Michael Tarchaneiotes

Michael Tarchaneiotes

Michael Tarchaneiotes (Greek: Μιχαήλ Ταρχανειώτης) was a Byzantine aristocrat and general, active against the Turks and in the Balkans from 1278 until his death from disease in 1284.



He was the son of Nikephoros Tarchaneiotes, megas domestikos to John III Vatatzes, and Maria-Martha Palaiologina, the eldest sister of Michael VIII Palaiologos.[1][2] His family supported the rise of Palaiologos to the throne, and the new emperor rewarded Michael and his younger brother Andronikos with high offices: Michael was named protovestiarios and Andronikos was made megas konostaulos.[1]

In 1278, having risen to the post of megas domestikos, Tarchaneiotes accompanied his cousin, the young co-emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (r. 1282–1328) to an expedition against the Turks in Asia Minor. The campaign was successful in driving the Turks out of the valley of the Maeander River. Tarchaneiotes, on Andronikos' orders, rebuilt, fortified and repopulated the city of Tralles, which the young ruler intended to rename as Andronikopolis or Palaiologopolis. A few years later however the city, poorly supplied with water and provisions, was besieged and taken by the emir of Menteshe.[3]

In spring 1281, Tarchaneiotes led the Byzantine army that was sent to relieve the city of Berat in Albania, which was being besieged by an Angevin army. Tarchaneiotes' troops captured the Angevin commander, Hugh of Sully, in an ambush, whereupon his army panicked and was defeated with great loss by the Byzantines.[4][5][6] In 1283, Tarchaneiotes was placed by Andronikos II at the head of the campaign against John I Doukas of Thessaly. Tarchaneiotes' forces marched to Thessaly, where they were joined by a Byzantine fleet and laid siege to the port city of Demetrias. The city fell, but the outbreak of an epidemic (possibly malaria) killed many soldiers, including Tarchaneiotes, and forced the remainder of the army to withdraw.[6][7][8]


By his wife, an unnamed daughter of the megas doux Alexios Doukas Philanthropenos, Michael Tarchaneiotes had three children: an unnamed son who was given the rank of protosebastos, an unnamed daughter, and the famed general and rebel Alexios Philanthropenos the Younger.[6][9]


  1. ^ a b Kazhdan (1991), p. 2012
  2. ^ Cawley, Nikephoros Tarchaneiotes
  3. ^ Nicol (1993), p. 86
  4. ^ Bartusis (1997), p. 63
  5. ^ Nicol (1993), pp. 65–66
  6. ^ a b c Cawley, Michael Tarchaneiotes
  7. ^ Bartusis (1997), p. 68
  8. ^ Nicol (1993), p. 115
  9. ^ Kazhdan (1991), p. 1649


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