|Location||Krasnodar Krai, Russia|
|Founded||6th century BCE|
|Abandoned||After 14th century CE|
Tmutarakan : Тмутарака́нь, IPA: [tmʊtərɐˈkanʲ] ; Old East Slavic : Тъмуторокань) was a medieval principality of Kievan Rus' and trading town that controlled the Cimmerian Bosporus, the passage from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, between the late 10th and 11th centuries. Its site was the ancient Greek colony of Hermonassa (Ancient Greek : Ἑρμώνασσα) founded in the mid 6th century BCE, by Mytilene (Lesbos), situated on the Taman peninsula, in present-day Krasnodar Krai, Russia, roughly opposite Kerch. The Khazar fortress of Tamantarkhan (from which the Byzantine name for the city, Tamatarcha, is derived) was built on the site in the 7th century, and became known as Tmutarakan when it came under the control of Kievan Rus'.(Russian
The Greek colony of Hermonassa was located a few miles west of Phanagoria and Panticapaeum, major trade centers for what was to become the Bosporan Kingdom. The city was founded in the mid-6th century BCE by Mytilene (Lesbos), although there is evidence of others taking part in the enterprise, including Cretans.The city flourished for some centuries and many ancient buildings and streets have been excavated from this period, as well as a hoard of 4th century golden coins. Hermonassa was a centre of the Bosporan cult of Aphrodite and in the early centuries CE was trading with the Alans. There is also archaeological evidence of extensive replanning and construction in the 2nd century CE.
After a long period as a Roman client state, the Bosporan kingdom succumbed to the Huns, who defeated the nearby Alans in 375/376. With the collapse of the Hunnic Empire in the late 5th century, the area passed within the Roman sphere once again but was taken by the Bulgars in the 6th century. Following the fall of the city to the Khazars in the late 7th century, it was rebuilt as a fortress town and renamed Tamatarkha. Arabic sources refer to it as Samkarsh al-Yahud (i.e., "Samkarsh of the Jews") in reference to the fact that the bulk of the trading there was handled by Jews.Other variants of the city's name are "Samkersh" and "Samkush".
Fortified with a strong brick wall and boasting a fine harbor, Tamatarkha was a large city of merchants. It controlled much of the Northern European trade with the Byzantine Empire and Northern Caucasus. There were also trade routes leading south-east to Armenia and the Muslim domains, as well as others connecting with the Silk Road to the east. The inhabitants included Greeks, Armenians, Rus', Jews, Ossetians, Lezgins, Georgians, and Circassians. After the destruction of the Khazar empire by Sviatoslav I of Kiev in the mid-10th century, Khazars continued to inhabit the region. The Mandgelis Document, a Hebrew letter dated AM 4746 (985–986) refers to "our lord David, the Khazar prince" who lived in Taman and who was visited by envoys from Kievan Rus to ask about religious matters.
Although the exact date and circumstances of Tmutarakan's takeover by Kievan Rus are uncertain, the Hypatian Codex mentions Tmutarakan as one of the towns that Vladimir the Great gave to his sons, which implies that Rus control over the city was established in the late 10th century and certainly before Vladimir's death in 1015.Bronze and silver imitations of Byzantine coinage were struck by the new rulers during this period.
Vladimir's son Mstislav of Chernigov was the prince of Tmutarakan at the start of the 11th century. During his reign, a first stone church was dedicated to the Mother of God (Theotokos). The excavated site suggests that it was built by Byzantine workmen and has similarities with the church Mstislav went on to commission in Chernigov.After his death, he was followed by a succession of short-lived petty dynasts. Gleb Svyatoslavich was given command of the city by his father, Svyatoslav Yaroslavich, but in 1064 he was displaced by the rival Rus prince Rostislav Vladimirovich who in his turn was forced to flee the city when Gleb approached with an army led by his father. Once Svyatoslav left, however, Rostislav expelled Gleb once again. During his brief rule, he subdued the local Circassians (also known as Kasogi) and other indigenous tribes, but his success provoked the suspicion of neighboring Greek Chersonesos in the Crimea, whose Byzantine envoy poisoned him on 3 February 1066.
Afterwards command of Tmutarakan returned to the prince of Chernigovand then to the Grand Prince of Kiev, Vsevolod Yaroslavich. In 1079, Svyatoslav Yaroslavich appointed a governor ( posadnik ), but he was captured two years later by David Igorevich and Volodar Rostislavich, who seized the city. Exiled from the city to Byzantium by Khazar agents during this turbulent time, Oleg Svyatoslavich returned to Tmutarakan in 1083 and ousted the usurpers, adopting the title of "archon of Khazaria" (Arakhan of Tmutar), and placed the city under nominal Byzantine control. But he also issued rough silver coins in his own name which included a short inscription in Cyrillic letters. Then in 1094, like Mstislav before him, he returned to Rus to claim the throne of Chernigov.
Byzantine interest in the city was maintained through this succession of client rulers, and thereafter by more direct rule for a while, for an important reason. There were naphtha deposits in the area and this was a vital ingredient of their main tactical weapon, Greek Fire.Up until the end of the 12th century the imperial authorities were forbidding their Genoese trading partners access to the city known to them as Matracha.
In the 13th century the city passed to the Empire of Trebizond (a Byzantine successor state). Its last recorded mention was in a scroll of 1378. The region fell under the control of the Republic of Genoa in the 14th century and formed part of the protectorate of Gazaria, based at Kaffa. It was within the territory administered by the Ghisolfi family and was conquered by the Crimean Khanate in 1482 and by Russia in 1791. A possible remaining Khazar connection is suggested by mention of “Jewish princes” in Tamatarkha under both Genoese and Tatar rule.
The city subsequently fell into ruin and the site was rediscovered in 1792, when a local peasant found a stone with an inscription stating that Prince Gleb had measured the sea from here to Kerch in 1068. Archaeological excavations of the site were begun in the 19th century and have continued since. The habitation level in places exceeds twelve meters.
During much of the 17th and 18th centuries the area was dominated by Cossacks centered on the town of Taman, which was located near the remains of Tmutarakan. The modern town of Temryuk is nearby.
Speculations have been advanced for how the settlement came by its later name. That it derives from the Tatar language is generally assumed. Jean Richard also mentions the Greek for "fish curing" (Τομη΄ταριχα), an important Black Sea product. Afterwards it might have been given a Russian folk etymology, combining t'ma ("darkness") and tarakan ("cockroach"), to mean metaphorically 'the back of beyond', the sense that Vladimir Mayakovsky gives it.
Sviatoslav or Svyatoslav I Igorevich was Prince of Kiev from 945 until his death in 972. He is known for his persistent campaigns in the east and south, which precipitated the collapse of two great powers in Eastern Europe, Khazaria and the First Bulgarian Empire. He conquered numerous East Slavic tribes, defeated the Alans and attacked the Volga Bulgars, and at times was allied with the Pechenegs and Magyars (Hungarians).
The Grand Prince of Kiev was the title of the monarch of Kievan Rus', residing in Kiev from the 10th to 13th centuries. In the 13th century, Kiev became an appanage principality first of the grand prince of Vladimir and the Mongol Golden Horde governors, and later was taken over by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Sviatoslav II Iaroslavich or Sviatoslav II Yaroslavich was Grand Prince of Kiev between 1073 and 1076. He was born as a younger son of Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise, and became the progenitor of the Sviatoslavichi (Svyatoslavychi). His baptismal name was Nicholas.
Oleg Svyatoslavich was a Sviatoslavichi prince whose equivocal adventures ignited political unrest in Kievan Rus' at the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries. He reigned as Prince of Chernigov from 1097 to 1115, and was the progenitor of the Olgovichi family.
A purported Khazar ruler of the late tenth century CE who ruled over a Khazar successor-state in the Taman region. David is mentioned in a single document dated AM 4746 which contains a reference to "our lord David, Prince of the Khazars, who lives in Taman." The document in question is of uncertain authenticity, as it passed through the hands of Abraham Firkovich, who on occasion forged documents and inscriptions.
Prince Igor Sviatoslavich the Brave, also spelt Ihor Sviatoslavych was an Olgovichi prince. His baptismal name was Yury. Igor was prince of Putivl (1164–1180), of Novgorod-Seversk (1180–1198), and of Chernigov (1198–1201/1202).
The Principality of Chernigov was one of the largest and most powerful states within Kievan Rus'. For a time the principality was the second most powerful after Kiev. The principality was formed in the 10th century and maintained some of its distinctiveness until the 16th century. The Principality of Chernigov consisted of regions of modern-day Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.
The Taman Peninsula is a peninsula in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, which borders the Sea of Azov to the north, the Kerch Strait to the west and the Black Sea to the south.
Mstislav Vladimirovich was the earliest attested prince of Tmutarakan and Chernigov in Kievan Rus'. He was a younger son of Vladimir the Great, Grand Prince of Kiev. His father appointed him to rule Tmutarakan, an important fortress by the Strait of Kerch, in or after 988.
Boris Vyacheslavich was Prince of Chernigov for eight days in 1077. He was the son of Vyacheslav Yaroslavich, Prince of Smolensk. Following his father's death in 1057, the child Boris was debarred from his inheritance. He died fighting against his uncles—Vsevolod Yaroslavich, Prince of Chernigov and Izyaslav Yaroslavich, Grand Prince of Kiev—on 3 October 1078.
Rostislav Vladimirovich was a landless prince (izgoi) from the Rurikid dynasty of Kievan Rus’. He was baptized as Mikhail. According to the Russian genealogist Nikolai Baumgarten, the mother of Rostislav was Oda of Stade, a daughter of the Stade Count Leopold. That claim is also supported by other historians.
The inner Principality of Kiev was a medieval East Slavic state, situated in central regions of modern Ukraine around the city of Kiev.
The Stone of Tmutarakan is a marble slab engraved with the words "In the year 6576 [ A.M., 1068 A.D] the sixth of the Indiction, Prince Gleb measured across the sea on the ice from Tmutarakan to Kerch 14,000 sazhen".
Gleb Svyatoslavich was Prince of Tmutarakan and Novgorod of Kievan Rus'. He ruled Tmutarakan under the overall authority of his father Sviatoslav Iaroslavich, Prince of Chernigov. He was twice expelled from his principality by one of his cousins Rostislav Vladimirovich.
Mstislav II Svyatoslavich was a Kievan Rus' prince. His baptismal name was Panteleymon. He was probably prince of Kozelsk (1194–1223), of Novgorod-Seversk (1206–1219), and of Chernigov (1215/1220–1223). He was killed in the Battle of the Kalka River.
Gleb Svyatoslavich was a Kievan Rus' prince. His baptismal name was Pakhomy. He was prince of Kaniv, of Belgorod (1205–1206), and of Chernigov (1206/1208–1215/1220). He helped to pay for the Church of St. Paraskeva Pyatnitsa in Chernigov.
Yaroslav II Vsevolodovich was an Olgovichi prince. He was prince of Ropesk, of Starodub (1166–1176), and of Chernigov (1176–1198).
Vladimir III Svyatoslavich was an Olgovichi prince. His baptismal name was Boris. He was prince of Gomiy (1164–?), of Novgorod, of Karachev (1194–?), and probably of Novgorod-Seversk (1198–1200).
Volodymyr II Yaroslavych was a Rus’ prince. He was prince of Halych.
Roman Svyatoslavich or Roman the Handsome was prince of Tmutarakan in Kievan Rus'. The starting year of his reign is uncertain, but he reigned his principality from around 1073 or 1077. His former allies, the Cumans killed him after their unsuccessful joint campaign against his uncle, Vsevolod I of Kiev.