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.
The reminiscences about this period of wars can be found in the heroic epos about the basilissa (woman ruler) of Sugdaia Theodora Palaiologina perished by the Genoese. The Orthodox Church canonized her with the name of Theodora the Queen-nun of Surozh.
Armenian chronicle regarding the events of 1365 year:
“It was the time of many disturbances because from the whole country, from Kerch and to Sarukerman the people and cattle were collected here, and Mamay was in Karasue with his countless Tatars, and the town was in fear and horror”
The legend about Theodora:
“It was deep dark night when betrayer led enemy troops through iron gates by the secret subway that lied under the whole mountain till its peak where the fortress stood in that times, and no inhabitant of fortress stayed alive. In this treacherous massacre Theodora was killed, stroked down with enemy’s sword. However her death was costly for enemies: less then quarter of those who came into subway returned to their ships to celebrate the victory”
Part 2. The first princes Part 4. The Tamerlane jihad
More details see in the book "Mystery of the Theodoro principality"