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Княжество Феодоро

History of Theodoro

Foundation of the Theodoro principality

On April 12 –th 1204 the Fourth Crusade army invaded and conquered Constantinople. Crusades which in concept of its organizers had to serve to the deliverance of the Holy Land and the Holy Sepulcher from the Muslims turned in fact against the capital of Orthodox Byzantine Empire.

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The first princes

The XIII-th century

In the twenties of the XIII-th century the ruler of Gothia from the Gabrades family re-established the fortress on the Mangup mountain, which got its name - the Fortress of Saint Theodore - after the protector of the dynasty Saint Theodore Gavras (+1098). When Tavrika was attacked by the Seljuks first, then by the Mongols, the centre of political life was moved to Mangup, because unassailable mountain fortress happened to be the best place for the residence of region ruler, better then old Byzantine centers Cherson (now the territory of Sevastopol) and Sugdeia (now Sudak) which were repeatedly ravaged by the Tatars.

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Theodora, the basilissa of Sugdaia

The XIV-th century

The Italian merchants strived for the monopolization of the trade on the Black Sea. Genoese widened their trade privileges as with power as with bribery, carrying out the economical and political expansion in the local regions. In 1318 they opened their consulate on Bosporus and built in the heart of Alanic archonate the fortress named Cherchio. At the forties of the XIV-th century they took away from “proud, grasping and discordant with each other Greek archonts” the important port Simbolon (now the part of Sevastopol, Balaklava). After the victories over Byzantium during the wars of 1347-48-th and 1350-52-nd Genoese consulate was established in Cherson and Greek ships were forbidden to enter the town. Finally, in 1365 with the help of Tatar tumenbashy Mamay they captured the main Byzantine town on the seaboard Sugdaia.


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The Tamerlane jihad

In the 1380th the representative of the governing dynasty of Theodoro Kosmas Gavras together with other noble Theodorits took part in the battle on the Kulikovo pole (field) in the army of Dmitriy Donskoy, in contrast to the Genoese who supported Mamay.

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The golden age and the downfall of the Theodoro principality

The XV-th century

The revival of Theodoro is closely connected with the name of prince Alexius I Gavras (1402-1434). During a few years he succeeded in rebuilding of the fortress on Mangup, returning under his control the mountain parts of Gothia and gathering forces to challenge the Genoese “Gazaria Empire”.

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