Siege of Trebizond (1205–06)

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Siege of Trebizond
Part of the Byzantine–Seljuk Wars
Date 1205-1206
Location Trebizond, Pontus
Result Trebizondian victory; Seljuks fail to take the capital
Empire of Trebizond Sultanate of Rûm
Commanders and leaders
Alexios I of Trebizond Kaykhusraw I

The Siege of Trebizond from 1205 to 1206 was an attempt by the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm to take the city along the coast of the Black Sea. William Miller explains this action as punishment for "the disobedience of Alexios to his [ Kaykhusraw I ] commands."[1]

Michel Kuršanskis explains that this unsuccessful siege was in response to the Trapezuntine ally, Queen Tamar of Georgia, who had attempted to capture Erzurum in 1205, but failed. When Sultan Kaykhusraw began his punitive campaign against Trebizond, he found his route limited to a few passes in the Pontic Alps where his forces harassed by the locals. Further, Alexios could respond to his attacks by "closing the sea" to all merchants, who could neither travel to the Crimea nor return from there. According to Ali ibn al-Athir, merchants from throughout the Middle East suffered a serious injury because of his siege of Trebizond, and when they met at the great fair in Sivas, they delivered their complaints to the sultan in loud shouts.[2]

Kuršanskis argues the failure of this siege led to the later successful capture of Sinope in 1214, which provided the Seljuk Turks with an outlet to the Black Sea.[3]


  1. ^ Miller, Trebizond: The last Greek Empire of the Byzantine Era: 1204-1461, 1926 (Chicago: Argonaut, 1969), p. 16
  2. ^ Kuršanskis, "L'empire de Trébizonde et les Turcs au 13e siècle", Revue des études byzantines, 46 (1988), pp. 110f
  3. ^ Kuršanskis, "L'empire de Trébizonde", pp. 111f