Isaac I Komnenos
Isaac I Komnenos was Byzantine Emperor from 1057 to 1059, the first reigning member of the Komnenos dynasty. During his brief reign he attempted to restore the finances of the empire. Isaac was the son of Manuel Erotikos Komnenos, who served as strategos autokrator of the East under Emperor Basil II. Manuels native language was Greek, according to Steven Runciman, he was either Greek or a Hellenized Vlach and it is said that the family name was derived from the city of Komne, near Philippopolis in Thrace. Manuel came to the notice of Basil II because of his defence, in 978, in recognition of Manuels loyalty, Basil gave him lands near Kastamuni in Paphlagonia. On his deathbed in 1020, Manuel commended his two surviving sons Isaac and John to the emperors care, Basil had them carefully educated at the monastery of Stoudion and afterwards advanced them to high official positions. Manuel had a daughter, born in 1012 and married around 1031 to Michael Dokeianos, Catepan of Italy, during the disturbed reigns of Basils seven immediate successors, Isaac by his prudent conduct won the confidence of the army.
From 1042 to 1057, he served as commander of the army in Anatolia. In 1057, after being humiliated by the Emperor, Michael VI, he rebelled in Paphlagonia, the army proclaimed Isaac emperor on June 8,1057, and he defeated an imperial army at the Battle of Petroe. Privately Isaac showed himself more open to negotiation, and he was promised the status of co-emperor, during the course of these secret negotiations, a riot in favor of Isaac broke out in Constantinople. With the deposition of Michael VI, Patriarch Michael Keroularios crowned Isaac I emperor on September 1,1057, taking much of the credit for Isaacs acceptance as monarch. The first act of the new emperor was to reward his noble partisans with appointments that removed them from Constantinople, Isaacs only military expedition was against King Andrew I of Hungary and the Pechenegs, who began to ravage the northern frontiers in 1059. Shortly after this campaign, he concluded peace with the Kingdom of Hungary. Here he became ill, and believed he was dying.
He was already deeply shaken after narrowly avoiding being struck by lightning while leaning against a tree on campaign against the Pechenegs, and he saw his illness as a sign of Gods displeasure. This situation was exploited by the courtiers, led by Michael Psellos, Isaac abdicated on 22 November 1059, against the wishes of his brother and of his empress Catherine of Bulgaria. Like Isaac, his wife and daughter entered a monastery and his Scholia to the Iliad and other works on the Homeric poems are still extant. He died late in 1060 or early in 1061, Isaac married Catherine, a daughter of Ivan Vladislav, the last Tsar of Bulgaria
Byzantine Empire under the Komnenos dynasty
The Byzantine Empire or Byzantium is a term conventionally used by historians to describe the Greek ethnic and speaking Roman Empire of the Middle Ages, centered on its capital of Constantinople. Having survived the fall of the Western Roman Empire during Late Antiquity, in the context of Byzantine history, the period from about 1081 to about 1185 is often known as the Komnenian or Comnenian period, after the Komnenos dynasty. Moreover, it was during the Komnenian period that contact between Byzantium and the Latin Christian West, including the Crusader states, was at its most crucial stage. Above all, the impact of Byzantine art on the west at this period was enormous. The Komnenoi made a significant contribution to the history of Asia Minor, by reconquering much of the region, the Komnenoi set back the advance of the Turks in Anatolia by more than two centuries. In the process, they planted the foundations of the Byzantine successor states of Nicaea, meanwhile, their extensive programme of fortifications has left an enduring mark upon the Anatolian landscape, which can still be appreciated today.
The Komnenian era was born out of a period of great difficulty, in fact, most of the money was given away in the form of gifts to favourites of the emperor, extravagant court banquets, and expensive luxuries for the imperial family. Meanwhile, the remnants of the armed forces were allowed to decay. Elderly men with ill-maintained equipment mixed with new recruits who had never participated in a training exercise, the simultaneous arrival of aggressive new enemies – Turks in the east and Normans in the west – was another contributory factor. In 1040, the Normans, originally landless mercenaries from northern parts of Europe in search of plunder, in order to deal with them, a mixed force of mercenaries and conscripts under the formidable George Maniakes was sent to Italy in 1042. Maniakes and his army conducted a successful campaign, but before it could be concluded he was recalled to Constantinople. Angered by a series of outrages against his wife and property by one of his rivals, he was proclaimed emperor by his troops, however, a mortal wound led to his death shortly afterwards.
With opposition thus absent in the Balkans, the Normans were able to complete the expulsion of the Byzantines from Italy by 1071, despite the seriousness of this loss, it was in Asia Minor that the empires greatest disaster would take place. With imperial armies weakened by years of insufficient funding and civil warfare, Emperor Romanos Diogenes realised that a time of re-structuring, consequently, he attempted to lead a defensive campaign in the east until his forces had recovered enough to defeat the Seljuks. However, he suffered a defeat at the hands of Alp Arslan at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. Romanos was captured, and although the Sultans peace terms were fairly lenient, on his release, Romanos found that his enemies had conspired against him to place their own candidate on the throne in his absence. After two defeats in battle against the rebels, Romanos surrendered and suffered a death by torture. The new ruler, Michael Doukas, refused to honour the treaty that had signed by Romanos
John II Komnenos
John II Komnenos or Comnenus was Byzantine Emperor from 1118 to 1143. John was a pious and dedicated monarch who was determined to undo the damage his empire had suffered following the battle of Manzikert, John has been assessed as the greatest of the Komnenian emperors. In the southeast, John extended Byzantine control from the Maeander in the west all the way to Cilicia, under John, the empires population recovered to about 10 million people. Unfortunately, Johns reign is well recorded by contemporary or near-contemporary writers than those of either his father, Alexios I, or his son. In particular little is known of the history of Johns domestic rule or policies, the Latin historian William of Tyre described John as short and unusually ugly, with eyes and complexion so dark he was known as the Moor. Yet despite his appearance, John was known as Kaloïōannēs. The epithet referred not to his body but to his character, both his parents had been unusually pious and John surpassed them. Members of his court were expected to restrict their conversation to serious subjects only, the food served at the emperors table was very frugal and John lectured courtiers who lived in excessive luxury.
His speech was dignified, but he engaged in repartee on occasion, as a father he was affectionate, though he demanded high standards from his children, and he was a faithful husband to his wife. Despite his personal austerity, John had a conception of the imperial role. He was highly respected and honoured by his subjects, John was famed for his piety and his remarkably mild and just reign. He is an example of a moral ruler, at a time when cruelty was the norm. He is reputed never to have condemned anyone to death or mutilation, for this reason, he has been called the Byzantine Marcus Aurelius. By the example of his purity and piety he effected a notable improvement in the manners of his age. John II succeeded his father as ruling basileus in 1118, but had already been proclaimed co-emperor by Alexios I on September 1,1092, Niketas Choniates alone tells of the actions by which John II secured his own accession to power. Alexios I had favoured John to succeed him over his wife Irenes favourite, the Caesar Nikephoros Bryennios, Alexios resorted to dissimulation in order to avert Irenes criticism of his choice and her demands that Nikephoros should succeed.
Then, taking up arms, he rode to the Great Palace, Irene was taken by surprise and was unable either to persuade her son to desist, or to induce Nikephoros to act against him. Although the palace guard at first refused to admit John without proof of his fathers wishes, John refused to join the funeral procession, in spite of his mothers urging, because his hold on power was so tenuous
Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman/Byzantine Empire, and of the brief Latin, and the Ottoman empires. It was reinaugurated in 324 AD from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, Constantinople was famed for its massive and complex defences. The first wall of the city was erected by Constantine I, Constantinople never truly recovered from the devastation of the Fourth Crusade and the decades of misrule by the Latins. The origins of the name of Byzantion, more known by the Latin Byzantium, are not entirely clear. The founding myth of the city has it told that the settlement was named after the leader of the Megarian colonists, Byzas. The Byzantines of Constantinople themselves would maintain that the city was named in honour of two men and Antes, though this was likely just a play on the word Byzantion. During this time, the city was called Second Rome, Eastern Rome, and Roma Constantinopolitana. As the city became the remaining capital of the Roman Empire after the fall of the West, and its wealth and influence grew.
In the language of other peoples, Constantinople was referred to just as reverently, the medieval Vikings, who had contacts with the empire through their expansion in eastern Europe used the Old Norse name Miklagarðr, and Miklagard and Miklagarth. In Arabic, the city was sometimes called Rūmiyyat al-kubra and in Persian as Takht-e Rum, in East and South Slavic languages, including in medieval Russia, Constantinople was referred to as Tsargrad or Carigrad, City of the Caesar, from the Slavonic words tsar and grad. This was presumably a calque on a Greek phrase such as Βασιλέως Πόλις, the modern Turkish name for the city, İstanbul, derives from the Greek phrase eis tin polin, meaning into the city or to the city. In 1928, the Turkish alphabet was changed from Arabic script to Latin script, in time the city came to be known as Istanbul and its variations in most world languages. In Greece today, the city is still called Konstantinoúpolis/Konstantinoúpoli or simply just the City, apart from this, little is known about this initial settlement, except that it was abandoned by the time the Megarian colonists settled the site anew.
A farsighted treaty with the emergent power of Rome in c.150 BC which stipulated tribute in exchange for independent status allowed it to enter Roman rule unscathed. The site lay astride the land route from Europe to Asia and the seaway from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, and had in the Golden Horn an excellent and spacious harbour. He would rebuild Byzantium towards the end of his reign, in which it would be briefly renamed Augusta Antonina, fortifying it with a new city wall in his name, Constantine had altogether more colourful plans. Rome was too far from the frontiers, and hence from the armies and the imperial courts, yet it had been the capital of the state for over a thousand years, and it might have seemed unthinkable to suggest that the capital be moved to a different location. Constantinople was built over 6 years, and consecrated on 11 May 330, Constantine divided the expanded city, like Rome, into 14 regions, and ornamented it with public works worthy of an imperial metropolis
Empire of Trebizond
The Empire of Trebizond or the Trapezuntine Empire was a monarchy that flourished during the 13th through 15th centuries, consisting of the far northeastern corner of Anatolia and the southern Crimea. The Emperors of Trebizond pressed their claim on the Imperial throne for decades after the Nicaean reconquest of Constantinople in 1261, the Trapezuntine monarchy survived the longest of the Byzantine successor states. The Despotate of Epirus was slowly decimated, and briefly occupied by the restored Byzantine Empire c. 1340, thereafter becoming a Serbian dependency and inherited by Italians, ultimately falling to the Ottoman Empire in 1479, having long ceased to contest the Byzantine throne. While the Empire of Nicaea had become the resurrected Byzantine Empire, the Empire of Trebizond continued until 1461 when the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II conquered it after a month-long siege and took its ruler and his family into captivity. The Crimean Principality of Theodoro, an offshoot of Trebizond, lasted another 14 years and its demographic legacy endured for several centuries after the Ottoman conquest in 1461 and the region retained a substantial number of Greek Orthodox inhabitants until 1923.
These are usually referred to as Pontic Greeks and their displacement was formalized, and the few still remaining were required to leave, in 1923 with the population exchange between Greece and Turkey. Many were resettled in Greek Macedonia and those living in the Crimea and the Russian province of Kars Oblast, much of which lies in modern Georgia, stayed longer, with some Greek speaking villages remaining in both locations today. Anthony Bryer has argued that six of the seven banda of the Byzantine theme of Chaldia were maintained in working order by the rulers of Trebizond until the end of the empire, helped by geography. This territory corresponds to an area comprising all or parts of the modern Turkish provinces of Sinop, Ordu, Trabzon, Bayburt, Gümüşhane and Artvin. In the 13th century, some believe the empire controlled the Gazarian Perateia. However, after Michael VIII Palaiologos of Nicaea recaptured Constantinople in 1261, in 1282, John II Komnenos stripped off his imperial regalia before the walls of Constantinople before entering to marry Michaels daughter and accept his legal title of despot.
However, his successors used a version of his title and Autocrat of the entire East, of the Iberians, rulers of Trebizond were known as Prince of Lazes. Its wealth and exotic location endowed a lingering fame on the polity, cervantes described the eponymous hero of his Don Quixote as imagining himself for the valour of his arm already crowned at least Emperor of Trebizond. Rabelais had his character Picrochole, the ruler of Piedmont, other allusions and works set in Trebizond continue into the 20th century. The city of Trebizond was the capital of the theme of Chaldia, the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos confirmed him as governor of Chaldia, but kept his son at Constantinople as a hostage for his good conduct. Nevertheless, Gabras proved himself a worthy guardian by repelling a Georgian attack on Trebizond, one of his successors, Gregory Taronites rebelled with the aid of the Sultan of Cappadocia, but he was defeated and imprisoned, only to be made governor once more. Another successor to Theodore was Constantine Gabras, whom Niketas describes as ruling Trebizond as a tyrant, although that effort came to nothing, this was the last rebel governor known to recorded history prior to the events of 1204.
Henceforth, the links between Trebizond and Georgia remained close, but their nature and extent have been disputed, both men were the grandsons of the last Komnenian Byzantine emperor, Andronikos I Komnenos, by his son Manuel Komnenos and Rusudan, daughter of George III of Georgia
Amasya is a city in northern Turkey and is the capital of Amasya Province, in the Black Sea Region. Amasya it is located inside the Black Sea Region, Tokat from east and Yozgat from south, Çorum from west, Samsun from north. It was the home of the geographer Strabo and the birthplace of the 15th century scholar, located in a narrow cleft of the Yesilirmak river, it has a history of 7,500 years which has left many traces still evident today. In antiquity, Amaseia was a city high on the cliffs above the river. With its Ottoman-period wooden houses and the tombs of the Pontus kings carved into the cliffs overhead, in recent years there has been a lot of investment in tourism and more foreign and Turkish tourists visit the city. During the early Ottoman rule, it was customary for young Ottoman princes to be sent to Amasya to govern, Amasya was the birthplace of the Ottoman sultans Murad I and Selim I. It is thus of importance in terms of Ottoman history. Traditional Ottoman houses near the Yeşilirmak and the main historical buildings have been restored.
Behind the Ottoman wooden houses one can see the Rock Tombs of the Pontic kings, according to Strabo the Greek name Ἀμάσεια comes from Amasis, the queen of the Amazons, who were said to have lived here. The name has changed throughout history, Ἀμάσεια, Amaseia and Amasia are all found on ancient Greek and Roman coinage. Armenian, Ամասիա, Ottoman Turkish أماصيا, and modern Turkish Amasya all represent the same pronunciation, in 2012, the permanent population of the city was 91,874. The birth rate of Amasya is low, so its population has been increasing slowly, the population varies seasonally, most people are here during the summer tourist season. Despite the mountainous location, it is not far above sea level and this makes its climate more temperate. Five bridges cross the river, and most of the lies on the southern bank. The climb up to the ground is very steep, making the valley walls virtually uninhabitable. The town is shaped like the letter v as it follows a sharp bend in the river, an independent Pontic kingdom with its capital at Amaseia was established at the end of the 4th century BC in the wake of Alexanders conquests.
Superficially Hellenized, the kingdom retained its Persian social structure, with temple priests, in the 1st century BC, it briefly contested Romes hegemony in Anatolia. By 183 BC, the city was settled by Hellenistic people, there are prominent ruins including the royal tombs of Pontus in the rocks above the riverbank in the centre of the city
John Komnenos (Domestic of the Schools)
John Komnenos was a Byzantine aristocrat and military leader. The younger brother of Emperor Isaac I Komnenos, he served as Domestic of the Schools during Isaacs brief reign, when Isaac I abdicated, Constantine X Doukas became emperor and John withdrew from public life until his death in 1067. John Komnenos was born c.1015 as the son of the patrikios Manuel Erotikos Komnenos. He is first mentioned in 1057, the year his elder brother Isaac I Komnenos, at the head of a group of generals, rebelled against Michael VI and forced him off the throne. At the time of the revolt, John held the post of doux and his supporters led the opposition against Isaacs stringent economizing policies, forcing him to resign on 22 November 1059, after which he withdrew to the Stoudios Monastery. The crown passed to Constantine X Doukas, although Bryennios asserts that it was first offered to John and he died as a monk on 12 July 1067. John Komnenos married Anna Dalassene, the daughter of Alexios Charon,1028, long outlived her husband and after his death ran the family as its undisputed matriarch.
Anna became involved in conspiracies against the Doukas family, whom she never forgave for taking the throne in 1059, she played a major role in the successful overthrow of Nikephoros III Botaneiates and the rise of her son Alexios to the throne. After that, and for fifteen years, she served as the virtual co-ruler of the empire along her son. She retired to a monastery, where she died in 1100 or 1102, Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press. Commémoraisons des Comnènes dans le typikon liturgique du monastère du Christ Philanthrope, a. Thessaloniki, Centre for Byzantine Studies, University of Thessaloniki
Laonikos Chalkokondyles, Latinized as Laonicus Chalcondyles, was a Byzantine Greek historian from Athens. He is known for his Histories in ten books, which record the last 150 years of the Byzantine Empire, Chalkokondyles was a member of a prominent family of Athens, which was ruled by the Acciaioli. His father George was a kinsman of Maria Melissene, the wife of Duke Antonio I Acciaioli, during his absence, the Duchess was enticed out of the Acropolis and a young scion of the Acciaiuoli family, Nerio II, was proclaimed Duke of Athens. Meanwhile, George Chalkokondyles had his proposal rejected, despite offering the Sultan 30,000 gold pieces, George with Laonikos and the rest of the family relocated to the Peloponnese. The one glimpse we have of Laonikos himself is in the summer of 1447, Cyriacus describes him as a youth egregie latinis atque grecis litteris eruditum. It was at Mistra where Laonikos was taught by George Gemistos Plethon,70.6, written in 1318, with corrections by Plethon, and used by Bessarion in 1436 to make another copy, contains a subscription written by Laonikos.
Laonikos movements and actions after 1447 are not known with certainty, internal evidence has led Anthony Kaldellis to put the date Laonikos stopped writing his Histories as 1464. Other speculations about Laonikos Chalkokondyles life are not as widely accepted, after Skanderbeg leaves the Ottoman army and becomes leader of Albania on his own right, Chalkokondyles is brought as a hostage to his court to witness the First Siege of Krujë. After the destruction of Constantinople, Chalkokondyles wrote his most important historical work and this historical work comprises one of the most important sources for the students of the final 150 years of Byzantine history, despite being defective in its chronology. The capture of Constantinople he rightly regarded as an event of far-reaching importance. The work sketches other manners and civilization of England and Germany, for his account of earlier events he was able to obtain information from his father. His model is Thucydides, his language is pure and correct.
The text, however, is in a corrupt state. The archaic language he used made his texts hard to read in parts, while the antiquarian names, with which he named people of his time. The extended use of the name Hellenes, which Laonikos used to describe the Byzantines contributed to the connection made between the ancient Greek civilization and the modern one. Chalkokondyles History was first published in a Latin translation by Conrad Clauser at Basel in 1556, a French translation was published by Blaise de Vigenère in 1577 with a edition by Artus Thomas, with valuable illustrations on Turkish matters. The editio princeps of the Greek text had to wait until 1615 for J. B, the two best editions are, Historiarum Libri Decem, ed. I. Bekker, Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae and Historiae Demonstrationes,2 vols, the text can be found in J. -P
Sivas is a city in central Turkey and the seat of Sivas Province. According to a 2011 estimate, its population is 425,297. Rail repair shops and a manufacturing industry of rugs, cement. The surrounding region is an area with large deposits of iron ore which are worked at Divriği. Sivas is a hub for the north-south and east-west trade routes to Iraq and Iran. With the development of railways, the city gained new importance as junction of important rail lines linking the cities of Ankara, Samsun. The city is linked by air to Istanbul, the popular name Sebastian derives from the Latin Sebastianus, meaning someone from the city. Excavations at a known as Topraktepe indicate Hittite settlement in the area as early as 2600 BC. In 64 BC as part of his reorganization of Asia Minor after the Third Mithridatic War, numismatic evidence suggests that Megalopolis changed its name in the last years of the 1st century BC to Sebaste, which is the feminine form of the Greek name corresponding to Augustus. The name Sivas is the Turkish version deriving from the name Sebasteia and it was the place of martyrdom of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, 4th century.
Justinian I had a wall around it rebuilt in the 6th century. Sebasteia was the first important city to be plundered by Turkish tribes in 1059, in the August of that year the troops of various emirs gathered before the unwalled city. Initially they hesitated to sack it, mistaking that the domes of the several Christian churches were tends of military camps, as soon as they realized that the city was defenceless they burned it for eight days, slaughtered large part of its population and took many prisoners. The city came under the domain of Turkmen Danishmend dynasty after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, after the death of Danişmend Gazi, Sivas passed to Nizamettin Yağıbasan who won it after a struggle with Danişmend Gazis successors. In 1174, the city was captured by Seljuk ruler Kilij Arslan II, it passed to the Ilkhanids and Kadı Burhanettin. The city was acquired by Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, in 1398, Tamerlane swept into the area and his forces destroyed the city in 1400, after which it was recaptured by the Ottomans in 1408.
Under the Ottomans, Sivas served as the center of the province of Rum until about the late 19th century. The Armenian Catholic Church and the Latins had one church, two Protestant churches and eight, mostly German- and American-staffed, schools
Through intermarriages with other noble clans, notably the Doukai and Palaiologoi, the Komnenos name appears among most of the major noble houses of the late Byzantine world. The first known member of the family, Manuel Erotikos Komnenos, acquired estates at Kastamon in Paphlagonia. The family thereby quickly became associated with the powerful and prestigious military aristocracy of Asia Minor, the Romanian historian George Murnu suggested in 1924 that the Komnenoi were of Aromanian descent, but this view too is now rejected. Modern scholars consider the family to have been entirely of Greek origin, Manuel Erotikos Komnenos was the father of Isaac I Komnenos and grandfather, through Isaacs younger brother John Komnenos, of Alexios I Komnenos. Isaac I Komnenos, a Stratopedarch of the East under Michael VI, in 1057 Isaac led a coup against Michael and was proclaimed emperor. Although his reign lasted only till 1059, when his courtiers pressured him to abdicate and become a monk, the dynasty returned to the throne with the accession of Alexios I Komnenos, Isaac Is nephew, in 1081.
By this time, descendants of all the dynasties of Byzantium seem to have disappeared from the realm. Thereafter the combined clan often was referred as Komnenodoukai and several individuals used both surnames together, several families descended from the Komnenodoukai, such as Palaiologos, Angelos and Laskaris. Alexios and Irenes youngest daughter Theodora ensured the success of the Angelos family by marrying into it. Under Alexios I and his successors the Empire was fairly prosperous, Alexios moved the imperial palace to the Blachernae section of Constantinople. Much of Anatolia was recovered from the Seljuk Turks, who had captured it just prior to Alexios reign, Alexios saw the First Crusade pass through Byzantine territory, leading to the establishment of the Crusader states in the east. Remarkably, Alexios ruled for 37 years, and his son John II ruled for 25, after uncovering a conspiracy against him by his sister, the chronicler Anna Komnene, johns son Manuel ruled for another 37 years.
The Komnenos dynasty produced a number of branches, the Angeloi were overthrown during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, by Alexios Doukas, a relative from the Doukas family. Their first emperor, named Alexios I, was the grandson of Emperor Andronikos I and these emperors – the Grand Komnenoi as they were known – ruled in Trebizond for over 250 years, until 1461, when David Komnenos was defeated and executed by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II. Mehmed himself claimed descent from the Komnenos family via John Tzelepes Komnenos, the Trapezutine branch of the Komnenos dynasty held the name of Axouchos as descendants of John Axouch, a Byzantine nobleman and minister to the Byzantine Komnenian Dynasty. A princess of the Trebizond branch is said to have been the mother of prince Yahya, another branch of the family founded the Despotate of Epirus in 1204, under Michael I Komnenos Doukas, great-grandson of Emperor Alexios I. When the eastern Empire was restored in 1261 at Constantinople, it was ruled by a closely related to the Komnenoi.
The Palaiologoi ruled until the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 and his claims to descent from the imperial dynasty of Trebizond, are most likely a fabrication