25 Mayıs 2024 Cumartesi

Tatikios, A Byzantine Commander of Turkish Origin

 A Turkish Commander in the Eastern Roman Empire; Tatikios

and another Turk under the command of Tatikios: Ilhan

Prof. Dr. Işın Demirkent

Coin of Konstantine Tatikios, a descendant of Tatikios, first half of the 12th century
The inscription reads; God help Constantine Tatikios, your ‘most noble’ servant.

The life and activities of Tatikios, who was one of the most trusted commanders and a close friend of Emperor Alexion I Komnenos (1081-1118), can be found in the well-known work Alexiade by the emperor's daughter, Princess Anna Komnene, about her father's life, and the history written by Anna's husband, Caesar Nikephoros Bryennios. In addition, most contemporary Crusader works and writers on the First Crusade, such as the Gesta Francorum, Albertus Aquensis, Raimundus Aguilers, Tudobodus, Guibertus Novigenti, Baldricus and Willermus Tyrensis mention Tatikios in their accounts of events during the sieges of Nicaea and Antioch.

According to Anna Komnene's record, Tatikios, a formidable warrior and a daring commander who never lost his cool in battle, was not of free blood. Tatikios' father had been captured by Anna's grandfather, Ioannes Komnenos the Duke, during a raiding raid. Anna did not record the date of this event. However, it is highly probable that Tatikios was captured together with his father, in which case this event should be dated after 1057. Because Nikephoros Bryennios wrote in his work that Tatikios was the same age as the emperor Alexios and grew up with him. Since the year 1057 is accepted for the birth of Alexios, Tatikios must have been born in the same year, i.e. 1057.

It is noteworthy that Anna Komnene praises Tatikios as a cautious and far-sighted person, as well as for his courage and warriorism, although she uses almost no eulogising words for foreigners in her work. Bryennios' account of Tatikios is similarly full of praise, expressing his loyalty to the emperor and his farsighted character. At the same time, Bryennios noted that Tatikios was almost as if he was a member of the family of Emperor Alexios, thus emphasising the intimacy between him and Alexios. Anna also has the following record about Tatikios: Anna wrote that her father's later knee pain was inadvertently caused by Tatikios when they were both playing polo. Another point, which Anna Komnene and N.Bryennios do not mention but which is mentioned by the Crusader writers, is that Tatikios' nose was cut off and that he wore a false nose made of gold in its place...

There is no information about Tatikios' death or personal life. We know nothing about whether he married or had children. However, a man named Mikhail, who says that his father was Tatikios and his mother was Komnene, may indeed have been his son. Also in the 1104 charter, a certain Constantinos, kuropalates and anaagrapheos, is mentioned as ‘nephew of megas primikerios’. Furthermore, in the intrigues against the emperor Isaacos Angelos II at the end of the 12th century, a man named Konstantinos Tatikios may have been one of Tatikios' descendants.

We are also aware of the existence of a commander named Tatikios in Kinnamos' work. Kinnamos mentions that during Emperor Manuel's campaign and war against the Hungarians in 1167, there was a commander named Tatikios nicknamed ‘Aspietes’ in his army. It is quite possible that this person was also a descendant of megas primikerios Tatikios.

Prof.Dr. Işın Demirkent

Tatikios (A Byzantine Commander of Turkish Origin)

Belleten, Volume: LXVII - Issue: 248 - Year: 2003 April


Crusader Franks and Armenians

 ‘During the period of the Crusades, between 1098-1144, in the Crusader state in Urfa, the Frankish rulers’ policy of persecution against the Armenians, who constituted the local Christian population, led the Armenians to come to an agreement with the Turks.’

Prof. Dr. Işın Demirkent

In a Western engraving representing the massacres perpetrated by the Franks throughout the Middle East, the locals with their eyes gouged out and the Crusader soldiers putting them in chains.

The period known as the Crusades, which covers the years between 1096-1291, is the period in which the Westerners took control, albeit partially, in the Middle East, Palestine, Syria and Southeastern Anatolia and settled in these lands. During this period, which lasted approximately two centuries, Westerners established various states in the Middle East. The first of these was founded in Urfa by Baudouin de Boulogne, a French noble.

Baudouin Count of Boulogne was inherited by Eustache's eponymous son. The second son Godefroi, inherited the estates of his mother Ida and took the title of ‘Duke of Lower Lorraine’. The youngest son, Baudouin, inherited nothing!

However, Pope Urbanus II's call for a crusade to the Middle East, to the ‘Holy Land’, affected him deeply. He was a poor man in his own country, but in the East he could establish himself as an independent ruler and acquire property and wealth. Baudouin travelled to the East with the army of his brother Godefroi. 

The Eastern Roman Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, who received the Crusader chieftains at his palace in Istanbul and met with them, first asked them to fight against the Turks and take back the lands belonging to Eastern Rome from their hands. In return, he would provide the Crusaders with food aid along the way and give them a Eastern Roman troop. After this agreement, the Crusaders crossed to the Anatolian side and the first thing they did was to lay siege to the city of Nicaea, the capital of the Seljuk State of Turkiye.

During this siege, Badouin met an Armenian who had escaped from a Eastern Rome dungeon. This Armenian, named Bagrat, was reportedly the brother of "Vasil the Thief", who ruled the cities of Keysun and Raban in South-eastern Anatolia. Bagrat made Baudouin interested in the Armenian issue. He wanted him to come to Urfa with a military force and restore independence to the Armenians who were under Eastern Roman or Turkish oppression. Bagrat's ideas seemed attractive to Baudouin. 

Baudouin, who left the Crusader army in Marash and marched towards Urfa with a force of 700 men and Bagrat, captured Tell-Bashir and Ravendan fortresses held by the Turks, west of the Euphrates, before reaching Urfa. Since he did not have enough Crusader Frankish soldiers with him, he gave the administration of the fortresses to Armenians. Then he continued on his way and reached Urfa on 6 February 1098.

Baudouin was greeted by the Christian inhabitants of Urfa with an endless show of joy... The knights' feet and the fringes of their robes were kissed and they were presented with precious gifts. The city's ruler, the Armenian Thoros, also received Baudouin favourably, believing that he had come to Urfa's aid with a very strong force. Thoros had already obtained this position in 1094.

Urfa, which belonged to Eastern Rome, was conquered by Bozan, the commander of the Great Seljuk Sultan Melikşah, in 1087 and brought to the Turkish world. However, after the death of the sultan in 1092, his brother Tutuş seized the city. He had appointed Armenian Thoros, a member of the Eastern Roman Orthodox Church, as the head of the Christian population in the city, which he placed under the administration of Turkish lords (beys) . However, Thoros gradually overthrew the Turkish governors in Urfa and eliminated them for various reasons, thus gaining full control of Urfa.

However, after the death of Sultan Malik Shah, the power struggle between his sons and brothers in the Seljuk world gradually slowed down, and with the accession of Malik Shah's son Berkyaruk to the throne, unity was re-established among the Turks and the Turks embarked on new conquests...

Thoros was in a very difficult situation. Apart from him, a few other Armenian chieftains were trying to hold on to some cities as governors of Eastern Rome. But it was obvious that these cities would eventually fall to the Turks. That is why Thoros must have welcomed the arrival of Baudouin...

However, Baudouin was not satisfied with Thoros' assurance that he would be given much gold, silver, valuables and horses if he agreed to defend the city and its neighbourhood against Turkish attacks and oppression. He stated that he would not serve as a paid soldier and that he wanted to have a say in the administration of the city, otherwise he threatened Thoros to leave Urfa and return to the main Crusader army that was besieging Antioch at that time. In this situation, Thoros reluctantly accepted Baudouin's conditions at the insistence of the city's elders, recognised him as his adopted son and made him a partner in the administration of the city...

The first thing Baudouin did was to organise an expedition against Balduk, the lord of Samsat, who had been the most oppressive in Urfa and had destroyed the land around Urfa with his plundering raids. The expedition, in which the Frankish knights and all the Armenian forces of Urfa, both mounted and on foot, participated, ended in defeat at the hands of the Turks of Samsat, who, despite being outnumbered, dispersed and fled back to Urfa.

According to the Armenian historian Mateos, who was an eyewitness to the events, the conspiracy that deposed Thoros and brought Baudouin to power was initiated by ‘some deceitful and treacherous men’ and the people of the city revolted and Thoros was trapped in the castle. Although Baudouin had promised to help Thoros, who had asked him to save him, he did the opposite and left him in the hands of the rebels and watched him be murdered.

It is noteworthy that the Crusaders, in the first phase of their struggle to liberate their fellow Christians in the East from the domination of the Muslims, did not render such assistance, but on the contrary, established their first domination in the East by killing a fellow Christian!

The Armenians of Urfa, without taking stock of what had happened, saw Baudouin as their saviour and a day later, on 10 March 1098, they proclaimed him ruler of the city with great enthusiasm.

Baudouin's policy towards the Armenians quickly changed as the Frankish force at his disposal increased. He began to remove the Armenians, whom he had initially been forced to leave in high positions in the administration due to the scarcity of his own men, from these positions. He preferred the advice of the Franks to that of the local gentry, consulted them in all the affairs of the country and no longer gave importance to the opinions of the local nobles...

This change in his behaviour led the Armenians to prepare an assassination plot against the Crusader count, for the Armenians had developed a fierce anger against Baudouin and his men and were convinced that the foreigners would destroy them completely. They regretted very much that they had made Baudouin the ruler of the city....

The Armenians began to think of ways in which they could kill Baudouin or expel him from the city, and they often discussed these matters in secret meetings. However, one of them, Enzhu, informed Baudouin about the assassination plot: He told Baudouin that these people were in contact with the Turks and that the city might be subjected to a cunning Turkish raid one night and that he should take precautions for this. Alarmed, Baudouin had the assassins captured and imprisoned; he had the ringleaders' eyes put out. Those who knew about the assassination had their noses, hands and feet cut off; they were expelled from the city. Taphnuz, horrified by the cruel behaviour of his son-in-law Baudouin, fled Urfa, for he had not yet paid him the full amount of money he had promised for his daughter's dowry.... At the end of 1100, after the death of his brother, the Armenians were completely submissive to Baudouin until he was elected king of Jerusalem and left Urfa. 

After Baudouin de Boulogne, the count of Urfa was taken over by Baudouin du Bourg, the son of his aunt. The new lord of Urfa was initially on good terms with the local Christians. However, when he and his cousin Joscelin de Courtenay were captured by the Turks at the Battle of Harran on 7 May 1104, the city fell into the hands of the Antioch Crusaders and was ruled by Richard de Salerne during Baudouin du Bourg's four-year captivity. 

It was during these four years that the people of Urfa suffered the most. Because Richard, who was going to lose his dominion here anyway with the liberation and return of Baudouin, collected a lot of money from the people by blackmail and treated the people very harshly and harshly. His intention was to seize as much money, goods and wealth as possible from Urfa and its neighbourhood...

Baudouin du Bourg and his cousin Joscelin de Courtenay returned to Urfa in 1108, freed from captivity, and resumed the administration of the countdom. Before their arrival, however, they learnt that the Armenians had been plotting something secret; supposedly, the Armenians wanted to seize control of the city, believing that there had been a conflict between the freed Baudouin and Tankred, the ruler of Antioch, over the control of Urfa and that Baudouin had died in the struggle!

Baudouin was enraged by these intrigues and he persecuted the Armenians and committed great atrocities. He had the eyes of many Armenians gouged out and many were tortured...

During the struggle of Mawdud, the governor of Mosul, against the Crusaders, the Armenians resorted to a new conspiracy during his third campaign against Urfa in 1112. According to local sources, some Armenians agreed with Mawdud to surrender the city to him, but Joscelin de Courtenay, the seigneur of Tell-Bashir, who was aware of what was going on, secretly travelled to Urfa, warned the Frankish garrison and fought against the Turks who were about to enter the city with the guards and thus prevented this move. According to the same sources, this event was followed by a new and violent persecution of the Armenians.

As a result of Mawdud's successive expeditions to the Urfa region, the land east of the Euphrates became impoverished and the inhabitants migrated to lands west of the river. Count Baudouin du Bourg, in turn, tried to take back the western region from his cousin Joscelin, to whom he had been entrusted with its administration, and to spend more time in Tell-Bashir instead of Urfa and to benefit from its prosperity. In the meantime, it appears that the Armenians of Urfa were engaged in a new conspiracy.

In May 1113, when Mawdud arrived in Harran during his new campaign against the Crusaders, he received a message from the Armenians that they wanted to surrender Urfa to him. However, this initiative of the Armenians also reached Count Baudouin, who was in Tell-Bashir at the time.

Our local source, Mateos of Urfa, describes the following course of events in the following words: 

‘The Count sent Paganus, his commander in Seruc, to deport the Armenians from Urfa. On Sunday, 11 May 1113, Paganus drove all the inhabitants out of the city; in the meantime, many painful events took place. The people went to Samsat and Urfa was completely deserted; ‘This city, which first welcomed the Franks, who came like beggars, with a cross and gathered them in its bosom, now sat alone like a widowed woman. In return for the favours this city had done them, the Franks subjected it to the worst treatment and inflicted this evil on Christianity.’

The attitude of the Franks towards the Armenians for their own interests did not end with this expulsion. Having lost the eastern territories of his countdom, Count Baudouin turned his attention to the neighbouring regions to the west and north of Urfa, which were still under the control of Armenian chieftains, in order to compensate for the loss he had suffered. In the meantime, the deaths of his rival, the crusader ruler of Antioch, Tankred, and the most powerful Armenian chieftain in the region, Vasil the Thief, made his task easier.

Upon the death of Vasil the Thief, the chieftain of Keysün and Raban, his wife, who took over the administration on behalf of his son Diga Vasil, immediately appealed to Aksungur al-Porsuki, the governor of Mosul after the death of Mawdud, due to the growing hatred against the Franks among the Armenians, and promised him obedience. Although Baudouin tried to prevent this situation, he was not successful. However, a dispute between the Artuqid lord and Aksungur caused Aksungur to withdraw from the region and return to Mosul. The withdrawal of the Turkish forces favoured the Franks. Baudouin immediately seized Vasil the Thief's land and castles, as well as other Armenian cities such as Birecik and Gerger, and annexed them to his counties.

Plague outbreak in Antioch

After the fall of Antioch to the Crusaders on 3 June 1098 as a result of a trick, many knights and soldiers fleeing from the terrible plague epidemic that broke out in the city came to Urfa to Baudouin, which further increased Baudouin's power. According to a famous Crusader historian, Baudouin took them all into his service and gave them precious gifts. The historian goes on to say that the whole city of Urfa was full of Franks and it was very difficult to settle them, but Baudouin made great use of this auxiliary force and thus succeeded in taking the whole neighbourhood under his control. Baudouin encouraged the Crusader knights to marry rich local Christian girls in order to bind them to him and the counties he had founded.

Baudouin's Marriage

In the first months of his rule, Baudouin sought to consolidate his power in the city. He endeavoured to be prepared against the governor of Mosul, Kürboğa, who was on his way to liberate Antioch, which was besieged by the Crusader army. In fact, Kürboğa besieged Urfa on his way for three weeks in order not to leave any enemy forces behind. But during this time, he could not break through the city walls and he lifted the siege and marched to Antioch. After Baudouin escaped from such a danger, he attacked and captured the Turkish cities of Samsat and Seruc around Urfa. These successes brought him fame. After this, Baudouin married an Armenian girl who would bring him a great income. Her father, Taphnuz, was an Armenian chieftain who owned many castles and fortified positions in the mountains, and he appointed Baudouin as the sole heir to all his property. In return, he wanted Baudouin to defend the country against the Turks, for which he would pay him extra money. Thus, Baudouin strengthened his position in Urfa by relying on the Armenians.

Prof.Dr.Işın Demirkent

Popular History, Issue 56, April 2005.


1 Mayıs 2024 Çarşamba

Dionysos - Buda / Bacchos - Bakşi


Dionysos - Buda / Bacchos - Bakşi

Saka Türklerinin soyundan gelen Buda (Buddha), ya da Türkçe adıyla Burkan’ın din hocalarına Bakşi deniliyordu ve Dionysos* festivallerindeki gibi sarhoş olup aşırıya kaçan davranışlarda bulunuyorlardı. Bu durumda Bakkhaların karşılığı da din görevlileri olurdu ki mitolojide Bakkhalar da esrik kadın rahibeler olarak geçiyordu. Kam gibi don değiştiren, doğa ile insanı bütünleştiren, icat ettiği davul ile birlikte flüt ve tef’i de toylarında kullanan Dionysos ise Bakkhaların başı olarak Bakkhos adını alıyordu. Yani Bakşi Başı oluyordu ve Bacchos/Bacchus sözcüğü Türkçe Bakşi'den geliyordu.

Bakkhos/Dionysos İlyada’da korkak bir tanrıydı. Bu da sözlü Homer çağı ile yazılı Peisistratos döneminde Bakkhos’un henüz Grekler arasında tam olarak tanınmadığını ve kült olarak yayılmadığını gösteriyordu.

Bakşiler de Dionysos gibi kaplan/pars'a binerdi...


Turova ve Saka Türkleri📚

* Dionysos sözcüğü bile Grek Öncesi ve Hint-Avrupa olmayan bir dilden geliyordu.

Aydın Arkeoloji Müzesi / Nysa Salonu - Dionysos'un Hayatı
Aydın Archaeological Museum / Nysa Hall - The Life of Dionysus

Bagghalar/ Bakkhalar/ Bakşiler ayinlerde keçi postu giyerek keçi donuna bürünürdü. Tanrının da keçi kılığına dönüştüğünü düşünen Dionysos takipçileri kurbanlık keçiyi parçalayıp yer ve kanını da içerdi. Oysa Grek kültüründe Kamlık kültürü yoktu. Dionysos festivallerinde karşılaştığımız bir başka karakter ise alt bedeni keçi olan Satyrler’di. Oysa onlar keçi donuna girmiş olan bakşiler/bagglar yüzünden türetilmişti. Tıpkı üretilen bir başka karakter gibi; Çobanların tanrısı keçi ayaklı Pan.

Saka-Türk ve Pers döneminde yaşamış olan Euripides’in Bakkhalar adlı eserinde rahibelerin (Bakkhaların) yabanıl kavimlerden seçildiği ve bakşiler gibi davrandıkları görülüyordu.

Euripides, “Kadınlarımız evlerinden kaçmışlar. Neymiş, Bakkhos şenliklerini kutluyorlarmış! Dionysos dedikleri benim tanımadığım, yeni çıkma bir tanrıya tapınırlarmış dağbaşında. Öbek öbek kadınlar ortalarında testiler dolusu şarap. Gizlide kuytuda erkeklerle çiftleşirlermiş! Sözde Bakkha rahibeliği bunu gerektirirmiş. Bana sorarsanız Bakkhos’a falan değil Afrodite’ye çalışıyor bu kadınlar,” diyordu.

"Hislerine hükmetmeye alışmak bahanesiyle edeb dışı hareketler ve içki âlemleri" düzenleyen Bakşiler gibi Dionysos takipçileri de aşırılığa kaçtıkları için Roma imparatorluğu Bacchanalia festivalini yasakladı (MÖ 186).

Mitolojide hem tahıllar (buğday, arpa), hem de üzüm bağı Bacchos (Bagh)’a aitti. Dionysos şenliklerinde içilen şarap Grek kültüründeki gibi suyla karıştırılmayıp İskitler gibi sek içiliyordu. Üstelik bu içim şeklinin adı da "İskit gibi içmek" idi. Şarap ve Dionysos kültürü Greklere geçtikten sonra şarap içimi yemeklerden önce sek, yemeklerden sonra da sulandırılmış olarak servis edildi. Bu keçiyi parçalayıp yemek ve kanını içmek geleneği Hıristiyanlığa da geçti ve ayinlerde İsa’nın kanı denilerek şaraba batırılmış ekmek verilmeye başlandı.

Turova ve Saka Türkleri📚
* Apollon’a karşı müzik yarışmasını kazanan Saka kökenli Marsyas’ın (M/Barsias= Bars/Pars) da bir Satyr, yani bir bagg-bakşi olduğu söylenir.

Omuzlarında keçi postu, elinde çoban değneğiyle yapraklardan yapılmış bir etek giyen Satyr/Pan
(Hellenistik dönem, Walters Sanat Müzesi)