Pyotr Melissino

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Pyotr Melissino
P.I. Melissino (Kursk gallery).jpg
A portrait of General of the Artillery Pyotr Melissino in the Kursk gallery, Russia.
Born 1726
Cephalonia, Venetian Republic
Allegiance  Russia
Years of service 1740 — 1797
Rank General of the Artillery

Pyotr Ivanovich Melissino (Greek: Πέτρος Μελισσηνός, Petros Melissinos), (Russian: Пётр Мелиссино), (French: Pierre De Mellisino); c. 1726 – c. 1797) was a General of the Artillery of the Russian Empire and was widely considered the best Russian artilleryman of the 18th century.[1]


He was born as Petros Melissinos on the Greek island of Cephalonia in 1726,[2] he was of Greek origin[2][3][4][5] and his father was a physician who belonged to the noble Greek family of Melissenos (Greek Μελισσηνός). Throughout his life, he prided himself on his Greek origin.[2] He received a thorough education in his youth and was fluent in many languages including Russian, German, Italian, French, Turkish as well as his native Greek, he also knew some Latin and English.[2] Melissinos arrived in Russia during the reign of Peter the Great and ended his career as Vice-President of the Commerce Collegium in 1740-45.

During the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774, Pyotr Melissino was in charge of the Russian artillery. His efficient command helped Russian forces prevail against a fourfold numerical superiority of the Ottomans at Khotin, Larga, and Kagula. In 1783, he was appointed Director of the Artillery and Engineering Corps in St. Petersburg. He is remembered as an organizer of the artillery education in the Russian Empire. After the ascension of Emperor Paul, Melissino was put in charge of the entire Russian artillery but died the following year.

Melissino was instrumental in promoting the career of one of Paul's favourites, Aleksey Arakcheyev. His son Aleksey Melissino, a Major General, was killed in the Battle of Dresden (1813). His brother, Ivan Melissino, was Dean of the Moscow University under Catherine the Great.

Jenkins (pp. 35–36) says:


  1. ^ Schenker, Alexander M. (2003). The Bronze Horseman: Falconet's monument to Peter the Great. Yale University Press. pp. 172–173. ISBN 0-300-09712-3. Marin’s first connection in St. Petersburg was his compatriot Colonel Melissino, who, as Russia's best artilleryman, must have been of considerable interest to Venetian intelligence services. 
  2. ^ a b c d Masson, Charles François Philibert (1802). Secret memoirs of the court of Petersburg: particularly towards the end of the reign of Catharine II and the commencement of that of Paul I. T.N. Longman and O. Rees. pp. 339–340. OCLC 35652011. GENERAL MELISSINO - In these Memoirs we have frequently spoken of general Melissino, whose name will long live in Russia. He originally came from Cephalonia, and prided himself on his Greek origin, which he was fond of recollecting… A sure discernment, an exquisite sensibility, with him compensated for a particular study which circumstances had not allowed him ; but he spoke, equally well and correctly, Russian, German, Italian, and French : he knew enough of modern Greek and Turkish to make himself understood; and he was not unacquainted with Latin and English. Gallant and magnificent, his military entertainments, his camps, his parties, and even his orgies and follies, will long be the subject of conversation. 
  3. ^ Telepnef, Boris (2003). Outline of the History of Russian Freemasonry. Kessinger Publishing. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-7661-8110-6. Peter Melissino, a Russian General, of Greek extraction; born, 1726; died, 1797 
  4. ^ Илизаров, Симон Семенович (1999). Московская интеллигенция XVIII века. Янус-К. p. 178. ISBN 978-5-8037-0028-9. МЕЛИССИНО Иван Иванович (1718—23 марта 1795, Москва) — литератор, куратор Московского университета. Сын греческого лекаря, который выехал из Венеции в Россию при ... 
  5. ^ Mandich, Donald R.; Placek, Joseph Anthony (1992). Russian heraldry and nobility. Dramco. p. 311. ISBN 978-0-9633063-9-5. MELISSINO This family is descended from a most distinguished Greek family which resided in Constantinople …A descendant, Rikhard Melissino in 1454 left behind his property on the Island of Crete and settled in Cephalonia from which in more recent times Ivan Afanasievich Melissino departed for Russia. He and his descendants served the Russian Throne in distinguished posts and gained fame for their family... 
  • Michael Jenkins, Arakcheev: Grand Vizier of the Russian Empire (Dial Press, 1969)

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBrockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (in Russian). 1906.