Empire of Trebizond

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Asia Minor and the Balkans in 1265 (Trebizond is in northeastern Anatolia and was also under Mongolian sovereignty)

The Empire of Trebizond ( medium Greek Βασίλειον τής Τραπεζούντας Basileion Tēs Trapezuntas modern Turkish Trabzon Rum imparatorlugu ) was one of the successor states of the Byzantine Empire and extended times on the historic landscapes Paphlagonia , Pontus and Colchis . The empire existed from 1204 to 1461.


Trebizond when it was conquered in 1461, south of the allied empire of the White Mutton under Uzun Hasan

The empire lay in the east of the south bank of the Black Sea and was founded in 1204 by the Byzantine ruling dynasty of the Comnenes , who had fled the capital before the conquest of Constantinople by the knights of the Fourth Crusade , but a separate empire around Amastris (Anatolian northwest coast until 1204 to the Black Sea). With Georgian support, the Komneni were able to conquer and hold a stretch of coast that was of strategic and political importance because important trade routes ran here. The territory essentially corresponded to the former theme of Chaldia . Like the rum - Seljuks , the Komnenen 1243 had after the Battle of Köse Dağ the Mongolian Ilchanen as vassals subject. Until 1282 they held against the Laskaris and Palaiologoi claim to the title of Emperor of the Romäer upright.

The empire and its capital, which is now called Trabzon , experienced an economic and cultural boom during the 13th and early 14th centuries, as can be seen from buildings such as the church of Hagia Sophia to this day.

After the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453, Trebizond became the last refuge of Byzantine culture in Asia Minor , but could only hold its own for a few years. After the last emperor David Komnenos tried in vain to forge an alliance against the Ottomans with the empire of the Turkmen Aq Qoyunlu , other local Beyliks , the Georgians and Western European powers, it finally became part of the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed II in 1461 .

The history of the empire was first researched by Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer in his History of the Trapezunt Empire (Munich, 1827–1848). Particularly revealing for the history of the empire of Trebizond is its coinage, which on the one hand is based on Byzantine models, on the other hand is based on Seljuk guidelines.

List of the emperors of Trebizond

portrait Surname Full name Reign Remarks
Alexios I. Alexios Megas Komnēnos 1204-1222 against Constantine and Theodor Laskaris (both Nikaia), Caesar 1183/85, until 1212/1214 with David ( Caesar 1184/85, 1204 / 05–1207 in Paphlagonia)
Theodoros Gabras Theodōros Gabras 1204–1208? Usurper (?) In Pontus
Andronikos I. Andronikos Komnēnos Gidos 1222-1235
John I. Iōannēs Axouchos Megas Komnēnos 1235-1238 with Johannikios (Emperor 1238?)
SilverAsperManuelIKomnenosOfTrebizond1237-1263 (cropped) .jpg Manuel I. Manouēl Megas Komnēnos 1238-1263 against Johannikios (?); recognized Kai Khosrow II. and Hülegü as Suzeräne to
Andronikos II. Andronikos Megas Komnēnos 1263-1266 Despot since 1240?
George Geōrgios Komnēnos 1266-1280 against Andronikos II .; Counter-Emperor 1284
Ioannis II of Trepizont (cropped) .JPG John II Iōannēs Megas Komnēnos 1280-1297 against Georg, nominally despot from 1282, deposed from 1284–1285; recognized Michael VIII. as a Byzantine emperor on
Theodora Theodōra Megalē Komnēnē 1284-1285 by David VI. Narin
Alexios II Alexios Palaiologos Megas Komnēnos 1297-1330 until 1300 next to Andronikos II (Byzantium)
Andronikos III. Andronikos Megas Komnēnos 1330-1332
Manuel II Manouēl Megas Komnēnos 1332
Basil of Trebizond cropped.png Basil Basil Megas Komnēnos 1332-1340 against Manuel II.
Irene Eirēnē Palaiologina 1340-1341
Anna Anna Megalē Komnēnē Anachoutlou 1341-1342 against Irene, deposed in 1341
John III Iōannēs Megas Komnēnos 1342-1344 by Niketas Scholarios , against Anna
Michael of Trebizont (cropped) .JPG Michael Michaēl Megas Komnēnos 1344-1349 Counter-emperor 1341; Regent: Niketas Scholarios (until 1345, usurper 1355)
Alexios III Megas Komnenos (cropped) .JPG Alexios III Alexios (Iōannēs) Megas Komnēnos 1349-1390 against Michael, crowned in 1350; Despots: Andronikos (1355–1376), Basileios (after 1358 – before 1377)
Michael Michael Palaiologos 1373 Despot since? 1351 (by John V )
Manuel III Manouēl Achpougas Megas Komnēnos 1390-1417 Despot since 1376; recognized Timur as suzerain
Alexios IV Alexios Megas Komnēnos 1417-1429 Despot since 1395, from 1426 with Alexander (Despot since 1418, co-regent Johannes IV. 1453-1459 / 60?)
John IV Iōannēs Megas Komnēnos 1429-1460 Despot 1417-1426; Despot: Alexios (from 1454/55)
David David Megas Komnēnos 1460-1461 Despot since 1429; Ottoman successor: Sultan Mehmed II.

Explanations: see list of Byzantine emperors .


  • Anthony Bryer : The Empire of Trebizond and the Pontos . London 1980
  • Anthony Bryer, Richard Winfield: The Byzantine Monuments and Topography of the Pontos . Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC 1985.
  • Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer : History of the Trapezunt Empire . Munich, 1827–1848
  • Sergej Pavlovich Karpov: The Empire of Trebizond. In: Lexikon des Mittelalters , Vol. 8, Sp. 958f. (Overview, sources and literature).
  • Otto Retowski : The coins of the Komnenen of Trebizond. Synodal-Buchdruck, Moscow 1910, and Klinkhardt & Biermann, Braunschweig 1974, 1977 (reprint)
  • Andreas Urs Sommer: The Empire of Trebizond and its coins (1204–1461) . In: Money Trend. International coin magazine. No. 10 (1989), p. 12ff. ISSN  1420-4576

Web links

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