tamar of Georgia
Tamar , of the Bagrationi dynasty, was Queen Regnant of Georgia from 1184 to 1213. Tamar presided over the "Golden age" of the medieval Georgian monarchy...

. Henceforth, the links between Trebizond and Georgia remained close, but their nature and extent have been disputed.

Alexios Komnenos
Alexios I of Trebizond
Alexios I Megas Komnenos or Alexius I Comnenus was Emperor of Trebizond from 1204 to 1222. He was the eldest son of Manuel Komnenos and of Rusudan, daughter of George III of Georgia. He was thus a grandson of the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos I. Andronikos was dethroned and killed in 1185...

 was a grandson of the last Komnenian Byzantine emperor, Andronikos I Komnenos
Andronikos I Komnenos
Andronikos I Komnenos was Byzantine Emperor from 1183 to 1185). He was the son of Isaac Komnenos and grandson of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos.-Early years:...

, through that man's son Manuel Komnenos
Manuel Komnenos (born 1145)
Manuel Komnenos was the eldest son of Andronikos Komnenos by his first wife, whose name is not recorded....

, who, in turn, had married Rusudan
Rusudan, daughter of Giorgi III of Georgia
Rusudan was the younger daughter of King George III of Georgia and of his wife, Burdukhan . Her elder sister was the famous Queen Tamar, who succeeded their father as ruler of Georgia....

, daughter of George III of Georgia
George III of Georgia
Giorgi III , of the Bagrationi dynasty, was king of Georgia from 1156 to 1184. His reign, and that of Tamar, are seen as the 'golden age' of Georgian history, the era of empire, diplomatic success, military triumphs, great learning, cultural, spiritual, and artistic flowering.-Life:He succeeded on...

. In 1185, Andronikos I had been deposed and killed and his son, Manuel
Manuel Komnenos (born 1145)
Manuel Komnenos was the eldest son of Andronikos Komnenos by his first wife, whose name is not recorded....

 had been blinded and died not long after. Alexius and his brother, David, were only saved through the actions of their mother, Rusudan, who fled Constantinople with her children to escape persecution by Isaac II Angelos
Isaac II Angelos
Isaac II Angelos was Byzantine emperor from 1185 to 1195, and again from 1203 to 1204....

, Andronikos' successor. It is unclear whether Rusudan fled to Georgia or to the southern coast of the Black Sea where the Komnenos
Komnenos
Komnenós or Comnenus was the name of a ruling family of the Eastern Roman Empire , who halted the political decline of the Empire from c.1081 to c.1185.-Origins:...

 family had its origins.
The rulers of Trebizond called themselves Megas Komnenos ("Great Comnenus") and – like their counterparts in the other two Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 successor states, the Empire of Nicaea
Empire of Nicaea
The Empire of Nicaea was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek successor states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade...

 and the Despotate of Epirus
Despotate of Epirus
The Despotate or Principality of Epirus was one of the Byzantine Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire that emerged in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. It claimed to be the legitimate successor of the Byzantine Empire, along with the Empire of Nicaea, and the Empire of Trebizond...

 – initially claimed the traditional Byzantine title of "Emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

 and Autocrat of the Romans." However, after reaching an agreement with the restored Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 in 1282, the official title of the ruler of Trebizond was changed to "Emperor and Autocrat of the entire East, of the Iberians
Caucasian Iberia
Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

 and the Perateia
Perateia
Perateia was the overseas territory of the Empire of Trebizond, comprising the Crimean cities of Cherson, Kerch and their hinterlands. The territory was probably administered during Byzantine rule from Trebizond before the Comneni established a separate empire a few weeks before the Crusader sack...

" and remained such until the Empire's end in 1461. The state is sometimes called the Comnenian empire from its ruling dynasty.

Trebizond initially controlled a contiguous area on the southern Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coast between Soterioupolis
Borçka
Borçka is a town and district of Artvin Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey, on the border with Georgia.Borçka is reached by a winding road up from the Black Sea coast, alongside the Çoruh River. There is an ancient stone bridge across the river just west of the town.Borçka Lake is a popular...

 and Sinope
Sinop, Turkey
Sinop is a city with a population of 36,734 on İnce Burun , by its Cape Sinop which is situated on the most northern edge of the Turkish side of Black Sea coast, in the ancient region of Paphlagonia, in modern-day northern Turkey, historically known as Sinope...

, comprising the modern Turkish provinces
Provinces of Turkey
Turkey is divided into 81 provinces, called il in Turkish .A province is administered by an appointed governor , and was formerly termed a "governorate" ....

 of Sinop
Sinop Province
Sinop Province is a province of Turkey, along the Black Sea. It is located between 41 and 42 degrees North latitude and between 34 and 35 degrees East longitude. The surface area is 5,862 km², equivalent to 0.8% of Turkey's surface area. The borders total 475 km and consists of 300 km of land and...

, Ordu
Ordu Province
Ordu Province is a province of Turkey, located on the Black Sea coast. Its adjacent provinces are Samsun to the northwest, Tokat to the southwest, Sivas to the south, and Giresun to the east. Its traffic code is 52...

, Giresun
Giresun Province
Giresun Province is a province of Turkey on the Black Sea coast. Its adjacent provinces are Trabzon to the east, Gümüşhane to the south-west, Erzincan to the south, Sivas to the south-east, and Ordu to the west. The provincial capital is Giresun....

, Trabzon
Trabzon Province
Trabzon Province is a province of Turkey on the Black Sea coast. Located in a strategically important region, Trabzon is one of the oldest trade port cities in Anatolia. Neighbouring provinces are Giresun to the west, Gümüşhane to the southwest, Bayburt to the southeast and Rize to the east. The...

, Bayburt
Bayburt Province
Bayburt Province is a province in the north-east of Turkey. Population of the province is 74,412 and total area is 3,652 km². The capital city is Bayburt.- Districts :Bayburt province is divided into 3 districts :* Aydıntepe...

, Gümüşhane
Gümüshane Province
Gümüşhane Province is a province in northern Turkey, bordering Bayburt to the east, Trabzon to the north, Giresun and Erzincan to the west. It covers an area of 6,575 km² and has a population of 129,618 in 2010. The population was 186,953 in 2000. The name Gümüşhane means silver house...

, Rize
Rize Province
Rize Province is a province of north-east Turkey, on the eastern Black Sea coast between Trabzon and Artvin. Its capital is the city of Rize.-Geography:...

 and Artvin
Artvin Province
Artvin Province is a province in Turkey, on the Black Sea coast in the north-eastern corner of the country, on the border with Georgia.The provincial capital is the city of Artvin.-Geography:...

. In the thirteenth century, the empire controlled Perateia
Perateia
Perateia was the overseas territory of the Empire of Trebizond, comprising the Crimean cities of Cherson, Kerch and their hinterlands. The territory was probably administered during Byzantine rule from Trebizond before the Comneni established a separate empire a few weeks before the Crusader sack...

, which included Cherson and Kerch
Kerch
Kerch is a city on the Kerch Peninsula of eastern Crimea, an important industrial, transport and tourist centre of Ukraine. Kerch, founded 2600 years ago, is considered as one of the most ancient cities in Ukraine.-Ancient times:...

 on the Crimean peninsula
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

. David Komnenos
David Komnenos
David Komnenos was one of the founders of the Empire of Trebizond and its joint ruler together with his brother Alexios until his death.-Early life:...

, the younger brother of Alexios, expanded rapidly to the west, occupying first Sinope
Sinop, Turkey
Sinop is a city with a population of 36,734 on İnce Burun , by its Cape Sinop which is situated on the most northern edge of the Turkish side of Black Sea coast, in the ancient region of Paphlagonia, in modern-day northern Turkey, historically known as Sinope...

, then Paphlagonia and Heraclea Pontica
Heraclea Pontica
Heraclea Pontica , an ancient city on the coast of Bithynia in Asia Minor, at the mouth of the river Lycus. It was founded by the Greek city-state of Megara c.560-558 and was named after Heracles who the Greeks believed entered the underworld at a cave on the adjoining Archerusian promontory .The...

 (modern Samsun province
Samsun Province
Samsun Province is a province of Turkey on the Black Sea coast with a population of 1,252,693 . Its adjacent provinces are Sinop on the northwest, Çorum on the west, Amasya on the south, Tokat on the southeast, and Ordu on the east...

  and the coastal regions of Kastamonu
Kastamonu Province
Kastamonu Province is one of the provinces of Turkey, in the Black Sea region, to the north of the country. It is surrounded by Sinop to the east, Bartın and Karabük to the west, Çankırı to the south, Çorum to the south east and the Black Sea to the north....

, Bartın
Bartin Province
Bartın Province is a small province in northern Turkey on the Black Sea, surrounding the city of Bartın. It is to the east from Zonguldak Province.The town of Bartın contains a number of very old wooden houses which are no longer extant in other places....

 and Zonguldak
Zonguldak Province
Zonguldak Province is a province along the western Black Sea coast region of Turkey. The province is 3.481 km² in size and has a population of 619,703 Its adjacent provinces are Düzce to the southwest, Bolu to the south, Karabük to the southeast, and Bartın to the east...

) until his territory bordered the Empire of Nicaea
Empire of Nicaea
The Empire of Nicaea was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek successor states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade...

 founded by Theodore I Laskaris
Theodore I Laskaris
Theodoros I Komnenos Laskaris was emperor of Nicaea .-Family:Theodore Laskaris was born to the Laskaris, a noble but not particularly renowned Byzantine family of Constantinople. He was the son of Manuel Laskaris and wife Ioanna Karatzaina . He had four older brothers: Manuel Laskaris Theodoros...

. The expansion was short-lived however: the territories west of Sinope were lost to the Empire of Nicaea by 1206, and Sinope itself fell to the Seljuks in 1214.

Prosperity



The Empire of Trebizond was the longest surviving of the Byzantine successor states. The Empire of Nicaea
Empire of Nicaea
The Empire of Nicaea was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek successor states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade...

 had, in 1261, succeeded in retaking Constantinople, extinguishing the feeble Latin Empire
Latin Empire
The Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople is the name given by historians to the feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261...

. The Despotate of Epirus
Despotate of Epirus
The Despotate or Principality of Epirus was one of the Byzantine Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire that emerged in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. It claimed to be the legitimate successor of the Byzantine Empire, along with the Empire of Nicaea, and the Empire of Trebizond...

 slowly disintegrated through the 13th and 14th centuries coming under the control of the restored (Nicaean-derived) Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 c. 1340.

The restored Byzantine Empire was conquered by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1453 while the Empire of Trebizond managed to survive until 1461, when it too was conquered by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

.

Trebizond was in continual conflict with the Sultanate of Iconium and later with the Ottoman Turks, as well as Constantinople, the Italian republics, and especially the Republic of Genoa
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

. It was an empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

 more in title than in fact, surviving by playing its rivals against each other, and offering the daughters of its rulers, who were famed for their beauty, for marriage with generous dowries
Dowry
A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings forth to the marriage. It contrasts with bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both...

, especially with the Turkish
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

 rulers of inland Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

.

The destruction of Baghdad
Battle of Baghdad (1258)
The Siege of Baghdad, which occurred in 1258, was an invasion, siege and sacking of the city of Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate at the time and the modern-day capital of Iraq, by the Ilkhanate Mongol forces along with other allied troops under Hulagu Khan.The invasion left Baghdad in...

 by Hulagu Khan
Hulagu Khan
Hulagu Khan, also known as Hülegü, Hulegu , was a Mongol ruler who conquered much of Southwest Asia...

 in 1258 made Trebizond the western terminus of the Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

, and under the protection of the Mongols the city grew to tremendous wealth on the Silk Road trade. Among others, Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

 returned to Europe by way of Trebizond in 1295. Under the rule of Alexios III
Alexios III of Trebizond
Alexios III Megas Komnenos or Alexius III , Emperor of Trebizond from December 1349 until his death. He was the son of Emperor Basil of Trebizond and his second wife, Irene of Trebizond...

 (1349–1390) the city was one of the world's leading trade centres and was renowned for its great wealth and artistic accomplishment.

Climax and civil war



The small Empire of Trebizond had been most successful in asserting itself at its very start, under the leadership of Alexios I
Alexios I of Trebizond
Alexios I Megas Komnenos or Alexius I Comnenus was Emperor of Trebizond from 1204 to 1222. He was the eldest son of Manuel Komnenos and of Rusudan, daughter of George III of Georgia. He was thus a grandson of the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos I. Andronikos was dethroned and killed in 1185...

 (1204–1222) and especially his younger brother David, who died in battle in 1214. Alexios' second son Manuel I
Manuel I of Trebizond
Manuel I Megas Komnenos , Emperor of Trebizond from 1238 to 1263, surnamed the "Great Captain", was the second son of Alexios I, the first emperor of Trebizond, and Theodora Axuchina. He succeeded his brother, John I Axouchos...

 (1238–1263) had preserved internal security and acquired the reputation of a great commander, but the Empire was already losing outlying provinces to the Chepni Turkmen
Turkmen people
The Turkmen are a Turkic people located primarily in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and northeastern Iran. They speak the Turkmen language, which is classified as a part of the Western Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages family together with Turkish, Azerbaijani, Qashqai,...

, and found itself forced to pay tribute to the Seljuks of Rum
Sultanate of Rûm
The Sultanate of Rum , also known as the Anatolian Seljuk State , was a Turkic state centered in in Anatolia, with capitals first at İznik and then at Konya. Since the court of the sultanate was highly mobile, cities like Kayseri and Sivas also functioned at times as capitals...

 and then to the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 and Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate , was a Mongol khanate established in Azerbaijan and Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire...

, a sign of things to come. The troubled reign of John II
John II of Trebizond
John II Megas Komnenos was Emperor of Trebizond from 1280 to 1297. He was the youngest son of Emperor Manuel I and his third wife, Irene Syrikaina, a Trapezuntine noblewoman...

 (1280–1297) included a reconciliation with the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and the end of Trapezuntine claims to Constantinople. Trebizond reached its greatest wealth and influence during the long reign of Alexios II
Alexios II of Trebizond
Alexios II Megas Komnenos or Alexius II , was Emperor of Trebizond from 1297 to 1330. He was the elder son of John II and Eudokia Palaiologina, and also used the name Palaiologos.- Life :...

 (1297–1330). Trebizond suffered a period of repeated imperial depositions and assassinations from the end of Alexios' reign until the first years of Alexios III
Alexios III of Trebizond
Alexios III Megas Komnenos or Alexius III , Emperor of Trebizond from December 1349 until his death. He was the son of Emperor Basil of Trebizond and his second wife, Irene of Trebizond...

, ending in 1355. The empire never fully recovered its internal cohesion, commercial supremacy or territory.

Decline and fall


Manuel III
Manuel III of Trebizond
Manuel III Megas Komnenos was Emperor of Trebizond from March 20, 1390 to his death in 1417. He was the son of Emperor Alexios III of Trebizond by Theodora Kantakouzene.Manuel became the heir of his father in 1377, after the death of his elder brother Basil...

 (1390–1417), who succeeded his father Alexios III as emperor, allied himself with Timur
Timur
Timur , historically known as Tamerlane in English , was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South and Central Asia, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire in India until...

, and benefited from Timur's defeat of the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 at the Battle of Ankara
Battle of Ankara
The Battle of Ankara or Battle of Angora, fought on July 20, 1402, took place at the field of Çubuk between the forces of the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I and the Turko-Mongol forces of Timur, ruler of the Timurid Empire. The battle was a major victory for Timur, and it led to a period of crisis for...

 in 1402. His son Alexios IV
Alexios IV of Trebizond
Alexios IV Megas Komnenos or Alexius IV , , Emperor of Trebizond from March 5, 1417 to October 1429. He was the son of Emperor Manuel III and Gulkhan-Eudokia of Georgia.- Reign :...

 (1417–1429) married two of his daughters to Jihan Shah, khan of the Kara Koyunlu
Kara Koyunlu
The Kara Koyunlu or Qara Qoyunlu, also called the Black Sheep Turkomans , were a Shi'ite Oghuz Turkic tribal federation that ruled over the territory comprising the present-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, north-western Iran, eastern Turkey and Iraq from about 1375 to 1468.The Kara Koyunlu Turkomans at one...

, and to Ali Beg
Ali Beg
Ali Beg or Ali Bey Evrenos-ogly was Ottoman military commander in 15th century. He was one of the sons of Evrenos, an Ottoman general....

, khan of the Ak Koyunlu
Ak Koyunlu
The Aq Qoyunlu or Ak Koyunlu, also called the White Sheep Turkomans , was an Sunni Oghuz Turkic tribal federation that ruled parts of present-day Eastern Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, northern Iraq, and Iran from 1378 to 1508.-History:According to chronicles from the Byzantine Empire, the Aq Qoyunlu...

; while his eldest daughter Maria became the third wife of the Byzantine Emperor John VIII Palaiologos
John VIII Palaiologos
John VIII Palaiologos or Palaeologus , was the penultimate reigning Byzantine Emperor, ruling from 1425 to 1448.-Life:John VIII Palaiologos was the eldest son of Manuel II Palaiologos and Helena Dragaš, the daughter of the Serbian prince Constantine Dragaš...

. Pero Tafur, who visited the city in 1437, reported that Trebizond had fewer than 4,000 troops.
John IV
John IV of Trebizond
John IV Megas Komnenos , was Emperor of Trebizond from 1429 to 1459. He was a son of Emperor Alexios IV of Trebizond and Theodora Kantakouzene....

 (1429–1459) could not help but see his Empire would soon share the same fate as Constantinople had suffered
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 in 1453. The Ottoman Sultan Murad II
Murad II
Murad II Kodja was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1421 to 1451 ....

 first attempted to take the capital by sea in 1442, but high surf made the landings difficult and the attempt was repulsed. While Mehmed II
Mehmed II
Mehmed II , was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from...

 was away laying siege to Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

 in 1456, the Ottoman governor of Amasya
Amasya
- History :Its location in this steep valley makes the city a mountain stronghold, easy to defend, and thus Amasya has had a long and prominent history.-Antiquity:...

 attacked Trebizond, and although defeated, took many prisoners and extracted a heavy tribute.

John IV prepared for the eventual assault by forging alliances. He gave his daughter to the son of his brother-in-law, Uzun Hasan, khan of the Ak Koyunlu
Ak Koyunlu
The Aq Qoyunlu or Ak Koyunlu, also called the White Sheep Turkomans , was an Sunni Oghuz Turkic tribal federation that ruled parts of present-day Eastern Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, northern Iraq, and Iran from 1378 to 1508.-History:According to chronicles from the Byzantine Empire, the Aq Qoyunlu...

, in return for his promise to defend Trebizond. He also secured promises of help from the Turkish emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

s of Sinope and Karamania, and from the king and princes of Georgia
History of Georgia (country)
The nation of Georgia was first unified as a kingdom under the Bagrationi dynasty in the 9th to 10th century, arising from a number of predecessor states of ancient Colchis and Iberia...

.

After John's death in 1459, his brother David
David of Trebizond
David Megas Komnenos was the last Emperor of Trebizond from 1459 to 1461. He was the third son of Emperor Alexios IV of Trebizond and Theodora Kantakouzene....

 came to power and misused these alliances. David intrigued with various European powers for help against the Ottomans, speaking of wild schemes that included the conquest of Jerusalem. Mehmed II eventually heard of these intrigues, and was further provoked to action by David's demand that Mehmed remit the tribute imposed on his brother.

Mehmed's response came in the summer of 1461. He led a sizeable army from Bursa
Bursa, Turkey
Bursa is a city in northwestern Turkey and the seat of Bursa Province. The metropolitan area in the entire Bursa province had a population of 2.6 million as of 2010, making the city fourth most populous in Turkey. The city is equally one of the most industrialized metropolitan centers in the...

, first to Sinope, whose emir quickly surrendered, then south across Armenia to neutralize Uzun Hasan. Having isolated Trebizond, Mehmed quickly swept down upon it before the inhabitants knew he was coming, and placed it under siege. The city held out for a month before the emperor David surrendered on August 15, 1461. With the fall of Trebizond, the last remnant of the Eastern Roman Empire was extinguished.

Megalokomnenos dynasty


The Komnenos dynasty ruled the main Byzantine Empire from Constantinople until 1185. The table below shows the members of the family that were rulers of the Trebizond Empire from 1204 to 1461.
Name From To
Alexios I Megas Komnenos
Alexios I of Trebizond
Alexios I Megas Komnenos or Alexius I Comnenus was Emperor of Trebizond from 1204 to 1222. He was the eldest son of Manuel Komnenos and of Rusudan, daughter of George III of Georgia. He was thus a grandson of the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos I. Andronikos was dethroned and killed in 1185...

1204 1222
Andronikos I Gidos
Andronikos I of Trebizond
Andronikos I Gidos or Andronicus I Gidus , , Emperor of Trebizond-Marriage:He married a Komnene, whose first name is unknown. He succeeded his father-in-law, Alexios I of Trebizond in 1222. His mother-in-law was Theodora Axuchina....

1222 1235
Ioannis I Megas Komnenos
John I of Trebizond
John I Megas Komnenos Axouchos was Emperor of Trebizond from 1235 to 1238.He was the eldest son of Alexios I of Trebizond and Theodora Axuchina, and was perhaps still a minor at the time of his father's death in 1222, as the throne passed to his brother-in-law, Andronikos I Gidos.John succeeded on...

1235 1238
Manuel I Megas Komnenos
Manuel I of Trebizond
Manuel I Megas Komnenos , Emperor of Trebizond from 1238 to 1263, surnamed the "Great Captain", was the second son of Alexios I, the first emperor of Trebizond, and Theodora Axuchina. He succeeded his brother, John I Axouchos...

1238 1263
Andronikos II Megas Komnenos
Andronikos II of Trebizond
Andronikos II Megas Komnenos or Andronicus II , . Emperor of Trebizond from 1263 to 1266. He was the eldest son of Manuel I of Trebizond by his first wife, Anna Xylaloe, a Trapezuntine noblewoman....

1263 1266
Georgios Megas Komnenos
George, Emperor of Trebizond
George Megas Komnenos , , Emperor of Trebizond from 1266 to 1280. He was the elder son of Emperor Manuel I and his third wife, Irene Syrikaina, a Trapezuntine noblewoman....

1266 1280
Ioannes II Megas Komnenos
John II of Trebizond
John II Megas Komnenos was Emperor of Trebizond from 1280 to 1297. He was the youngest son of Emperor Manuel I and his third wife, Irene Syrikaina, a Trapezuntine noblewoman...

1280 1284
Theodora Megale Komnene
Theodora of Trebizond
Theodora Megale Komnene , , Empress of Trebizond from 1284 to 1285. She was a daughter of Emperor Manuel I of Trebizond by his second wife, Rusudan, a Georgian princess....

1284 1285
Ioannes II Megas Komnenos
John II of Trebizond
John II Megas Komnenos was Emperor of Trebizond from 1280 to 1297. He was the youngest son of Emperor Manuel I and his third wife, Irene Syrikaina, a Trapezuntine noblewoman...

*
1285 1297
Alexios II Megas Komnenos
Alexios II of Trebizond
Alexios II Megas Komnenos or Alexius II , was Emperor of Trebizond from 1297 to 1330. He was the elder son of John II and Eudokia Palaiologina, and also used the name Palaiologos.- Life :...

1297 1330
Andronikos III Megas Komnenos
Andronikos III of Trebizond
Andronikos III Megas Komnenos or Andronicus III , Emperor of Trebizond from 1330 to 1332. He was an eldest son of Emperor Alexios II of Trebizond and his Iberian wife, Djiadjak Jaqeli of Samckhe....

1330 1332
Manuel II Megas Komnenos
Manuel II of Trebizond
Manuel II Megas Komnenos was Emperor of Trebizond for eight months in 1332...

1332 1332
Basileios Megas Komnenos
Basil of Trebizond
Basil Megas Komnenos was Emperor of Trebizond from August 1332 to his death in 1340. Basil was a younger son of Emperor Alexios II of Trebizond and his wife Djiadjak Jaqeli...

1332 1340
Eirene Palaiologina
Irene of Trebizond
Irene Palaiologina , was Empress of Trebizond from April 6, 1340 to July 17, 1341...

1340 1341
Anna Megale Komnene
Anna of Trebizond
Anna Anachoutlou Megale Komnene , , Empress of Trebizond from July 17, 1341 to September 4, 1342. Anna was the elder daughter of Emperor Alexios II of Trebizond and his Georgian wife, Djiadjak Jaqeli....

1341 1342
Ioannes III Megas Komnenos
John III of Trebizond
John III Megas Komnenos was Emperor of Trebizond from September 4, 1342 to May 3, 1344...

1342 1344
Michael Megas Komnenos
Michael of Trebizond
Michael Megas Komnenos , , Emperor of Trebizond for one day, July 30, 1341 and from May 3, 1344 to December 13, 1349. He was a younger son of Emperor John II of Trebizond and Eudokia Palaiologina...

1344 1349
Alexios III Megas Komnenos
Alexios III of Trebizond
Alexios III Megas Komnenos or Alexius III , Emperor of Trebizond from December 1349 until his death. He was the son of Emperor Basil of Trebizond and his second wife, Irene of Trebizond...

1349 1390
Manuel III Megas Komnenos
Manuel III of Trebizond
Manuel III Megas Komnenos was Emperor of Trebizond from March 20, 1390 to his death in 1417. He was the son of Emperor Alexios III of Trebizond by Theodora Kantakouzene.Manuel became the heir of his father in 1377, after the death of his elder brother Basil...

1390 1416
Alexios IV Megas Komnenos
Alexios IV of Trebizond
Alexios IV Megas Komnenos or Alexius IV , , Emperor of Trebizond from March 5, 1417 to October 1429. He was the son of Emperor Manuel III and Gulkhan-Eudokia of Georgia.- Reign :...

1416 1429
Ioannes IV Megas Komnenos
John IV of Trebizond
John IV Megas Komnenos , was Emperor of Trebizond from 1429 to 1459. He was a son of Emperor Alexios IV of Trebizond and Theodora Kantakouzene....

1429 1459
David Megas Komnenos
David of Trebizond
David Megas Komnenos was the last Emperor of Trebizond from 1459 to 1461. He was the third son of Emperor Alexios IV of Trebizond and Theodora Kantakouzene....

1459 1461

List of Trapezuntine people

  • Johannes Bessarion
  • George of Trebizond
    George of Trebizond
    George of Trebizond was a Greek philosopher and scholar, one of the pioneers of the Renaissance.-Life:He was born on the island of Crete, and derived his surname Trapezuntius from the fact that his ancestors were from Trebizond.At what period he came to Italy is not certain; according to some...

  • Michael Panaretos
    Michael Panaretos
    Michael Panaretos wrote a chronicle of the Trapezuntine empire of Alexios I Komnenos and his successors from 1204 to 1426. Panaretos was a protosebastos and protonotarios in the service of Alexios III Komnenos...

  • George Amiroutzes
    George Amiroutzes
    George Amiroutzes was a Pontic Greek Renaissance scholar and philosopher.He was born in Trebizond, lived and taught in Italy and eventually died in Constantinople. He is considered as a controversial figure of the late Byzantine era...

  • Gregory Choniades
    Gregory Choniades
    Gregory Choniades was a Byzantine Greek astronomer. He travelled to Persia where he learnt Persian mathematical and astronomical science which he introduced into Byzantium upon return from Persia and founded an astronomical academy at Trebizond...

  • Ecumenical Patriarch John VIII of Constantinople

See also

  • Ayasofya museum
  • Sumela Monastery
    Sumela Monastery
    The Sümela Monastery , , i.e. monastery of the Panaghia at Melá mountain) is a Greek Orthodox monastery, standing at the foot of a steep cliff facing the Altındere valley, in the region of Maçka in Trabzon Province, modern Turkey...

  • Dorothy Dunnett
    Dorothy Dunnett
    Dorothy Dunnett OBE was a Scottish historical novelist. She is best known for her six-part series about Francis Crawford of Lymond, The Lymond Chronicles, which she followed with the eight-part prequel The House of Niccolò...

    , a Scottish historical novelist, much of whose book The Spring of the Ram is set in Trebizond at the time of its fall.
  • Lawrence Schoonover
    Lawrence Schoonover
    Lawrence Schoonover was an American novelist.Born in Anamosa, Iowa, Schoonover attended the University of Wisconsin, then worked in advertising before becoming a novelist....

    , an American historical novelist, much of whose book The Burnished Blade is set in Trebizond at its height.

Sources and research

  • Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer
    Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer
    Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer was a Tyrolean traveller, journalist, politician and historian, best known for his controversial theories concerning the racial origins of the Greeks, and for his travel writings.-Education:Fallmerayer was born, the seventh of ten children, in Weiler Pairdorf, a village...

    , Geschichte des Kaiserthums Trapezunt (Munich, 1827–1848)
  • Michael Panaretos: Chronicle
  • Johannes Bessarion: The praise of Trebizond
  • Miller, W., Trebizond: The Last Greek Empire, (1926; repr. Chicago: Argonaut Publishers, 1968)
  • Fyodor Uspensky
    Fyodor Uspensky
    Fyodor Ivanovich Uspensky or Uspenskij was the preeminent Russian Byzantinist in the first third of the 20th century. His works are considered to be among the finest illustrations of the flowering of Byzantine studies in Tsarist Russia....

    , From the history of the Empire of Trabizond (Ocherki iz istorii Trapezuntskoy Imperii), Leningrad, 1929, 160 pp: a monograph in Russian.
  • Levan Urushadze, The Comnenus of Trabizond and the Bagrationi dynasty of Georgia. — J. "Tsiskari", Tbilisi, No 4, 1991, pp. 144–148: in Georgian.
  • Sergei Karpov. L' impero di Trebisonda, Venezia, Genova e Roma, 1204–1461. Rapporti politici, diplomatici e commerciali. Roma, 1986, 321 P.
  • Sergei Karpov. The Empire of Trebizond and the nations of Western Europe, 1204–1461. Moscow, 1981, 231 pp (in Russian).
  • Sergei Karpov. A history of the empire of Trebizond. Saint Petersburg, 2007, 656 pp (in Russian).
  • Rustam Shukurov. The Megas Komnenos and the Orient (1204–1461). Saint Petersburg, 2001, 446 pp (in Russian).
  • Anthony Bryer & David Winfield, The Byzantine Monuments and Topography of the Pontos (DOS. XX), vol. 1–2, Washington, 1985.
  • Anthony Bryer, Peoples and Settlement in Anatolia and the Caucasus, 800–1900, Variorum collected studies series, London, 1988.
  • George Ostrogorsky
    George Ostrogorsky
    George Alexandrovič Ostrogorsky was a Russian-born Yugoslavian historian and Byzantinist who acquired worldwide reputations in Byzantine studies.-Biography:...

    , History of the Byzantine State, Rutgers University Press. New Jersey, 1969
  • Donald Queller, Thomas Madden
    Thomas Madden
    Thomas F. Madden is an American historian, a former Chair of the History Department at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, and Director of Saint Louis University's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies...

    , The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople, University of Pennsyklvania Press, Philadelphia, 2nd ed., 1997. ISBN 0812233875

External links