Tarchaneiotes

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Tarchaneiotes (Greek: Ταρχανειώτης), feminine form Tarchaneiotissa (Ταρχανειώτισσα), also attested in the variant forms Trachaneiotes, Trachaniates, Tarchoniates, was the name of a Byzantine aristocratic family from Adrianople, active from the late 10th to the 14th century, mostly as military commanders. From the 15th century on some of its members were active in Italy, while a branch of the family migrated to Russia, where their name was russified to Trakhaniot (Траханиот). They are attested until the 17th century.

The origin of the family is unknown. It has been suggested that their name derives from the village of Tarchaneion in Thrace, but alternatives have also been suggested, such a derivation from Mongol targan, "smith", suggested by Gyula Moravcsik, or the Georgian origin ascribed to them by C. Cahen. No hypothesis can be conclusively proven.

The family first appear with Gregory Tarchaneiotes, catepan of Italy in 998–1006. Other members of the family occupied high military posts in the course of the 11th century. In the conflict between the Anatolian military aristocracy and the Constantinopolitan civil bureaucracy, the Tarchaneiotai sided with the latter. As a result they were distrusted by the Komnenoi after 1081 and lost in prominence in the 12th century. They regained their position in the Empire of Nicaea, where Nikephoros Tarchaneiotes long served as megas domestikos (commander-in-chief of the army). He and his sons became closely connected to the Palaiologos dynasty through ties of marriage.

Notable members[edit]

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