The reign of Diocletanus
(285-305) was also the period when Christianity began to spread to the Black
Sea region. It was in this period that ordinary citizens and soldiers who happened
to be Christians were subjected to what was undoubtedly the last great wave
of persecution and when St Eugenios, accepted by Christians as the patron saint
of Trabzon, smashed an idol of Mithras on Boztepe Mountain, for which he was
sentenced to death. At the same time, Christian soldiers were being arrested
and put to death. Later, Christianity was to become the official religion of
the state and the garrison cities where the ground was saturated with the blood
of these early martyrs were to become sacred places. The local tribes, who had
been converted to Christianity, were to become, through their religion, loyal
citizens of the Empire. Diocletanus carried out a number of administrative reforms
to stem the rising tide of chaos in his empire and secure unity. He divided
the huge territories of the Empire into four regions, two to be ruled by Augustos
and two by Caesar, thus aimimg at more efficient admini tration.
laid the foundations of centralised bureaucracy, carried out a number of reforms
in the army as well, restoring the former discipline. One of the four regions
into which the Empire had been divided included its eastern territries.
After the death
of Diocletianus, who had left the western half of the empire to Maximianus (who
ruled jointly with him) and continued to rule the eastern half of the empire,
which was richer, from izmit (Nikomedia), there was a period of chaos until
Constantine became sole monarch in 324 A.D. Constantine began to build a city
on the site of the old Greek colony of Byzantium in the same year, officially
declaring it open in 330 A.D.
He had declared
Byzantium/Constantinopolis/İstanbul to be the capital of his state, and it became
the sole capital in 476 A.D, when the Eastern Roman Empire became the sole heir
of the Roman Empire.
As a result of
the reforms of Diocletianus the Roman Empire had been divided into four large
prefectures, each of which was sub-divided into twelve dioceses. Trabzon, which
was in the Pontos Polemoniacus province of the Pontus Diocese of the Eastern
Prefecture was administered by civilian governors of limited authority, while
in military terms it was under the Duke of Armenia.
The document known
as Notitia Dignitatum (considered to date from the beginning of the 5th
century), which is an official list of those in employed in the palace and the
administration, provides more detailed information about the way in which Trabzon
was administered. According to this document, in Trabzon, which was one of the
7 castellons of the Duchy of Armenia, was the headquarters of the Second Pontic
Legion. At the same time there were also garrisons consisting of infantry at
Sürmene and cavalry at Rize. If it is borne in mind that the eastern boundary
of the Byzantine empire had receded as far as an area to the east of Rize by
the 5th century, the strategic importance of the region becomes clear.
had been a base and harbour from which armies were equipped for campaigns on
the eastern boundaries of the empire in the reigns of Vespasian, Nero and Hadrian,
served the same functions in the Byzantine period as well. Even though successful
battles had been fought by Justinian I (527-565) in the west of the empire,
its defences against Persia in the east were weakened.
In this period
Justinian had attached the necessary importance to Trabzon, repairing its walls
and strengthening its defences. He had had aqueducts built to meet the city's
water requirements, naming them after the patron saint of the city, St Eugenios.
He also had a number of the city's churches rebuilt and restored, together with
Rize Castle, thus strengthening the defences of that city and built a system
of defences in strategic places in the region in an attempt to protect his eastern
border, which had by then receded to a point to the east of Rize.
Due to the fact
that the Can/Tsan/Sanni (formerly Dril) tribe, which inhabited the mountainous
regions around Trabzon had not been entirely subdued, they made frequent raids
on the Byzantine settlements and supply routes in the area and plundered them.
Justinian had sent Tzitas, one of the local commanders, to subdue the Cans,
who inhabited the area between Canca (near Gümüşhane) and Cape Araklı, and bring
them completely under Byzantine rule. Tzitas succeeded. He had the thick forests
in the area cut down and roads built. He had towers built to guard the roads
and worked hard to christianise the Cans and recruit them to guard the eastern
borders of the empire.
In the reign of
Heraclius (610-641), Persia's invasion of Anatolia was intensified and the Persian
army advanced as far as Istanbul. Heraclius divided his Anatolian territories
into military zones known as “thema” and instigated a new system of defence.
Divisions of troops were stationed in these areas, known as “thema” (which means
“army corps”) and the soldiers were given land which their children could afterwards
recorded that Heraclius launched three campaigns against Persia between 622
and 628. Heraclius made use of the Karadere-Satala road to supply his troops
in 622 and 623 and spent the winter of 625 in the Black Sea region, to which
he had withdrawn via Sivas. When the Persian army marched through the whole
of Anatolia and reached Kadıköy, Heraclius was at Sürmene, near Karadere to
the east of Trabzon. He managed to communicate fairly easily with his beseiged
capital from Sürmene and also held talks with the leaders of the Caspian Turks
and created a Byzantine-Caspian alliance. He defeated the Persians in 628 and
returned victoriously to the capital.
emperor who used Trabzon as a base for his eastern campaigns was Basil II (976-1025),
who in the last years of his life annexed Georgia and Vaspuragan. Basil, who
spent the winter of 1021-22 in Trabzon prepared a fleet here for his Abhazian
campaign. Meanwhile, King Smbad (1018-1041) of Armenia and Ani sent a delegation
to the Byzantine emperor in Trabzon in the hope that the fate that had befallen
his Georgian allies would not befall him as well. He offered an agreement whereby
his land would belong to Byzantium after his death. His neighbours, King Senekerim
of Vaspuragan and Ibn ad-Dairani, also sent ambassadors to Trabzon, selling
their kingdoms to Byzantium for money.
The year in which
Byzantine won the first of its victories over Persia (622) was also the year
in which the Prophet Mohammed emigrated from Mecca to Medina. Just when the
Iranian armies were at the gates of Istanbul, Mohammed learnt from the chapter
entitled “Romans”, which had come down to him from heaven, that within a few
years the defeated Romans would recover and emerge victorious and that believers
would find relief that day. Thus, the fire-worshipping Sassanians, who had been
defeated by the Romans, collapsed at the first Muslim attack after the death
of the Prophet. Byzantium, on the other hand, had lost its eastern territories
in its wars with Persia.
The Muslims, who
entered Byzantium in the time of Omar (634), defeated the Byzantine army in
the Battle of Yermuk in 636. The Arabs drove the Byzantines out of Egypt in
636. The Muslim Arabs, under the command of Muaviye, Governor of Syria, even
invaded as far as Kayseri to the north. The Arab armies, which launched a fresh
series of attacks in 663, managed to advance as far as izmir and istanbul and
in 674 they besieged Istanbul.
wars that Byzantium had fought first with the Persians and then with the Arabs
at the beginning of the 7th century had reduced much of Anatolia to ruins and
greatly reduced its population as well. Byzantium had defeated the Bulgarians
and other Slavs in the Balkans and brought the prisoners of war to Anatolia
to use them as a defence against the Arabs.
The Muslim Arab
armies heading for Anatolia were about to launch an attack on Trabzon as well
and in 705-711 they advanced as far as Ankara, at the same time heading for
the Trabzon region. In 717, Leon of Isaura, strategos of the Anatolikon thema,
succeeded in driving the Arabs out of Trabzon and it was he who later became
Emperor of Byzantium.
In the centuries
that were to follow, the Turks to the east, who were then in the process of
Islamisation, had reached the Balkans in the Islamic army via the north coast
of the Black Sea, whence they established contacts with the Byzantines. Turko/Altaic
peoples such as the Bulgars, Uz, Pechenegs and Hungarians served in the Byzantine
army in the struggle between Byzantium and the Arabs.
Many Turkic tribes
which had adopted Islam arrived from the Maveraünnehir (on the other side of
the Amu Darya) region,to be stationed along the borders of Byzantium and in
the course of a struggle which lasted centuries a number of renowned Turkish
commanders such as Afşin, Aşnas, Inak, Boğa el-Kebir and Vasıf el-Türki emerged.
The struggle between
the Muslim Arabs and Byzantium which began in the 7th century and
lasted until the 1lth century must also be seen as the beginning of the period
when the Seljuk Turks islamised Anatolia and established the Turkish presence
there. Sorties which, up to the Battle of Malazgirt, had been for purposes of
exploration or pillage turned into a drive to settle and establish a country
for themselves in Anatolia. Thus, after the victory at Malazgirt in 1071, the
Turcomans extended their territory to cover much of Anatolia and in the first
years after the victory the Turkish armies also conquered the Trabzon region.
The cıty of Trabzon
ıs a major centre of hıstory, culture and art on a coast where verdant forests
soar down to meet the blue waters of the Black Sea. The city expanded, both
physically and economically, after the Ottoman conquest and a number of Turco-Islamic
structures were built. Its powerful economy, together with the madrasas (seminaries),
which were centres of learning and refinement, made it the heart of the region.
The city enclosed within the walls grew rapidly in the Byzantine period, stretching
from Değirmendere to Ayasofya (St Sophia). However, the madrasas, commercial
buildings and khans, arcade, bazaars, public baths, mosques and public fountains
built in later years made it a typical Ottoman city. Harbours, roads and bridges
were built to provide land and sea access to the citv.
culture of Trabzon has provided the right environment for men of science, art
and culture throughout the centuries. Trabzon produced a number of leading poets,
scholars and scientists in the Ottoman period. Among them were Mehmet Aşık
and Şakir Şevket, who carried out a great deal of research into the history
of the city and its historic buildings. Today Trabzon is continuing to flourish
in a manner befitting its history and, in spite of having lost many of its urban
characteristics due to migration it still preserves many memories of its past.
No detailed study
dealing with the Turkish buildings of Trabzon as a whole and emphasising its
architectural and artistic heritage has yet been made. At this point a summary
of the work in this direction carried out so far has been added.
In 1075 a Byzantine
army under the command of Theodore Gavras, which had been despatched to Trabzon
to drive the Turcomans out of Trabzon and the surrounding area recaptured the
territories that had been lost. Theodore Gavras, who returned to Istanbul after
his victory, was appointed governor of the Haldia Thema, which included Trabzon
and the surrounding area and of which Trabzon was the centre, by the Byzantine
Emperor, Alexios Komnenos (1081-1118).
In Trabzon Theodore
Gavras acted quite independently of the Emperor and defended Niksar and Şebinkarahisar
against the forces of Emir Danişment, extending the borders of Trabzon as far
as the Bayburt region, at the same time defending Trabzon from Georgian raids.
In the region which stretched from Samsun to Gümüşhane he had a number of castles
built to form a defence system to keep the mountain passes leading to the coast
under control, thus dominating the coast from Samsun to a point to the east
Gavras, who was killed in a battle against the army of smail, son of Danişmend
Gazi, on the bank of the Çoruh River near Bayburt in 1098, his son Gregori Gavras
(Taronites) was appointed governor of Trabzon (Duke of Haldia) in 1103.
Gregori had been
kept in Istanbul as a hostage while his father was governor of Trabzon. His
father had him kidnapped in1091, but afterwards sent him back. Like his father,
he acted independently when he became governor. He formed an alliance by marrying
his daughter into Emir Danişmend's family in 1106 and consolidated his presence
in the castle at Şebinkarahisar. It was probably because of this action that
he was captured by troops arriving from the capital under the command of Ioannes
Komnenos and sent to Istanbul. However, he was later pardoned and recovered
his former position.
who had been appointed governor of Trabzon before 1119, also obtained the support
of the Turcomans in the area and ruled the area semiindependently of Byzantium.
Constantine Gavras was in control of Trabzon until the end of 1140 and formed
an alliance with Mengücekli İshak, one of the Turcoman emirs in the region;
they encountered the armies of Melik Gazi Danişmend and Artuklu Belek in 1120
near Şiran. However, the allied forces of Constantine and Mengücekli tshak suffered
a heavy defeat with many losses. Five thousand of Constantine Gavras's troops
were killed and he he was taken prisoner by Mengücekli lshak Bey. The latter
managed to save his life because he was the son-in-law of Artuklu Belek and
Constantine Gavras was set free upon payment of a ransom of 30,000 dinars.
We see that Ioannes
Komnenos II (1118-1143) conducted an unsuccessful campaign in the Canik area
but deprived the Haldia Thema of its semi-independence. In the course of this
campaign, Ioannis Komnenos (Çelebi), son of Isaac Komnenos, joined the Seljuks
and married the daughter of Sultan Mesud. It is probable that Constantine Komnenos
died some time after this campaign. In the middle of the 1160s Nicephoros Palaiologos
was appointed the new Duke (governor) of the Haldia Thema, which was once again
an integral part of the Byzantine Empire.
The name “Gavras”
is definitely not Greek, Pontic Greek or Laz in origin. It is known that several
members of this family, whose origins lay in the Haldia Thema, served the Seljuk
royal family. One of these persons was ihtiyar ad-din Hasan bin Gavras, a vizier
of Sultan Kılıç Aslan II.
Byzantine Kingdom of the Komnenos Dynasty
The last member
of the Komnenos dynasty, Andronikos Komnenos (1183-1185), who had previously
served as governor in the Black Sea region, was removed from his throne in the
course of a popular uprising and Isaakios II of the Angelos dynasty (1185 -
1195) was made king in his place. Andronikos Komnenos and his son Manuel were
brutally murdered and Manuel's two small children, Alexios and David, were imprisoned.
Queen Thamar of Georgia, who was the children's maternal aunt, had the children
kidnapped, also removing the royal treasures of Byzantium.
Alexios, the elder
of the two brothers heading for the coast of Georgia, was then four years of
age. At that time, when Istanbul was embroiled in the chaos of rebel- lion,
it was invaded on 17 July 1203 by the Crusaders and Alexios IV was put on the
throne. In January 1204, the people of the city again rebelled, killing Alexios
IV, this time installing his father's son-in-law, Murtzuphlos V on the throne.
However, the Crusaders came to an agreement among themselves and launched an
attack on the city on 13 April 1204, plundered it for three days and estab-
lished a Latin state in Istanbul.
After this event
the heirs to the Byzantine throne and nobility fled from the capital and, with
the support of the local people in the places where they had taken refuge, founded
states which could be considered a continuation of Byzantium. One of these was
the state founded in Iznik by Theodore Laskaris.
this event took place Alexios and David, heirs of the Komnenos dynasty, appeared
again on the shores of the Black Sea with an army provided by Queen Thamar the
Great of Georgia (1184-1212), with whom they had taken refuge. In 1204 they
The elder brother
Alexios declared himself ruler of Trabzon and his younger brother Davis, marched
along the coast with his army and captured Samsun, Sinop and Ereğli. However,
he was prevented from advancing further by Theodore Laskis. The latter, with
the support of the Latins in Istanbul, recaptured Amasra and Ereğli, expelling
the Komnenos princes from the area to the west of Sinop.
It was at this
time that the Seljuks entered the arena. In 1214 they captured Alexios just
off Sinop and also gained control of the city. Later, an agreement containing
a large ransom and annual taxes, together with a promise to send troops for
the Seljuk army when needed for a campaign was arrived at and Alexios Komnenos
I (1204-1222) was allowed to return to Trabzon, this time as a vas- sal king
of the Seljuk sultan.
The dream cherished
by the Komnenos family of recovering the Byzantine throne had come to an
end because their contacts with the west had been broken by the Seljuk conquest
of Sinop. However, they had founded a state that was now a vassal of the Seljuks
on the coast at Trabzon, which was now surrounded on all sides by Turcomans.
It was in the reign
of Andronikos (1222-1235) in Trabzon that a breakdown in relations occurred
between the Komnenos family and the Seljuks, just at the time when the Mongols
had captured Sudak, then one of the most important trading centres on the north
coast of the Black Sea (1223) and plundered it. Andronikos's fleet had sailed
to Sudak and appropriated the goods of Muslim merchants fleeing from the Mongols,
after which they had invaded the city. The fleet, which was returning to Trabzon
with the plundered goods, was forced to sail past Sinop because of a storm and
Reis Hayton, who was in command of the fleet at Sinop, appropriated the ships
and took Andronikos's commanders prisoner. Andronikos, taking advantage of the
fact that the Seljuk king Alaeddin Keikubat (1220-1237) was occupied with events
on his eastern border at the time, advanced on Sinop, attacked the city, plundered
it and rescued his ships and commanders.
upon hearing of this, sent a fleet under the command of Melik Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev
and an army under the command of Atabeki Mübarizeddin Ertokuş to attack Trabzon
via Gümüşhane and Maçka. Intensive fighting took place when the Seljuks attacked
Trabzon from both sea and land in 1228 and the uncle of Reis Hayton and Keyhüsrev
was wounded. However, a violent storm that broke out just as the city was falling
caused the two rivers that flowed on either side of Trabzon Castle to burst
their banks. The Seljuk army was forced to retreat to the mountains by floods
and heavy rain, Melik Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev was captured by peasants near Maçka
and brought to Trabzon. However, Andronikos treated him well and sent him to
the sultan under guard. At that time Trabzon recognised Celaleddin Harzemşah
as sovereign. After the victory of the Seljuk army over that of Harzemşah at
Yassıçimen in 1230, those who had managed to flee from Harzemşah's army took
refuge in Trabzon territory.
After this war
the Komnenos family were again vassals of the Seljuks and were obliged to contribute
200 cavalrymen with spears or 1000 soldiers to the Seljuk army, and to send
one member of the family to the Seljuk court.
After the Seljuks
were defeated by the Mongols at Kösedağ in 1243, the kings of Trabzon became
the vassals of the Mongols and from 1256 onwards they developed good relations
with the İhanlı family, who were the heirs of the Mongols in the west, growing
extremely wealthy from the trade road that had been built to Tebriz, the Ilhanlı
capital. However, at the beginning of the l4th century this trade was taken
over by the Genoese colony in Trabzon, which was ruled by a consul. At that
time, there were two colonies in Trabzon, that of the Genoese and a Venetian
colony as well and both groups had acquired many privileges, particularly in
the reign of Alexios II (1297-1330).
In a period when
Mongol rule in Anatolia was weakening and a number of Turkish beyliks (the equivalent
of principalities) were emerging the Kingdom of Trabzon made a great effort
to consolidate and extend its borders but its efforts were hindered by the Turcoman
groups in the area and the territory of Trabzon was attacked by the former.
One by one the passes in the mountain range which afforded access to the coast
from the hinterland and the castles guarding these passes were captured by the
Turcomans and the lands of the Trabzon Kingdom receded as far as Harşit Creek
to the east of Samsun, all that remained to the kingdom being a few castles
on the coast.
In 1277 Georgios,
King of Trabzon (1266-1280), made an attempt to capture Sinop but was repulsed
by the Chepnis, who lived in areas around the city and completely lost control
of the area to the east of Samsun as well. According to Panaretos, who was the
court historian, in the reign of Ioannes II (“the good”) (1280-1297), the Halibia
(now Ünye) area passed entirely into the hands of the Turks. Further reference
to Panaretos's chronicles reveals that in 1301 the Chepni leader Kuşdoğan attacked
Giresun and Bayram Bey, who had captured the Ordu and Giresun area, organised
two campaigns against Trabzon in 1313 and 1322.
Hacı Emir succeeded
his father, Bayram Bey, upon his death and founded the Hacı Emiroğulları Beylik
in the l4th century on land that lay within the present Ordu and Giresun provinces
and because Bayram Bey and his heirs had sworn to islamise the region and make
it T'urkish, it was referred to in Ottoman documents of the next century as
One of the groups
active on the borders of the Trabzon Kingdom was led by the son of Çoban Bey,
son of the grand vizier of the Ilhans. The other was the Turcomans, who were
known as Çobanlı or Çapanlu because of their loyalty to that group, which in
turn were loyal to Sheikh Hasan-i Küçük, son of Temurtaş, who in turn had been
governor of Anatolia at one time (1318-1322) and, declaring his independence
at Sivas, had minted his own coins. In 1330-31 Sheikh Hasan, who had settled
in the Byzantine Province (Rum vilayeti), now Amasya, captured Şebinkarahisar
and, acting together with his brothers, founded a beylik. Sheikh Hasan marched
on Trabzon in 1336 and had fought a fierce battle with those defending Boztepe
Mountain and the city. However, he was forced to retreat by a sudden downpour.
Panaretos informs us that Rüstem, son of Abdurahman, one of Sheikh Hasan's key
commanders, died in this battle.
There were a number
of Turcoman groups, all belonging to different clans, living in the mountains
surrounding the Kingdom of Trabzon. In order to ensure the survival of trade,
which was one of the major sources of revenue for the Kingdom of Trabzon, the
latter took measures to keep control of the mountain passes. On the other hand
the Turcomans had spread out all over the mountains, where there were rich pastures
for their herds. There was no political union in Anatolia and the Turcomans
were divided up into small beyliks and spent most of their time fighting amongst
themselves. The Kingdom of Trabzon wanted to expel these groups, who had no
strong army behind them, from the mountains, launched attacks and killed the
Turcomans they captured, together with their children and animals. When the
Turcomans heard of the attacks they pulled themselves together and advanced
on Trabzon intent on revenge, burning and plundering all places as far as the
In August 1340
the Trabzon army attacked the Akkoyunlu clan, who were grazing their sheep in
the mountains and took much booty away with them. Then on 4 August 1341 the
Akkoyunlu clan advanced on Trabzon, intent on revenge. They besieged the city
and many people died. Much of Trabzon was destroyed by a fire which broke out
and the rotting corpses of the dead caused epidemics.
The Akkoyunlu clan
again attacked Trabzon in 1343 but this time, too, were unable to capture the
city. However, an outbreak of plague which broke out in 1348 wiped out four
fifths of the city's population.
on to say that Ahi Ayna Bey (Bey of Erzincan), Rikabdar Mehmet Bey (Emir of
Bayburt), Tur Ali Bey (Bey of the Akkoyunlu) and the Çepni clan under the leadership
of Bozdoğan all attacked Trabzon in 1348 but were unable to conquer it. The
Turcoman groups, unable to attain their objectives individually, formed an
alliance that aimed at completely destroying the Kingdom of Trabzon. However,
Alexios III (1349-1390) modified his policy in order to sow dissent among
the Turcoman groups and, taking advantage of this, to make them allies of Trabzon.
The most important tool in this plan were the princesses in the palace at Trabzon.
He was going to marry them to the Turcoman leaders in the area and use these
marriages and the relationships that would emerge to prolong the life of his
kingdom. This clever policy had been much criticised by some Western historians.
It is stated that when the Byzantine kings resorted to this policy they always
used their illegitimate children. However, Alexios was only too aware that the
whole of Anatolia was inTurkish hands and that his own state was virtually isolated
on the coast, rendering its survival in this artificial environment impossible.
Thus, he was able to ensure the survival of his state for longer than the Byzantine
The first marriage
was aimed at the Turcoman alliance which attacked Trabzon in 1348. In 1351 he
married his sister, Maria Komnen (Despina Hatun) to Kutluğ Bey, son of Tur Ali
Bey, one of the Akkoyunlu beys, whose headquarters were in the Bayburt village
of Sinor on the borders of Trabzon. Thus, he broke up the alliance and secured
himself a powerful ally behind whose back he could shelter.
As the Dede Korkut
tales belonging to the Kanlı Kocaoğlu Kanturalı clan indicate, the foundations
of this alliance had been laid by a marriage, and it was to be cemented by other
marnages in the future. Kutluğ Bey's son, Karayuluğ Osman Bey, married a daughter
of Alexios IV (1417-1429) and Uzun Hasan, grandson of Karayuluğ Osman Bey married
the sister of David, Theodora Komnen (Despina Hatun) in 1457.
The second of these
marriages took place because of the Hacı Emiroğullan clan, which had captured
the land to the west of Trabzon. Alexios III, who had been travelling to Limnia,
which was a base belonging to Trabzon located in the Çarşamba area in1356, had
killed 14 Turks at Cape Yasun. On 13 November, 1357 Hacı Emir had marched towards
Trabzon, plundering the Hamsiköy and Maçka areas in retaliation. Alexios III
managed to prevent any more of these attacks by marrying his sister, Theodora
Komnen, to Hacı Emir in 1358.
In 1360 a castle
was built near Gümüşhane as a precaution against Hoca Latif, Emir of Bayburt,
who posed a threat to Trabzon. Hoca Latif launched an attack on Ioannes Kabasites,
governor of the Gümüşhane area and defeated him. However, Hoca Latif was ambushed
and killed by the villagers of the Hortop are in the Maçka district of the province
In 1362 Kılıç Arslan
Kelkit, who was of Seljuk origin, captured Şebinkarahisar and attacked the castle
of the Kingdom of Trabzon in the Şiran area. After battles fought in 1368, 1369,
1373 and 1374, Kılıç Arslan gained control of the region. In 1397 he marched
We consider that
there were in fact three objectives to this campaign, the first being to put
obstacles in the way of the King of Trabzon; the second objective was to put
obstacles in the way of Hacı Emir, who had set up headquarters at Niksar and
was in control of land to the east of Samsun where the valley of the Yeşilırmak
River and the delta where this river flowed into the sea are located. The third
objective was to prevent the marriage between Eudokia, daughter of Alexios III
and Tacettin Bey, founder of the Tacettinogullan Beylik, who was on bad terms
with Kılıç Arslan, because it was during this campaign that Alexios III, together
with his daughter, had set out for the place where the wedding was to be held
and had arrived in Giresun. When Alexios III received news of the attack, he
left his daughter in Giresun and returned to Trabzon. Having taken the necessary
defensive measures he retunıed to Giresun and the marriage took place in October,
Another group which
threatened Trabzon were the Çepni tribe, who had captured the Harşit Valley
and settled there and also gained control of Tirebolu and Vakıfbekir. The Çepni,
who had previously liberated the Sinop and Samsun region from the invasion of
the Trabzon kings, had captured Giresun under the leadership of Kuşdoğan and
under Bozdoğan had joined the Turcoman alliance to attack Trabzon had established
a beylik on the land which lay to the east and west of the Harşit Valley. Panaretos
states that on 4 March 1380 Alexios III and his army raided the Çepni barracks
at Kürtün in the upper part of the Harşit Valley and rescued a number of Trabzon
people, who were being kept prisoner in the camp.
In the reign of
Manuel I (1390-1417), who acceded to the Trabzon throne after Alexios III, Yıldırım
Bayezit had added the Samsun area to the territories of the Ottoman Empire.
Manuel, who had been forced to submit to Timur, sought an audience with the
latter when he was passing through Trabzon and knelt before him. With a fleet
of 20 ships and aid from Byzantium the Komnenos family fought against the
Ottomans under the command of Timur's officers, and they also fought in Timur's
army in the Battle of Ankara. According to the Spanish ambassador Clavijo, who
went to see Timur after the Battle of Ankara in 1404, apart from the Castle
in Trabzon, there were two towers, one belonging to the Genoese and one to the
Venetians. We know that certain problems arose between Trabzon and Genoa
after this period. In the reign of Alexios IV (1417-1429), the Genoese had inflicted
a defeat on the Trabzon fleet with three galleons and captured a monastery which
they turned into a munitions store. In 1418 Alexios had been forced to pay
war reparations to the Genoese in the form of wine and hazelnuts but permission
was refused for the repair of a ruined castle belong- ing to the Genoese, whereupon
the Genoese consul at Kefe asked all Genoese to leave Trabzon and stop their
trade with that city. In consequence, repairs on the castle began and the outbreak
of a new war was prevented.