Georgian expedition to Chaldia

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Georgian expedition to Chaldia
Part of Byzantine–Georgian wars
Georgian empire with tributaries.png
Kingdom of Georgia in 1184-1230 at the peak of its might
DateApril, 1204
north-eastern Anatolia: Chaldia, Paphlagonia
Result Decicive Georgian / Komnenos victory.
Foundation of the Empire of Trebizond
 Kingdom of Georgia
Komnenos of the future Empire of Trebizond
Byzantine imperial flag, 14th century, square.svg Byzantine Empire
Commanders and leaders
Alexios Megas Komnenos
David Komnenos
Alexios IV Angelos
unknown unknown, probably fewer

Georgian intervention in Chaldia and Paphlagonia was undertaken by Queen Tamar of Georgia in 1204. The Empire of Trebizond was founded on the Black Sea coast as a result of this expedition.


Queen Tamar's attitude towards the emperors of Byzantine, ruled by Angelos, were somewhat hostile; closely related to the Komnenoi,[1][2] she could not forget that last Komnenos emperor of Byzantine Andronikos I Komnenos was dethroned and killed by the Angelos in 1185, while his son Manuel was blinded and may have died from this mutilation.[3][4] however, his two infant grandsons, Alexios and David, sons of the Manuel and a Georgian princess, were saved through Georgian intervention and taken to Tbilisi, where they were raised at the court of their aunt and queen of Georgia,Tamar.[3] In Georgia they had received their education, Vasiliev even speculates that "Georgian became their native tongue" and that they "were thoroughly Georgian in language and education as well as in political ideals".[5]

In 1203, Tamar donated large sums of money to the Georgian monasteries in Antioch and Mount Athos. However, Emperor Alexios III Angelos confiscated Tamar’s donation. Infuriated by this action, Tamar used this hostile act as a pretext for her expansion along the southwestern coast of the Black Sea, populated by a large Georgian-speaking population.[3]

A Georgian army under the command of Alexios and David Komnenos attacked Byzantine from the east in late March or early April 1204. According to Georgian chronicles the expedition took eight days, reached Trebizond via Lazia and seized the town in April; the local commander doux Nikephoros Palaiologos, did not put up an effective defence against the more powerful Georgian force.

On April 13, 1204, Constantinople fell to the Crusaders, where they established the Latin Empire. According to Georgian sources, newly incorporated territories were given to Alexios and David Komnenos, where they established a pro-Georgian state that would be known as Empire of Trebizond. Alexios was proclaimed emperor, while David was appointed strategos; some scholars believe that the new state was subject to Georgia, at least in the first years of its existence, at the beginning of the 13th century.[6]

The following year, David Komnenos commanded the Georgian troops in a successful campaign that resulted in the conquest of territory between Trebizond and Heraclea Pontica, namely of: Oinaion, Limnia, Amisos, Sinope, Cerasus, Cotyora, Amastria, Heraclea and all the lands of Paphlagonia and Pontus.


  1. ^ Toumanoff, "On the Relationship between the Founder of the Empire of Trebizond and the Georgian Queen Thamar", Speculum, 15 (1940), pp. 299–312
  2. ^ Kuršanskis, "L'Empire de Trébizonde et la Géorgie", Revue des études byzantines, 35 (1977). pp. 237–256
  3. ^ a b c Mikaberidze, A. (2015). Historical dictionary of Georgia. 2nd ed. Lanham, MD, United States: ROWMAN & LITTLEFIELD, p.634.
  4. ^ A. A. Vasiliev, "The Foundation of the Empire of Trebizond (1204-1222)", Speculum, 11 (1936), pp. 5-8
  5. ^ Vasiliev, "Foundation", p. 18
  6. ^ Vasiliev, A.A., “The Foundation of the Empire of Trebizond 1204-1222”, Speculum 11 (1936), pp. 3-37·